Polish parliament rejects ritual animal slaughter

Poland’s parliament on Friday rejected the ritual slaughter of livestock for food, angering the Jewish community as well as farmers and exporters of meat towards Israel and Muslim countries. Lawmakers struck down a government bill that would have reinstated the practice – a key tenet of the Jewish and Muslim faiths – with a vote of 222 against, 178 in favour and nine abstentions.

Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law. Supporters of the practice had pegged their hopes on the bill, whose rejection the European Jewish Congress said it “strongly condemns”.

Poland’s chief rabbi Michael Schudrich meanwhile said the result “was a shock to us” in a joint statement with Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “It directly infringes on the basic rights of the country’s Jewish and Muslim populations, which will henceforth be forced to either buy more expensive imported meat, or endorse an enforced vegetarianism.”

AFP, 12 July 2013