EU: Polish parliament rejects ritual animal slaughter

| 13/07/2013 | Reply

5ce01ac663a1cc13ace63b93c1608f92_XSWARSAW — 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.”

Poland’s Jewish and Muslim communities each number around 20,000 to 30,000 people. According to Kadlcik, only a couple hundred families keep kosher.

“It is impossible not to note that Polish legislation does not ban practices such as hunting in which animals are being made to suffer for pleasure,” they added.

The bill was also eagerly awaited by the agrarian Polish People’s Party (PSL), which forms the governing coalition with Civic Platform (PO).

The economic stakes are high for the agricultural country, a big exporter of halal and kosher meat.

Before the ban, Poland exported around 90,000 tonnes of halal beef a year to Muslim countries, mostly Turkey, and 4,000 tonnes of kosher meat to Israel.

The value of the exports was estimated at 250-350 million euros ($330-460 million) a year.

Some 20 slaughterhouses in Poland specialise in the production of halal and kosher meat in an industry that employs 6,000 people according to the agriculture ministry.

“We have yielded our markets to the French, the Dutch and the Germans,” said a farmer demonstrating in front of parliament in favour of the law.

“We won’t be able to make money, support our families. It will be foreign firms who benefit — bravo!” ATP

Article Two
OnIslam & News Agencies
Slaughter Ban Angers Polish Muslims, Jews

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 00:00

The vote has angered the Muslim and Jewish minorities as well as farmers and exporters of meat.

WARSAW – Being failed by the government twice, Polish Muslims and Jews expressed anger over a parliament vote rejecting to repeal an earlier ban on halal and kosher slaughter by the European country’s constitutional court.

“This is not only a slap for us, but above all for the Polish constitution, which should guarantee religious rites of all its citizens,” Chief Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miskiewicz, leader of Poland’s Muslim Association, said in a statement on behalf of the country’s Muslim community cited by Polskie Radio (Polish Radio) on Tuesday, July 16.

“This is not democracy, it undermines the principles of respect and tolerance, prompting nationalistic and racist results, deepening divisions, and opening wounds that had healed.”

The mufti’s angry comments followed uproar after Poland’s parliament voted last Friday to reject the ritual slaughter of livestock for food.

Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law.

Friday’s vote struck down a government bill suggested last December reinstating the practice to calm angry Muslim and Jewish minorities.

Lawmakers rejected the bill with a vote of 222 against, 178 in favor and nine abstentions.

The ban was imposed by the Constitutional Court that ruled against the practice in November 2012, after animal rights groups protested that the slaughter contradicted Polish laws on animal welfare.

The Constitutional Tribunal said it was against Polish law to allow animals to have their throats cut and bleed to death without first being stunned.

The vote has angered the Muslim and Jewish minorities as well as farmers and exporters of meat.

Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michal Schudrich has already threatened to step down over the issue.

“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,” he said.

“It is impossible not to note that Polish legislation does not ban practices such as hunting in which animals are being made to suffer for pleasure,” he added.

New Promises

Feeling the heat of Muslim and Jewish anger, the Polish government has promised to reinstate kosher and halal slaughter methods.

“Now the right belongs to the religious minorities which, in accordance with the constitution, have the right to submit a complaint for non-compliance with the constitution,” Stanislaw Kalemba, the minister of agriculture, said.

“My mind is clear. In order to preserve traditions, customs, culture this law [rejected on Friday] should be adopted, allowing for slaughter as part of these rites.”

According to the Islamic and Jewish ritual, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp blade.

The concept of halal, — meaning permissible in Arabic — has traditionally been applied to food.

Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.

Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah’s creations, including animals.

Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.

Poland has about 6,000 Jews and 25,000 Muslims, according to the European Jewish Congress and US State Department estimates.

The decision is also bad news to Poland’s export industry.

Poland has 29 slaughterhouses which practice ritual slaughter, employing 4,000 people. The industry is worth $259 million in exports.

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Category: EU, Europe, Halal Integrity

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