UK: A Cautious Welcome from Shechita UK to EU Council’s Rejection of 205

Shechita UK has welcomed the outcome of Tuesday’s European Council meeting, where a new draft of the food information regulation was agreed.  The version of the regulation that the Council has sent back to the European Parliament for their consideration does not include Amendment 205 the clause which would have required that all meat and meat products slaughtered by the shechita method be pejoratively labeled.

This is in effect a reversal of the Parliament’s original amendment, and follows months of lobbying in Brussels by representatives of Shechita UK together with the European Jewish Congress.

“While we are very pleased with the outcome of the Council meeting, there is still much work to do to ensure that new laws are not introduced next year which discriminate against shechita “said Campaign Director Shimon Cohen.

Shechita UK chairman Henry Grunwald said: “I would like to thank all the communal organisations with whom we work, as well as the thousands of individual members of our community who wrote to their MEPs, for the way in which they have joined together in our campaign to protect shechita in an active and disciplined fashion.“

“We are also very grateful to the many European communities with whom we worked so closely. The EJC in particular have been a most valued partner in our lobbying efforts.” he added.

The regulation now goes to second reading at the European Parliament where the controversial amendment, to label all meat products derived from the shechita method as effectively second class meat, could be reintroduced.

Shimon Cohen explained, “The European Commission is beginning a new consultation next year on animal welfare labeling, and we are continuing to work in Brussels with the European Jewish Congress to explain to the European food authorities the humane nature of shechita slaughter.  Our campaign is far from over, but we are making satisfactory progress, given the assault on shechita that was launched earlier this year by some Members of the European Parliament.”

For further information, please contact Shimon Cohen on 020 7284 6969.

Editor’s Note: After raising this issue at the World Halal Forum Europe held in London on the 10-11th November 2010 we hope that there will be more support from Muslim MEPs defending Halal slaughter. Resolutions from the WHFE on this were sent to Muslim MEPs to take further.