Polish Ruling May End Kosher Meat Production

Jewish Groups Call Decision a Threat to Religious Freedom

By Reuters

Published November 28, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Jewish groups said on Wednesday a Polish court ruling on methods used to slaughter livestock could halt the production of kosher meat, threatening their religious freedom in a country where Nazi Germany massacred millions of Jews in World War Two.

Poland’s Constitutional court this week reinforced a law that states livestock has to be stunned before slaughter, ruling out the practice stipulated by the Jewish faith of slaughtering the animal by slitting its throat while it is still conscious.

The court took up the case after lobbying from animal rights groups who said the kosher method was cruel. But the case has inflamed religious sensitivities in Poland against the backdrop of the Holocaust when Poland was under German occupation.

“While it may not be their intention, those who seek to proscribe Jewish traditions in general and shechitah (kosher slaughter) in particular are reminding the Jewish community of far darker times,” Aryeh Goldberg of the Rabbinical Centre of Europe said in a statement.

“We call on the Polish government to find a legal caveat which will ensure the continuation of shechitah, which is such an important part of Jewish life … all over the world and particularly in Poland,” Goldberg said.

The European Jewish Association called the ruling “devastating to Jewish welfare and freedom of religion”, and said it was sending a letter of protest to the Polish president.

Animal rights activists have challenged religious slaughter customs in France and the Netherlands, mostly in terms of halal slaughter by Muslims, which like kosher slaughter requires animals to be conscious when killed.

The Polish dispute has echoes of a case in neighbouring Germany this year. There, a court ruling outlawing circumcision of young boys on medical grounds raised an outcry from Jews and Muslims, who said it curtailed their religious freedom. The German ruling is to be overturned by new legislation.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.