Poland Tries to Calm Dispute Over Kosher Animal Slaughter

By Reuters

Published November 30, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Poland is to draft new laws so that it does not have to stop slaughterhouses from producing kosher meat, a prospect that has angered the Jewish community in the country where Nazi Germany massacred millions of Jews during World War Two.

The constitutional court ruled this week that kosher slaughter methods, which involve killing livestock while they are still conscious, contravened a Polish law which states animals must be stunned before slaughter.

The agriculture ministry said in a statement it “has taken actions to prepare legal solutions,” that would amend the current animal protection law and allow the practice to continue legally.

“I believe this it is the only way to get out of the current legal impasse,” said Piotr Kadlcik, the head of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland. “We will be fully satisfied when shechita (kosher slaughter) is legal again.”

Some Polish abattoirs have been slaughtering animals without stunning them for Jewish customers and also for Muslims, whose halal butchery techniques are similar.

They were able to do this because the government had issued a ministerial decree waiving the requirement that livestock be stunned, but the court said the waiver was unlawful and would no longer apply from Dec. 31 this year.

The case was referred to the court after representations from animal rights activists, who say kosher and halal slaughter practices are unnecessarily cruel.

Jewish groups said the ruling threatened their right to freely practise their faith. Some Jewish community leaders said the tone of the debate around the issue echoed the kind of anti-Semitic rhetoric seen in Europe before World War Two.

Poland was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community before the outbreak of war in 1939, but the Holocaust all but wiped it out. Nazi concentration camps including Auschwitz and Treblinka were located on Polish soil.

The Polish dispute over kosher meat 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!
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • 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.