Kosher Slaughter Under Polish Court Microscope

Top Court May Rule If Rite Fits Religious Freedom

Kosher Fight: Animal rights activists, like these German demonstrators, say kosher and halal slaughter are unnecessarily cruel to animals.
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Kosher Fight: Animal rights activists, like these German demonstrators, say kosher and halal slaughter are unnecessarily cruel to animals.

By JTA

Published July 03, 2013.
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A court in the Polish city of Bialystok has asked the Polish Constitutional Tribunal to rule on whether the country’s ban on ritual slaughter is compliant with the constitutional freedom of religion.

The case is connected to the ritual slaughter of one cow which took place in March in Tykocin.

Beginning on Jan. 1, Poland banned slaughter without stunning, a requirement for kosher slaughter. In March, one cow was slaughtered in northeastern town of Tykocin.

Urszula Sienczylo, the chief prosecutor of Bialystok, said at the time that it did not violate Polish law because the 1997 Act on the Relation of the State to the Jewish Communities in Poland states that ritual slaughter may be performed in accordance with the needs of the local Jewish community.

The decision of the Bialystok prosecutor was appealed by animal rights activists and the local veterinary inspector. The case then came to the court in Bialystok which last week turned to the Constitutional Tribunal. The case is on hold pending the ruling of the tribunal.

This month the Polish Parliament is scheduled to vote on the legalization of ritual slaughter.


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