A senior rabbi from Paris has warned Israel’s agriculture minister that legislation in Israel to ban the import of goose liver could jeopardize kosher slaughter in Europe.
“Imagine how it will look if Israel itself is the first to ban the import of goose liver, which was an issue raised by these animal welfare groups [opposing kosher slaughter],” Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen, the head of the rabbinical court in Paris, wrote in a letter he sent Sunday to Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir.
Cohen’s letter was sent on the same day that Shamir said he would remove his appeal against a bill prohibiting the trade of foie gras — a delicacy made from goose liver which is produced commercially by force-feeding ducks and geese.
The practice was banned in Israel several years ago after the High Court of Justice deemed it abusive, but the import and sale of the product remain legal.
“It is known that some European nations are listening to animal welfare groups’ concerns in order to proscribe shechitah,” Cohen also wrote, adding that the same groups also oppose the production of foie gras. “Proponents of this law give a weapon to our enemies,” according to Cohen.
In his letter, Rabbi Cohen writes that he is familiar with the process of force-feeding and the kosher slaughter of geese after visiting on a number of occasions one of the largest facilities in Hungary and witnessing the procedure for himself. He said, unlike previously, where the procedure was done in a manner injurious to the geese, Hungary, one of the main sources of goose liver to Israel, developed a method that is not harmful to the birds.