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Food

Poland Is Nearing Vote To Legalize Kosher Slaughter

The Polish government reportedly is consulting with trade unions on legislation to allow kosher and halal slaughter.

The Polish Press Agency, PAP, reported Jan. 23 that a ministerial committee had given the trade unions copies of a draft amendment allowing ritual slaughter under the Polish Act on the Protection of Animals.

The unions have until Jan. 30 to respond, Malgorzata Ksiazyk of the Polish Ministry of Agriculture told PAP, after which time the bill will be brought to a vote.

Jerzy Wierzbicki, president of the Polish Beef Association, told Polskie Radio on Tuesday that he supported a “liberal policy” on ritual slaughter.

The legislation on ritual slaughter began in November after Poland’s highest court declared unconstitutional a 2004 government provision permitting the slaughter of conscious animals only for religious reasons. The court was reviewing a petition filed by animal rights activists.

The ruling came into effect this month, the same time as a new European law, Regulation 1099, which requires that animals do not experience “unnecessary suffering” but provides exceptions for religious slaughter. Poland’s halal and kosher slaughter business is estimated to be worth $250 million annually, mainly owing to exports.

The new legislation is meant to ensure that Polish law is compatible with European law, ministry officials said. Polish Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba has vowed to keep ritual slaughter legal in Poland.

Earlier this month, 90 scientists and two Polish lawmakers wrote to Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to request that Poland ban ritual slaughter, which the authors said was cruel.

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