Jews, Muslims in joint complaint to EC over Polish ban on ritual slaughter

Jews and Muslims have decided to join forces and lodge a complaint to the European Commission (EC) against Poland for maintaining the prohibition of ritual slaughter in the country, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Director General of the European Jewish Association (EJA) and Poland’s Chief Mufti, Tomasz Miskiewicz, have announced.

The official complaint to European Commissioner in charge of agriculture and rural development Dacian Ciolos,claims that the actions of the Republic of Poland ”constitute a violation of the regulation on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which permits so-called ritual slaughter, without prior stunning, in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter prescribed by religious rites,” the European Jewish Press reported.

Moreover, according to the Jewish and Muslim leaders, ‘’the improper practices of Poland create uncertainty as to the ability to rely on directly applicable EU law and a threat to conducting ritual slaughter on the territory of Poland.

Rabbi Margolin and Mufti Miskiewicz called on the EC to open a prompt thorough examination of the matter and, if necessary, take the case to the Court of Justice of the European Union.

“The ritual of kosher butchering is being performed all over the world since thousands of years. Any outside interference in Jewish customs will be considered as a violation of freedom of religion for the entire Jewish community in Poland and will hurt tens of thousands of Jewish tourists and investors that have visited the country that has been seeded with so many sites drenched in Jewish blood and ashes,’’ said Margolin, whose organisation has been at the forefront in the fight to revoke Poland’s ban on ritual slaughter.

Kosher and halal slaughtering were both banned in Poland after the Constitutional Court, ruling in November 2012 on a motion from animal rights groups, deemed it incompatible with animal rights legislation. Slaughter without prior stunning is required in the Jewish religion.

In order to enshrine ritual slaughter in Polish legislation designed to streamline the way that Polish procedures correspond with EU rules, the Polish government drafted regulations to again allow ritual slaughter. But in July, the Sjem, the Polish parliament, rejected the government bill that would have reinstated the practice.

(Photo: Marecheth Ho’eElohuth)

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The Sofia Globe staff

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