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Poland Bans Kosher and Halal Slaughter

Poland’s Constitutional Court. Photo by Tomasz Gzel

Poland’s top court has ruled that ritual slaughter of animals according to religious requirements is illegal. Specifically this means that the kosher and halal method of slaughter, by which a conscious animal is held upside down while her throat is slit, cannot be continued.

This conflicts with a new law in the European Union, which goes into effect on January 1st and allows ritual slaughter. Poland could then opt out of that law, as Sweden has done.

Last year, the Dutch lower house of parliament voted to ban ritual slaughter, but the government backed down after protests from Jewish and Muslim groups.

Poland risks having the old Nazi specter raised by religious groups, since Jewish and Muslim slaughter rituals were banned in Germany when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and in Poland after the invasion that launched World War Two. Those rules were rolled back after the war.

Today, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Poland are small. In an overall population of 38 million people, observant Jews number 6,000, and Muslims are in the tens of thousands. Most kosher and halal butchery is done by businesses that make money by exporting the meat they produce.

More info is at Polski Radio and the BBC.