Poland to Hold Hearing on Ritual Slaughter Ban

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Illustration: Kosher meat on sale at a butcher.Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

The Polish Constitutional Tribunal has announced that it will hold a hearing to discuss the country’s ban on ritual slaughter. The hearing will be held on December 3.

The Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland filed a request over a year ago to have the case reviewed by the Constitutional Tribunal.

“We hope that the Tribunal will rule on the admissibility of Jewish ritual slaughter on Polish territory," Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland, told JTA. "This will eliminate confusion as to the legality or illegality of this kind of slaughter."

"It also will eliminate rumors that the slaughter is done somewhere illegally," he added. "We want it to be done according to religious principles and practices of openness and transparency.”

Ritual slaughter was banned in Poland, effective as of January 1, 2013, after the country's constitutional court scrapped a government regulation that exempted Jews and Muslims from a law requiring the stunning of animals prior to slaughter. Muslim and Jewish ritual slaughter requires that animals be conscious before their necks are cut. The Tribunal then asked for the opinion of the Sejm, or Parliament, and the Prosecutor General’s Office.

According to the Sejm, ritual slaughter for the needs of the Jewish community in Poland is legal, and the person performing the slaughter cannot be punished. The Prosecutor General’s Office has a different opinion, which says that “the slaughter of animals, provided by religious rites, is not permitted.”

On March 5, 2014 KRIR, or the National Council of Agricultural Chambers in Poland, filled in Poland’s Sejm a bill on the Law on slaughter which would legalize ritual slaughter. Parliament will take up this project after the Constitutional Tribunal’s judgment.

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