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.
A constitutional court in Poland reportedly has ruled against allowing Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter in the country.
The Warsaw court’s ruling, which was made known on Tuesday, said the government had acted unconstitutionally when it exempted Jews and Muslims from stunning animals before slaughtering them as their faiths require, according to Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.
Kadlcik told JTA that in addition to the special exception announced by the Polish Ministry of Agriculture, Jewish ritual slaughter, or shechitah, is permissible under the 1997 Law on Regulating the Relations between the State and the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.
“It appears there is a legal contradiction here and it is too early to tell what this means,” he said. “We are seeking legal advice on this right now.”
Poland has approximately 6,000 Jews, according to the European Jewish Congress.
According to Kadlcik, Poland has no kosher slaughterhouses but locally slaughtered kosher meat is nonetheless served at kosher cantines across the country.
“I’m not sure we will be able to keep serving meat there,” he said.
A Dutch lawmaker resigned from his party in protest of its support for banning ritual slaughter, among other issues.
Wim Kortenoeven announced his resignation from the Party for Freedom at a news conference last week in The Hague. Founded in 2005 by Geert Wilders, the party follows an anti-Muslim, pro-Israel policy.
“Regarding ritual slaughter, I came under intense pressure from Wilders to vote against my conscious,” Kortenoeven said.
In 2011, the Party of Freedom voted in favor of a bill to ban ritual slaughter in The Netherlands. Kortenoeven voted against the bill. He was the only party member who defied party discipline. Though passed into law, the Dutch Senate scrapped the ban last month.