(JTA) — We were out weeding squash last week when Fred came over to say he had to show me something but he feared it would lead to an act of violence.
Regular readers will know Fred is the farm’s sole employee. (I believe the technical term is “farm hand.”) He’s also a devout Hare Krishna, strict vegetarian and devotee of non-violence.
With a prelude like that, I knew where this was heading.
Fred led me to a spot in the field, cleared away some brush, and there in a small hole were four or five baby rabbits. Fred and Raul – one of Fred’s spiritual fellow travelers and an occasional presence at the farm – were busy cooing over their find. I was completely unmoved. I realize this makes me sound like a heartless ogre, but cute as they were, I had bigger fish to fry (or rabbits to roast, if you like.)
I had seen momma bunny hopping around with her cotton tail (Fred had rather unhelpfully christened her Hare Krishna — get it?), and all I could think about when looking at those little tufts of fur was that rabbits breed like rabbits! Soon there’d be lots of Hare Krishnas running around (a Fred fantasy, I’m sure) and I’m pretty convinced they’re the ones that have been chomping on my snap peas. The babies had to go, and I knew exactly how I was going to do it.
The other regular presence on the farm is my landlord Joe. An Italian immigrant with a thick accent and a penchant for dropping the last syllable of words, Joe is a lifelong farmer, a Catholic and a carnivore. He raises a handful of goats on the farm that he kills with a small knife to the throat and butchers himself. A few weeks back, he asked me if any vendors at the market sell rabbit meat. I didn’t know, but Joe went looking himself and came up empty. I figured presenting him with this find would buy me some goodwill.
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.