Ritual Slaughter Legal?

Bad News for Animals?

Bad News for Animals?

The Polish parliament will be reading a citizen’s draft amendment to the law on the protection of animals. The aim of the initiative is to restore ritual slaughter, that is slaughter without stunning the animal. The draft was prepared by the National Council of Agricultural Chambers (KRiR). It collected 130,000 signatures. The proposal is identical to the government’s proposal, which was rejected by parliament in July 2013. It accepts the ritual slaughter of animals for religious purposes and bans so-called ‘rotary frames’ during the process. Originally, the Constitutional Tribunal stated that the 2004 regulation of the Minister of Agriculture, on the basis of which slaughter can be possible, was contrary to the law on the protection of animals and was therefore unconstitutional. Therefore, the Ministry of Agriculture prepared a draft amendment to the Act, so as to allow ritual slaughter for followers of Judaism and Islam. However, parliament rejected the proposal in July 2013. A month later, the Union of Jewish Communities submitted an application to the Constitutional Tribunal regarding the provisions of the Act on the Protection of Animals. This was undertaken to verify the compatibility of the Animal Protection Act, which does not allow ritual slaughter, with the Constitution and the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. A few days earlier, the Constitutional Tribunal received a request from Białystok District Court concerning the admissibility of a ritual slaughter which took place in Tykocin on 12 March 2014. The request concerned the provision of the Act on the Protection of Animals which prohibits such slaughter. The Constitutional Tribunal has yet to deliver judgement. However, in November 2013, meat producers and two religious associations (Jewish and Muslim) complained to the European Commission that in their opinion Polish legislation banning ritual slaughter violates EU law. They argued that Poland did not meet the requirements necessary to maintain national provisions prohibiting ritual slaughter as it did not notify the European Commission. The introduction of the ban required the adoption of a relevant law before the end of 2012. Ritual slaughter is a controversial issue. The meat industry highlights the huge losses incurred as a result of not being able to undertake ritual slaughter. Animal rights campaigners highlightbthe moral and humanitarian aspects, including the suffering of animals during ritual slaughter.

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