Daily Israel Report

EU Postpones Shechita Debate by Two Years

Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger says Jewish pressure convinced EU to put off decision.
By Gil Ronen & Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 6/21/2011, 10:08 AM / Last Update: 6/21/2011, 10:03 AM

The European Union will postpone for at least two years any decision on banning shechita, the kosher Jewish slaughter of animals, according to Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi Yonah Metzger.

Rav Metzger, who is attending the 10th convention of the Rabbinical Center of Europe in Brussels, told Arutz Sheva correspondent Hezki Ezra that the EU decision came after pressure from Jewish communities and the Rabbinical Center of Europe.
 

 
“For over 1000 years Jews have been conducting kosher slaughter here and the EU Parliament was supposed to discuss banning the shechita two weeks from now,” he explained.
 
“Today, in our visit to the European Union,  we were told that the debate has been put off for at least two years,” Rav Metzger announced. “This is great news for the Jews of Europe and for Jews in the whole world, because what starts in Europe could reach other places too.”
 
Meanwhile, Holland is set to debate its own law banning shechita. The small Party for the Animals has proposed that religious slaughter carried out without stunning the animal first be outlawed
 
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld, Director of the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs, had written an open letter to the members of the Dutch parliament, decrying the faulty research that was cited to “prove” that Jewish ritual slaughter is less humane than electro-shocking, which has a significant 5-8% failure rate at first try, causing pain and suffering to the animals.  Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of England came to Holland last week to help the Jewish community deal with the issue.
 
Placing the burden of proof upon the Jewish community to show that existing kosher slaughter is as humane as regular “stunning” slaughter “only fits a non-democratic state,” he wrote. Dr. Gerstenfeld explained that the people who support the law "identify much more easily with the perceived feelings of a cow than with the sensitivities of an orthodox Jew."