Polish PM to Form Committee to Discuss Kosher Slaughter
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has given his consent to the establishment of a special committee in order to find a solution that would allow kosher slaughtering in his country, after the Polish parliament last week rejected a government-sponsored bill to legalize shechita, the European Jewish Press (EJP) reported.
The announcement was made Thursday in Brussels by the Polish Ambassador to the EU, Marek Prawda, during a meeting with the Director General of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin.
The special committee will be headed by Polish Minister of Administration and Digitization, Michał Jan Boni, who is also in charge of religious matters in Poland, reported EJP.
Ambassador Prawda, on behalf of Minister Boni, invited Rabbi Margolin to join the committee.
Meanwhile, AFP reported that Europe's Jewish leaders on Thursday asked the European Union to back their call for a Polish ban on the ritual slaughter of animals for food to be overturned.
Jewish community and religious leaders from across Europe also urged the EU to review its own legislation on animal slaughter to strengthen the rights of Jews and Muslims to eat meat killed in line with their religious requirements.
The EU rules are designed to minimize suffering for animals when they are killed, but religious groups are exempted from a requirement that animals be stunned before death.
"We call on the European Commission and European Parliament to reinforce the directive (legislation) to allow Jews and Muslims to practice their religion," said European Jewish Congress secretary-general Serge Cwajgenbaum.
He was speaking after urgent talks called in Brussels as a result of the Polish parliament rejecting a government bill to overturn the ban.
Jewish leaders said Poland was the only country in the 28-nation EU to effectively ban the production of kosher food.
The ritual slaughter of animals for food has been banned there since January 1 after a constitutional court ruled it was incompatible with animal rights laws.
The lawmakers' rejection of the bill angered the Jewish community, farmers and companies that had exported kosher meat to Israel and halal meat to Muslim countries.
On Monday, Israel summoned the Polish ambassador to register a formal protest against the ban of ritual slaughter. A day earlier, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter of protest to his Polish counterpart over the ban.