Polish Minister: Top Court Needs to Rule on Slaughter Ban
Poland's top court will have to rule whether the Jewish and Muslim religious communities can perform kosher and halal slaughter despite a recent ban, a senior Polish minister said Monday, according to the AFP news agency.
Parliament outlawed the practice earlier this month, a move hailed by animal rights activists but condemned by the Jewish and Muslim communities as well as farmers and exporters of meat to Israel and Muslim countries.
Leaders of the two religious groups say the ban violates their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms.
"The only way to resolve this collision between the rights of religious communities and this law is to ask the Constitutional Court for a ruling," Michal Boni, minister for public administration, told reporters in Warsaw after talks with Jewish and Muslim religious leaders.
At a joint press conference with Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and Chief Mufti Tomasz Miskiewicz, Boni also suggested they start the ball rolling by asking the court for a ruling.
Both religious leaders said they would consider it and would meet again with Boni next week. Earlier this month Rabbi Schudrich threatened to resign should the ban not be lifted.
Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after the Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law.
On July 12, lawmakers struck down a government bill that would have reinstated the practice. Israel termed the move "unacceptable" and a "blow" to Jewish tradition, calling on parliament to review its decision.
European Jewish leaders urged the European Union last week to back their push for the ban to be overturned. EU rules on the slaughter of livestock 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.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has given his consent to the establishment of a special committee, headed by Boni, in order to find a solution that would allow kosher slaughtering in the country.