Daily Israel Report

Poland's Top Court to Rule on Kosher Slaughter Ban

Poland's top court will consider whether Jews and Muslims can perform kosher and halal slaughter despite a recent ban.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/4/2013, 4:44 AM

non-kosher restaurant
non-kosher restaurant
israel news photo: Flash 90

Poland's top court will consider whether the country's Jewish and Muslim communities can perform kosher and halal slaughter despite a recent ban, a senior Polish minister said Tuesday, according to the AFP.

Leaders of both religions in Poland argue the ban violates their constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms.

The ban was hailed by animal rights activists but condemned by Jews and Muslims as well as farmers and exporters of meat to Israel and Muslim countries.

"The constitutional court on Friday received a request asking whether the ban is constitutional," Katarzyna Sokolewicz-Hirszel, spokeswoman for Poland's Constitutional court told AFP Tuesday.

Representatives from the Jewish community launched the move, she confirmed.

Poland's top Muslim leader, Mufti Tomasz Miskiewicz, told AFP he was also planning to lodge a similar complaint.

The Jewish and Muslim communities each number around 20,000 to 30,000 people Poland, a country of some 38 million people.

Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after the country's Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal-rights law.

Should the court rule in their favor on grounds of religious freedom, ritual slaughter could still be outlawed for commercial butchers who had exported up to 350 million euros ($460 million) worth of kosher and halal meat a year before the ban.

On July 12, lawmakers struck down a government bill that would have reinstated the practice.

Following the Polish slaughter ban, Israel summoned the Polish ambassador to register a formal protest against the ban, while Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein sent a letter of protest to his Polish counterpart over the ban.

On Monday, Pope Francis ordered an investigation into the ban following a meeting with the president of the World Jewish Congress, which represents Jewish communities outside Israel.