SlaughterhouseIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Estonia’s prime minister has promised to fight against a European Parliament bill that would force kosher meat to be labeled “unstunned before slaughter.”  The special labeling might discourage people from buying kosher meat, thereby causing a sharp drop in demand and an exorbitant rise in prices.

Prime Minister Andrus Ansip told the Rabbinical Center of Europe (RCE) and representatives of European Jewish organizations that he would help convince his colleagues in the European Parliament to vote against the kosher labeling law when it comes for a vote in its second reading in July.

The European Parliament’s Environmental and Consumer Affairs Committee had approved the measure in a 34-28 vote. The Parliament had rejected the bill on its first reading last December. Non-kosher meat is prepared after the animal is stunned, often by electric shock.

“Prime Minister Ansip’s support is vital on this issue and hopefully his strong and moral voice can set an example for other European leaders,” said Rabbi Arye Goldberg, deputy director of the RCE. “This isn’t an issue of animal welfare or humanitarianism; this is about the future of Jewish religious practice in Europe.”

Prime Minister Ansip and his delegation met with the RCE in Belgium, along with directors and representatives of European Jewish organizations and the Brussels Jewish community, including B’nai Brith and the European Center for Jewish Students.