The Chairman of the European Jewish Association, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, criticized a bill which would ban the export of kosher meat from Poland.
Rabbi Margolin said in a statement:“This draft law is of deep, deep, concern to European Jewry. It puts unproven and unscientific claims about animal welfare above Freedom of Religion, breaching a central pillar – article 10 - of the EU’s charter of fundamental rights which states clearly:
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion, belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others, and in public or private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance”.
“It also, alarmingly, seeks to control and put a headcount on Jewish practice by giving the Minister of Agriculture the power to determine the qualifications of persons performing religious slaughter. The ‘schochet” who is tasked with performing the slaughter undertakes years of ongoing training, and is committed to, under strict Jewish law, ensuring that the animal undergoes the least suffering and stress as possible leading up to and during the slaughter itself.
“Additionally, the draft law will also require a determination of the quantity of kosher meat needed by the local Jewish Community. How is this to be done? by creating and supervising a list of Jews in Poland? This law, if passed, carries with it a dark and sinister undertow for Jews, a harking back to occupation, where practice and belief were initially targeted as first steps on the road to our eventual destruction.
“European Jewry has enjoyed a fruitful and co-operative relationship with Poland as a principal supplier of Kosher meat to our communities. Poland, in fact, is a central supplier to our needs. The question has to be asked, why now? To what end?
“We urge the Polish government, its parliament (Sejm), its Senators and President of Poland to stop this law. Not only to uphold the values enshrined in the European Charter of fundamental rights protecting freedom of religion but to give a clear statement of solidarity that it will stand with and support European Jewry as an intrinsic part of Europe’s social fabric, and not sacrifice us, our beliefs and practice on the altar of politics. There is no ‘nice’ way of killing an animal. Either we should all become vegetarian, or we must accept that Kosher slaughter is no more cruel than any other method.”