Shechita kosher slaughter
Shechita kosher slaughterFlash 90
Shimon Cohen, the Campaign Director of Shechita UK, spoke Thursday to the European Commission on Jewish religious freedoms in the European Union in a closed conference entitled, "Freedom to practice religion in Europe – challenges for Jews and Muslims in the face of bans of traditional slaughter."

"It was a great privilege to have been invited to Brussels to address the European Commission on threats to religious slaughter across Europe," Cohen said. "This conference was unique. For the first time, we were invited to present our concerns."

"I spoke candidly about the blatant disregard various Member States have towards Jewish religious freedoms, disrespectfully positioning shechita (ritual slaughter) opposed to animal welfare concerns and banning kosher meat production in their countries.

"Anti-shechita concerns are often based on ignorance and misinformation, and sometimes even more sinister agendas. Yet whatever the motivation, they hinder Jewish life, creating a perverse hierarchy of rights. This important conference marks the latest landmark in a political process that needs to be translated into action. Europe must practice what it preaches and act to institute legislative safeguards to protect religious rights and freedoms for all.”

On Wednesday, former Moscow Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, President of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER), called for greater protections for religious freedoms in Europe, saying, "As Jews, we need complete freedom to practice our religion. We must be able to produce kosher meat, educate our children, and maintain our traditions and lifestyle. Yet currently, across the continent, these freedoms are under threat. Shechita stands precariously threatened by hostile governments."

"To be able to live and thrive as Jews in Europe, these rights must be safeguarded in law."