Polish Official Stands Up for Religious Freedom - The Jewish Voice
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Friday, August 19, 2022

Polish Official Stands Up for Religious Freedom

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Polish Minister of Agriculture Marek Sawicki refuses to cave in to pressure from activist groups to ban the preparation of kosher (and halal) meat.Poland’s minister of agriculture has publicly stated that he will not accede to the demands of activists who have been calling for a government-imposed ban on ritual Jewish slaughter (shechitah) in that European country. Agricultural Minister Marek Sawicki said that outlawing ritual slaughter would be contradictory to the Polish Constitution, which guarantees freedom of religion to all of Poland’s citizens. “Under European Union law, ritual slaughter is acceptable and there is no reason to prohibit it,” Sawicki added.

Animal rights groups have been protesting against shechitah, contending that the religiously-based ritual slaughter of animals – in both Jewish and Islamic law – causes the animal to experience a much greater amount of pain than animals that are slaughtered in the standard fashion.

Several years ago, the Polish Ministry of Agriculture approved ritual slaughter, but animal rights proponents claim that Poland has an animal protection law that – because it requires stunning the animal prior to the actual slaughter – does not allow ritual slaughter. Earlier this month, leaders within the country’s animal rights movement asked Poland’s prosecutor to conduct an investigation into whether the Agriculture Ministry is violating the law by exempting ritual slaughter from the aforementioned requirement.

Animal rights activists also argue that ritual slaughter in Poland should be considered illegal because, as opposed to being regulated by an act of government, it is authorized by the minister of agriculture. Polish slaughterhouses produce meat that is subsequently shipped to Israel, as well as Muslim countries.

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