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DO NOT USE shechita ritual_311.(Photo by: Nati Shohat/
Polish Left tries to ban religious animal slaughter
Parliamentarians, NGOs call on Polish PM Tusk to support efforts to stop Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter.
KRAKOW – Leaders of two Polish political parties have asked Prime Minister Donald Tusk to take a stand and publicly support their efforts to stop Jewish and Muslim religious slaughter in Poland.

The appeal was made by representatives of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) and the liberal left-wing anti-cleric Palikot Movement, alongside several non-governmental organizations. All the signatories urged Tusk to declare his opposition to the continuation of ritual slaughter in Poland.

At the end of November last year, the Polish constitutional court ruled that ritual slaughter is unconstitutional. The court’s decision came after animal rights organizations sent a petition to Attorney General Andrzej Seremet, claiming ritual slaughter violates the 1997 Polish law on animal protection, which states that animals cannot be slaughtered without first being stunned.

Following the court’s decision, however, Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba released a statement saying that “Immediately after the announcement of the decision from the Constitutional Tribunal, the Agriculture and Rural Development minister began to prepare a legal solution and drafted a proposal that would allow the continuation of ritual slaughter in Poland.”

Renata Kania, spokeswoman for Poland’s Agriculture Ministry added that: “The Minister met with the Chief Rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich, shortly after the court’s decision, to discuss these issues.”

Poland will also have to decide soon whether to implement the EU 1099 regulation of ritual slaughter. The regulation notes that the European Union allows “derogation from stunning in cases of religious slaughter taking place in slaughterhouses. It is important that derogation from stunning animals prior to slaughter should be maintained,” the regulation says.

However, the new regulation, which went into effect on January 1, 2013, permits member states to chose to adopt new, stricter national rules with regard to animal slaughter without previous stunning.

The Polish parliament is scheduled to vote on the proposed changes in the next few weeks.

Tusk, who spent several days in the hospital last week for a throat infection, has not yet responded to the request to publicly declare his opposition to the continuation of the ritual slaughter in Poland.
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