Polish parliament to debate bill on ending export of kosher, halal meat

Poland’s ruling party said that it will introduce a bill to make kosher and halal meat permissible for Poles but not for export.

“This is an act that will be supported by all good people in Poland. I am convinced of it,” Jarosław Kaczyński, president of the Law and Justice (PiS), said at a Warsaw news conference announcing the measure, which deals with several issues of animal welfare.

The legal status of Poland’s kosher and halal meat industry — the country is a major exporter — became unclear in 2013 when the parliament banned the slaughter of animals without prior stunning. But the following year, the Constitutional Court ruled the ban unconstitutional. Its decision, however, said only that the ban on ritual slaughter “for the needs of religious minorities in Poland” was unconstitutional.

Proponents of the practice argued the ruling applied to the entire industry, while opponents said for-export slaughter without stunning was illegal.

Throughout the debate, export has continued. In 2017, over 50,000 tons of kosher and halal meat were exported from Poland, mainly to Israel (11,700 tons) and Turkey (16,100 tons).

Legislation spelling out the limitations of kosher and halal slaughter may end the industry while allowing small-scale slaughter for the several thousand observant Muslims and Jews who live in Poland.

The bill includes a ban on breeding animals for fur, enabling police assistance in rescuing abused animals, empowering veterinary inspectors to hand out fines and a ban on keeping animals on short tethers.

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