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Kosher and Halal slaughter unconstitutional in Poland?

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 20.06.2012 09:31
Poland's Attorney General says the practice of Kosher and Halal ritual slaughter violates the nation's animal protection act.

Andrzej SeremetAndrzej

Andrzej Seremet has now submitted an application to Poland's Constitutional Tribunal, a supervisory judicial body that resolves disputes in the country's laws, so that the matter can be reviewed.

Seremet was requested to investigate the matter by a number of non-governmental organisations including the Viva! Animal Rights Foundation.

According to Polish law, animals must be stunned prior to being slaughtered.

However, when butchering animals to create halal meat, Muslims traditionally follow the rite of killing the animals with a single cut to the throat, with no stunning beforehand.

The same process is applied by Jews so as to create kosher meat.

Although Polish law holds that animals must be stunned before being slaughtered, an exception in the law allows this to be waived where ritual slaughter is concerned.

Robert Hernand, spokesman for the Attorney General, told the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily that the Ministry of Agriculture had “exceeded its legal rights” by adopting this exception.

Nevertheless, during the Conference of European Rabbis in Poland in 2011, President Bronislaw Komorowski appeared to defend the practice by speaking out against Dutch plans to outlaw ritual slaughter.

Poland's head of state said the Dutch bill “targets the Muslim and Jewish community” and represents “a crisis of tolerance” in Europe.

At present, an EU directive on animal slaughter calls for stunning prior to the kill, but the directive allows for exceptions where ritual slaughter is concerned.

Sweden has banned outright kills made without the animal being stunned beforehand, as have non EU states Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

Holland has yet to pass legislation on the matter. (nh)

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