Polish Government Denies Kosher Slaughtering

International debate ensues as issues of animal rights conflict with religious freedom

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

In Poland, what started out as an animal rights issue has turned into a question of religious freedom.

The Huffington Post reports that lawmakers in the capital city of Warsaw shot down a bill that proposed to reinstitute the slaughtering of livestock according to the practice of Jewish Ritual Law.

Polish agricultural customs say that animals are usually stunned before they are slaughtered in an effort to make the process more humane. However, the kosher slaughtering process, banned by constitutional ruling last year, bypasses any anesthetization of the animal and calls for the animal’s throat to be slit, causing it to bleed to death. 

The Israel Foreign Ministry has made it public knowledge that they do not support the Polish government’s vote. This new legislative action could harm the diplomatic relationship between Poland and Israel, a relationship that Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has been working to cultivate.

Jewish community groups are also concerned that this decision will set back the process of restoring Jewish life in Poland. The Jewish people have a rich history in Poland, but their community was almost completely annihilated after the Second World War. 

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