Polish Senate votes to postpone controversial bill seeking to ban export of kosher meat
Last month, the Sjem, the Polish parliament’s lower house, voted in favor of the Law on Animal Protection, submitted by the ruling Law and Justice party,
But in order to go into effect, the bill needed the Senate support.
European Jewish Association Chairman (EJA) Rabbi Menachem Margolin said he was encouraged by the clear opposition to the bill by Senators and farmers but he vowed to keep fighting to stop any eventual ban.
Ahead of the Senate vote, Margolin had initiated an open letter signed by dozens of Jewish leaders and parliamentarians across Europe and Israel in which signatories voiced their opposition to the provisions on kosher meat in the bill and called on the Polish government to reject them.
They emphasized that a move to ban the export of kosher meat from Poland ”would severely impact Jewish communities across the continent who, either by size or limited resources, rely heavily on Poland as a supplier of kosher meat.”
Poland is one of the biggest European exporters of kosher meat. It is estimated that banning the for-export production kosher meat would cost the Polish economy $1.8 billion.
“The provisions in this bill relating to kosher exports have had a very rough ride. It is clear that they enjoy little support from farmers and command little enthusiasm from the Senate itself,’’ said Rabbi Margolin.
But he stressed that the battle isn’t over. ‘’It has merely been postponed. If you kick a can down a road, you will eventually run out of road,’’ he said, vowing to continue to oppose this bill, ‘’today, tomorrow, next week, next month and for the next years.’’
“The European Jewish Association will never falter in its determination to stand up for Jewish life, tradition, values and practice wherever and whenever they are under threat in Europe,” he said.
Animal welfare activists oppose the slaughter of animals for kosher and halal meat because it precludes stunning before the animals’ throats are cut. Proponents of the practice reject claims that it is cruel and claim instead that it induces a quick and humane death for the animal.
The bill will now go back to the Sjem for a vote later this month.