Poland Rejects Religious Slaughter without Stunning
POLAND – The Polish parliament last week voted to ban ritual slaughter of animals without stunning, despite opposition from the ministry of agriculture.
The vote makes Poland one of the few EU countries where the practice is banned with no exception and ends a six month battle with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government.
The vote comes after campaigns and demonstrations of NGOs and support from the media.
The Polish Parliament rejected the bill to legalise slaughter without stunning with 222 voting against, 178 for and nine abstentions.
The Ministry of Agriculture said that the decision needs to be respected.
However it added that the vote also shows a lack of respect for the long tradition of religious freedom and respect for unions and religious communities. It added that the decision could also cause the loss of several thousand jobs and bring a significant loss in income for farmers and livestock and poultry producers. There would also be a measurable loss in exports to Islamic countries for Polish meat products and a loss in markets to other countries for slaughter cattle and poultry. The Ministry said „Poland is one of the largest food producers in the European Union and is the only country in the group that did not make arrangements for the slaughter of animals according to specific methods prescribed by religious rites. Such slaughter is carried out in 22 EU countries.”
It added that it had drawn up a regulation that was tougher than those in many other EU countries.
However, the move has been welcomed by the Euro Group for Animals that called for the EU derogation to allow some animals to be slaughtered without stunning to be closely monitored to ensure that food businesses ensure that they have potential religious consumers for the number of animals they are applying for a derogation.