Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Poland's Constitutional Court Bars Kosher and Halal Slaughter, But Decision Is Pre-empted By New EU Regulation

AP reports that Poland's Constitutional Tribunal yesterday held that Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter of animals without first stunning them violates Poland's animal protection laws, and that the agriculture minister unconstitutionally exceeded his powers when he issued regulations in 2004 permitting kosher and halal slaughter.  AFP reports, however, that the ruling is largely symbolic because on January 1, 2013, European Union Council Regulation No. 1099/2009 creating uniform EU rules on animal slaughter goes into effect. That Regulation permits ritual slaughter without stunning so long as the slaughter takes place in a slaughter house.  January 1 is the same date on which the Polish court's ruling takes effect, so-- according to Poland's Agriculture Minister-- it will be immediately overriden by the EU rules. Animal rights activists say it is possible for Poland to request and exception from the regulation.  Poland is a leading exporter of kosher and halal meat to other European countries, last year exporting $259 million worth.