Last November, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal held that Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter of animals without first stunning them violates Poland's animal protection laws. (See prior posting.) However the European Convention for the Protection of Animals for Slaughter allows EU countries to exempt religious slaughter from the general stunning requirements. As reported by EJP, before last year's court decision Poland had exports of between $330 and $460 million of halal beef sent to Muslim countries (mainly Turkey) and in kosher meat sent to Israel. The industry supported some 6000 jobs. A government-sponsored bill to again permit kosher and halal slaughter was introduced in Parliament, but yesterday the Sejm (lower house) defeated the bill by a vote of 178 for and 222 against. The Civic Platform party that holds 207 of the 460 seats in parliament decided that the vote involved an issue of conscience, freeing 38 of its members to vote against the bill the party sponsored.
Piotr Kadlcik, President of the Union of Jewish Communities of Poland, strongly criticized the vote, saying: "Populism, superstition and political interests won out. It looks like we've made a full circle and are heading back to what happened in Poland and Germany in the 1930s."