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October 15, 2020 9:18 am

Polish Senate Votes to Delay Bill That Would Ban Exports of Kosher Meat

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The Sejm, or lower house of the bicameral parliament of Poland in 2014. Photo: Wikimedia Commons. – The Polish Senate voted on Wednesday to postpone provisions to a controversial animal rights bill banning the export of kosher meat until 2025.

Last month, the Sejm, the Polish parliament’s lower house, passed the bill. But it needed Senate support to take effect.

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association (EJA)—Europe’s largest Jewish umbrella organization—said in a statement that he was encouraged by the clear opposition to the bill but vowed to keep fighting to stop any eventual ban.

“The provisions in this bill relating to kosher exports have had a very rough ride,” he said. “It is clear that they enjoy little support from farmers and command little enthusiasm from the Senate itself.”

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“This is encouraging, and we thank all of those senators who have responded in such a strong way and who have taken what is a principled stand, as well as all the parliamentarians and Jewish leaders from across Europe who made their voices heard,” he continued.

However, Margolin said “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 vowed that EJA “will continue to oppose this bill, today, tomorrow, next week, next month and for the next years. Just as we have from generation after generation whenever our way of life, our very faith, is called into question. In the weeks and months ahead, we will redouble our efforts to ensure that 2025 becomes permanent, starting with the Polish Sejm where this bill next appears for a vote.”

In early 2018, Poland proposed legislation banning kosher slaughter until it was removed from the parliamentary agenda later that year.

Jewish law mandates that an animal be healthy and not injured before kosher ritual slaughter, or shechita, and that rendering it immobile (or pre-stunning it) is prohibited; hence, the animal cannot be used. The current Polish bill would still allow for animals to be slaughtered without stunning, as long as the meat isn’t for export.

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