Report: Non-commercial shechitah to go on in Poland pending ruling

(JTA) — Non-commercial ritual slaughter will not be prevented in Poland pending a government petition, Poland’s interior minister reportedly has said.

Minister Michal Boni filed the petition, which would allow non-commercial shechitah, Thursday morning with the Polish constitutional court, according to Poland’s ambassador to Portugal, Bronislaw Misztal.

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Misztal delivered the news in Lisbon to Jose Oulman Carp, president of Lisbon’s Jewish community. Dr. Abdool Vakil, President of the Portuguese Islamic community, also attended the meeting. 

Carp, speaking to JTA, quoted Misztal as saying that non-commercial slaughter would continue in Poland “until a final decision is taken by the constitutional tribunal.”

Smaller European Jewish and Muslim Jewish communities rely on Poland for a supply of ritually slaughtered meat.

Poland’s interior ministry would not confirm or deny the report to JTA.

In November, Poland’s constitutional court scrapped a government regulation exempting Jews and Muslims from a law which requires the stunning of animals prior to slaughter. The Muslim and Jewish faiths require animals be conscious before their necks are cut in a ritual called shechitah in Hebrew and dhabihah in Arabic.

The ruling resulted in a ban on Jewish and Muslim ritual slaughter, which in Poland has evolved into a $500 million industry for export. On July 12, a bill to legalize ritual slaughter was defeated 222-178 in Poland’s lower house.

The minister’s petition may ultimately not be enough to salvage the industry, as it is restricted to allowing slaughter “for religious reasons and not commercial objectives,” according to what the Polish ambassador told Carp.

The Jewish Chronicle of London reported Friday that over 80 slaughterhouses, meat plants and animal breeders are preparing to sue the Polish government for loss of future profits and on supply contracts that have already been signed.