April 7, 2014

$450 Million Later, the Polish Parliament Relents on Kosher Slaughter

WARSAW - The ban on kosher slaughter (shechita) in Poland is history for now to the relief of Poland’s small Jewish community and kosher purveyors who imported kosher meat from Poland. Almost from the day that shechita was banned, there was a feeling that it would be reversed. One good reason, say kosher sources. kosher slaughter had developed into a $450 million business, no small change for Poland’s struggling economy. The Polish Parliament, the Sejm, now says that shechita, the kosher slaughter of animals, is permitted in Poland if performed for the needs of Jewish communities while still forbidding the slaughter for economic and commercial purposes, the European Jewish Press reports. The statement appeared in a position paper by the Sejm, Poland’s parliament, sent recently to the country’s Constitutional Tribunal. In November 2012, the tribunal ruled that the government was acting unconstitutionally by allowing Jews and Muslims to slaughter animals without stunning, as their faiths require, imposing a de facto ban on shechita. Poland had come under intense pressure from Jewish organizations worldwide as well as from officials in Israel. It was still not clear whether the exemption would apply to kosher slaughter for export which is the bulk of the $450 million.