October 21, 2013

Israelis Scour Eastern Europe for New Sources of Kosher Slaughter

JERUSALEM — A group of rabbis recently returned from an extensive tour of Eastern Europe to locate potential new sources of kosher slaughter. The frantic search came after Poland outlawed ritual slaughter in what had developed into a $450 million industry for them. Despite assurances by Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michel Shudrich that ultimately the law would be repealed and that schechita would continue in Poland, uncertainly remains. 

Lithuania last week took a step towards legalizing shechita, perhaps hoping to boost its sagging economy by replacing Poland as a primary supplier of kosher meat. Two more parliamentary votes and a presidential signature are needed to approve the law that would exempt religious communities from the requirement, reported AFP. Sources told KosherToday that the rabbis were also looking into increasing kosher slaughter in Russia and the Ukraine. Israel imports a significant amount of meat, mostly from South America and in recent years from Poland. The sources said that the demand for glatt kosher meat is expected to grow by more than 20% in Israel in the coming two years, thus setting off the search for new sources.