February 4, 2013

Poles Reconsider Ban on Kosher Slaughter as Realities of Business and Tourism Set In

WARSAW — While animal rights activists demonstrate against the lifting of a ban against Schechita (kosher slaughter), Polish lawmakers are likely to reverse the decision out of practical concerns over the effect of the ban on the lucrative Jewish tourism business and kosher and hallal meat production. The animal rights extremists produced a letter from 90 Polish scientists to Poland's prime minister in December saying that kosher and halal slaughtering methods are “extremely cruel to animals.” 

But international scientists, including the noted expert Prof. Temple Grandin have testified that schechita is one of the most humane ways of killing an animal. Polish legislators are saying that they are proposing a bill to legalize schechita to make Polish law compatible with European Union regulations. Director of the Institute of Legal Sciences, Professor Wladyslaw Czaplinski said in January that "EU Regulation have absolute priority over [Polish] law,” though Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba believes that in order to legalize ritual slaughter it is necessary to amend the Protection of Animals Act. 

Minister Kalemba has said the practice should be made legal again not just for religious reasons but also because the ritual slaughter for meat earns a whopping $550 million per year for the Polish economy, and creates between 4,000 and 5,000 jobs. The large number of Jewish tourists who have been flocking to Poland to visit Jewish heritage sites are also said to be responsible for nearly $100 million of revenues annually. To meet the demands of kosher tourists, many kosher options have been established throughout the country, including the nationwide network of restaurants and catering establishments operated by Kosher Delight-Poland.