Jewish and Muslim heads take Polish schechita ban to EU

The European Commission in Brussels (Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)

The European Commission in Brussels (Photo: Sébastien Bertrand)

Two leaders from Judaism and Islam have joined up to fight Poland’s ban on ritual slaughter and have now taken their case to the European Union.

Director General of the European Jewish Association (EJA) Rabbi Menachem Margolin partnered with Chief Mufti of Poland Tomasz Miskiewicz last week to lodge an official complaint with the European Commission.

Supported by the president of the Polish Meat Association, Witold Choinski, they claimed that Poland’s prohibition of ritual slaughter violated the European law that permitted the killing of animals “in the case of particular methods prescribed by religious rites”.

They added that Poland’s prohibition of schechita created uncertainty as to the validity and influence of laws introduced by EU bodies.

Rabbi Margolin told the Commission: "The ritual of kosher butchering is being performed all over the world, and has been for thousands of years. Any outside interference in Jewish customs will be a violation of freedom of religion for the entire Jewish community in Poland.

“It will hurt tens of thousands of Jewish tourists and investors who have visited this country that has … so many sites drenched in Jewish blood and ashes.”

Poland banned ritual slaughter in November 2012 after animal rights groups protested over the killing of animals without pre-stunning.

But in a recent visit to Israel, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski said: "Our constitutional court is currently examining the matter, and I hope that their decision will ensure freedom of religion and ceremony for all religions."

The two leaders are now awaiting a response from the European Commission.

Last updated: 2:59pm, December 4 2013