Shechitah saved from EU ban

By Simon Rocker, March 19, 2009

Euro-MPs this week rejected proposals that could have curbed kosher meat production in some countries.

Shechitah defence campaigners successfully lobbied members of the European Parliament’s agricultural committee which met in Brussels on Monday.

Henry Grunwald, who chairs the coalition, Shechita EU, said: “It is positive that our efforts have again led towards the recognition of shechitah as one of the humane methods of animal slaughter.”

Among the rejected ideas was that animals should be compulsorily stunned before kosher or halal slaughter; that meat produced by religious methods should be labelled as such for consumers; and that animals should only be killed in a standing position — as is the case in Britain — rather than in rotating pens as used in some continental countries.

“Labelling is very dangerous,” said Pinchas Kornfeld, co-chair of the European Board of Shechitah. “If it was accepted, we would be finished with shechitah.”

The European vets’ federation had pressed for compulsory stunning of animals before slaughter – which is unacceptable in Jewish law.

An EU official said the committee’s report would still have to be adopted by a plenary session of the European Parliament “but I don’t think they will go back on it”.

Last updated: 5:22pm, March 26 2009