EU delay means new wait for shechitah ruling


A decision on the labelling of kosher meat products is unlikely to be made before next spring, after the results of a Europe-wide investigation have once again been delayed.
The British government is expected to give the go-ahead for additional labelling for animals slaughtered according to the shechita process during 2015.

Ministers are waiting for the European Commission to publish the results of a study it has carried out on the issue. Details had initially been expected this summer but have been delayed and will not now be finalised in this calendar year.

It is thought that the commission’s report will lead to consumers being told how their meat was killed — with clearer labels showing whether an animal was stunned or not before it was slaughtered.

Under the shechita process, animals are not stunned before slaughter, a practice animal-rights campaigners oppose.

Shechita supporters said this week that resolving the issue of more specific labelling remained some way off — “European Union legislation will not be introduced any time soon”.

There has been renewed interest in kosher and halal production over the past 12 months, with a series of controversial statements from animal-rights campaigners and heightened media interest.

On Saturday, the Telegraph ran a front-page story quoting comments made seven weeks ago by food minister George Eustice at a Westminster Hall debate in early November.

He had said the government was unlikely to decide to label meat as specifically “kosher” or “halal”, and would instead back plans to highlight whether or not animals had been stunned.

One pro-shechita campaigner described the Telegraph report as “shoddy, bizarre and unacceptable journalism”.
David Cameron, speaking at the Downing Street Chanucah reception last week, repeated his intention to protect the Jewish community’s right to practise shechita.

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