Poland may need to change its laws on animal welfare to preserve ritual slaughter there, the country’s Ministry of Agriculture has said. The ministry statement came three days after a Polish court ruled that a 2004 government directive enshrining ritual slaughter was unconstitutional.
“Immediately after the announcement of the decision, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development has taken up actions to prepare legal solutions which would not lead to infringement of religious freedoms“, the ministry said in its statement. Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Poland, told the press: “We’re concerned, but have full confidence this will be dealt with in a timely and effective fashion. There is a tremendous amount of good will on the part of Polish government officials to resolve this.”
The statement also said that Poland intended to implement Regulation 1099 – a set of rules drawn up by the European Union that is meant to legalize ritual slaughter in the EU’s 27 member states. The regulation is scheduled to come into effect on Jan. 1. Countries are not required to implement the rules or may implement them partially. Poland has about 6,000 Jews and 25,000 Muslims, according to the European Jewish Congress and the U.S. State Department, respectively. The country’s for-export industry of kosher and halal meat is worth approximately $259 million, according to the French news agency AFP, with kosher exports accounting for 20 percent, according to Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland.