EJA Calls on New Polish PM to Use All Available Means to Reverse Ban on Shechita


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shechitaIn letter of congratulations, Rabbi Margolin calls on Ewa Kopacz to use new office “to overturn contentious legislation”.

The General Director of the European Jewish Association (EJA), Rabbi Menachem Margolin, offered his congratulations to the new Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz on her entry into office Thursday, as he recalled the stalled review of the country’s controversial ban on the practice of shechita.

Reflecting on the ‘distress (caused) for the Jewish community in Poland and beyond’, in light of the lack of activity since the November 2013 agreement by the Polish Constitutional Court to reconsider the legislation, Rabbi Margolin called on Donald Tusk’s successor “to use all available means to garner a majority of parliamentarians in order to reverse the bill on shechita”.

The EJA has led an extensive campaign aimed at lobbying relevant authorities to accept Polish Ombudsman Professor Irena Lipowicz’s opinion in support of shechita, after the Polish parliament voted to outlaw the historic practice, with Rabbi Margolin meeting with myriad Ambassadors to the EU, as well as former Polish PM Jerzy Buzek and Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok to garner their support for EJA’s campaign for freedom of religion in Poland and throughout the continent.

Poland’s Ombudsman, Prof. Irena Lipowicz, also appealed to former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on the indisputable need to start appropriate legislative work to comprehensively regulate shechita in the country.

Rabbi Margolin has stressed to dignitaries the danger such legislation poses for the future of Europe’s Jewish communities, as it sends the unpalatable message to Europe’s Jews that they are no longer welcome in their historic homelands.

Earlier this week, Rabbi Margolin slammed similar moves in Belgium, following claims by Flemish Minister for Animal Welfare Ben Weyts on Belgian television Sunday that he would actively pursue a total ban on the practice of animal slaughter without pre-stunning. Responding to the latest attack on the ancient Jewish ritual, which if successful would be implemented by 2015, Rabbi Margolin emphasized that the Jewish practice of Shechita is “the most humane method of slaughter”, as it ensures the welfare of the animal not only at the time of slaughter, but also concerns itself with “the conditions in which animals are raised before their slaughter”.

The European Jewish Association has previously campaigned against legislation to restrict the practice of ritual slaughter in Denmark, and, following Rabbi Margolin’s meetings with European Commissioners, including Commissioner for Health Tonio Borg, the Commission promised to seek clarification on any legislation which proposes to restrict the practice of shechita.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)