The Standing Committee of the Conference of European Rabbis gathered for a meeting today in London to hear the most up to date report on the protection of shechita at the European Parliament. The committee, chaired by Chief Rabbi Sitruk of France, heard from Shimon Cohen of Shechita UK about the preliminary agreement that has been reached on the EU Regulation on Food Information for Consumers.
Mr. Cohen explained that after some close work with Chief Rabbi Bruno Fiszon of Metz and Chief Rabbi Albert Guigui of Brussels, the threat of pejorative labelling of kosher meat has all but passed for the time being. In the course of the negotiations between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers, the Parliament has agreed to remove the amendment from the text of the regulation that would have required meat and meat products from animals not stunned prior to slaughter, to be so labelled.
In return, the Council have agree to the inclusion of a ‘Recital’ (a non binding accompanying statement) which proposes that the Commission will look into whether or not to table a separate legislative proposal for the labelling of slaughter methods as part of the upcoming review of Animal Welfare Strategy towards the end of the year.
It is expected that the Council will formally endorse the agreement on the 22nd June and that the Parliament will vote on it on the 5th July.
Executive Chairman of the Conference, Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldshmidt of Moscow, together with Rabbi Fiszon and Mr Cohen, led calls for European Rabbis to play their full role in all discussions at European level on all matters of animal welfare and not only in relation to shechita.
Chief Rabbi Fiszon commented, “Leading Rabbonim from across Europe were extremely pleased with the campaign to protect shechita in Europe but crucially, all were mindful that that we may well face yet further challenges when the matter is considered as part of the review of Animal Welfare Strategy and it is likely that we will need to call upon Jewish communities across Europe for their support once again.”
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)