Brexit vote sparks shechita warning
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Brexit vote sparks shechita warning

After Britain voted to leave the European Union, Shechita UK tell of its worries regarding protecting the kashrut

Kosher meat being prepared
Kosher meat being prepared

In the post-Brexit world, the threat to shechita (religious slaughter) in the UK has been spelled out in stark detail by one of the Jewish community’s foremost campaigners.

Shimon Cohen, director of Shechita UK, said British Jewry had so far been protected by European Regulation 1099, which exempts religious slaughter and overrides domestic law, but which will no longer apply if Britain leaves the European Union.

“If that happens, the British government would either have to ask Parliament to adopt 1099, with the exemption, or come up with its own law,” said Cohen. “Either way, if it goes to a vote in the House of Parliament, we’d lose. It’s a numbers game.”

Cohen said that, alongside parking, animal welfare was one of the two biggest issues MPs hear most about from constituents, and said that right-wing opinion in the UK, predominantly aimed at the Muslim community, would mean MPs voting against non-stun slaughter exemptions.

Shechita is already banned in some European states, such as Sweden, while other countries such as Poland have sought to do so, but seen efforts defeated in domestic parliaments and courts.

Now, after years’ campaigning for the right to practice shechita on the continent, Cohen says the next challenge will be here in the UK, countering nationalists’s obsession with Muslims, who also argue for religious (i.e. non-stun) slaughter.

“If it goes to the floor [of Parliament], the risks are very high. The battle is around population control. The right-wing opposes any concessions to the Muslim population. That’s where our problem lies. It’s not about Jews. The MPs will argue that it’s about ‘cruelty to animals’ but it’s not.”

In Brussels, Rabbi Margolin, head of the Rabbinal Centre of Europe, which represents 800 rabbis, agreed that Britain’s exit posed a headache, saying: “The EU is today much weaker. The UK in particular was a strong advocate for freedom of religion… We have lost an important voice here.”

He argued that chaos in Europe historically leads to “nationalism and radicalism,” adding: “It brings attacks on the Jewish way of life such as shechita and brit milah. Brexit sees a number of threats from these parties who are licking their lips at the prospect of increasing power. It appears that Brexit has given them hope. That is deeply worrying for Jews across Europe.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments