British importers of kosher meat from Poland breathed a sigh of relief this week, as the Polish Senate voted to postpone a law banning the country’s export of meat from non-stun slaughter until 2025.
Much of the UK’s kosher meat comes from Poland, where last month lawmakers in the lower house of parliament passed an animal rights bill banning foreign exports of meat from non-stun slaughter.
Poland’s recently reelected conservative President Andrzej Duda has been watching. He wants American security guarantees, reaching out to both Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu, and giving ground on issues such as Holocaust restitution.
He was briefed on the concerns as voiced by European Jewish representatives. European Jewish Association (EJA) chair Rabbi Menachem Margolin, who this week vowed to keep fighting.
“The provisions in this bill relating to kosher exports have had a very rough ride,” he said. “It is clear that they enjoy little support from farmers and command little enthusiasm from the Senate itself. This is encouraging.”
He warned however that “the battle is not over, it has merely been postponed”, adding: “If you kick a can down a road, you eventually run out of road.”
The Belgian regions of Flanders and Wallonia banned religious slaughter last year in a decision being challenged in Europe’s top courts, but Belgium is not a big exporter, unlike Poland, which ships £1.4 billion of kosher and halal beef every year.
The issue is a recurring one in Poland, where lawmakers voted to ban the practice of non-stun slaughter in the country in 2013, only for it to be overturned in 2014.
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