Poland Set to Pass Controversial New Law Criminalizing Kosher Slaughter

File photo: Rabbi Yitzchak Eliezer Yakav, chief slaughterer from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel, responsible for kosher slaughter of cattle imported to Israel from South America, on June 12, 2011. Photo by Kobi Gideon / Flash90

Just one week after passing a controversial law criminalizing phrases indicating Polish responsibility for heinous crimes against Jews during the Holocaust, Poland’s ruling party has sponsored a new bill including a clause that would criminalize kosher meat slaughter.  If the law is passed, anyone found guilty of slaughtering animals in accordance with traditional Jewish practice would face a prison sentence of up to 4 years.

The restrictions against kosher slaughter are included within a general bill on animal welfare, and includes a ban on exporting kosher meat from Poland.  Israel currently imports a portion of its kosher meat from Poland.

The law stipulates that animals cannot be slaughtered unless they stand on all their feet.  Kosher slaughter typically involves lifting the animal in order to eliminate pressure on the knife which would cause the animal pain, and render the slaughter unkosher.

The Polish parliament initially outlawed kosher slaughter in 2013, but Poland’s courts reversed the decision.

Poland’s recent decision to pass a law that would punish anyone in the country–including foreigners or visitors–for using terms such as “Polish death camp” with up to three years in jail, was passed over fierce objection from Israel.


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