British Race Relations Board May Be Asked to Rule on Anti-shechita Pamphlet

A six-year-old pamphlet reissued by the Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in connection with its current campaign against shechita (Jewish ritual slaughtering) may be referred to the Race Relations Board because it contains material allegedly offensive to Jews, it was announced in the House of Commons today. The pamphlet was denounced by the Board of Deputies of British Jews for its allegedly “inaccurate and tendentious statements of a technical nature” as well as its implied slur on Jews.

Alan Lee Williams, a Labor Member of Parliament, said he may refer the matter to the Race Relations Board unless the Royal Society deleted the offensive paragraph. The paragraph reads: “People whose practices contravene moral requirements of a host country ought to accept pre-stunning” of cattle prior to slaughtering. The reappearance of the pamphlet coincided with the introduction of a private member’s bill to abolish shechita. Another Labor MP, Erich Moonman, who is a member of the RSPCA called it “a shame and outrage” and said the Society had been “led astray.” Allan Joiner, deputy secretary of the RSPCA, claimed there was nothing anti-Jewish in the pamphlet.

Victor Mishcon, vice-president of the Board of Deputies, issued a statement on behalf of the board which noted that the pamphlet’s allegations about shechita had been “strongly rebutted by many leading non-Jewish scientific experts.” The statement said that “the Jewish community particularly resents the suggestion of the RSPCA pamphlet that Jews are ‘a people whose practices contravene the moral requirements of the host country.’ Whatever the intentions of the RSPCA and the Council (for Justice to Animals) in conducting their present campaign against shechita, the Board of Deputies deplores the introduction of inaccurate and irrelevant arguments which are already being exploited by anti-Semitic and racialist elements,”

(Alderman Michael Fidler, president of the Board of Deputies, who is now visiting in this country, told JTA today that he had consulted with American defense organizations as to methods employed in this country to deal with attacks on shechita which might be utilized by the British Jewish community.)

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