Sweden Will Continue to Allow the Kosher Slaughter of Poultry

Sweden will continue to allow the kosher slaughter of poultry, which was to have been banned there beginning Saturday.

The Swedish government decision was reported to the European Jewish Congress, the European branch of the World Jewish Congress, by Jan-Erik Levy, executive director of the Jewish community of Stockholm. He thanked the group for its help in the matter.

Concerned that a ban on shehita, or ritual slaughter, would limit the supply of kosher food to Sweden’s estimated 16,000 Jews, Jewish organizations in Europe, Canada and North America intervened this spring to try to stop the ban from going into effect.

North American groups that contacted Swedish authorities on the matter include B’nai Brith Canada, the Rabbinical Council of America, Agudath Israel of America and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, which supervises shehita in the United States.

Sweden first outlawed kosher slaughter of all animals in 1937, contending the practice was inhumane. European slaughterhouses generally follow the practice of stunning animals, in the belief that it imposes less suffering.

The 1937 law contained an exception allowing the kosher slaughter of poultry. But last September, the regulation was extended to include a ban on the slaughter of fowl.

Following complaints from Jewish groups in Sweden and abroad, the government agreed to wait until March to put the ban into effect.

In March, after several American Jewish organizations met with the Swedish consul in New York, the government again postponed the moratorium, this time until after June 30.

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