Britain Proposes Changing Laws Regulating Slaughter of Cattle

London’s Jewish cattle-slaughterers are fearful that the Agriculture Ministry’s proposed changes in laws governing shechita (ritual slaughter) will make it harder, if not impossible, to perform their tasks in compliance with halacha.

But Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, does not share their apprehension over the proposed legislation, and opinion in the Orthodox community is divided.

Jakobovits is scheduled to meet next week with London shochetim. The chief rabbi is “confident that he will be able to fully satisfy their concerns,” Shimon Cohen, executive director of the rabbi’s office, told the Jewish Chronicle.

The London shochetim are concerned about the wording of the proposed regulations, which would require the shochet to use “a single, uninterrupted cut” when killing the animal.

Ritual slaughter is generally performed with a continuous, back-and-forth cut, rather than a single one.

Another area of concern is the proposed change of the type of casting pen into which the animals are placed prior to slaughter.

Under pressure from animal welfare groups, the Agriculture Ministry ruled that the present pen, in which the animal is turned upside down, must be replaced within two years by one in which the animal remains upright.

There have also been recent attempts to ban kosher slaughter in Sweden and the Netherlands.

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