EU parliament reaffirms kosher slaughter

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The parliament of the European Union reaffirmed its commitment to keep kosher animal slaughter legal.

Wednesday’s vote, which increases the supervision and monitoring of religious animal slaughter throughout Europe while reaffirming the right to kosher slaughter, follows months of lobbying by the European Jewish Congress, the Conference of European Rabbis and Shechita EU, which was established to maintain the broadest possible representation of the interests of European Jewish communities on the issue of religious slaughter. 

Some liberal European Parliament lawmakers had called for banning kosher slaughter.

Religious slaughter is forbidden in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Switzerland permits religious slaughter for poultry only.

The final text of the proposed amendment to the EU laws will be brought before the Council of the European Union next month. Some lawmakers have threatened to call for an amendment at next month’s meeting requiring that animals be stunned before slaughter, which is prohibited in kosher slaughter.

"This vote represents the first time that shechita has been recognized as a legitimate form of animal slaughter by any European institution," said Henry Grunwald, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and chairman of Shechita EU. "We recognize that some member states disagree on the issue, but we are working hard to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all Jewish communities in Europe when the final text comes before the Council of Ministers in June." 

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