Paris rabbi: Israeli goose liver ban jeopardizes kosher slaughter

(JTA) — A senior rabbi from Paris warned Israel’s agriculture minister that legislation in Israel to ban the import of goose liver could jeopardize kosher slaughter in Europe.

“Imagine how it will look if Israel itself is the first to ban the import of goose liver, which was an issue raised by these animal welfare groups [opposing kosher slaughter],” Rabbi Yirmiyahu Cohen, the head of the rabbinical court in Paris, wrote in a letter he sent Sunday to Minister of Agriculture Yair Shamir.

Cohen’s letter was sent on the same day that Shamir said he would remove his appeal against a bill prohibiting the trade of foie gras — a delicacy made from goose liver that is produced commercially by force-feeding ducks and geese.

The practice was banned in Israel several years ago after the High Court of Justice deemed it abusive, but the import and sale of the product remain legal.

“It is known that some European nations are listening to animal welfare groups’ concerns in order to proscribe shechitah,” Cohen also wrote, adding that the same groups also oppose the production of foie gras. “Proponents of this law give a weapon to our enemies.”

Cohen wrote that he was familiar with the process of force feeding and the kosher slaughter of geese after witnessing the procedure during a number of visits to one of the largest facilities in Hungary.

He said Hungary, one of the main sources of goose liver to Israel, has developed a method that is no longer harmful to the birds.

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