French senator receiving death threats over anti-shechitah stance

(JTA) — A French senator said she will complain to police over death threats she received after proposing special labels for halal and kosher meat.

Sylvie Goy-Chavent of the centrist UDI party will lodge a complaint with police over the threats and online “calls for civil war and a call for the Israeli government to attack France,” she told the France Info radio station over the weekend.

She did not say where the threats appeared, but reader comments in an article by the Jewish French news site JSSNews about Goy-Chavent featured a call to “slash her neck and see how long it takes her to bleed.”

The threats followed a nonbinding proposal that Goy-Chavent submitted last month in her capacity as senatorial rapporteur on the meat industry. In a report published last month, she recommended that producers of meat originating from animals that were not stunned before slaughter be legally required to apply “special labeling, to be applied in a non-stigmatizing manner.”

Last year, Goy-Chavent signed a full-page ad in Le Parisian urging the French president to outlaw ritual slaughter in France.

Jewish and Muslims religious laws require animals be conscious when their necks are cut — a practice deemed cruel by some animal welfare activists.

Kosher slaughter, or shechitah, was banned in January in Poland. In 2012, the Dutch Senate scrapped a ban on ritual slaughter that the lower house had passed the previous year.

Reacting to Goy-Chavent’s proposal, Joel Mergui of the Consistoire — the French Jewish community’s body responsible for religious services — said “it risks reaffirming preconceptions that Jews are cruel.”

Following the threats against her, Goy-Chavent in an open letter sent to the media called on French President Francois Hollande to assure that she is safe to do her job. She said “France and her values are threatened.”

Goy-Chevant also has expressed support for labeling products from areas that came under Israeli control after 1967, according to the online news magazine Mediapart.

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