EU Council rejects anti-shechitah amendment


(JTA) — The European Union Council has rejected a controversial kosher meat labeling requirement as part of its new food information regulation.

The latest draft, sent back to the European Parliament Tuesday for its consideration, does not include Amendment 205, the clause that would have required that all meat and meat products that are kosher slaughtered to be pejoratively labeled as "meat from slaughter without stunning."

The draft is a reversal of the Parliament’s original amendment, and it follows months of lobbying in Brussels by representatives of the Shechita UK organization and the European Jewish Congress.

Shechita UK told London’s Jewish Chronicle that the amendment could have caused kosher prices to skyrocket because buyers from the non-kosher market, which purchases 70 percent of kosher meat, might be put off by the labeling.

“While we are very pleased with the outcome of the council meeting, there is still much work to do to ensure that new laws are not introduced next year which discriminate against shechitah," said Shechita UK campaign director Shimon Cohen.

The regulation faces a second reading at the European Parliament, where the controversial amendment could be reintroduced.

“The European Commission is beginning a new consultation next year on animal welfare labeling, and we are continuing to work in Brussels with the European Jewish Congress to explain to the European food authorities the humane nature of shechitah slaughter," Cohen explained. "Our campaign is far from over, but we are making satisfactory progress, given the assault on shechitah that was launched earlier this year by some members of the European Parliament.”

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