Petition in Poland seeks to legalize ritual slaughter

More than 130,000 Polish voters signed a petition calling for a public referendum on an amendment that would legalize Jewish ritual slaughter, or shechita, in Poland.

The petition, circulated by the National Council of Agricultural Chambers, was submitted last week to the Chancellery of Polish Parliament, or Sejm.

The parliament has two weeks to verify the signatures, and the speaker of the parliament has three months to send the draft law for its first reading.

In July, the parliament rejected a draft law that would have legalized shechita in Poland. In January 2013, a constitutional court banned religious slaughter following a petition by animals’ rights groups claiming the practice caused pain to the animals.

Prior to the ban, the export of kosher and halal meat to Israel and Muslim-majority countries such as Egypt and Iran had been a $650 million business in Poland. — jta