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Poland will end its kosher and halal meat export industry in 2025

Most of Poland’s kosher, halal slaughterhouses produce meat for export; under new law, ritual slaughter will be allowed only if meat is sold locally

Leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski reacts after the first exit polls during the party's electoral evening in Warsaw, Poland, on October 13, 2019 (Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)
Leader of Poland's ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, Jaroslaw Kaczynski reacts after the first exit polls during the party's electoral evening in Warsaw, Poland, on October 13, 2019 (Wojtek RADWANSKI / AFP)

JTA – Poland’s senate passed a law that will end its $1.8 billion kosher and halal meat export industry in 2025. Religious communities will still be able to slaughter meat without prior stunning, as is required by Jewish and Muslim law, as long as the meat is not for export.

A vote Wednesday approved the law that was introduced last month in the government’s lower house and was originally intended to go into effect in 2022.

Poland has about 20,000 Jews and a similar number of Muslims. The bulk of its many kosher and halal slaughterhouses produce meat for export. Critics say that killing animals without stunning them is cruel; proponents of the practice say it is relatively painless.

Polish farmer and meat producer unions successfully fought to have the law postponed in connection with the economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Illustrative: A ritually slaughtered lamb being delivered to a halal butcher shop in The Hague, Netherlands, December 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, the head of the Brussels-based European Jewish Association, which has lobbied against the Polish legislation, has argued that Poland is a major provider of kosher meat to the rest of Europe and beyond.

Margolin called the amendment delaying the bill “encouraging” but said his organization will continue to fight for the scrapping of the legislation.

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