ADL: Polish Court Decision to Protect Religious Freedom a “Momentous Success”

New York, NY, December 10, 2014 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today hailed Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal ruling which affirmed the protection of ritual slaughter under the constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

The Union of Polish Jewish Communities had petitioned the tribunal after an exemption for ritual slaughter from the requirement of pre-stunning lapsed on January 1, 2013, creating a de facto ban on ritual slaughter as Jewish law prohibits stunning of animals before slaughter.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

Religious freedom for Jewish communities in Europe has been under threat from those who would ban ritual slaughter and male circumcision, two fundamental Jewish rites.  Poland’s highest court and the Polish Jewish community struck an important victory for religious freedom, not only for the Jews of Poland but also for other European Jewish communities.

We hope the Polish court’s citations of the European Convention on Human Rights will resonate across the continent in the 47 Council of Europe member states which have ratified it. European Jewish communities – and Muslim communities, who will also benefit – owe a debt of gratitude to Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and the Union of Polish Jewish Communities for spearheading this momentous success.

Jewish ritual slaughter, which involves a single cut with a razor-sharp knife to minimize pain, is no less humane than industrial methods of slaughter. Those pushing for bans on ritual slaughter should understand they are wrong on the facts and wrong on the law, and we hope this ruling in Poland deters further attempts to infringe on religious freedom for all in Europe.

ADL previously called the Polish Parliament’s vote to prohibit kosher and halal slaughter in July 2013 “a clear violation of religious freedom,” and in 2012, urged the Polish government to reconcile the legal uncertainties.

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