Polish Court Bans Religious Animal Slaughter, But Victory Could Be Short-Lived

Following a petition brought by animal welfare groups, a top court in Poland ruled this week that the ritual slaughter of animals by religious groups violates the country’s constitution and animal protection laws.

The court found regulations that allow animals to have their throats cut and to subsequently be left to bleed to death without prior stunning to be against a 1997 Polish law that slaughter should only “follow the loss of consciousness” after stunning and that the agricultural minister didn’t have the authority to issue such regulations in the first place.

The decision comes weeks before an EU law allowing the practice on the grounds of religious freedom will go into effect on January 1. According to Poland’s Agriculture Minister Stanislaw Kalemba, the EU law will take precedence and remove any doubts about the legality of ritual slaughter in Poland, reports the BBC.

Critics of the ruling are concerned about what message it will send about religious tolerance and how it will affect exports of kosher and halal meat. A similar measure was supported and approved in the Netherlands last year, but failed to pass after public outcry that a ban would violate religious freedom.

However, animal advocates still see the ruling as a victory and are arguing that Poland may still be able to request an exemption from the EU law.

“It’s up to us to decide whether we want a law authorising this kind of slaughter or not,” Dariusz Gzyra of the campaign group Empatia told the AFP.

In most countries, stunning is believed to be more humane and is required prior to slaughter. However, there are many exemptions for religious slaughter, where Muslims and Jews argue that animals feel no pain. Animal advocates disagree and believe it is inhumane and that it causes severe suffering and stress to animals who are conscious through the process. It’s a debate that’s likely to continue

Warning: Graphic video comparing stunning versus halal slaughter methods.


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Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Paulina Szczepkowska
Paulina S.2 years ago

This made me cry.

Alicia Guevara
Alicia Guevara2 years ago

I agree with mercedes g. that "religion is no excuse for cruelty".

carita m.
carita mcdonald2 years ago

IT'S JUST CRUEL...IT'S WRONG. question your religion, if "it says" you can do things as horrific as this.

Sheri D.
Sheri D.2 years ago

This is horrific!!! I couldn't watch the video.

John Doe
james rico2 years ago

if you are member of a religeon that kills animals in this manner you should abandon that religeon because its not a just and kind hearted god you worship. it is satan that you worship. you a modern person must do some soul searching and ask yourself are these inocent animals terrifided out of their mind and do they feel pain and do they want to live very strongly and if you can not see this cruellty for what it is you are just as satanic as they are

Jean B.
JR B.2 years ago

Religions make me sick. They will allow people to do horrible things in the name of their gods or prophets! Pure barbaric cruelty, that's what it is!

All religions should be banned for they can only brainwash people to do those disgusting things.

Carrie Anne Brown

horrible to watch but thanks for sharing

John Doe
james rico2 years ago

any one that sees the vidio can see that this is pure torture of an inocent animal and must be banned as soon as possible. these jerks should get real and stop being so selfish. this is the same prinicpal they use in the orient to torture animals cause this causes adrenilin to increase makeing millions of germs that predigest the meat.

Carol Crunkhorn
Carol Crunkhorn2 years ago

Religious writings contain many accounts of sacrificial killings, both animal and human. Just as we no longer sacrifice humans, we should no longer subject non-humans to fear and pain. In some countries, human death by stoning still occurs and we condemn this practice as primitive and barbaric. It's time for religious groups to accept that avoiding causing pain to animals outweighs any religious beliefs. Just as we have abandoned other primitive practices, ritual killing of fully conscious animals is no longer acceptable in civilised societies. Compassion is my religion and I object to anyone killing an animal to eat it - will anyone listen to that?

Lynne B.
Lynne Buckley2 years ago

There is something wrong in religious animal slaughter, IMO. It's wrong and revolting.