Bans on Ritual Slaughter and Circumcision Will “See Jews Leave Europe”

Growing bans on ritual slaughter of animals and circumcision will see “Jews leave Europe,” the head of the umbrella representative group of Jewish institutions in France, Richard Prasquier has said.

Speaking at a seminar Thursday at the European Parliament in Brussels, the president of the CRIF Jewish Supremacist organization said that the recent legal attacks on religious practices such as ritual slaughter and circumcision were “surprising” and that “certain traditions denote unity and if Europe continues promoting laws against Jews they will simply leave Europe”.

His remarks come after Poland’s Constitutional court this week reinforced a law that states livestock has to be stunned before slaughter, ruling out the practice stipulated by the Jews of slaughtering the animal by slitting its throat while it is still conscious. Sweden has already outlawed the practice completely.

The Polish court took up the case after lobbying from animal rights groups who said the kosher method was cruel. Poland has for years had a law requiring that vertebrate animals are stunned before they are killed in abattoirs. The agriculture ministry issued a decree waiving this requirement in cases where it clashed with religious rules.

The European Jewish Association called the ruling “devastating to Jewish welfare and freedom of religion”, and said it was sending a letter of protest to the Polish president.

Animal rights activists have challenged religious slaughter customs in France and the Netherlands, mostly in terms of halal slaughter by Muslims, which like kosher slaughter requires animals to be conscious when killed.

In Germany, another recent court ruling outlawed circumcision of young boys on medical grounds. The German ruling is to be overturned by new legislation.

The constitutional court, in its ruling this week, which cannot be appealed, said that the ministry’s waiver was unlawful and would cease to apply from the beginning of next year.

European Union legislation does allow for slaughter according to Jewish and Muslim rites, but there is uncertainty over whether, in this case, the Polish or EU legislation takes precedence.