UK – Jews fear for future of kosher slaughter following Brexit vote

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JTA – A group working to safeguard kosher slaughter in Britain warned of uncertainty surrounding its mission following the British vote to exit the European Union.

A spokesman for Shechitah UK said Tuesday that he fears losing the European Union’s protections of “faith communities” or seeing kosher slaughter put to a vote in Parliament that might be influenced by critics of Jewish and Muslim techniques for slaughtering animals.

“While some European countries have implemented domestic legislation against shechitah and there was a danger that a wider precedent would be set,” Shechitah UK spokesman Shimon Cohen told JTA, Britain’s government “has always been guided by the European Union and the European Commission has put great emphasis on protecting faith communities.”

But if Britain leaves, Cohen said, its government “would either have to ask parliament to adopt” EU regulations that exempt faith communities from certain regulations “or come up with its own law. Either way, if it goes to a vote in the House of Parliament, it’s a numbers game and the risks are very high.”

Shechitah, the Hebrew word for kosher slaughter, and the Muslim variant of the practice are facing attack in Europe because they are deemed by many to be cruel to animals since stunning is prohibited prior to slaughter.

Other opponents of ritual slaughter resent its proliferation following the arrival to Europe of millions of Muslims from the 1950s onward.

However, EU membership does not necessarily enshrine shechitah, as member states are free to dispense with the exemptions from  EU regulations.

Opposition to schechitah led to a ban by the Netherlands in 2010, but it was overturned by the Dutch Senate in 2012. Also, the Polish parliament banned the practice in 2013, though the prohibition has since been partially overturned. The practice is currently illegal in two EU member states – Sweden and Denmark – as well as three other non-EU countries in Western Europe: Norway, Switzerland and Iceland. EU members Finland, Austria and Estonia enforce strict supervision of the custom that some Jews there say make it nearly impossible.

In the debate leading up to the Brexit vote, advocates of remaining argued that staying in the EU assured protection for religious liberties. Supporters of an exit took the opposite view, citing legislation limiting religious freedoms on the continent.

  1. #1 by James Benn on 06/28/2016 - 8:05 pm

    “In the debate leading up to the Brexit vote, advocates of remaining argued that staying in the EU assured protection for religious liberties.”

    Well if the EU is in the least bit concerned about religious liberties, this would seem to place it in a different category from that other well-known komand ekonomy of the 20th Century … the Soviet Union. Jewish inspired, financed, orchestrated, and run, the Soviet Union was famously intollerant of religious freedom, at least of the Christian variety, preferring instead Godless Communism. One of the first tasks of the Bolshoi Ballet Revolutionaries was to destroy the churches and shoot the priests. Whilst preserving, it has to be said, the Sinnergogs.

    In the meantime, all across Europa, formerly Christian places of worship are being turned into skateboarding rinks … … or heaven forbid … mosques …

    So much for ‘faith-based communities’.

    But it’s a fraudulent ‘debate’ in any case. No reason why a sovereign Britain would be any less tolerant of Jewish malpractices than an increasingly totalitarian EU. Both, after all, captained by the same crowd of financiers and finanglers.

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