ROME - Following a meeting with world Jewish leaders, Pope Francis has ordered an investigation into the recent ban on ritual slaughter in Poland, receiving complaints about its huge effects on the country's Muslim and Jewish minorities.
The pope specifically expressed concern about the bans on kosher slaughter in Poland, the World Jewish Congress said after the meeting, European Jewish Press reported on Tuesday, September 3.
[He] directed Cardinal Kurt Koch, the president of the Vatican's Commission for Relations with the Jews, to investigate and host a follow-up meeting as early as next week, the WJC added.
Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law. Ritual slaughter has been banned in Poland since January 1 after a Constitutional Court deemed it incompatible with animal rights law.
A July's vote struck down a government bill suggested last December reinstating the practice to calm angry Muslim and Jewish minorities.
The ban was imposed by the Constitutional Court that ruled against the practice in November 2012, after animal rights groups protested that the slaughter contradicted Polish laws on animal welfare.
The Constitutional Tribunal said it was against Polish law to allow animals to have their throats cut and bleed to death without first being stunned.
The WJC leader praised the pope for his efforts to alleviate the problem.
The leadership of successive popes over the past five decades has helped to overcome a lot of prejudice, the WJC said.
This allows us now to work together in defending religious freedom wherever it is under threat and whichever community is affected.
According to the Islamic and Jewish ritual, the animal is slaughtered by a sharp blade.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Muslim scholars agree that Shari`ah provides a divine law of mercy that should be applied on all Allah's creations, including animals.
Islam also provides details about avoiding any unnecessary pain.
Poland has about 6,000 Jews and 25,000 Muslims, according to the European Jewish Congress and US State Department estimates.
The decision is also bad news to Poland's export industry.
Poland has 29 slaughterhouses which practice ritual slaughter, employing 4,000 people. The industry is worth $259 million in exports.