Poland’s lower house of parliament has passed an animal welfare law banning the export of unsuspecting halal and kosher meat – a move that could potentially affect the country’s rapidly growing agri-food sector.
Before the new law comes into force, it must be approved by the Senate, the upper house of Parliament.
The acceptance of the law by the lower house adds a new chapter to the ongoing discussions in the country on the ritual slaughter of animals. In 2014, a Polish court lifted its ban, arguing that it was unconstitutional.
“The ban discussed in Parliament only concerns meat slaughtered ritually without the use of stunning,” Salim Kessentini, export manager and halal manager of Poland’s largest poultry producer, Grupa Cedrob, told Salaam Gateway. “It is very different from saying that the export of halal meat has been banned.”
Grupa Cedrob kills a million birds a day, of which more than 200,000 are halal, according to Kessentini.
With the help of 18 trained butchers, slaughtering halal 24/7, Cedrob exports around 3,000 tonnes per month to the Gulf Cooperation Council (CCG) countries.
â30% of Polish poultry is exported as halal, of which 60-70% are non-stunning,â Kessentini explained. “For this segment, yes, it will be a fatal decision.”
“We keep our fingers crossed that the Senate, or the President himself, rejects it [the Act]Said Kessentini, concerned about the outlook for the sector.
The Senate’s decision is expected within the next four weeks.
POLAND MEAT EXPORTS
Poland mainly exports poultry to the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In 2019, it sold $ 56.341 million of poultry to OIC countries, compared to $ 52,892 million in 2018.
Historically, Poland ranked eleventh in the list of Top 50 Halal Meat Exporters to a selection of 20 OIC Member States for the 15 years from 2002 to 2016. The country narrowly missed the top 10.
The list was compiled as part of the 2019 review âCase Law and Demand for Halal Meat in the OICâ by Majeed, Al-Zyoud and Ahmad, published in the British Food Journal.
|List of Major Halal Meat Exporters to Selected 20 OIC Members (2002-2016)|
|Average value in US $|
|Brazil||1 943 320 320|
|India||745 564 736|
|Australia||521 734 912|
|United States||237 356 128|
195 474 976
84 097 800
73 240 160
|United Arab Emirates||
67 066 104
43 438 260
43 117 444
|Source: âCase Law and Demand for Halal Meat in the OICâ by Majeed, Al-Zyoud and Ahmad, published in the British Food Journal. Data based on authors’ calculations on data from comtrade.un.org|
The global trade value of meat exported by the central European country fell 2.76% to $ 5.8 billion in 2019, after nearly crossing the $ 6 billion mark the year before.
A member of the European Union since 2004, Poland has increased the total value of its meat exports by 2,770% in the space of two decades.
The country produced 5,176,000 tonnes of meat, including 566 of beef and 2,704 of chicken, according to Statistics Poland’s Agriculture in 2019 report.
Over 1.4 million farms used 14.7 million hectares and tended 10.0 million units of livestock.
MUSLIMS IN POLAND
Of the approximately 38 million Poles, the Muslim minority comprises around 40,000 community members, or 0.1% of the country’s population.
The first written mention of Muslims in Polish history dates back to 1397, writes Professor Agata Nalborczyk in a 2019 article. Nalborcyk is the Head of the Department of European Studies on Islam at the University of Warsaw.
In his article, Nalborczyk points out that following post-war migration, the Islamic population dispersed. Religious education has suffered from Poland’s isolation from other countries.
Since the opening of the border in 1989, Muslim immigrants have settled in “the land of the fields”, including former Arab students, Turkish businessmen and political refugees from Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia. Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Polish Parliament officially recognized Islam in the law of April 21, 1936, which defined the relationship between the state and 1925 founded MuzuÅmaÅski ZwiÄ zek Religijny (MZR).
The law defines the procedure for the election of mufti, imams and muezzins, making Polish citizenship and active and passive language skills a requirement for candidates. For the first time since World War II, in 2004, Tomasz MiÅkiewicz was elected Mufti of the Republic of Poland.
MZR operates through six Muslim communities and has three purpose-built Muslim mosques and cemeteries.
(Reporting by Petra Loho; Editing by Emmy Abdul Alim [emailÂ protected])
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