Photo Credit: Iamsch via Flickr
A red and white Polish Holstein-Friesian, one of Poland's most common breeds.

Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Sunday that in his decision on a new animal rights protection law he will take into account the welfare of both animals and farmers, the Polish Press Agency reported.

Until last Thursday, Poland was one of the biggest European exporters of kosher meat (as well as halal), mostly to Israel (the halal meat went to Turkey). On Thursday night, the Sejm (lower house) passed amendments to the country’s animal protection laws banning fur farming, exports of ritually-slaughtered meat, and imposing restrictions on animal breeders.

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The new regulations, authored by Poland’s ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), evoked strong protests from Polish farmers, who say they will substantially undermine their subsistence, PPA reported.

To which President Duda responded: “In taking a decision on the animal protection act, I will be mindful of their humane treatment, but also take into consideration the welfare of Polish farmers. This I promise to farmers.”

Israel imports most of its fresh beef from Poland. Last may, when supplies in the country were down, a special team of 60 kosher slaughtering officials was flown to the town of Katowice in Upper Silesia and sent to three plants in Poland. The group included slaughterers, peckers, inspectors, and supervisors.

Referring to the ongoing debate around the new laws, Duda claimed there were many untruths and false accusations, especially “by people who know nothing about agriculture (…) and have never seen how animals are bred.”

Duda said he was very concerned about the welfare and humanitarian treatment of animals, but stressed that the welfare of farmers came first. “And this should be kept in mind in the course of all (…) parliamentary proceedings,” he observed. “From this place, I promise Polish farmers (…) that in my decision I will, of course, pay heed to the humanitarian treatment of animals (…) but also to the welfare and living standards of farmers. I assure you of this,” the president said.

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