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Originally published Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 7:47 AM

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Poland to step up regulations on ritual slaughter

Poland's prime minister said Tuesday his government has drafted new regulations that would reduce the suffering of animals during slaughter, including for the needs of religious groups like Jews and Muslims.

The Associated Press

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WARSAW, Poland —

Poland's prime minister said Tuesday his government has drafted new regulations that would reduce the suffering of animals during slaughter, including for the needs of religious groups like Jews and Muslims.

Poland is covered by European Union laws allowing for ritual slaughter, but the country's own regulations say that an animal must be stunned before slaughter, including the ritual practice of having its throat slit and bleeding to death.

Donald Tusk said his government wants to reconcile these approaches and ban the most drastic slaughter methods. He offered no details and it remains to be seen whether the regulations will win support from lawmakers.

Ritual slaughter of animals is an important export earner for Poland, with markets in Israel and Muslim countries. It also offers thousands of jobs, at a time when Poland's jobless rate soared to 14.3 percent. It has continued in Poland under the EU regulations.

Last year, on a motion from animal rights groups, a special court said that slaughter without prior stunning is against Poland's law. The ruling drew protests from religious minorities, who have met with the Cabinet ministers to say their religious rights were violated.

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