The chief rabbi of Cyprus Arie Zeev Raskin has weighed up the kosher slaughter debate and the proposal to boost Cyprus’ economy with export of the meat to Israel.
Statement from the Chief Rabbinate of Cyprus regarding law amendment to permit Kosher slaughter: 17.04.2020
It has been our long-standing requests to the Ministry of Agriculture and the Veterinarian Services to permit Kosher slaughter in order to satisfy the needs of the Jewish Community in Cyprus. There are about 6,000 Jews in Cyprus and many Cypriots who eat only Kosher products.
Most developed countries, as well as the USA and the EU’s legislation, allow Kosher slaughter as part of their Freedom of Religion policy after it was scientifically proven that Kosher slaughter- if done correctly by licensed professionals- is designed to cause the least amount of suffering to the animal in comparison with other conventional killing methods currently being used in Cyprus and elsewhere.
After the throat is cut with the 2 main arteries, blood stops flowing to the brain and the animal loses consciousness and sensibility immediately. Other conventional methods such as bolt shot etc. can be worse sometimes, as the shot has to be in a specific location on the animal’s head and many times the shot is not powerful enough to destroy the entire brain tissue and cause the loss of consciousness. The specific knife used for Kosher slaughter has to be so sharp that a person can cut his own finger without feeling it, so the animal never feels the cutting sensation either.
Most objections to Kosher slaughter were about the preparations for slaughter rather than the slaughtering itself. The ‘Shackle and Hoist’ method used to restrain an animal prior to slaughter have in some cases caused needless animal suffering when practiced without caution.
Our Torah (Jewish law) is against causing animals to suffer, and nowadays, these methods are no longer being used and special automated restrainers are used instead. Using this technology, the animal does not experience even a second of suffering. In many instances, the animal is not even aware that it is being slaughtered.
Cyprus has always been a place that welcomes diversified cultures. We believe that Cyprus is a place of freedom where everyone can practice their religion and live in harmony and peace. We understand the concerns of some people who are not familiar with the process of Kosher slaughter, but we can reassure that the practice will be aligned with what we have described above.
We would also like to express our support to Cyprus’ Farmers Associations and the entire agricultural community of Cyprus. During these tough times with COVID-19, the export of meat to Israel will provide an immediate boost to Cyprus’ economy, including job creation. It is a much-needed lifeline now that other sectors such as tourism, banking, and construction have slowed down. This is an opportunity for the agricultural sector to thrive and expand despite the difficult situation.
We hope that the Cypriot government will follow other developed countries (such as France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the USA, Russia and many more) who have permitted Kosher slaughter after taking a closer look at the way it is actually conducted. We now see that even countries who have previously opposed Kosher slaughter, have reconsidered their decisions to allow it.
Rabbi Arie Zeev Raskin
Chief Rabbi of Cyprus
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