Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: hard-hit animal breeders turn to kosher market

A law amendment allowing the slaughter of goats and sheep according to Jewish dietary laws for meat exports to Israelis is to be filed soon, a farmers’ representative said.

According to Christos Papapetrou, deputy head of the Pancyprian Farmers’ Union Pek, the cabinet on Wednesday approved the bill harmonising the national law with the EU directive on the movement, restraint, stunning, slaughter and killing of animals bred and kept for the production of meat, skin, fur or other products allowing member states to carry out kosher slaughter.

Farmers’ organisations Pek, Eka, Panagrotikos, Nea Agrotiki Kinisi and Evroagrotikos earlier in the week held a teleconference with Agriculture Minister Costas Kadis and a delegation from Israel on the export of sheep and goat meat.

But to be able to that, the animals need to be slaughtered in accordance with the worship requirements of Jewish customs.

“The law amendment was approved by the cabinet and will now be sent to parliament to vote,” Papapetrou told the Cyprus Mail. He said the bill was to be tabled to the House very soon, expressing hope it would be passed.

He said that a rabbi would be coming from Israel prior to each kosher slaughter to oversee the process.

According to Papapetrou, the introduction of kosher slaughter was necessary for the survival of sheep and goat farmers who have been hit hard from the suspension of the operations of hotels and restaurants but also by the cancellation of big Easter celebrations where lamb and goat meat is usually consumed.

Papapetrou said they expected a 30 per cent drop in sales this year. He also said it also paved the way to new markets.

“There are around 6,000 Jews in Cyprus who import meat,” Papapetrou said.

He argued that having the option of kosher slaughter was also an alternative to selling very cheaply to local merchants who take advantage when there is low demand knowing farmers have no other option than to agree to low prices, even below cost.

But there have also been reactions to the proposed changes to allow kosher slaughter.

The Animal Party said they were against slaughter without anesthesia.

Group 269life Animal Liberation Cyprus launched an online petition calling on parliament not to amend the law to allow kosher slaughter arguing it is a process that leads to the slow and agonising death of the animals.

The group also criticise the agriculture minister of being “a hypocrite” as regards his declarations he loves animals.

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