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Abattage rituel (juif et musulman)

From a general perspective, the ritual slaughter can be historically linked to the presence of Jews in the territory of Slovakia since the Middle Ages, and with the presence in the country of a very small number of Muslims after 1989. No other religious groups existing in Slovakia are known to practise ritual slaughtering.

Legal aspect

1. There is only a single law (Act of Government of Slovak Republic No. 432/2012) in Slovakia devoted to ritual slaughtering, valid from January 1st 2013. It is an implementation of a common European law adopted in Slovakia, namely of the Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 of 24 September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing, which also contains the permission for religious ritual slaughtering within the frame defined by Slovak norms. The principal institution to control such activities is the State Veterinary and Food Administration of the Slovak Republic. This institution is responsible for regulating and inspecting the processes of slaughtering of all kinds of animals in Slovakia. Slovak Republic has kept the opportunity to demand bemusing the animal just before the end of bleeding. From this moment, rules permitting ritual slaughtering are much stricter and any person who practices ritual slaughtering needs to be trained according to the article 7 and 21 and needs to have a certificate according to the Direction of Council from any country of EU. Ritual slaughtering is allowed, but each animal needs to be fixed and strained separately.
2. The only legal entity among the recognised religious groups or communities is the Directory of United Jewish Communities in Slovakia which uses the law on religious freedom and other laws devoted to regulation of religious life in Slovakia in the field of alimentation – kosher food. The Jewish community uses existing law on religious freedom and regulations of State Veterinary and Food Administration.
3. The only known other religious group in Slovakia that uses a particular alimentary prescription are Muslims. There are about 3000 - 5 000 Muslims in Slovakia today. However, the group is not recognized by the State as a legal religious group or community. Hence, there are no particular laws or regulations for Islamic rules and way of life, so they can not legally ask for permission for ritual slaughtering.

As for Jews, about 2000 inhabitants of Slovakia declared themselves as Jews in the 2011 census, but not all of them follow the religious alimentary prescriptions. Judaism is the only religious group permitted by the state to practise ritual slaughtering (shehita) in three butcheries in Slovakia. According to the number of killed animals, it is clear that most of them are destined for consuming outside of Slovakia. In 2011, permission was granted to kill 1.2 millions of poultry, 5000 sheep and goats and 500 livestock. Additionally, according to some members of the Jewish community in Bratislava, kosher meat, mostly livestock, is imported, too. We do not know much about the economic dimension of ritual slaughtering among Jews in Slovakia.
Islam is not recognized in the Slovak Republic. Many Muslims living in Slovakia keep the alimentary prescriptions in two ways. Either they use personal contacts outside State regulation with some small farmers, or they import halal meat from abroad, mostly from Austria or Hungary. Only a small number of shops offer halal meat. Some supermarkets such as Marks & Spencer or Billa sometimes offer certified halal meat from Western Europe.

According to some members of the Muslim community, some Muslims living in Slovakia do not follow the alimentary prescriptions strictly, and eat meat from animals which have been slaughtered the ordinary way (except for pork).

In 2012, the media publicized a problematic case of illegal ritual slaughtering in a private farm in the Western part of Slovakia. The tabloid Nový čas informed on the slaughtering of a bull by Austrian Muslims during the holiday of Íd al-Adhá. According to State institutions, no permission had been granted and, in addition, the slaughtering presented on the video was not performed according to the norms of slaughtering defined by the religious prescriptions. This slaughtering, thus, was illegal and against the Slovak law.

D 22 novembre 2018    AMiroslav Tížik

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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