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Religious minorities

Ritual slaughter

Ritual slaughter is not an issue of central interest in Hungary – besides a limited concern for animal welfare, the religious landscape of the country, which hosts only a small number of Jews and Muslims, may be the central reason.

The demand for kosher/halal food is very limited in Hungary. The large majority of Jews does not follow kosher rules and the number of observant Muslims is not high either. Data on imported kosher/halal food are not available.
Kosher food produced in Hungary is widely exported from Hungary. For example, Hungary is a major producer of kosher goose liver, that is well sold in many countries. A major new plant owned by an Orthodox Jewish community was opened in July 2017 in the presence of the Askenazi chief Rabbi of Israel. The government has also provided financial assistance for the creation of new jobs. In general, kosher/halal meet production concerns mostly poultry and, to a smaller extent, sheep, whereas beef has less relevance.
The kosher seal is granted by the Orthodox community. The community provides for the administration, the control and the fees for keeping kosher rules. A list of kosher food stores, restaurants, catering services etc. is available on the web.
For the Muslim community, a similar list is available as source of trusted and certified halal producers. Whereas most halal restaurants are Turkish or Arab, most of the certified food factories have only connection to Muslims as to customers. Government-sponsored marketing of agricultural products is laying a strong emphasis on exporting halal and kosher food from Hungary, as this is often seen as a market gap offering new possibilities.
The concern for animal welfare is rising, but it is difficult to decide whether it is motivated by the genuine love of nature or sponsored by industrial competitors (a campaign against the custom of forced feeding of goose has turned out to be sponsored by the French goose liver industry – the major competitor in this branch).
The issue of ritual slaughter is not a matter of major interest in the public discussion. Animal welfare seems to be rather an emotional issue, with a focus on pets rather than on agriculture. A kosher restaurant or butcher would be seen as exotic rather than problematic.

See the article on the legal dimension of religious slaughter in the "Law and religion" heading.

D 19 March 2019    ABalázs Schanda

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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