eurel     Données sociologiques et juridiques sur la religion en Europe et au-delà


  • December 2014 : Ban on ritual slaughter inconsistent with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland

The Constitutional Tribunal, following the motion of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities, resolved the issue of the questioned consistency of the ritual slaughter of animals with the Constitution of the Republic of Poland of 2nd April 1997. In the judgment of 10th December 2014, the Tribunal stated that Art. 34 para. 1 of the Act of 21th August 1997, on the protection of animals, insofar as it does not allow the subjecting of animals to slaughter in accordance with special methods prescribed by religious rites, as well as Art. 35 para. 1 and 4 of this Act, insofar as it provides criminal liability for subjecting animals to this kind of slaughter, are inconsistent with Art. 53 para. 1, 2 and 5 of the Constitution in connection with Art. 9 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
The judgment of the Tribunal confirms that the freedom of religion, and especially the right to manifest religion, encompasses the right of religious organizations to practice ritual slaughter. The absolute prohibition of this kind of practices constitutes, in the Tribunal’s view, an unfounded (in the light of the Art. 53 para. 5 of the Constitution and Art. 9 para. 2 of the Convention) restriction of the freedom of religion.
The judgment was delivered by the full bench of the Tribunal, but five judges submitted dissenting opinions. The verdict was met with approval by Jewish and Muslim religious circles, and was received with loud opposition from animal rights activists.
Since the day the judgment was delivered (12th December 2014), the contested provisions of the Act on the protection of animals have no longer been in force insofar as they prohibited ritual slaughter. This means that the issue of ritual slaughter in Poland is today regulated by the Council Regulation (EC) No. 1099/2009 of 24th September 2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. Art. 4 para. 4 states that in the case of animals subject to particular methods of slaughter prescribed by religious rites, the requirements for stunning animals before killing shall not apply, provided that the slaughter takes place in a slaughterhouse.

  • May 2014 : Registration proceedings of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are judged devoid of purpose

The Registration Authority stated that the applicants asking for registration of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster did not represent a religious community as referred to in article 2 of the Act of 17 May 1989 on the guarantees of freedom of conscience and religion. The registration process has thus become devoid of purpose. The Authority considered that this community had not been founded to profess and to spread a religious faith, but for a different purpose. Therefore they were not in a situation to open the procedure of registration.

  • March 2014 : New regulations of the religious education in public kindergartens and schools

On 25 March 2014, the Ordinance amending the previous ordinance on the conditions and means of the organization of religious education in public kindergartens and schools was signed. The provisions of the new Ordinance (Official Journal 2014, poz. 478) were changed as a consequence of the implementation by the Republic of Poland of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights based on case Grzelak v. Poland (7710/02). The changes are designed to provide the lessons of ethics or religion for any student (even if there is only one in the class) interested in participating in the activities for this course. Revised provisions entered into force on 1 September 2014. Other rules have not changed, however, from September 1, 2014, students must express their wish to participate in the lessons of the ethics/religion in the form of a written statement.

D 29 décembre 2014    AKatarzyna Starzecka AMichał Zawiślak

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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