Polish constitutional tribunal overturns ban on ritual slaughter, a victory for Jews, Muslims

Poland's constitutional court has overturned an earlier ban on the ritual slaughter of animals which had affected the Jewish and Muslim communities, saying the constitution guarantees the freedom of religious practice.

Ritual slaughter, which involves the killing of animals for meat without stunning them first to lessen their pain, has been illegal since Jan. 1, 2013, because of an earlier ruling by the Constitutional Tribunal after animal rights activists brought the case to the court.

The new ruling on Wednesday came in reaction to a complaint lodged by Poland's Jewish community, which argued that the ban violated Poland's constitution as well as the European Convention of Human Rights.

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said he was grateful to the court and relieved by its decision.