Parliament adopts bill changing Poland's animal protection laws

Lech Muszyński/PAP

The Sejm (lower house) on Thursday night adopted amendments to Polish animal protection laws, including a ban on fur breeding and restrictions on ritual slaughter.

There were 356 votes for the amendments, 75 against and 18 abstentions. Now the adopted amendments will be sent to the Senate for further debate.

One hundred and seventy-six Law and Justice MPs supported the amended bill while all MPs of Solidary Poland, a junior member of the ruling United Right coalition, voted against. Fifteen MPs of the Agreement party, another junior member of the ruling coalition, abstained from voting, two were against. Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski was against.

The amended bill, authored by ruling party Law and Justice (PiS), introduces a full ban on fur breeding, with the exception of rabbits. The ban is to come into effect 12 months after it has been published.

Under the adopted amendments, ritual slaughter of animals will be permitted only for the needs of national religious associations. All regulations regarding ritual slaughter are to be defined by the agriculture minister in agreement with the interior minister. Ritual slaughter companies will be entitled to state budget compensation for their losses.

The amended bill also forbids the use of animals in entertainment, including circuses. Also foreseen are stricter controls of animal shelters and the establishment of a council for animal affairs.

The amended bill is to come into effect 30 days after its publishing, except for the ban on fur breeding, which is to come into life 12 months after it has been published, and except for a ban on permanently keeping household animals on a chain, which is to come into force six months after its publication.