Senate to process new animal protection law in Oct - speaker

Lech Muszyński/PAP

The Polish upper house, the Senate, will debate the new animal protection law that triggered a serious government crisis after a lower house vote, but likely as late as October 9 due to required amendments, Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the day, Grodzki met with President Andrzej Duda to discuss the legislation that, among other provisions, bans fur farming and ritual slaughter for exports.

Speaking at a press conference in the Senate on Tuesday, Grodzki said that the legislation was adopted hastily, adding that "yet again, the Senate has to play the role of a serious state body that will deal with it thoroughly, listening to all sides."

Grodzki said he will probably call an additional Senate session on October 9 to debate the bill. "I will make the final decision after consultation with the Convention of Senior Senators," he said.

Commenting on his talks with Duda, Grodzki said the president strongly supports the well-being and humanitarian treatment of animals but also takes into account the problems of fur farmers who have invested in their businesses and have loans to pay off.

"There are examples of other countries where it (fur farming - PAP) can be phased out in a civilised manner, giving time to close down those farms, as well as offering some compensation and shielding measures," Grodzki said.

The amendment to animal protection legislation introduces, among other measures, a ban on breeding animals for fur and limits ritual slaughter to the needs of local religious associations. It also foresees a ban on using animals in entertainment, increases the remit of NGOs, and provides for more regular inspections of animal shelters and brings an end to keeping dogs on short chains.

Despite party discipline, 38 MPs of the ruling United Right coalition were against the bill, including all members of the junior coalition partner Solidary Poland headed by Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro. Fifteen MPs of the third coalition member, Jaroslaw Gowin's Agreement party, abstained from voting. Since that vote, ruling party Law and Justice (PiS) politicians have repeatedly said that the government coalition is practically non-existent.

After a coalition meeting on Monday, PiS spokeswoman Anita Czerwinska wrote on Twitter that her party had made 'firm decisions' that would be revealed later in the week.