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ANIMAL REBELLION: Poland’s parliament passes animal rights legislation, despite possible collapse of governing coalition

Poland's new animal rights legislation, restricts ritual slaughter of animals for export as well as fur farming and wild animals performing in circuses.

DEREK SCALLY: Poland’s ruling national conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party is scrambling to retain power after its junior coalition partners threatened to walk out of office. A year after returning for a second term, the United Poland and Accord parties voted against two key government Bills on Thursday.

PiS pushed ahead with the animal rights Bills, restricting ritual slaughter of animals for export as well as fur farming and wild animals performing in circuses. The proposals were eventually passed with the assistance of liberal opposition parties but opposed by the coalition’s junior partner deputies.

They are fearful of a backlash from the rural conservative and farming voter base crucial to the government’s hold on power. Poland’s fur industry employs around 50,000 people; it is also a major exporter of halal and kosher meats. Experts say the Bills, taken together, could have an economic impact of €1.6 billion on meat and fur producers…

The animal rights rebellion is seen by many as part of a wider proxy battle over the succession to PiS chairman Jaroslaw Kaczynski… Mr Kaczynski stood firm against rising opposition to the animal rights Bills by his coalition partners, telling a PiS parliamentary party meeting that “the tail cannot wag the dog”… Though he holds no government post, the influential 71-year-old cat-lover is considered by most to be Poland’s de facto leader. SOURCE…

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