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Swiss Constitution Passes Article 25—Banning Key Part of Making an Animal Kosher, 1893.

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

On This Day in Jewish History: August 20th, 1893

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#onthisday, 1893, Article 25 of the Swiss Constitution was accepted - effectively banning schita to this day. Schita is the ritual slaughter that is an integral part of the process of making a kosher animal, "kosher" for observant Jews to eat.

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While schita requires that the animal be killed without any stunning prior to slaughter, Article 25 states that “the slaughter of animals without prior stunning before the withdrawal of blood is prohibited without exception for every type of slaughter and every species of animal."

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The article came into effect in the beginning of 1894 and it is viewed as an antisemitic action which forced the Swiss Jewish community to import all of their meat (which is very costly) or simply leave the country.

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The Jewish community as a whole and Jewish individuals tried to obtain permission to perform schita since the article goes against their freedom of belief as Jews but they were unsuccessful.

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The only time that it was permitted was during the WWI when it was impossible to import meat, but as soon as the war ended (even though it was still very difficult to import) the ban came back into effect.

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During the 1950’s many articles in the constitution were under review for breaching freedom of belief including Article 25. It was removed from the constitution but then re-issued as part of the Animal Protection Act of 1978.

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When the Animal Protection Act went through an amendment process in 2001, the Federal Council wanted to relax the ban on schita because of religious freedom that now restricted many Swiss Muslims as well, but they were met with opposition and the ban remained.

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To this day, schita on all animals except for poultry remains banned and kosher meat for the 17,500 Swiss Jews, must be imported at a significantly higher cost.

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Text Source: https://www.swissjews.ch/en/religion/kosher-meat/the-ban-on-shechita-in-switzerland/

Image Source: (REUTERS/DENIS BALIBOUSE)


✍: @rebeccaroth01

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