The fate of animals is currently dividing Poland. In mid-September, a bill was adopted by the deputies to prohibit the breeding of fur animals and the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter. This initiative was led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and strong man of the conservative Law and Justice party (PiS), the majority formation of the ruling coalition.
For a month, discontent has been mounting among farmers who have followed demonstrations across the country. On Wednesday, October 7, farmers slowed down traffic on main roads leaving wheelbarrows of manure outside the offices of political leaders in protest. They plan to demonstrate again, Tuesday, October 13, in Warsaw, when the law should go through the Senate which will have to give its approval.
Fear of the loss of thousands of jobs
Poland is the third largest producer of fur in the world – behind China and Denmark – according to NGOs. In this Eastern European country, animal husbandry supports thousands of people – there are an estimated 550 Polish farms that exploit 5.2 million animals for their furs. In addition to breeders, many indirect professions are also threatened by the destruction of this sector. In the first line, people working in cage production or even the tannery.
At the same time, the end of the export of meat resulting from ritual slaughter may also be a blow for some farmers. Indeed, Poland is one of the biggest exporters of kosher halal meats to Israel and the Jewish communities in Europe. Opponents of this law fear the disappearance of thousands of jobs without any alternative. According to the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, the economic impact of the bill would be around 1.6 billion euros.
The conservative coalition revamped
Through this initiative, the president of PiS – known for his sympathy for animals – has drawn the anger of part of the rural world where the conservative political formation draws part of its votes. If this text divided the electorate of the Polish conservative party, it also caused an internal political crisis since Jaroslaw Kaczynski saw his majority fail him on this text during the vote on the lower house of parliament. Fifteen PiS members, including Agriculture Minister Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski, were suspended from the party for voting against this bill which received unprecedented support from liberals and environmentalists.
→ MAINTENANCE. Animal condition: “A bench is more valuable than a dog or a cat”
Following this political crisis, the ultra-conservative coalition, in power since 2015, was reshuffled at the end of September. The goal? Put an end to the disorder that had settled in this government coalition for a few weeks. This reshuffle aimed to put an end to the pranks of small minority parties such as “Solidarity Poland” and “Alliance” – which moreover opposed their rejection to the proposed law on animal rights – which the PiS needs to keep his majority.