President meets Polish farmers over animal protection bill

President Andrzej Duda met on Monday with representatives of Polish meat and poultry producers to discuss a draft amendment to the animal protection law.

The amendment to animal protection legislation, currently in the Senate, 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.

The bill, sponsored by the Law and Justice (PiS) party, the key member of the three-party ruling United Right coalition, sparked widespread protests among farmers as well as meat and poultry producers. The proposed legislation also showed visible signs of differences inside the ruling coalition as many of its MPs voted against the bill, which passed the lower house only thanks to opposition votes.

A week ago, during the harvest festival, Mr Duda told farmers that when making a decision on the fate of the amendment he would take into account humane treatment of animals as well as the well-being and quality of life of Polish farmers.

The president also discussed the bill with Senate Speaker Tomasz Grodzki.

During last week's sitting of the Senate Committee for Agriculture and Development, PiS senators announced plans to lodge changes to the amendment, among others, calling for the removal of limits on ritual slaughter.

Speaker Tomasz Grodzki said on Monday he would recommend holding a Senate meeting solely devoted to the amendment. Most likely it will be held on October 13.

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