Vienna, July 20, 2018:
Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and Federal Minister for the European Union Gernot Blümel have once more emphasized their strong support of Jewish life and its traditions in Austria:
- We are clearly committed to our Judeo-Christian roots and will continue to defend them against any form of attack.
- We consider it our responsibility that Jewish life in our country is guaranteed in safety and without restrictions.
- As head of the Austrian Federal Government, I can assure our Jewish fellow citizens that their freedoms and fundamental rights will be upheld and in no way limited.
Federal Minister for the European Union Gernot Blümel, the Governor of the State of Lower Austria Johanna Mikl-Leitner, as well as the President of the National Council (the Speaker of the Austrian House of Representatives) Wolfgang Sobotka, have been vocal about the recent media reports on kosher butchering practices in Austria and have made the following clarifications:
- A registration of consumers who want to purchase kosher (and halal) meat will certainly not take place in Austria.
- Religious freedom is a crucial value for Austria.
- The President of the Austrian Jewish Community has been informed that all his fears regarding the question of the availability of kosher meat will be allayed.
The regulatory framework of the Animal Welfare Act is rigorous and provides a strong basis for granting rights in the context of the freedom of religion.
Regulations regarding the slaughtering of animals are a federal competence. Which means that any new regulation or law would have to be enacted at federal level, as only the enforcement is being carried out by the states.
Joint Press Statement by the President of the Jewish Community in Austria and the Speaker of the Austrian House of Representatives
Photo Credit: BKA, Andy Wenzel