Cyprus aims to help hundreds of farmers affected financially by the COVID-19 crisis to export kosher sheep and goat meat to Israel during the health emergency.
According to a bill submitted to parliament, it amends the existing law to allow slaughtering animals in accordance with traditional Jewish practice (kosher) and the possibilities provided by EU Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009.
The aim of this temporary measure is to address the negative effects of reduced demand for meat resulting from social distancing measures to address the coronavirus pandemic in Cyprus.
This amendment is adopted as an emergency measure to deal with the effects of the pandemic and will be active until 31.12.2020.
Animal breeders demanded this export possibility from the Agriculture Ministry, as a way out from the problems arising from falling demand due to the closure of hotels and restaurants amid the coronavirus outbreak.
General Secretary of Panagrotikos Farmers Union, Tasos Yiapanis told CNA, that due to the situation, meat traders where offering farmers prices below cost.
The option of exports to Israel, as he said, will help around 2,500 farmer families, to secure a better price for their livestock.
He also said that it will also benefit the Cypriot economy, bringing revenue and foreign exchange to the country.
Concerns have been raised over animal welfare with objections from activist groups and environmental organizations, which consider kosher slaughter as more painful for the animals.
However, General Manager of Miloubar Cyprus Costas Constantinou, a firm representing a large Israeli consortium in Cyprus, expressed a different view.
He said that kosher and halal slaughter is allowed by European directives, in all European countries and it is also a request of the Jewish community in Cyprus.
In the case kosher slaughter is allowed in Cyprus, Miloubar Cyprus LTD will buy the meat to export it to Israel.
He argued that this method is not contrary to animal welfare since there are no mass slaughters.
Both Constantinou and Yiapanis stressed the importance of extending this opportunity to Cypriot farmers beyond the current crisis.
As this meat could also be exported to other countries besides neighbouring Israel, while it can also be used for the needs of the domestic Jewish community and the significant number of Israeli tourists who visit the island every year. (source CNA)