Farmers demonstrate against an animal welfare bill in Poland in Warsaw on October 13, 2020.
Farmers demonstrate against an animal welfare bill in Poland in Warsaw on October 13, 2020. (WOJTEK RADWANSKI / hooly News)

It is a very important vote which is expected in the Polish Senate this Wednesday, October 14: the one on the law on animal welfare. Examined by the senators, this law notably provides for the prohibition of the breeding of animals for their fur, and limits ritual slaughter, that is to say slaughter in accordance with religious rites.

After blocking the country’s roads last week, Tuesday, October 12, thousands of farmers from all over the country chose to protest, in the rain, in front of the Polish Senate in Warsaw. They claim that such legislation could destroy Polish agriculture. Because Poland is the third largest producer of fur in the world and the country also exports halal and kosher meat. But with this law, ritual slaughter would be limited to the Polish national market. According to opponents, thousands of direct and indirect jobs are at risk.

Among the protesters yesterday, some wore a black T-shirt with inscribed “No to Kaczynski”. Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the powerful leader of the ruling Law and Justice Party (PIS), and he’s the one who championed the law, even going so far as to make a video defending it on the Tik Tok social network. Jaroslaw Kaczynski thus takes the risks angering the campaigns, which nevertheless constitute the electoral base of his party.

Even within the “Law and Justice” party, and between the parties that make up the government coalition, divisions have come to light. Some PIS members made no secret of their opposition to the law, voting against it in mid-September. The party then separated from more than a dozen protesting deputies.

Collapse of the coalition, early elections: all the scenarios were mentioned, but finally the three parties of the majority in power reached an agreement. A government reshuffle took place with a major change: Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the PIS, who until then operated behind the scenes, returned to government. No doubt to restore order in the ranks of the majority.