The Lithuanian Parliament on Tuesday approved a measure to allow the ritual slaughter of animals according to Jewish and Muslim customs starting in 2015.
With the new law, which passed by a vote of 57 in favour, 4 against and 11 abstentions, the government hopes to open up new export markets to lessen the damage to trade following embargoes by Russia.
The move, though welcomed by the country’s Jewish community, was condemned by animal protection organizations, who announced they would appeal the decision before the EU Commission.
In neighbouring Poland, the ritual slaughter of animals was banned through action by animal welfare organizations. The ban drew protests from Jewish and Muslim organizations as well as from meat producers who complained about heavy economic losses from no longer being able to export to Arab countries.