Polish farmers protest planned animal welfare law

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Thousands of angry farmers chanting anti-government slogans protested Tuesday in Warsaw against draft legislation that would ban fur farms, religious slaughter for export and the use of animals for entertainment and in circuses.

Towing a life-size figure of a cow, the farmers gathered before the parliament building where the Senate is debating the draft that has divided the ruling camp as well as the opposition. It has also angered farmers, who until now have been devoted supporters of the conservative government.

Critics of the bill say it threatens the livelihoods of farmers breeding mink and other animals for fur and well as for ritual slaughter, and would put an end to a large sector of Poland’s exports.

The main ruling party proposed the bill, arguing it was to protect animals’ wellbeing, but the controversies almost destroyed the governing right-wing coalition as many of its lawmakers refused to back it.

The government has since proposed to ease some of its restrictions, offer compensation for closed farms and to delay the bill.

The Senate and President Andrzej Duda, whose approval is required, have indicated they may reject the bill.

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