Austrian province faces controversy over kosher meat

BERLIN — Proposals in an Austrian province for possible restrictions on the slaughter of animals according to Jewish and Muslim religious customs are drawing strong criticism.

An official in Lower Austria province, Gottfried Waldhaeusl of the nationalist Freedom Party, told the Wiener Zeitung newspaper "we are examining whether the demand for meat can be coupled to residency." He objected to people from nearby Vienna coming to have animals slaughtered.

A top official with Austria's center-left opposition Social Democrats, Max Lercher, said Wednesday that Waldhaeusl planned to make Jews who want to eat kosher meat register and called it "a clearly anti-Semitic demand." Vienna's Jewish community was also critical.

Klaus Schneeberger of the conservative People's Party, which leads the regional government, told the Austria Press Agency that authorities wouldn't establish any such register.

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