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

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Battle Over Animal Rights Almost Brings Down the Polish Government

KASZEWSKA WOLA, Poland — When the European Union condemned Poland’s government for demonizing gays and lesbians, the country’s governing coalition defiantly stood together. When state media was accused of spreading hate speech that fueled violence, the governing parties brushed off concerns. And when protests erupted against efforts to control the judicial system, they pressed ahead regardless.

Then came the minks.

Proposed legislation that would ban the farming of minks, semiaquatic mammals prized for their fur, and put in place a range of protections for other animals, opened deep divisions in the coalition that almost brought down the government.

It took the intervention of Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the dominant Law and Justice Party, to quell the uprising for now by taking on a formal role that allowed him to act as a buffer between opposing factions.

The bill, which gained momentum after a documentary aired on Polish television showing

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