NZ Kosher Poultry Ban Overturned

NEW ZEALAND - A ban on kosher slaughtering of poultry has been overturned, resulting in protests from animal welfare groups.
calendar icon 29 November 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The Jewish community in New Zealand is celebrating after the country's ban on kosher poultry was overturned, reports Jewish Chronicle.

An agreement has been reached with the minister of agriculture to enable the shechitah of poultry to continue although the community is still negotiating over the slaughter of lamb.

In May, Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation that shechitah be exempt from the new animal welfare code, which mandates that all commercially slaughtered animals must first be stunned, making shechitah illegal.

The community filed legal action in August against the ban which was due to start in the High Court in Wellington on Monday and has now been adjourned.

The New Zealand community will now continue negotiations in relation to lamb and, until those negotiations are concluded, the interim orders, which were previously granted enabling the shechitah of lamb, will continue.

Garth Cohen, president of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, said: "We gratefully acknowledge the support of all community members on this issue, and specifically thank those who have given evidence in support of the legal case and those who have donated funds.

"Unfortunately there is still a significant shortfall and community members are asked to 'dig deep' to help meet the costs of our campaign to save shechitah in New Zealand."

Jewish Chronicle reports Henry Grunwald, chairman of lobby group Shechita UK, saying: "After many months of hard work, we are relieved to hear of this partial settlement and happy to be able to congratulate the Jewish community on what they have achieved so far.

"I would like to pay tribute to New Zealand's communal leaders with whom we have worked very closely. They are a credit to their community and to the wider campaign to protect shechitah."

New Zealand Herald reports that a farming company part-owned by a Cabinet minister was able to give him a briefing about how the Government could protect its lucrative trade with Muslim countries by banning Jewish slaughtering.

Agriculture Minister, David Carter, supported the recommended law change but had to back down days before he was to be taken to court to justify it.

It is the second time this year Crown lawyers have had to leap to the defence of one of Parliament's wealthiest MPs – and this time, in a case in which he was forced to admit getting basic facts wrong.

Mr Carter was being sued by the Auckland Hebrew Congregation for changing the law in May to make traditional Jewish slaughter of animals illegal. The case was set to begin in the High Court at Wellington until an embarrassing back-down by Minister Carter who last week overturned the ban he asked Cabinet to support.

The practice of shechita on poultry was declared no longer illegal while the Government also agreed to negotiate the ban on sheep. New Zealand Jews will still have to import beef from Australia, where shechita is allowed.

Today, New Zealand Herald reports that the Minister has defended his decision to exempt the Jewish tradition of shechita from animal welfare law changes, despite labelling the chicken slaughter practice as 'frankly cruel'.

Mr Carter told Radio New Zealand he was keen for New Zealand to have the highest animal welfare standards but had to weigh that up against the religious rights of the Jewish community.

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