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New Zealand Bans Kosher Slaughtering

New Zealand has banned kosher slaughtering methods. The Jewish community may appeal the ruling to the country’s prime minister, who is Jewish.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/30/2010, 11:19 AM / Last Update: 5/30/2010, 11:28 AM

New Zealand has become the fifth country to ban kosher slaughtering methods, leaving the local Jewish community outraged. Agriculture Minister David Carter rejected his own advisers’ recommendation that Jewish ritual slaughter be exempted from a ruling that requires animals to be stunned before slaughtering.

The new regulation takes effect immediately, and New Zealand follows Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden as countries that prohibit Jews from performing ritual slaughter.

Rabbi Moshe Gutnick, who administers the kosher authority for Australia and New Zealand, contradicted Agriculture Ministry claims that “commercial shechita [Jewish ritual slaughter] of poultry has not taken place in New Zealand for some years due to a lack of interest.”

He told J-Wire of New Zealand and Australia, “We send shochtim [ritual slaughterers] from Sydney on a regular basis, and I can assure you that chickens were slaughtered as well as meat-producing animals. This decision by the New Zealand government, one which has a Jewish prime minister, is outrageous. We will be doing everything possible to get this decision reversed…one of the last countries I would have expected to bring in this blatantly discriminatory action would have been New Zealand.”

Carter rejected the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee’s warning that although it prefers that all animals be stunned before slaughtering, banning Jewish ritual slaughter decision may violate the country’s Bill of Rights. Jewish leaders may raise the issue with Prime Minister John Key (pictured), who is Jewish.

The new ban shows no balance, Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence of Sydney, Australia’s Great Synagogue and former spiritual head of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, told J-wire . “A deliberate decision has made to override the Jewish community’s acknowledged rights," he said. "This is a case of misplaced values, bad science and bad legislation. There is a strong body of veterinary and animal welfare research which continues to confirm shechita [Jewish slaughter] as a humane method of slaughter of the highest standard."

The ban effectively will keep Jews from eating fresh chicken. Importing kosher beef is permitted, but the law now bars importing unprocessed chicken.

In the United States, the Humane Slaughter Act (7 U.S.C. section 1901), which has been upheld as constitutional, specifically exempts ritual slaughter.