New Zealand Govt Relents, Agrees to Allow Kosher Slaughter

Jews in New Zealand will be able to obtain kosher chickens again after the government agreed to allow the resumption of shechita, kosher slaughter.

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Chana Ya'ar, | updated: 22:57

Kosher diners at New Zealand Chabad House
Kosher diners at New Zealand Chabad House
Israel news photo: courtesy of Canterbury Cha

The New Zealand government has agreed to allow Jews to resume kosher slaughter of poultry.

The decision by Agriculture Minister David Carter came Friday, just three days before a trial set to begin on the matter.

A new animal welfare code that mandates stunning prior to slaughter prompted the country's Jewish community to ask for an exemption for shechita – kosher ritual slaughter.

However, the minister rejected the request in May, and Jews in the country had begun to gear up for a legal battle to maintain kosher standards.

A temporary stay on the ban that was granted in August proved essentially ineffective due to the amount of bureaucracy involved before kosher meat packers could resume production, Jewish community sources said.

Friday's decision came as a relief, commented Rabbi Mendy Goldstein, head of Chabad in New Zealand, who told the ban would have been devastating to Jews “who have a hard enough time as it is observing Jewish traditions in New Zealand."

“We are extremely delighted with the positive outcome,” Goldstein said.

Some 20,000 Israelis visit the island nation each year, home to some 7,000 Jews. Located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, New Zealand is comprised of two main land masses and numerous smaller islands. It is situated about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) southeast of Australia, with a population of approximately 4.3 million people.