Cruel to be kind?
December 12, 2010 6:19 PM Subscribe
In May 2010, New Zealand introduced a new Animal Welfare Code
effectively banning the kosher slaughter
of animals, or “shechita”
. Agriculture Minister, David Carter, rejected a recommendation from advisers
that Jewish ritual slaughter of livestock be exempted from animal welfare rules under the Bill of Rights - which provides for freedom of religious practice. The new welfare code had a requirement that all commercially slaughtered animals first be stunned, and forbade the importation of raw kosher poultry. Carter argued the Code was required on humane grounds, citing a study that said the animals suffered pain. A study which Dr Temple Grandin
has subsequently criticised
. Jewish law prevents stunning on the basis that this is, in fact, cruel to animals
. Halal meat in New Zealand is stunned prior to slaughter. The Jewish community contested the Code through the courts as a direct attack on the freedom to practise Judaism in New Zealand
. Bans on ritual slaughter inevitably raise the ugly spectre of anti-Semitism
. In November, immediately before the case was due to be heard, Carter made an abrupt u-turn
. 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. The reversal raised the ire of animal rights groups
, and raised questions about Carter's motivations
in considering the ban.