New Zealand lifted a ban on Jewish slaughter of poultry on Friday, reaching a
deal that allowed the practice of shechita to resume there on a limited scale
after a prohibition was put in place last May.
The local government
dropped its objections to the practice only two days before it was scheduled to
be debated in court, where a judge would have determined whether or not the ban
was an infringement on religious rights. A ban on the preparation of kosher
mutton and beef remains in effect, but is being negotiated.RELATED:New Zealand Jews fight for shechitaEU Parliament kashers shechita
pleased to announce that we have reached agreement with the Minister of
Agriculture which will enable the shechita of poultry to continue in New
Zealand,” Garth Cohen, president of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, said last
Friday in a press release.
“Court orders putting that agreement into
effect were made at the High Court in Wellington this afternoon,” he
New Zealand authorities had forbidden the local preparation of
kosher meat on grounds of animal welfare concerns, saying the method, which does
not allow the stunning of livestock before slaughter, was
Jewish authorities claimed in response that Jewish law was
deeply concerned with animal welfare, and that shechita had been in practice for
thousands of years and was permissible in most countries.
Treister, treasurer of the Israel-New Zealand Friendship Association, told The
Jerusalem Post that Friday’s decision marked a return to the previous
status-quo, as most kosher beef and mutton is imported from
“The 5,000 Jews in New Zealand now have tremendous legal fees
to pay,” Treister added. “They won’t get a court settlement, as there is no
Meanwhile, a national newspaper in New Zealand raised allegations
that the decision by Agriculture Minister David Carter to ban shechita may have
been influenced by concerns over how it might affect trade with Islamic
In New Zealand, preparation of meat according to Islamic dietary
laws, known as halal, is prohibited because it also objects to stunning
livestock before slaughter.
According to the New Zealand Herald, Carter
was allegedly concerned that showing preference to the Jewish community might
hurt his country’s commercial or diplomatic ties with the Muslim
The Herald quoted New Zealand Prime Minister John Key as coming
out in defense of Carter, saying his colleague’s motivations were purely
The prime minister – whose parents were Jewish immigrants from
Europe, although he reportedly considers himself agnostic – said he had “no
concerns” over Carter’s conduct in the affair.