New Zealand's new animal welfare code, which takes effect today, mandates that all animals for commercial consumption be stunned prior to slaughter to ensure they are treated "humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge." The new code does not allow for any exemptions, including kosher slaughter. The regulation has shocked the Jewish community.
The shechita method for slaughter is used in accordance to Jewish dietary laws and severs the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries and jugular veins allowing the blood to drain.
David Zwartz, the chairman of the Wellington Jewish Council, stated, "I am sure there will objections made that this action is an infringement of the right of Jews to observe their religion."
The New Zealand government estimates that 15 to 20 beef cattle, 40 to 50 lambs and 1,200 to 1,400 chickens are annually slaughtered to meet the needs of the Jewish communities in Wellington and Auckland. Moslems are unaffected by the regulations as they are allowed to stun animals before slaughtering them.
Among other countries that have banned shechita are Iceland, Norway and Sweden. Reprinted in part from The Jerusalem Post