SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – New Zealand’s Jewish community has won an 11th-hour agreement from the government to allow the kosher slaughter of poultry.
Lawyers acting for the community were due to begin a legal battle Monday against the government’s controversial ban on shechita in the High Court in Wellington.
The case was adjourned following an agreement Friday with Agriculture Minister David Carter, who in May rejected a recommendation that shechita be exempt from the new animal welfare code. Under the new agreement, kosher slaughtering of poultry will be allowed, although negotiations regarding the kosher slaughtering of lamb are ongoing.
The code mandates that all commercially slaughtered animals must first be stunned, thus rendering shechita illegal.
A statement issued by the heads of the community on Friday afternoon stated: “Until those negotiations are concluded, or the matter is determined in court, the interim orders which were previously granted enabling the shechita of lamb will continue.”
New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman said he was “very relieved” by the development.
“It is disappointing that it took legal action for the government to come to a negotiated solution,” he said. “The whole process has been extremely stressful to the New Zealand Jewish community as well as costing over $NZ300,000 that could, and should, have been applied to reinforcing the community rather than arguing with our government over our right to live here.”
Shechita has been carried out in New Zealand since 1843. The island nation on the edge of the Diaspora is home to about 7000 Jews.