COUNCIL OF ORTHODOX SYNAGOGUES OF AUSTRALIA
PRESS RELEASE ON NEW ZEALAND BANNING SHECHITA
7 JUNE 2010
The Council of Orthodox Synagogues of Australia (COSA), together with its constituent State bodies, is dismayed at the recent decision by the New Zealand Government to outlaw shechita.
It expresses the gravest concern that this decision has been taken without appropriate and full consultation with Jewish religious authorities regarding the humanity and necessity of slaughter according to Jewish law. It impinges on the rights of Jews to freely practise their religion.
Shechita has been traditionally regarded as a humane way to slaughter animals, and this is backed up by scientific evidence. The new NZ Animal Welfare Commercial Slaughter Code insists on the electrical stunning of animals and the gassing of poultry, before slaughter, which is forbidden under Halacha.
COSA supports the ECAJ and rabbinic authorities in condemning this legislation which we believe runs counter to Sections 13 and 14 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990, concerning the right to practise and observe religious beliefs and is inconsistent with the Report of the NZ National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which recommended that the dispensation for shechita be continued.
We stand by our NZ counterparts in their efforts to redress any misapprehensions that may have occurred at Government level, and trust that they will be successful in having this new code amended forthwith to allow the age old practice of shechita to continue.
Acting President of COSA