New Zealand Shechita ban on hold

New Zealand has temporarily lifted its ban on the kosher slaughter of animals.

Members of the Jewish community have filed a lawsuit against the agriculture minister challenging the Shechita ban, which was brought in at the end of May 2010 to the outrage of Jewish citizens.

The case is expected to be heard in 2011, but until then the practice will not be prohibited.

New Zealand Jewish Council chairman Geoff Levy said the interim decision was positive and added: "Every effort is being made to get chicken and local lamb back on the table as soon as possible".

The shechita ban came about because of the introduction of a new animal welfare code mandating that animals killed for commercial consumption be “humanely killed”.

This would require them to be stunned before slaughter, which is prohibited under Jewish law.

Shechita has already been banned in countries including Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland. But in addition to the New Zealand shechita ban, under Kiwi law no poultry, kosher or otherwise, can be imported in to a country which is home to about 7,000 Jews.

Henry Grunwald, chairman of Shechita UK, called the agreement “an important first step in the campaign to secure the long term safety of shechita in New Zealand.”

Last updated: 5:20pm, August 10 2010