New Zealand – Animal Welfare Groups Slam Shechita Reversal


    New Zealand – Animal welfare organizations are disappointed by the Government’s decision to reverse a ban on the kosher killing of chickens, saying the practice is inhumane.

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    The kosher killing – shechita – involves severing the neck of the animal, and allowing the blood to drain.

    On Friday, Agriculture Minister David Carter exempted the practice from a decision in May that all commercially slaughtered chickens must be stunned before being killed.

    The decision followed months of negotiations between Crown Law and New Zealand’s Jewish community over the issue, which was due to be heard in court today.

    Instead an agreement was reached to allow about 1000 chickens to be killed each year using shechita.

    Royal New Zealand SPCA chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said she was disappointed Mr Carter had reversed his position, saying his original stance was the right one.

    “We don’t want to get into the religious side of it but kosher killing does cause suffering,” she said.

    Halal, the Islamic slaughter of livestock was not affected by the change as pre-stunning is already used, which Ms Kippenberger believed was a “reasonable” arrangement.

    “Pressure from a small community is allowing animals to suffer – we believe that is unacceptable.”

    Hans Kriek, the director of animal welfare group SAFE, said the organisation would have to look at how the reversal can be challenged.

    “We are disappointed because if animals are going to be killed – and of course we’d prefer it if they weren’t – they should be killed in the most humane way possible,” he said.

    “It is a very basic view, but it is a view that is backed up by science, that the killing of animals without stunning causes the most pain.”

    Mr Kriek said SAFE appreciated the importance of religious freedom, but not at the expense of animal welfare.

    “The world won’t come to an end if people cannot eat 5,000 chickens,” he said.

    Mr Kriek said it would be interesting to see what decision the Government made with regard to the ban on shechita killing of sheep and cattle, which Jewish groups also hope to overturn.

    He said the larger the animals were, the more they suffered, because it took longer for them to die, a view supported by Ms Kippenberger.

    “If you have seen a sheep that is being bled out without stunning the distress is obvious,” she said.

    “We would vigorously oppose the ban being lifted on sheep.”

    Ms Kippenberger said stunning the animals first was not just humane on the animals, but also on the abattoir workers, as it stopped the animals moving around in a distressed state.

    “It isn’t a pleasant process at the best of times but doing it without stunning makes it harder for workers.”

    Ms Kippenberger said there was also the issue of home kills, where people could kill the animals at home without first stunning them.

    “There is nothing to stop people doing this in their backyards,” she said.

    Spokesperson for the Auckland Hebrew Congregation and the Wellington Jewish Community Centre David Zwartz told Radio New Zealand this morning shechita was a humane way of killing animals.

    “We based our case on the religious rights of the Jewish community … and that’s upheld by the Bill of Rights,” he said.

    Mr Zwartz said kosher chicken could not be sourced from abroad because of Newcastle’s Disease.

    A facebook group called Keep NZ Kosher – Allow Shechita in New Zealand, has more than 1,600 members and encouraged them to contribute to the legal challenge.

    The story has also been picked up by the Jerusalem Post, with an op-ed piece by lawyer Avinoam Sharon said it was hypocritical to allow hunting for sport but not the kosher killing of chickens and suggested New Zealanders simply see the practice as “Jewish ritual hunting”.

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    13 years ago

    Kriek you are a Kreep. Electrocuting chicken hanging upside down is more painful. Using a retractable bolt that can cause mad cow diease is also painful but you don’t car if it is on people Animals are to serve man. You can pray to your animal but that is useless. I love the people for animal rights this people are normal cruel to humans. We have the right to use them not abuse them. Shechita does not abuse them no matter how many time you preach your mad animal love disease [really anti-smitism disease.] Hilter was also a animal lover

    13 years ago

    Dear …
    In reply to your email:
    Reputable research shows that chickens do indeed live for between 4 to 8 minutes after having their throats cut and, during that time, would feel considerable pain. In any animal welfare context that constitutes suffering
    I quote:
    Severing the windpipe, or trachea, of a conscious bird is extremely painful because the lining of the trachea (the organ through which the breath passes from the larynx to the lungs) has a full supply of nerves. “The lining of the trachea is well innervated,” according to Dr. Paula Cameron, DVM, in a phone conversation with UPC President Karen Davis on December 18, 2002. The jugular veins, which are closer to the surface of the skin than the carotid arteries, carry spent blood away from the brain.


    13 years ago

    cont’d from above
    Cutting only the jugulars extends the time it takes a bird to die, according to Dr. Neville Gregory. Worst is the severance of only one jugular vein, which can result in a bird’s retaining consciousness in severe pain for as long as 8 minutes. If both jugular veins are cut, brain failure occurs in approximately six minutes. If both carotid arteries are quickly and cleanly severed, the supply of blood to the brain is disrupted, which is said to result in brain failure in approximately 4 minutes.” (N.G. Gregory, A Practical Guide to Neck Cutting in Poultry, Meat Research Institute memorandum No. 54, published by the Agricultural and Food Research Council, Langford, Bristol, UK, August 1984. 8pp.)
    Dr Neville Gregory is a New Zealand scientist and a world authority on pain in animals
    The purpose of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is just that – to prevent cruelty
    If your methods of practicing your faith require you to be cruel to animals we are only doing our duty by them – the animals – to state this as a fact
    Yours sincerely
    Robyn Kippenberger

    That was in reply to a request for peer-reviewed science….

    13 years ago

    this has nothing to do you killing animals it is all about kosher slaughter
    NYS for yearts had several law makers bring up anti schetea laws it was a bronx senator Abe Bernstein that killed it in committee in the 1960’s. this is nothing new i might add he was a memeber of the young israel of pelham parkway and several other shules but was not religious non the less a great man