Last week, lawyers for representatives of the New Zealand Jewish community filed legal proceedings against the Minister of Agriculture, seeking a restoration of the right to practice shechita in New Zealand.This followed discussions with the Minister after he had decided not to exempt shechita under the new Commercial Slaughter Code which came into effect on May 28.
“We are pleased to report that an agreement for Interim Relief from the terms of the present Code was reached in court this morning,” said a representative for the plaintiffs (Auckland Hebrew Congregation Trust Board and Wellington Jewish Community Centre).
“This enables the continued practice of shechita in New Zealand until the matter comes to trial – likely to be in 2011.”
Court orders were made by consent in the Wellington High Court this morning to give legal effect to that agreement.
The issue of shechita has been under review and discussion in New Zealand since 2001. The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, recommended to the Minister that shechita be granted an exemption from the new Commercial Slaughter Code, but the Minister rejected this advice. This led to the present situation.
Shechita has been carried out in New Zealand since 1843.