Keeping Kosher in New Zealand

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I know very few things about New Zealand. I know that they have a ton of sheep. More sheep than you can count before you fall asleep. More sheep than people. A bunch load of sheep. They also love rugby. And they claim to speak English. Sure they do.

But now I can add another thing I know about New Zealand to the list. It is now illegal to slaughter kosher meat there. For serious. They join the ranks of other countries that have banned shechita like Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

According to the country’s new animal welfare code, in order to legally slaughter commercial meat, the animal has to be stunned prior to it being killed, to minimize it’s pain. But that really isn’t how kosher slaughtering works. In fact, in order to make an animal’s meat kosher, they can’t be stunned.

The Jewish community in New Zealand had lobbied to make sure that there would be a special exception for kosher slaughtering, but their efforts failed.

Well, looking on the bright side, the Jewish community of New Zealand’s vegetarian community just grew exponentially.

Posted on June 2, 2010

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8 thoughts on “Keeping Kosher in New Zealand

  1. eva & avi rofe

    shame on you. now we are to assume you care more for the animals than your kosher jewish citizens. our Bible is 3500 years old. we pride ourselves on it’s human slaughtering methods. to stun the animal and then slaughter renders it unkosher by Bible definition.
    do I detect some bias here? perhaps some slanted anti-semitism? why now? after so many centuries? like we always say, the world does not like us because we remind them of all their dirty little habits. our laws are above reproach. do you know that our Bible teaches us to feed all our animals (livestock and pets included) FIRST before we sit down for our meals?
    where else are you going to find such human laws.
    shame , shame shame shame…..

  2. Janette Lewis

    I agree 100% With Eva. She is correct. The Bible which is the inspiried word of God gave instructions on how to humanly kill a animal. The rules of how ever thing was done was for the benifit of the animal as well as for human comsumation. Those who follow the kosher way is the bestway. Fat was not to be eaten and the blood was to be compleatly drained from the animal. It was not to have any type of illness. It was to be health. This does not occur in the food meat plants in most of the world. Vegteartian is the best way to eat. If one had to eat meat it should be the kosher meat. The fat on meat is unhealth to eat and medical science has proven that. The Blood is life and it is not to be eaten or dranked. This Law is unfair to the Jews. It is unreasonalbe. Stun a animal and then killing it is much more cruel and unhealth to eat. It is unreasonable law and frankly quite a stupid Law. I am not Jewish at all but I believe in the Leviticus Chapter eleven’s Health Laws.

  3. Richard ben Serai

    I think that Jeremy may have missed the point, shehita (the kosher slaughtering process)primary intent is to make the act of slaughter as painless as possible. Some sections of Judaism eg the Hassidim, the Quabbalists and so forth add further dimensions to the act, ‘spiritualizing’ it as though there is merit in taking another creatures life. Contrary to popular belief, the Torah does not exactly specify the methodology of animal slaugh but rather only indicates which ‘type’ or sub-species of animal which can – it’s a concession, not a right – be slaughtered and eaten, and which parts of the said animal may be consumed and which may not.
    The Talmud goes into far more detail but behind these kushrut instructions for slaughter is the prime directive of not causing undue cruelty to any of G-Ds creatures. Rambam repeatedly stressed this principal, “…it is directly prohibited in the Law to cause pain to an animal (Guide of the Perplexed III 17), “…to ensure an easy death [for the animal] and to effect it by suitable means (III 26), “…the Torah commands that the death of the animal shall be the easiest (III 48). So if the motive of the New Zealand authorities is to observe the ‘least pain’ rule, then they are to be applauded because they are obeying the Law in Its essence, whether they realize it or not. I would take issue with the suggestion that it is an attack on koshrut. HaShem gave us intelligence so cinsider: when our ancestors hunted food animals, by arrow, spear or snare which, by hunting’s very nature, is cruel as the animal is first wounded before the slashing of the throat. Now, depending on how the animal is stunned, we may have progressed the mitzvot.

  4. Mike


    Since when is slaughtering of any animal considered humane in the 1st place?

    I am an omnivore, not a vegetarian, but this new New Zealand law is anti-semitism at its sneakiest. The Head of State & Head of Government must both be in Hitler’s lineage and seem just as unethical. To all the Jews in New Zealand, maybe it’s time to pack & go? I hear the USA is giving away social security, healthcare benefits, welfare, etc to any1 who crosses the border through Mexico.

  5. Lynne

    To both Eva & Avi, and Janette: Please brush up on your spelling of the english language! It’s “humane slaughtering” and to “humanely kill an animal”, not “human slaughtering”, or “humanly killing” an animal! Otherwise, you are saying by “human slaughtering”, that humans are being slaughtered!
    Poor spelling and grammar sticks in my side like a thorn.

  6. Kathleen

    Mike, if you are coming into the US from Mexico, don’t come thru Arizona.:) I think you have a valid point; this should be a religious right. G-d could have included stunning animals in the first place, so I would have to say that He’s knows best how to take care of His creatures. I don’t believe it to be blatant Antisemitism, it’s simply a ‘we don’t care about your old religion and we know better than you do.” But it does infringe on religious freedoms for no good reason.

  7. Andrea

    Jewish ritual of animal slaughtering is intended to be pain free. No observant Jew wants to be cruel to an animal. Shame on the New Zealand Government. Either their leadership is unfamiliar with the ritual and won’t learn more about it, or they’re racists. Let’s boycott products that come from that country. In addition, should anyone have vacation plans–NOT New Zealand. This is anti-seminitism and lack of respect for their Jewish citizens. It is absolutely insulting to Jews and other decent people. The New Zealand Gov’t is not above G-d. Their leadership needs to allow the slaughtering of cows according to Jewish ritual. Citizens of the world need to speak up and let New Zealand know the Jewish Community is not alone.

  8. Loren

    Wow, these comments have plenty of self righteous indignation to go around. How about we all try to take a breath and claim down. Where is the humility in these comments? Where is the instruction in these comments? All this look at me I’m a victim. I know we can do better then this. I agree, that meat is not the best choice for food, yet G-d has allowed it. Almost everyday for the past 40 years I enthusiastically talk with someone about healthy food. I love to do it. For all my faults, I know I’m doing everything I can to change peoples minds about the food they eat. Then there is the science with all this. I could spend all day. By the way, on a side note, I know what it means to fight for what is right. I was a Marine and still am in my mind and daily life. So let’s fight by killing these attitudes with the real weapons of war, the mind of kill them with kindness and generosity. That’s how Abraham did it.

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