Below is a letter that I just sent to the New Zealand Minister of Agriculture.
I will keep you posted if I get a response…
Hon David Carter,
Minister of Agriculture,
Dear Mr. Carter,
I read with dismay news reports of the new code of welfare for commercial slaughter which came into effect 28 May 2010.
According to the MAF web site (http://www.maf.govt.nz/mafnet/press/2010/270510-commercial-slaughter-welfare-code.htm ), all commercially slaughtered animals will require stunning before slaughtering.
As the minister is no-doubt aware, this will make Shechita (Kosher slaughtering) impossible in New Zealand, making New Zealand the only country in the world with a Jewish Community where kosher meat cannot be slaughtered locally or imported from neighbouring countries at a reasonable cost.
This issue has already received a lot of negative publicity globally, particularly in the Jewish and Israeli media.
As a New Zealand born Orthodox Jew who has elderly parents living in New Zealand who only eat kosher meat, I found it very distressing to hear that New Zealand, which has always prided itself on tolerance and acceptance of minorities, is now in effect making it practically impossible for people to observe the Jewish religion in the country. This will have a large impact on the daily life of my parents.
This is a sad break with the warm welcome that the New Zealand Jewish community has experienced in New Zealand for over 150 years, and is especially distressing in light of the high number of Jewish tourists or potential immigrants who will now feel unable to visit New Zealand without compromising their religious standards or being forced to adopt vegetarianism.
I realise that it is legal to import kosher beef (but not chicken) from Australia, but the Minister must be aware that the cost of imported meat is prohibitive and not a realistic option for many kosher-observant families in New Zealand.
As far as I am aware, there is no solution at all for Kosher poultry in New Zealand.
I hope that the minister will implement a clarification or solution which will safeguard the rights of the New Zealand Jewish community.