Just saw this speech from Mr Carter, the NZ Minister of Agriculture, in which he is proud that he twice ignored the recommendations of National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, and disregarded the concerns of a “relatively small religious minority”.
The Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare came back from the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee and sat on the previous Minister's desk; he sent it back to the Committee because he wasn't completely happy with the recommended exemption for Shechita.
It came back again unchanged. When it came to my desk I decided it had to be dealt with.
And now I have issued it - there are no exemptions.
In doing so, we may have upset a relatively small religious minority, and I do appreciate their strong feelings for this issue but frankly I don't think any animal should suffer in the slaughter process.
At the end of the day, my responsibility is to make decisions and move forward, and that's what I've done.
Glad that the minister regards the feelings of animals during the last 12 seconds of their lives more important than the rights of a small religious community to observe their religion.
The frustrating thing about this case is that livestock bread for meat are terribly abused their entire lives, you only have to look at how cows or chickens are transported to slaughterhouses to realize that there is very little concern for their welfare.
Suddenly, the moment of slaughter arrives, and the minister suddenly feels that “no animal should suffer in the slaughter process” is of extreme importance. However there doesn’t seem to be legislation on how animals are housed or handled prior to slaughter (when they undoubtedly suffer), just the question of how the slaughter should take place.
Scientific studies have indicated that Shechita is painless to the animal, as it cuts the air supply to the brain, however in New Zealand and Australia the Jewish community has voluntarily agreed to stun the animals immediately after shechita as an added precaution. If there was any suffering after Shechita, it could not be for more than a few seconds.
This information is all in the report that the minister decided to disregard.
I’m awaiting the ban on hunting, a sport which is still licensed by the same New Zealand Government that is so concerned about the welfare of animals during the last few seconds of its life.