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Canadian Jewish Congress Assured by Government Officials on Shechita

The Canadian Jewish Congress has been given “ample assurance” by Canadian officials that Canada’s new humane slaughter law will be administered in a way to “protect fully” the interests of the Jewish community, Saul Hayes, executive director of the CJC, said today.

Both Houses of Parliament approved the measure after studying a Parliamentary Committee report which made a distinction between Shechita, which was specifically described as a humane form of slaughter, and pre-handling of food animals, which was not so described.

Mr. Hayes said that in adopting the measure, Parliament left out all references to Shechita and to pre-handling, leaving it to the Minister of Agriculture, D. S. Harkness, to implement the new law. Mr. Hayes said that the CJC has asked for an appointment to meet with Mr. Harkness to present the Jewish community viewpoint on the new law.

The Minister of Agriculture has not given any indication of when he intended to begin implementing the new law. No date has yet been set for the meeting requested by the Canadian Jewish Congress with Mr. Harkness. It was expected that Mr. Harkness would include, in his examination of data to guide him in that implementation, the report of the special Parliamentary committee. Mr. Hayes indicated that this was one of the reasons why the CJC was seeking a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture.

The CJC leader said the assurances had been received from “Cabinet Ministers, from statements in the House and from the authorities in general that the regulations which will be promulgated by the Minister of Agriculture will fully protect the interests of the Jewish community.” In fact, we are advised that the declaration that Shechita is a humane method of slaughter will be included in the regulations,” he stated.

Mr. Hayes also disclosed that a study was under way under Jewish auspices on problems of pre-handling, including shackling and hoisting. He said the view of the CJC was that “there is no scientific proof that shackling and hoisting is inhumane but if so proven, then the Jewish community will have to find other ways.” While the study is being made, he said, “we intend to continue pressing our views to insure that the practical aspects of Jewish ritual slaughter and the desire of the Canadian Parliament to eliminate in humaneness will merge into common findings and regulations.”

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