Canadian Government to Check Interference with Work of Shochtim

Dr. K.F. Wells, Canada’s Veterinary Director General, today informed the Canadian Jewish Congress that his Department would issue “appropriate instructions to make sure that no unilateral action is taken in the future” which would interfere with the work of shochtim (Jewish ritual slaughterers.)

The statement by Dr. Wells was in response to a complaint by the CJC over an incident in Toronto in which a shochet was suspended from his duties in an abbatoir at the insistence of the Humane Slaughter Society. The Society had alleged that the way the shechita had been performed by him was not correct. The shochet was later reinstated after representatives of the Toronto Humane Slaughter Society acknowledged that there had been “a misunderstanding of the mechanics of shechita.”

In their complaint to the Veterinary Director General, officials of the CJC contented that the definition of shechita must clearly be within the jurisdiction of Jewish religious authorities and no outside agency should be allowed to interfere. They also pointed out that the wording of the regulations defining Jewish ritual slaughter were intended to make sure that there would be no room for misinterpretation and that such matters would be left entirely to the rabbis who supervise the individual abbatoirs.

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