SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – A New Zealand judge has allowed the kosher slaughter of animals to resume until the lawsuit filed by the Jewish community against the government comes to trial.
Justice Denis Clifford of the High Court in Wellington confirmed Monday that an agreement has been reached between the Jewish community and representatives of the Crown Law Office, which is representing Agriculture Minister David Carter.
“We are pleased to report that an agreement for interim relief from the terms of the present Commercial Slaughter Code was reached in court,” a representative for the Jewish community announced Monday. “This enables the continued practice of shechitah in New Zealand until the matter comes to trial — likely to be in 2011.”
New Zealand Jewish Council chairman Geoff Levy described the interim agreement as “a positive outcome” for the 7,000-member Jewish community.
“Every effort is being made to get chicken and local lamb back on the table as soon as possible,” he said.
Lawyers for the Jewish community filed legal proceedings last week against the Minister of Agriculture seeking a restoration of the right to practice shechitah.
The legal showdown was prompted after Carter decided not to exempt kosher slaughter under the new Commercial Slaughter Code, which came into effect on May 28.
The National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, set up by the Ministry of Agriculture, had recommended that shechitah be granted an exemption from the new code, but Carter ignored the advice, saying he did not believe any animal “should suffer in the slaughter process.”
The trial pits the Jewish community against the Conservative government of John Key, whose mother, Ruth Lazar, was a Jewish refugee who escaped Austria on the eve of the Holocaust.
Shechitah has been carried out in New Zealand since 1843.