Australian government agrees to maintain shechitah exemption


SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian Jewish leaders praised the Labor government for retaining an exemption for the kosher slaughter of animals.

The move followed a meeting of the Primary Industries Ministerial Council in Melbourne on Oct. 29 that discussed kosher and halal ritual slaughter, neither of which allow stunning.

Animal rights activists and other lobbyists claim that kosher ritual slaughter, or shechitah, is inhumane.

In a letter Monday, Executive Council of Australian Jewry President Dr. Danny Lamm thanked Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joseph Ludwig for his “wise decision” to maintain shechitah in Australia.

“Animal slaughter in Australia, including kosher slaughter, is closely monitored and regulated, and the standards of shechita itself, which forbid the mistreatment of the animal in any way, are very exacting,” he wrote.

“It was gratifying that the members of the Primary Industries Ministerial Council share our view that no such reasons [to ban it] exist,” Lamm concluded.

Kosher slaughter has been permitted in Australia for more than 200 years.

In June, a bill requiring animals to be stunned before slaughter passed the lower house of the Dutch Parliament. Last year, New Zealand banned any slaughter without stunning, which was partially turned back to allow for the kosher slaughter of chicken.

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