Religious animal slaughter debated in NZ and Australia

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The slaughter of animals according to religious principles is under the spotlight in both Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand’s government is facing a court challenge over its banning of Jewish or Kosher killing of animals.

At the same time, the Australian Government is poised to officially announce that it is suspending all live cattle exports to Indonesia, until animal welfare safeguards are put in place.

The rabbinic adminstrator of Kosher Australia, Rabbi Mordechai Gutnick, says the kosher method is not cruel, even without prior stunning.

“The shechita, the kosher method of slaughtering animals, is just as humane as any other method that’s used,” he said.

The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils says 95 per cent of halal animal slaughter is done with prior stunning in Australia.

The RSPCA’s Melina Tensen says she is opposed to the slaughter of any animals without stunning, and exemptions shouldn’t be allowed.

She says events in Indonesia and New Zealand could lead to the resumption of a stalled inquiry into religious slaughter.

“That inquiry has now come to a halt, mainly due to elections in Victoria and New South Wales and change of ministers but our understanding is that inquiry will start up again.”