NZ Minister under fire over Schechita Case

November 29, 2010 by J-Wire
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New Zealand’s Agriculture Minister is embroiled in allegations that his controversial decision to ban the kosher slaughter of animals was taken to preserve the island nation’s profitable meat trade with Muslim countries as well as his own investments.

David Carter

Documents obtained by the New Zealand Herald On Sunday claimed that David Carter was advised that trade with Muslim countries may be adversely affected if kosher slaughtering was allowed while the government mandated that halal meat be stunned before slaughter. Muslim countries may be put offside if they believed New Zealand was offering preferential treatment to Jews, the report claimed Carter was advised.

Carter owns shares in Alliance Group Ltd, which exports meat to Muslim countries, and in Silver Fern Farms Ltd, according to the MPs Register of Pecuniary Interests.

But in a statement published in the Herald, Carter denied the allegations. “Claims that business interests determined my decision on the Commercial Slaughter Code of Welfare are totally baseless,” he said. “Animal welfare was the primary consideration in making this decision.”

Carter banned shechita on May 27, effective immediately. On Friday he reversed the ban on the shechita of poultry, just three days before the small Jewish community was due to contest the case in the High Court in Wellington. Lamb is still under negotiation while kosher beef must still be imported from Australia.

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