Monday, September 27, 2010

Is New Zealand lamb kosher or halal?

Kosher lamb slaughter
New Zealander's pride themselves on the care that they take of their animals. In May the  2010 Ministry of Agriculture issued a new code to ensure that all those involved in the slaughter of animals adopt welfare requirements to ensure all animals are humanely killed.

The code requires all animals slaughtered commercially in New Zealand to be stunned prior to killing. This is to ensure animals at slaughter are treated humanely and in accordance with good practice and scientific knowledge.

This meant that all types of ritual halal & kosher slaughter were banned. This infuriated the Jewish community that insists on strict religious traditions. The Jewish community has appealed these regulations.

So it came as a surprise to read the headlines in the Mail on Line

"More than 70 per cent of the New Zealand lamb sold in Britain comes from halal slaughterhouses without the fact being declared on the label
All the slaughtermen in these establishments must be Muslim and say a prayer when making the cut across the animal’s throat which kills it.
The New Zealand meat industry has taken the step to ensure its lamb can be sold in Muslim markets round the world."

Daily Mail 25 9 2010

The 150  UK comments made it quite clear that  halal New Zealand lamb ought to be taken off the menu or boycotted. It even had me worried although I did leave a Side Wiki saying that I thought the Mail could be mistaken.

So I did some research. It appears in traditional  halal slaughter stunning prior to slaughter is generally not the practice. However a non-penetrating concussion stunning prior to slaughter has received approval from some Muslim authorities. Work in the 80's in New Zealand led to the development of a very sophisticated electrical stunning apparatus that met a Muslim standard where an animal must be able to regain consciousness in less than a minute and must be able to eat within five minutes. The quickest way to kill a sheep is to stun it and cut its throat. This takes three seconds.

Head-only electric stunning prior to slaughter is used in almost all sheep slaughter plants in New Zealand and Australia. Electric stunning of cattle is used in many New Zealand cattle slaughter plants and the practice is spreading to Australia. Meat from electrically stunned cattle and sheep is exported to middle eastern countries with stringent religious requirements.

The slaughter man  does not have to be a Muslim just of the book that means any Christian or Jew will do but not a Hindu or non believer.

Surely this concession from Muslim clerics is to be applauded as hopefully it will lead to the elimination of traditional halal which must be a good thing. All traditional halal slaughter without stunning is now illegal in NZ and hopefully the Jewish request for Kosher slaughter will be refused next year.

Just because New Zealand is able to sell its humanely pre stunned lamb to Muslims does not mean it is traditional halal ritually slaughtered lamb.

Maybe for once the Mail should have shut up and let this lie in the interests of the sheep. I don't eat pork because of the way it is farmed. I don't eat chicken ditto but having done my research and unless the Mail can give me evidence which it still could, I shall continue to eat NZ beef and lamb.

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