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Jerusalem…Nikur (“deveining”) involves removing certain forbidden veins and fats from cattle. They are extremely prevalent in the hindquarters, and due to the complexity involved in their removal, this part of the animal is generally not sold as kosher. In an exclusive interview with Kosher Today, Israel’s Chief Rabbi Shlomo Amar claimed that all kosher meat in Israel routinely includes the practice of Nikur. The Sephardic Rishon Letzion said that the nikur requirement was part of the steady upgrade of kashrus in Israel. The Chief Rabbi has a reputation of being tough on kashrus, a source told Kosher Today. “When he was rabbi of Tel Aviv, he withdrew certificates from establishments that were open on Shabbos, ending a practice that was known in some circles as the 6-day certificate.
London…Staff Reporters…The shocking news that shechita (kosher slaughter) was effectively banned in New Zealand appears to have set other developments in motion in the past week. Kosher Today has learned that Rabbis in Europe are convinced that a new regulation on shechita adopted by the European Union was directly related to the New Zealand requirement that animals be stunned prior to shechita, effectively ending shechita in New Zealand. A source here told Kosher Today: “The New Zealand action has emboldened animal rights activists in many part of the world to go for the jugular.” The EU adopted a new regulation which will require that kosher meat be labeled as “meat from slaughter without stunning.” The European action was closely followed by a warning from Rabbi Yona Metzger, Chief Rabbi of Israel, that he would order the Chief Rabbinate to stop certifying kosher meats imported from South America, namely Uruguay, unless the practice of shackling and hoisting of animals was ended. Although Metzger had previously spoken out against the practice, this was the first time he actually set a deadline in 2011. About 70% of Israel’s beef is imported from South America. There were also rumblings in many other parts of the world, including Australia. Henry Grunwald QC, chairman of Shechita UK, the umbrella organization that defends shechita, said the decision will have a serious impact on the kosher meat industry, particularly since 70% of an animal killed by shechita is consumed by the non-kosher market. He said: “This ill-conceived amendment discriminates against kosher food and will have a significant impact on the kosher meat industry across Europe. The Jewish community is fully supportive of providing consumers with information about the origins of their food and we urged MEPs that if they wanted to label meat and meat products, labels should include those killed by electrocution, shooting, gassing or clubbing as well as the many millions of animals that are mis-stunned during the stunning process. To pick on one method is suspicious, troubling and discriminatory.”