New Zealand has become the fourth country to outlaw Jewish ritual slaughtering, authorities said Sunday, after Iceland, Norway, and Sweden took similar measures in the past.

Under the newly instated Animal Welfare Commercial Slaughter Code, announced by Agriculture Minister David Carter, commercially killed animals would have to be stunned before slaughter, making kosher slaughter, or shchita, illegal, according to the Jewish Australian News service.

According to the report, while the new regulations are to take immediate effect,
kosher beef will be able to be imported into New Zealand.

Rabbi Jeremy Lawrence, the former leader of the Auckland Hebrew Congregation, told the Jewish Australian News that "there is a strong body of veterinary and animal welfare research which continues to confirm shechita as a humane method of slaughter of the highest standard."

Minister Cater reached the contentious decision, despite the fact that the report compiled by The National Animal Welfare Advisory Council, on which Carter based his decision, stated that "that the rights of the New Zealand Jewish community to practice its religious beliefs accorded by the Bill of Rights Act must be balanced against animal welfare considerations."

The Australian news agency added that the report also said that other alternatives short of an outright ban on shechita could be made available to the government.