NSW forced to source meat from Victoria

NEW South Wales will be reliant on kosher meat from Melbourne after Sydney’s only kosher abattoir was shut down last week.

ABC’s Lateline program revealed undercover footage from Hawkesbury Valley Abattoir that allegedly showed cruelty to animals.

When the NSW Food Authority saw the footage it closed the abattoir, effectively cutting off the state’s supply of kosher meat.

The Kashrut Authority’s rabbinic administrator Rabbi Moshe Gutnick said that contingency plans were now in place, with Hardwicks Meatworks in Melbourne’s north set to slaughter more meat to satisfy demand in NSW. “We immediately made alternative arrangements and it is all going very smoothly,” Rabbi Gutnick said.

“This could be a permanent move, although it is more of an inconvenience because we have already sent one shochet to Melbourne to monitor the process.

“The Sydney community won’t notice the difference and we will just have to wait and see, and play it by ear to see what happens with the abattoir in Sydney.”

Members of Melbourne’s Jewish community are being assured they won’t be affected by the new arrangement. Kosher Australia in Victoria and the Kashrut Authority in NSW run independently of each other, and it is understood that there is enough livestock to serve both communities.

Tom Rev from Eilat at Hadassa, the only kosher butcher in Sydney, said meat is already arriving from Melbourne and that there had been no impact on prices.

“There is no effect whatsoever because the condition for us to go there is that we get the same A-grade quality that our customers are used to in Sydney, and it is working very well,” Rev said.

“We received our first delivery this week and the prices are basically the same as what we were paying so there is no increase in prices.”

Rev also defended the Sydney abattoir’s owners, saying that while it looked terrible on television, it was taken out of context. “The truth of the matter is that when an animal is slaughtered the legs and the forearms are still moving and it is a dangerous scenario.

“You have to eliminate the scenario or people can be killed.

“I think people really have to realise that an abattoir is not a kindergarten,” Rev said. “It is a place of slaughter of animals with blood and guts everywhere, and it is not a place to be put on national television.”

JOSHUA LEVI