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Is religious slaughter legal in Australia?

Religious slaughter, also known as ritual slaughter, is the slaughter of livestock according to specific religious principles. There are two types of religious slaughter carried out in Australia: halal slaughter (under Islam) and kosher slaughter (under Judaism).

State/TerritoryYes/NoName of relevant act/special conditions and requirements
ACTYesSection 20 of the Animal Welfare Act provides an exception for practices conducted in accordance with an approved code of practice or mandatory code of practice.
NSWYesSection 24 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act provides certain defences. In short, a person accused of an offence is not guilty of an offence if they can satisfy the court (c ) in the course of, and for the purpose of, destroying the animal, or preparing the animal for destruction:
(i) in accordance with the precepts of the Jewish religion or of any other religion prescribed for the purposes of the subparagraph, or
(ii) or in compliance with any duty imposed upon that person by or under this or any other Act.
NTYesSection 79 of the Animal Welfare Act states that "it is not a defence to a prosecution for an offence under this Act that the act or omission constituting the offence, or an element of the offence, was in accordance with cultural, religious or traditional practices." However, the NT Meat Industries Act requires both domestic and export abattoirs to comply with the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Meat for Human Consumption which provides for an 'approved arrangement' for religious slaughter.
QLDYesReligious slaughter is exempted as an offence under the Animal Care and Protection Act (ACPA) under certain conditions. See section 45 of ACPA.
SAYesSchedule 2 of the Animal Welfare Act requires compliance with the Model Code of Practice for the Welfare of Animals: Livestock and poultry at slaughtering establishments.
TASYesSection 9 of the Meat Hygiene Regulations state that the Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption applies to the slaughter of animals and birds.
VICYesMust comply with the Meat Industry Act 1993.
WAYesMust comply with the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority Act 1976.

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Updated on May 2, 2019
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