§ Sir Ivan Lawrence
To ask the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food when he last met representatives of the Jewish community, what was discussed, and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Waldegrave
I met the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and other representatives of the Jewish community on 30 March when Shechita—religious slaughter—was discussed in relation to the Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995, SI 1995/731.1 assured the president that the 1995 regulations maintain the legal protection for Shechita contained in the previous legislation.
Council directive 93/119/EC, on which the 1995 regulations are based, recognises the need to take account of the requirements of religious requirements such as Shechita. The Government accept that Shechita is a fundamental matter of religious belief to Jewish communities who are an important part of our national life and would oppose any moves to remove the right of the Jewish community to practise Shechita.