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Eco-kosher

 

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It could be a delayed reaction to PETA’s exposé about inhumane treatment of animals at a kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa a couple of years ago, but there seems to be a movement towards demanding shochtim and abattoirs display ethical and humane treatment of animals.

Of course, Jewish vegetarian groups have been around for years, but there are sparks that even the kosher meat market might be inching towards animal rights concerns. Over the summer, the Washington Post and New York Times both ran long features about the blending of ethical concerns with ritual ones, and the Forward newspaper used the run-up period to Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to talk about moves in the Orthodox world to treat chickens used for the pre-Yom Kippur kapparot ceremony humanely.

Technically, kashrut has nothing to do with treating animals properly before slitting their throats: If a knowledgeable shochet kills a kosher animal in accordance with halacha, the meat is kosher. But to many people, the “whys” of keeping kosher are just as important as the “hows,” and explanations about “why keep kosher” often include kashrut’s supposed ethical superiority.

Even non-Orthodox kosher-keepers are getting in the fray. Over the summer, the Conservative movement announced plans to issue a hechsher tzedek, intended to confirm that workers and animals are treated appropriately at kosher slaughterhouses, focusing on creating kosher conditions at all stages of the process. The move is strongly opposed by Orthodox organizations.

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3 Responses to Eco-kosher

  1. Why would the orthodox movement oppose the conservative decision to “hecksher tzdek” the slaughter houses?

  2. We are Orthodox (Chassidic) and keep a strictly kosher home. However, when I viewed the PETA films, it sickened me to see animals writhing on the floor and screaming while hanging from their hooves.

    As Jews, we are supposed to treat animals in a humane and decent manner. They are also Hashem’s creations. The Torah delineates explicitly the animals we are allowed to eat. These are Hashem’s words. Predators, raptors and scavengers are not included so that our neshamas will not be affected by eating the flesh of such animals. We eat docile animals, therefore, it is incumbent upon the shochet, a Torah scholar, to carry out his task of taking life in a humane, swift, and painless manner.

    My husband and I will not buy meat or poultry from Agriprocessors, as we feel the meat is treif, no matter how many glatt labels are plastered on the package.

  3. avatar says: shayna

    Well, animal cruelty at AgriProcessors’ (one of the largest kosher slaughterhouses in the USA) continues AFTER tours for rabbis and reporters end! Yet again in August 2008, a PETA undercover investigator found grotesque acts of cruelty happening on a DAILY basis.

    Just two weeks prior to the August 2008 undercover investigation, AgriProcessors’ gave a private tour to selected rabbis, community leaders, and reporters, and video footage demonstrating their ability to slaughter without a second cut at all. When no one is looking, speed is clearly more important than humane kosher slaughter. The old saying, “time is money” is a shame on US kosher supervision.

    SINCE THIS SLAUGHTERHOUSE HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE THAT THEY CAN ACT HUMANELY WHEN NO ONE IS LOOKING, IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT RABBIS CALL FOR THEM TO INSTALL 3rd PARTY CAMERAS AS PER PETA’S RECCOMENDATION OR BE SHUT DOWN IMMEDIATEY GIVEN THEIR LONG HISTORY OF GROSTESQUE VIOLATIONS!

    As a Jew, I am appalled that this abuse is allowed to go on without major consequences. Anyone who is o.k. with animal suffering has missed the point on living an ethical life.

    AN ANIMAL SUFFERING A SLOPPY AND UNNECESSARILY PAINFUL DEATH IS NOT KOSHER!

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