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Thread: Kosher?

  1. #1

    Kosher?

    How exactly are the animals killed so that they feel no pain?

    In Jewish circumcision, the technique used by moils is painless as opposed to the technique used in hospitals which leaves newborn boys red, shaken and screaming.

    Egads, just found this. I'm not so sure if kosher is more humane now.

    November 30, 2004
    Videotapes Show Grisly Scenes at Kosher Slaughterhouse
    View the video.

    By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

    An animal-rights group released grisly undercover videotapes today showing cows in a major kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa staggering and bellowing in seeming agony long after their throats were cut.

    The plant, run by Agriprocessors Inc. in Postville, Iowa, is being denounced as inhumane by the group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and by several experts on animal science and kosher practice.

    But the plant's supervising rabbi said the tapes were "testimony that this is being done right." And representatives of the Orthodox Union, the leading organization that certifies kosher products, said that while the pictures were not pretty, they did not make the case that the slaughterhouse is violating kosher law.

    The plant is the country's largest producer of meat certified as glatt kosher, the highest standard for cleanliness under kosher law. (Glatt means smooth, or free of the lung blemishes that might indicate disease.) Employing 600 people and selling under the popular Aaron's Best brand, it is the only American plant allowed to export to Israel.

    On the 30-minute tape, each animal is placed in a rotating drum so it can be killed while upside down, as required by Orthodox rabbis in Israel. Immediately after the shochet, or ritual slaughterer, has slit the throat, another worker tears open each steer's neck with a hook and pulls out the trachea and esophagus. The drum rotates, and the steer is dumped on the floor. One after another, animals with dangling windpipes stand up or try to; in one case, death takes three minutes.

    In most kosher plants, animals are tightly penned while their throats are slashed, and the organs are not torn; tearing by the shochet is forbidden under Jewish law. In nonkosher plants, animals by law must be made unconscious before they are killed.

    Virtually all defenders of kosher slaughter, called shechita, insist that the prescribed rapid cut with a razor-sharp two-foot blade is humane because it causes instant and painless death. Jewish law also forbids killing injured or sick animals, so they may not be stunned first, either with clubs as in ancient times or with air hammers, pistols or electricity today.

    Federal law considers properly conducted religious slaughter to be humane, and so allows Jewish as well as Muslim slaughterhouses to forgo stunning. But federal rules outlaw leaving animals killed that way conscious "for an extended period of time."

    Rabbi Chaim Kohn, of the Agriprocessors plant, says the cows feel nothing, even as they struggle on the floor and slamm their heads into walls. "Unconsciousness and the external behavior of the animal have nothing to do with shechita," he said. Because the throat-tearing happens after the shochet's cut, he said, it does not render the animal nonkosher.

    Other experts in kosher law were divided on the issue.

    Rabbis Menachem Genack and Yisroel Belsky, the chief experts for the Orthodox Union, which certifies over 600,000 products as kosher - including Aaron's Best meats - said the killings on the tape, while "gruesome," appeared kosher because the shochet checked to make sure he had severed both the trachea and esophagus.

    Scientific studies, Rabbi Belsky said, found that an animal whose brain had lost blood pressure when its throat was slit felt nothing and any motions it made were involuntary.

    "The perfect model is the headless chicken running around," said Rabbi Genack.

    Both rabbis said they were willing to revisit the plant and study whether tearing the throat or letting steers thrash on the ground violated Talmudic proscriptions against cruelty to animals.

    The union, they said, prefers a type of pen designed by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, in which steers are killed standing up with their weight supported. They were designed in the 1950's so American kosher plants could stop killing live animals suspended on chains, which was seen as both cruel and dangerous to the slaughterer.

    But a spokesman for Shechita UK, a British lobbying group that defends ritual slaughter against the protests of animal-rights activists, said after watching the tape with a rabbi and a British shochet that he "felt queasy," and added,"I don't know what that is, but it's not shechita."

    The spokesman, Shimon Cohen, said that in Britain an animal must be restrained for 30 seconds to bleed, and no second cut is allowed. Done correctly, he said, a shochet's cut must produce instantaneous unconsciousness, so Agriprocessors' meat could not be considered kosher.

    Asked how prominent authorities could disagree over such a fundamental issue, he replied: "Well, we don't have a pope. You do find rabbis who interpret things in different ways."

    Dr. Temple Grandin, a veterinarian at Colorado State University who designs humane slaughter plants, viewed the tape last week without knowing the location. She called it "an atrocious abomination, nothing like I've seen in 30 kosher plants I've visited here and in England, France, Ireland and Canada."

    She said the throat-tearing violated federal anti-cruelty law. "Nothing in the Humane Slaughter Act says you can start dismembering an animal while it's still conscious," she said.....
    http://www.govegantexas.org/newsitem.php?id=80
    Last edited by antiquity; 11-22-2006 at 11:40 PM.

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