When Kosher Isn't Kosher
Kosher slaughter takes the
cake when it comes to cruelty...
From John Robbins' book "Diet For A New America"
You may think, when you hear a phrase like "ritual slaughter," or "kosher slaughter," that this refers to a better kind of killing. You may think, as I did, that the act is done with respect for the dignity of the animal, and concern that it suffer as little as possible. You may think, as I did, that kosher ways of slaughter are more compassionate than "ordinary" slaughterhouse deaths.
Orthodox Jewish and Moslem dietary laws forbid consumption of meat from animals which are not "healthy and moving" when killed. Religious orthodoxy today interprets this to mean that kosher meat must come from animals who have not been stunned before being killed. They must be fully conscious when it's done. Further, in order to qualify for the kosher stamp of approval, the animal must have its throat slit in a particular way. The consequences of this interpretation of kosher slaughtering are a travesty for the poor creatures involved.
You see, the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 requires, for sanitary reasons, that no slaughtered animal may fall in the blood of a previously slaughtered animal. What this means, in practice, is that animals must be killed while suspended from a conveyer belt, rather than while lying on the floor.
Stringing up an animal before delivering the final blow doesn't cause it any pain if it has already been rendered unconscious. But when an animal must be conscious when killed, as kosher regulations stipulate, and also must have its throat cut in the particular way kosher law requires, the animal is forced to undergo an enormous amount of extra pain:
"Animals being ritually slaughtered in the United States are shackeld around a rear leg, hoisted into the air, and then hang, fully conscious, upside down on the conveyer belt for between two and five minutes-and occasionally much longer if something goes wrong on the killing line before the slaughterer makes his cut. "
It is difficult for us to imagine what these poor animals must suffer. The cows are exhausted and terrified to begin with.
"The animal upside down with ruptured joints and often a broken leg, twists frantically in pain and terror"
A heavy iron chain is clamped around one of their rear legs, then they are jerked off their feet and hung upside down by a single leg. Now cows are by nature as peaceful a creature as you could ever hope to find, but this situation is too much for even these most mellow of animals. They are provoked into hysteria.
"The animal upside down with ruptured joints and often a broken leg, twists frantically in pain and terror, so that it must be gripped by the neck or have a clamp inserted in its nostrils to enable the slaughterer to kill the animal with a single stroke, as religious law prescribes."
You may think that today, because relatively few people "eat kosher," only a very small percentage of animals would be "killed kosher". You may also think that even including the non-religious people who seek out kosher meat, mistakenly believing it to be better, this still wouldn't amount to a significant percentage. And finally you are probably quite sure that if you buy meat that isn't labeled kosher, you are certainly not consuming meat from animals killed in this fashion.
But, I'm sorry to say, you'd be wrong on each account. You see, for meat to be passed as kosher by Orthodox Rabbis, it is not enough for the animal merely to have been conscious when killed and to have its throat slit in the required way. A kosher Jew is also forbidden to consume the blood of an animal, so the veins and arteries must be cut out of kosher meat. In many parts of a cow, however, removing the blood vessels is very costly, and so the meat packers have resolved this difficulty by removing the blood vessels only from those parts of the animal from which they can be cut out inexpensively. Thus, even though the whole animal was killed kosher, only these parts are then sold as kosher meat. In other words, there's a lot of meat left over. This means that a great deal of the meat in our supermarkets and restaurants, while not labeled kosher, is in fact from animals hoisted and slaughtered according to kosher regulations. One authority states:
"It has been estimated that over 90% of the animals slaughtered in New Jersey - whose slaughterhouses supply New York City as well as their own state - are slaughtered by the ritual method. "
Another report states:
"Although less than 5% of the flesh in the United States is bought kosher, as much as 50% of the animals are slaughtered as such. "
Peace is patriotic! Michael Santomauro Editorial Director 253 West 72nd street #1711 New York, NY 10023 http://www.RePortersNoteBook.com Available for Talk-Radio interviews 24hours 212-787-7891 http://reportersnotebook.com/newforum/indexforum.html
Regarding your item: http://www.rense.com/general33/kok.htm
It should be noted that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that animals that are to be bled to death (exsanguinated) be unconscious first. Additional guidelines for animal euthanasia can be found at:
These guidelines are used at numerous public and private institutions that use animals. Except at kosher slaughterhouses, I guess.