Jonathan Safran Foer Takes On the Kosher-Meat Industry, Promotes Vegetarianism
Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of the bestselling novel Everything Is Illuminated, has written and narrated a new video exposé of the kosher-meat industry, titled "If This Is Kosher ...." Foer calls on Jews to reject the industry's standard cruelty that violates the spirit of kashrut and subject animals to unnecessary pain and suffering (tsa'ar ba'alei chayim). The full-length version of the video is a thoughtful, comprehensive, and powerful case for Jewish vegetarianism. The video can be seen at PETA's new HumaneKosher.com, and DVD copies can be ordered through that site as well.
"If This Is Kosher ..." includes explanations from Foer (as well as well-known rabbis David Wolpe and Irving "Yitz" Greenberg) about the Jewish basis for compassion for animals and explores how this is seemingly ignored in the modern kosher-meat industry. Foer recounts the recent AgriProcessors scandal, in which conscious cows had their tracheas and esophagi ripped out and writhed about for several minutes after having their throats slit; the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that AgriProcessors employees "engaged in acts of inhumane slaughter." The video also includes footage from kosher slaughterhouses in Israel that show disturbing conditions for cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals--all supposedly accepted as kosher. The beauty of "If This Is Kosher ..." is that Foer's narration comes as an easy-to-relate-to yet urgent appeal from inside the Jewish community.
“Ask yourself: Can kashrut have any meaning if it is applied like this?” says Foer. “This isn’t the kosher that I was brought up to be proud of. This shouldn’t be anybody’s kosher. Such blatant and vicious disregard for life has absolutely no place in a religion that sanctifies life.”
"If This Is Kosher ..." is a rare gem. This video presents a powerful case for Jewish vegetarianism by someone with emerging starpower in the Jewish community. I urge you all to watch it and show it to others. Forward it to friends, family members, coworkers, and congregants. Take this opportunity to engage in debate and get the message out there. Arrange screenings of the film, perhaps with Foer, Rabbi Wolpe, or Rabbi Greenberg, by e-mailing VegInfo@peta.org. Write letters to the editor when newspapers publish articles about "If This Is Kosher ..." (such as this brand-new one from The Forward).
Looking for more tips to spread the word? Check out the "You Can Help" page at HumaneKosher.com.