Undercover Investigation of Shackling and Hoisting (Part II)
The Forward's article, which I referred to quite a bit in my original post, gave a fantastic, comprehensive overview of why so much kosher meat comes from South America, what the undercover investigation found, and the controversy that surrounds the issue. The article quotes leading animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin, who says that shackling and hoisting "is in a category by itself for badness." She adds, "It’s cruel to the animals and it’s dangerous for the employees."
In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post, Rabbi Adam Frank thoughtfully discusses the cruelty-to-animals and labor implications of kosher slaughter. Says Rabbi Frank:
Judaism is prideful of the fact that Jewish law protects the rights of workers and protects against the unnecessary infliction of pain to an animal. It is for these reasons that the exploitation of worker and animal welfare by current rabbinic leadership is so disappointing, and enraging. The Jewish laity places its trust in rabbinic authority. Not only is a halachic cut assumed, but a kosher leadership is expected. ... [T]he ability and responsibility to implement caring changes in kosher meat production is in the hands of the Israeli rabbinate and the OU - the two authorities who support the import of South American kosher meat for sale in their respective countries.Not surprisingly, the two J-blogs to lead the way with this story are The Jew & The Carrot and Failed Messiah. The Jew & The Carrot's post, "Shackle and Hoist - A Serious Shonde," focuses on the article in the Forward and says, "Is anyone else just getting bored by our (meaning Jews, meaning Americans, meaning Israelis etc.) collective ignorance and/or defiance about how the animals that give their lives to feed us are treated?"
Failed Messiah posted about the news right around the time the Forward put its article online on Wednesday. The following day, Failed Messiah discussed the Jerusalem Post article and various issues related to it. Yesterday, Failed Messiah featured a post with a quote from a rabbi about how shackling and hoisting relates to New Zealand as well as a post suggesting that the USDA should ban the importation of meat whereby animals were killed by shackling and hoisting through the Humane Slaughter Act.
PETA's blog The PETA Files featured a fascinating interview with the undercover investigator who was actually at the Uruguayan kosher slaughterhouse. In the interview, the investigator said:
As someone who keeps kosher, I feel ashamed and embarrassed that the kosher food industry has been complicit in some of the worst farmed animal abuses. ... Undercover footage is the best way to expose the truth and ultimately hold people accountable to make conditions less cruel for the animals. I desperately want kosher food to live up to the highest standards and I know other kosher consumers demand the same.