Potential Victory Against Shackling and Hoisting
The good news is that Israel's Chief Rabbinate will phase out shackling and hoisting. The bad news is that the Rabbinate apparently isn't committing to any sort of time frame for the phase-out. In the interim, animals will continue to suffer on a large scale.
On February 19, The Jerusalem Post reported that the Rabbinate will phase out shackling and hoisting. That same day, Failed Messiah responded by pointing out that it'll probably be a while before shackling and hoisting is actually done away with. That post concluded that "there is a solution. Either use (or design, build and use) truly humane slaughter methods. If not that, go veg."
On February 20, a YNet article quoted the Chief Rabbinate—a December letter from Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger—as having said that it will "consult with experts and find other, practical solutions that will ease the pain and suffering on animals undergoing shechita." (Failed Messiah posted the article later that day, and The Jew & The Carrot followed suit the next day.)
On February 21, the Forward ran an article driving home the point that the phase-out won't happen overnight. The Orthodox Union's Rabbi Menachem Genack told the Forward, "They [the Rabbinate] made a conceptual decision to do this [the phase-out], but the implementation is something different, something that is going to take a long time." A veterinarian involved in discussions about the issue also indicated that there was no definite timetable.
Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI) and its Israeli sister charity, Hakol Chai, issued a news release applauding the planned phase-out but urging "both the Orthodox Union and the Israeli Rabbinate to establish a committee to set a fixed timeframe and ensure the supervision of the expedient phase-out of shackling and hoisting in the kosher slaughter industry." Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) issued a news release commending the Rabbinate's decision. JVNA president Richard H. Schwartz said in the release:
This is a very positive step, but it only deals with the tip of the iceberg. Even if ritual slaughter is performed flawlessly, Jews should consider how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.
Other Items to Check Out
- A February 20 Failed Messiah post questioning whether meat imported from South America could be banned under the Humane Slaughter Act
- February 18 letters to the editor in The Jerusalem Post, including one that says: "Instead of merely making slaughtering conditions more acceptable, why kill at all? It would behoove the Jewish nation, and in fact the rest of the world, to revert to basics and adhere to the principles laid down in Genesis, where God clearly states that we have been given herbs, grains, seeds and fruit to eat. This suggests that we humans are vegans by nature."
- JTA blurbs about the issue (from February 13 and February 19). As I wrote in a July post about a different kosher meat scandal, "I don't think anyone is likely to be appalled by what's going on ... after reading either newswire article, but at least the news is hopefully getting out there, providing an excellent opportunity to submit letters to the editor and/or guest op-eds to Jewish weeklies."