"I've noticed that quite a lot of people who are prominent in the animal liberation movement are Jews. Maybe we are simply not prepared to see the powerful hurting the weak." --Peter Singer (Author, Animal Liberation)


The Ongoing AgriProcessors Saga

I'm signed up for daily Google News alerts about AgriProcessors, and ever since the May 12 immigration raid at the slaughterhouse, I've seen links to hundreds of news articles. In a sense, I'd long yearned for the day when the spotlight would shine on the kosher meat industry and there'd be frequent commentary in secular media, the Jewish papers, and the Jewish blogosphere. However, the volume of information has been overwhelming and I have made no attempt to cover every development on heebnvegan. If you're looking for regular updates about the AgriProcessors story, sign up for the Google News alerts and check out Failed Messiah frequently. I've talked about the story a few times and I'm sure it'll keep coming up, but I must stress that heebnvegan is not the source for breaking news about AgriProcessors or related developments.

Today, Dawn Watch (a media watch list for the animal rights movement) sent out an e-mail titled, "DawnWatch: Vegan living, gorillas, and kosher laws in the New York Times this week 8/4 -- 8/8/08." I immediately opened it and got excited, but I quickly realized that I'd already read the Times op-ed about AgriProcessors. This shouldn't be taken for granted, but prominent articles about the kosher meat industry are so common these days that their mere existence is no longer cause for excitement. The Dawn Watch alert noted:
Animal advocates who have been involved in our movement for a few years ... are familiar with the horrifying undercover video slaughter images that came out of Agriprocessors -- images of tracheas being ripped out of fully conscious animals, and animals trying to stand up while taking minutes to die. ...

As kosher laws were written at least partly to protect against egregious cruelty to animals, it is a shame that an op-ed would leave the animals out of the picture when questioning, on grounds of cruelty, this plant's standing in the kosher community. We have an opportunity, however, with letters to the editor, to shine some harsh light on the animal suffering.

My original post about the AgriProcessors raid (which I've since taken down) essentially made the same point. This week, Los Angeles Jewish Journal editor-in-chief Rob Eshman noted, among other things, that he's been inundated with letters to the editor about kosher meat. Also this week, The Jewish Week editor Gary Rosenblatt wrote that "the controversy has sparked a long-overdue discussion about the larger meaning of the mitzvah of kashrut, a conversation that includes values as well as ritual and could result in some substantive improvements."

In the Jewish media at the very least, all eyes are on the kosher meat industry. Please take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to get people to see what's wrong with the kosher meat industry and consider adopting a vegetarian diet.


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