On December 16, IsraelNationalNews.com reported, "After a stormy session on Wednesday, the Knesset Education Committee approved the first reading of a bill that would prohibit the import, sale and trade of the fur of cats and dogs. The draft legislation was pared down so as not to include a wider ban on the kinds of pelts used in the traditional fur hats (shtreimel) worn by Hassidic Jews on joyous occasions." According to a recent survey, 86 percent of Israelis believe killing animals for fur is immoral and 79 percent favor the ban.
Gogol Bordello's Oren Kaplan
On Monday I saw Gogol Bordello for the second time, and once again, the Gypsy-punk band had an explosive live show. I tried to set up an interview with guitarist Oren Kaplan, a vegetarian from Israel, but I never heard back from the band's PR team. Gogol Bordello performed in Tel Aviv earlier this month, and The Jerusalem Post ran an article discussing Kaplan's Israeli background. Click here to read the blurb about Gogol Bordello in my "The Music Issue" post from 2007.
Update on Proposed Monkey-Breeding Facility
Last week, I noted that a proposed monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico had been the target of criticism from both animal protection advocates and anti-Semites. Yesterday, The PETA Files announced, "We have just learned that in response to a lawsuit filed by local citizens and PETA, a Superior Court judge in Puerto Rico has ruled in activists' favor and halted all further construction of the Bioculture facility."
Hazon Food Conference
The fourth Hazon Food Conference took place this past weekend in California. Last month Hazon's blog, The Jew & The Carrot, posted about meat and vegetarianism at the conference, and as of today, a debate is still raging on in the comments section. That post has garnered 52 comments so far, which is quite a lot considering that The Jew & The Carrot's 2007 post about shechting a goat at that year's conference got 60 comments, the most of any post that year. Earlier this week, The Jew & The Carrot featured a post about how the debate came up at this year's conference.
Recent Articles in the Forward
- In an article published yesterday, Leah Koenig wrote, "Perhaps more important, kosher agencies overstep their bounds by beginning to hechsher fresh produce. From the industry’s perspective, any expansion of business is understandably a good thing. But these agencies were developed to take the guesswork out of kosher consumption, not to discourage the use of inherently kosher fruits and vegetables, or to profit by creating a new need for inspection DVDs, light boxes and the like. The lesson to be learned here is to not give up common sense. The halachic prohibition against insects is not the issue; kosher caterers and consumers alike should certainly check for, and remove, bugs. But when this honest concern turns grocery shopping and dinner preparation into battle scenes, we can only lose."
- An article last week reflected on vegetarianism and being a guest at a Friday night dinner in Tel Aviv.
- Yesterday, the Forward reported:
The shuttering of a New York kosher poultry slaughterhouse for serious sanitary violations is once again putting the spotlight on a Hasidic sect, some of whose members have repeatedly defied the law.
A federal judge imposed a temporary restraining order and injunction December 29 against further slaughtering and processing at the plant, which serves the ultra-Orthodox enclave of New Square, home to members of the Skver Hasidic sect. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York had requested these measures after numerous attempts by federal officials since 2002 to get the slaughterhouse to comply with the guidelines of the Poultry Products Inspection Act.
The plant had been found by federal authorities to have numerous violations. As reported in a local newspaper, The Journal News, poultry residue was found on the plant’s walls and in the manager’s office; there was no sanitizer in the bathrooms; a chiller tank full of processed birds had no running water, and pools of stagnant water and piles of trash surrounded the plant.
More than 355,000 birds were slaughtered there in 2008, with almost all the meat going to Oneg Poultry, a grocery store in New Square, according to The Journal News.