"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)


Peter Singer in Heeb and Kapparot Follow-Up

There are two articles I've been meaning to post about, and I shan't wait any longer!

The brand-new issue of Heeb is called "The Food Issue." As usual, Heeb has combined its trademark hilarious, edgy, un-P.C. Jewish shtick with a commendable social message. This issue features a six-page feature article about Animal Liberation author Peter Singer, a philosophy professor at Princeton University who comes from a Jewish background. Singer talks about the AgriProcessors kosher meat scandal, animal suffering in the Jewish tradition, factory farming, the myth of free-range, and more. Click here to read the article, or better yet, go buy the issue or subscribe to the magazine. It's amazing that Heeb has given Singer the platform to get out messages such as the following:
Any being that can suffer has an interest in not suffering. It’s a somewhat broader category than pain because you might say that a hen in a cage is suffering because many of her basic instincts are frustrated. She can’t lay her eggs in a nest, and that causes stress every time she needs to lay an egg. She can’t really stretch her wings. Those sorts of things are suffering rather than pain. She may also experience pain—her feathers have rubbed off because the cage is so crowded and her raw skin is constantly pushed against the wire. We need to recognize suffering as well as pain because animals do have other needs than the need to avoid physical pain.
A few days before Yom Kippur, an Israeli newspaper ran an article highlighting the widespread opposition to the practice of kapparot, in which some Orthodox Jews wave chickens above their heads--supposedly to transfer their sins to the birds--before the animals are slaughtered at the scene (click here to read my original post about kapparot last year and click here to see my follow-up post about cruelty-to-animals charges stemming from a New York kapparot ceremony). I thought the highlight of the article was the following quote from Rabbi Gilad Kariv:
Slaughtering chickens is an unfit custom that goes against Jewish feelings regarding animals. ... Anyone who walks through the markets can see that the manner in which the chickens are held before the Kapparot is insufferable. There is no veterinary supervision and no concern for the feelings of these poor creatures.


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