"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)


So Much to Blog About, So Little Time

AgriProcessors is facing criticism for food safety issues. Failed Messiah has posted a union's complaint about the matter as well as various documents from the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service here. Here is a summary from Jewschool:

According to the Forward, in March and September of 2006 the USDA sent the AgriProcessors plant manager a “Letter of Warning” reviewing a series of problems, including: receiving 250 non-compliance records from the United States Department of Agriculture during 2006, five of them for inadequate safeguards against Mad Cow disease, and at least 18 records for fecal matter in the food production area (Including one, on December 26, in which the inspector wrote that during multiple checks of 10 chickens “fecal contamination varied between 70 and 80%.” and another, similar, citation a day later).
In other news ...

On a cool November morning, I headed toward the hills of Pennsylvania, to visit the only organic kosher chicken company I could locate.

But when I reached the farm, the chicken coops exuded a stench so overpowering I didn’t want to stay long. And under the crisp winds of autumn, the chickens seldom left their dimly lit, crowded sheds. ...

I can’t imagine how anyone can comfortably digest reports that AgriProcessors, which makes Aaron’s Best kosher products, engaged in “acts of inhumane slaughter,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

I, too, eat commercially produced kosher chicken and meat. But when I do, a small part of me rebels, feeling almost as defiled as I would if I learned that pork bits flavored a spinach dish I’d eaten. . . .

[T]he stakes are higher than satisfying one little boy’s hunger. It’s an ethical imperative that we follow not only the letter of the law, but the spirit too. Don’t chicken out.


  • At 8/13/2007 10:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We need to remind ourselves that as bad as AgriProcessors is, the primary villians in this sordid interminable scandal are the Kashrut Certifying Agencies, the OU, KAJ, etc., who permit the abuses to go on and refuse to do anything about them.

    Agri could easily be put out of business permanently, if these agencies revoked their certifications.

    What are the chances for this occuring?

    My guess, "zero", unless strong and consistent public pressure is put on these groups to do so.

  • At 8/27/2007 9:30 PM, Blogger heebnvegan said…

    In response to The Jewish Week article mentioned in this post, the 8/24 issue of the paper featured a great letter to the editor:

    Grandma’s Lesson

    Regarding Elicia Brown’s column, “A Kosher Carnivore’s Dilemma” (Aug. 10), the reason that I take pride in being Jewish is our history of compassion over many thousands of years.

    I believe that the seed of my lifetime devotion for the least of us (the non-human animals with whom we share our planet) was planted in a conversation with my grandmother almost 60 years ago. She was describing to me her horror when, as a child in Russia, she had witnessed a chicken being killed.

    I am in awe that Grandma, who had seen the bloodshed of the pogroms, could understand that compassion for animals does not diminish — but rather enhances — our compassion for each other.

    There is no such thing as “humane slaughter,” and there are videos available of kosher slaughterhouses for anyone with the stomach to view them, which should be able to convince any doubter.

    I’ve been a vegetarian for almost all of my adult life; I think that my Grandma would be proud of me.

    Jayn Brotman


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