"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)


'Kosher to Eat Is Not the Same as Kosher to Buy'

I haven't devoted a signigicant amount of time or posts to the many developments and discussions related to the latest AgriProcessors scandal. But they are important, and I encourage you to follow them (e.g., on the blogs I mentioned in my post about AgriProcessors last month).

Here are excerpts from "Kosher to Eat Is Not the Same as Kosher to Buy," an article that appeared in J. The Jewish News Weekly of Northern California this week. It's written by Rabbi Shlomo Levin, a Modern Orthodox rabbi from Milwaukee.

I don’t think whether the meat produced by Agriprocessors is kosher to eat or not is really our concern. We don’t want to know if it is kosher to eat. We want to know if it is kosher to buy. . . .

When we buy the meat, even though as consumers our role in perpetrating the alleged violations is passive, we nevertheless associate ourselves with doing something wrong.

The Orthodox Union states clearly that its supervision relates only to whether food is permitted to be eaten. It does not consider labor issues, animal cruelty, environmental impact or anything else of this nature and has no plans to start doing so. Why not? For many reasons.

The list of potential issues to include in expanded supervision is nearly endless. The government already regulates some of these matters; the O.U. lacks the required resources and expertise.

And many of these concerns are not uniquely Jewish, while the O.U.’s purpose is to serve the special needs of the Jewish community.

There is nothing wrong with the O.U. conducting itself in this manner, as long as we understand what the O.U. symbol means. A product is kosher to eat, but whether the company manufacturing that product is kosher to do business with is unknown.

What we need is not a replacement for the current kosher supervision system, but an addition to it.

Since how a business treats its workers, the environment and its animals is important, we need another mechanism by which consumers can receive that information.

The Conservative movement has taken some steps to form a “hechsher tzedek” kosher certification focused on the above issues. Some other small, independent groups have done the same.

The Orthodox kashrut establishment, however, due to its large existing infrastructure of supervisors, would be able to produce a new certification with the greatest ease, efficiency and speed.

As kosher consumers, let’s make clear that we want them to do so. Only if we as consumers make known that we will base our purchasing decisions on the presence or absence of such a new symbol is it likely that substantial action will be taken.


  • At 6/15/2008 1:40 AM, Blogger compugraphd said…


    There is a story about a Rabbi: A shokhet came to him. The Rabbi told the shokhet that because he had lost feeling in his fingers he couldn't work as a shokhet anymore because he couldn't feel if the knife was sharp enough to kill the animal immediately and painlessly. The Shokhet then asked what he could do and the Rabbi said that he could be a wet nurse. The Shokhet replied how could he be a wet nurse, he didn't have the equipment. The Rabbi told him that he didn't have the equipment to be a Shokhet anymore either.

    This story illustrates how important slaughtering painlessly is.

    IMHO, if it's that important, then how can a facility be considered kosher if it doesn't ensure painless slaughter?


  • At 6/18/2008 10:55 PM, Blogger Devadeva Mirel said…

    "kosher to eat..not to buy" shows meat eaters' chosen path of ignorance. nobody wants to think...just eat/consume.


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