"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)


Recent News From Jewschool and Failed Messiah

In Vitro Meat
On Thursday, Jewschool discussed some of the questions surrounding kashrut and in vitro meat. It was a much more sophisticated look at the issue than last year's "But How Do You Shecht It?" post. Here's an excerpt:
Growing hamburgers in vats solves some halachic problems: No tzaar baalei hayim, cruelty to animals, as [is] endemic in contemporary factory farming. No need to hire rabbis to oversee the slaughter.

But it raises other questions.

Does meat cloned from a cow’s stem cell count as ever min hachai — meat (ultimately) from a live animal, which is prohibited to be eaten? Can a tissue culture be said to chew its cud if it has no cud, or to have cloven hoo[ve]s if it has no hooves?Could it conceivabl[y] be parve and permitted to be served with milk?

Ten years from now, McDonald’s may boast that its serves low-carbon, cruelty-free in vitro burgers. As Jews, should we eat them?

I offered my 2 shekels' worth about in vitro meat in a series of comments in response to an April 2008 post on The Jew & The Carrot.

Haredim and Swine Flu
Yesterday, Failed Messiah posted a Haaretz article discussing how the haredi community in Israel is dealing with swine flu. The article concludes:
As with most ad campaigns in Israel, the Health Ministry's campaign against swine flu has its ultra-Orthodox version. It is similar to the one for the general public, but the cartoon characters washing their hands are all wearing skullcaps.

The ultra-Orthodox community is no less worried about what it calls Mexican flu - to avoid mentioning the name of unkosher animals - than the public at large. However, despite the large number of infections in yeshivas, there are no plans to cut back on mass learning, public prayers or holiday meals.

Creative solutions have appeared to avoid infection and increase public awareness. For example, ritual baths now have signs calling on the public to avoid infection. Even the Gerer Hassidim have given up their generations-old custom of sharing the rabbi's Shabbat wine, and now each Hasid gets his own disposable cup.


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