US Certifiers of Kosher Slaughter Defend Schechita Practices

Dec 08, 2004, 00:00 ET from LUBICOM Marketing Consulting

    NEW YORK, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A broad coalition of rabbis and
 certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher meat slaughter in
 the United States has reaffirmed the humaneness of kosher slaughter
 (schechita) in the wake of charges by a radical animal rights group. In an
 unprecedented statement, uniting diverse segments of the kosher community, the
 12 signatories expressed concern that the recent publicity "may lead to
 misconceptions about the practices depicted on the videotape [released by
 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] and, more generally, about the
 shechita process itself."
     The signatories of the statement included the Orthodox Union (OU) and
 other rabbinic authorities that certify the kosher slaughter at Agriprocessors
 in Postville, Iowa, the object of the charges. The rabbis noted that schechita
 "has been established over centuries to be the most humane form of animal
 slaughter.  Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost
 instantaneously."
     Relating to some of the scenes on the video, the statement noted: "After
 the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible that it may
 still display certain reflexive actions, including those shown in images
 portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should not be mistaken for
 signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not affect the kosher status of
 the slaughtered animal's meat."  They even noted that it was not uncommon, but
 rare that an animal may walk after schechita. "Cases when animals show such
 signs of life after the slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an
 event would not invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were
 severed in the shechita cut."
     Referring to the excision of the trachea, the statement said that it is
 "not common practice," adding: "We wish to make clear that nothing in any such
 post-shechita "second cut" or excision in any way undermines the validity of
 the shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat.  We
 further note that regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture explicitly
 approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding."
     The statement ended with a strong commitment to "the Jewish mandate of
 avoiding "tzaar baalei chayim," unnecessary pain to any creature. We reiterate
 that the shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves
 to the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all religious
 and federal laws governing kosher slaughter."
 
     The full statement and signatures follows:
 
 
                  STATEMENT OF RABBIS AND CERTIFYING AGENCIES
                    ON RECENT PUBLICITY ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER
 
     As rabbis and certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher
 meat slaughter in the United States, we are deeply concerned that the recent
 publicity surrounding the videotape released by a group called People for the
 Ethical Treatment of Animals may lead to misconceptions about the practices
 depicted on the videotape and, more generally, about the shechita process
 itself.  We therefore wish to state as follows:
 
     1. Shechita involves the slicing or cutting of the trachea and esophagus
        with a sharp knife without nicks in a manner which has been established
        over centuries to be the most humane form of animal slaughter.
        Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost
        instantaneously.
 
     2. After the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible
        that it may still display certain reflexive actions, including those
        shown in images portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should
        not be mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not
        affect the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat. There may be
        exceptional circumstances when, due to the closing of jugular veins or
        a carotid artery after the shechita cut, or due to the non-complete
        severance of an artery or vein, the animal may rise up on its legs and
        walk around. Cases when animals show such signs of life after the
        slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an event would not
        invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were severed in
        the shechita cut.
 
     3. With the act of shechita, it is common to cut the carotid arteries, a
        practice designed to facilitate bleeding and accelerate
        unconsciousness.  Excision of the trachea, however, is not common
        practice.  We wish to make clear that nothing in any such post-shechita
        "second cut" or excision in any way undermines the validity of the
        shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat.
        We further note that regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
        explicitly approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding.
 
     4. We reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish mandate of avoiding "tzaar
        baalei chayim," unnecessary pain to any creature. We reiterate that the
        shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves to
        the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all
        religious and federal laws governing kosher slaughter.
 
            Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
            Halachic Consultant
            Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
 
            Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
            Kashruth Administrator
            Chicago Rabbinical Council
 
            Rabbi Menachem Genack
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Kashrus Division
            Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
 
            Rabbi Asher Hatchuel
            Rabbinic Head
            Sephardic Beth Din of America
 
            Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Star-K Certification
 
            Rabbi Emanuel Holzer
            Chairman, Kashrus Committee
            Rabbinical Council of America
 
            Rabbi Chaim Kohn
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Khal Adas Jeshurun
 
            Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz
            Head of Beth Din
            Chicago Rabbinical Council
 
            Rabbi Yitzchok Stein
            Rabbinic Head
            Beth Din of Karlsburg
 
            Rabbi Yechiel Steinmetz
            Rabbinic Judge
            Monsey, NY
 
            Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum
            Nirbater Rav
            Rabbinic Supervisor
            Alle Processing Corporation
 
            Rabbi Menachem Meir Weissmandl
            Rabbinic Head
            Nitra Beth Din of Monsey
 
 

SOURCE LUBICOM Marketing Consulting
    NEW YORK, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A broad coalition of rabbis and
 certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher meat slaughter in
 the United States has reaffirmed the humaneness of kosher slaughter
 (schechita) in the wake of charges by a radical animal rights group. In an
 unprecedented statement, uniting diverse segments of the kosher community, the
 12 signatories expressed concern that the recent publicity "may lead to
 misconceptions about the practices depicted on the videotape [released by
 People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals] and, more generally, about the
 shechita process itself."
     The signatories of the statement included the Orthodox Union (OU) and
 other rabbinic authorities that certify the kosher slaughter at Agriprocessors
 in Postville, Iowa, the object of the charges. The rabbis noted that schechita
 "has been established over centuries to be the most humane form of animal
 slaughter.  Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost
 instantaneously."
     Relating to some of the scenes on the video, the statement noted: "After
 the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible that it may
 still display certain reflexive actions, including those shown in images
 portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should not be mistaken for
 signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not affect the kosher status of
 the slaughtered animal's meat."  They even noted that it was not uncommon, but
 rare that an animal may walk after schechita. "Cases when animals show such
 signs of life after the slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an
 event would not invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were
 severed in the shechita cut."
     Referring to the excision of the trachea, the statement said that it is
 "not common practice," adding: "We wish to make clear that nothing in any such
 post-shechita "second cut" or excision in any way undermines the validity of
 the shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat.  We
 further note that regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture explicitly
 approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding."
     The statement ended with a strong commitment to "the Jewish mandate of
 avoiding "tzaar baalei chayim," unnecessary pain to any creature. We reiterate
 that the shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves
 to the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all religious
 and federal laws governing kosher slaughter."
 
     The full statement and signatures follows:
 
 
                  STATEMENT OF RABBIS AND CERTIFYING AGENCIES
                    ON RECENT PUBLICITY ON KOSHER SLAUGHTER
 
     As rabbis and certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher
 meat slaughter in the United States, we are deeply concerned that the recent
 publicity surrounding the videotape released by a group called People for the
 Ethical Treatment of Animals may lead to misconceptions about the practices
 depicted on the videotape and, more generally, about the shechita process
 itself.  We therefore wish to state as follows:
 
     1. Shechita involves the slicing or cutting of the trachea and esophagus
        with a sharp knife without nicks in a manner which has been established
        over centuries to be the most humane form of animal slaughter.
        Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost
        instantaneously.
 
     2. After the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible
        that it may still display certain reflexive actions, including those
        shown in images portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should
        not be mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not
        affect the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat. There may be
        exceptional circumstances when, due to the closing of jugular veins or
        a carotid artery after the shechita cut, or due to the non-complete
        severance of an artery or vein, the animal may rise up on its legs and
        walk around. Cases when animals show such signs of life after the
        slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an event would not
        invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were severed in
        the shechita cut.
 
     3. With the act of shechita, it is common to cut the carotid arteries, a
        practice designed to facilitate bleeding and accelerate
        unconsciousness.  Excision of the trachea, however, is not common
        practice.  We wish to make clear that nothing in any such post-shechita
        "second cut" or excision in any way undermines the validity of the
        shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat.
        We further note that regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
        explicitly approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding.
 
     4. We reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish mandate of avoiding "tzaar
        baalei chayim," unnecessary pain to any creature. We reiterate that the
        shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves to
        the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all
        religious and federal laws governing kosher slaughter.
 
            Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
            Halachic Consultant
            Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
 
            Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
            Kashruth Administrator
            Chicago Rabbinical Council
 
            Rabbi Menachem Genack
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Kashrus Division
            Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
 
            Rabbi Asher Hatchuel
            Rabbinic Head
            Sephardic Beth Din of America
 
            Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Star-K Certification
 
            Rabbi Emanuel Holzer
            Chairman, Kashrus Committee
            Rabbinical Council of America
 
            Rabbi Chaim Kohn
            Rabbinic Administrator
            Khal Adas Jeshurun
 
            Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz
            Head of Beth Din
            Chicago Rabbinical Council
 
            Rabbi Yitzchok Stein
            Rabbinic Head
            Beth Din of Karlsburg
 
            Rabbi Yechiel Steinmetz
            Rabbinic Judge
            Monsey, NY
 
            Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum
            Nirbater Rav
            Rabbinic Supervisor
            Alle Processing Corporation
 
            Rabbi Menachem Meir Weissmandl
            Rabbinic Head
            Nitra Beth Din of Monsey
 
 SOURCE  LUBICOM Marketing Consulting