PETA just released the following statement:
Rabbi Hanania Elbaz
Rabbinic Administrator and President
Sephardic Kashrus Lemehadrin Laboratory
Brooklyn, NY 11223
Approved statement from Rabbi Elbaz, with addendum:
I have expressed my shock that these organizations [the OU; Agriprocessors] have violated the laws of heaven, and the laws of our states.
The big organizations such as OU and the others feel so strongly that they don’t have to report to anyone. As a result, they can get away with whatever they do, because no one’s going to check up. So this is again, another travesty that has to do with the kosher organizations.
What is amazing to me is that this violation has been going on for a while. Now, the mashgichim that are on the premises, did they know about it? Obviously we have to assume that they did not know about it, because if they did, they would have done something about it. Now, if they did know about it, then they are supposed to be removed. If they did not know about it, so, what were they doing there? And more than that, where are the OU supervisors that are supposed to come and check once in a blue moon that they are doing everything right? It means that none of the OU supervisors came to check. If they did come and check, and they saw it, they overlooked a violation, or they just plain and simple wanted to let it go the way it is.
In order to remedy this calamity, I believe that the rest of the rabbinate should summon the people who made these grave mistakes to explain why it happened.
They are violating the halacha of tsa’ar ba’alei chayim. They are inflicting suffering on the animal, which is completely unnecessary. How can you go and chop the animal while the animal is still alive? It doesn’t make any sense. They are giving ammunition to those organizations that are against cruelty to animals: enough arms and weapons to try and demonstrate that Judaism and shechitah are not the best.
We have the pride to say that Jewish shechita is the best shechita in the world, and the animals suffer the least. But if this, what they did, is true, then it is the opposite. What we are creating is that these organizations will attack us, and then we might have the problem that happened in England a few years ago. They were trying to prohibit shechitah on the grounds that it did not prevent or decrease tsa’ar ba’alei chayim. That’s also the issue in Albany.
These organizations are putting kashrut in limbo and endangering its strength by not being careful on the tsa’ar ba’alei chayim issue.
Will this scandal bring down the OU, KAJ, the Crown Heights Beit Din, and Rubashkin? It may not, but it should.