The New York Times reports in tomorrow's edition:
In the wake of accusations of cruelty from an animal rights group, the world's largest kosher certification authority announced yesterday that it would ask a major kosher slaughterhouse in Iowa to change the way it kills animals.
Killings at the plant, AgriProcessors Inc., in Postville, Iowa, were clandestinely recorded this summer by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. A videotape showed workers cutting the throats out of living steers and then dumping the animals on the floor where they thrashed and bellowed while bleeding to death.
The plant is the country's largest producer of meat that is glatt kosher, the highest standard of cleanliness. It is also the only American plant allowed to export to Israel.
Also yesterday, a representative of Israel's chief rabbinate said AgriProcessors' meat would no longer be accepted in Israel if the scenes he saw on tape were standard practice.
Bruce Friedrich, a spokesman for the animal rights group, called the news excellent.
No representative of the company could be reached for comment.
Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, the executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, which certifies more than 600,000 products around the world as kosher, said the video "raises all sorts of questions."
Rabbi Weinreb said he would ask that the plant stop letting workers tear the trachea and esophagus out of animals. He said he found the procedure "especially inhumane" and "generally unacceptable" but wanted to investigate how regularly it happened.
He said he was also considering asking that animals be held longer inside the rotating drum where they are killed.…
This confirms confidential information I was given throughout the day from several sources close to the OU. One lauded PETA's efforts and noted that the Rubashkin-owned AgriProcessors slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa has been "a problem for a long time. Without PETA," the source said, "nothing would have changed."