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November 16, 2005

Pig Abuse In Israel

Ha'aretz reports on pig abuse in Israel:

It felt like we had arrived in hell. A powerful stench was discernible half a kilometer away. A little closer, you hear the moans and screams. And inside - overcrowding and filth. Here, several kilometers west of the Galilee village of A'ablin, is where all of Israel's commercial pig farms are concentrated.

The sties are closed buildings. At one farm, the overcrowding ranges from tolerable to extreme; at another it was horrendous. The pigs were stuck to each other, barely able to move. Other farms raise animals in crowded conditions, but pigs particularly suffer, being the most intelligent among livestock.…

The inhumane treatment begins at the pregnancy stage. At some farms the sows are kept throughout their pregnancy in small isolation cages that prevent even basic actions such as turning around. Breeding sows are penned up in these cages for most of their lives.

The delivery cages are also extremely narrow, supposedly to prevent the sow from crushing her litter. After 23-30 days, piglets are weaned and transferred to a pen.

Within their first 30 days, male pigs are neutered to control the size of the herd and to prevent the strong smell of pork from non-neutered male pigs.…

According to attorney Yossi Wolfson, a member of the Health Ministry committee and an animal rights activist, the farms belonging to the association perform the castration by pulling the testicles - without anesthesia or painkillers.

A spokesman for the breeders' association said in response: "Great improvement has been made in recent years in the pigs' welfare. In the past, the pigs lay on the ground in their own filth, medical care and hygiene conditions were unsatisfactory. Now the pigs are bred on raised platforms that are washed down daily and kept clean. The feeding system is modern and controled. The pigs are under close veterinary watch. The cages are clean and ventilated in summer, and in the winter they have heaters."

While pigs are not kosher animals and rabbis therefore have no say in the pig raising business, it is telling that rabbis have not protested the tzaar baalei hayyim (cruelty to animals) involved in pork production. Rabbis are also silent on tzaar baalei hayyim in the kosher meat packing industry and were the enablers of Rubashkin's notorious throat-ripping shechita. While forcing Jews to observe humrot (extra stringencies) with regard to the kosher status of industrial cooking vessels and other acana, they ignore Biblical commands regarding treatment of living things – and they should be ashamed – but they are not. This is the problem of today's Orthodoxy in a nutshell.

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Your dumbest comment ever.

The rabbis are responsible for the treatment of pigs?

Must be a Chabad plot.

You had a good streak going of good posts.

Now you had to put both feet in your mouth.

Yeah, go bash the rabbis for the condition of pigs.

Those orthodox.

The only pigs rabbis are responsible for are people who push at a kiddush.

Go fuck yourself, Scott. You are really in need of medical help now!

Go fuck yourself, Scott. You are really in need of medical help now!

"Yeah, go bash the rabbis for the condition of pigs.

Those orthodox.

The only pigs rabbis are responsible for are people who push at a kiddush."

Really? Tzaar baalei hayyim halakha applies to all animals, not just kosher animals.

I clearly noted that the rabbis have no first-hand involvement in pork-raising.

My point is that this is part of a pattern, and that rabbis ignore tzaar baalei hayyim in farm-raised chickens, cattle, ducks, etc.

Funny, isn't it? Orthodox response to this subject always devolves into name-calling. Why? Because Othodoxy has no good answers for the behavior of its leaders.

Or perhaps my mistake is this: Using the word morality and using the word rabbi in the same sentence. Because that, my friend, is exactly what you are arguing.

Time to take your meds. You're not even in left field on this one.

The Rabbis don't have input on this in Israel.

Just look at the laws of force feeding of geese.

Took years to pass that.

In case you don't know it, Rabbis have no legislative clout in Israel.

The Knesset makes the laws and it's not in Mea Sha'arim or Kfar Chabad.

Where exactly did you learn that Rabbis have an obligation to protect pigs?

Cite chapter and verse please as my seforim are packed up and I don't think I could locate the Igros Moshe talking about the obligation of Rabbis to speak out about pig abuse.

Only you and JWB could turn this into an issue.


It is shamful to say the rabbis don't do anyhing in a slaughter house.You can bet your bottom buck that the rabbis argue how kosher the snacks are in the vending machine in a slaughter house.

1. Tzaar baalei hayyim halakha applies to all animals and living things. This basic halakha and it is beyond dispute.

2. Many rabbis, most notibly Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, allow the force-feeding of geese.

3. Please list for me the names of any Orthodox rabbis that have publicly argued for animal welfare with regard to factory farms.

Shmarya, the rabbis HAVE protested. They said that one shouldn't raise the pigs at all.

1. Tzaar baalei hayyim halakha applies to all animals and living things. This basic halakha and it is beyond dispute.

2. Many rabbis, most notibly Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, allow the force-feeding of geese.

Uh, Shmarya, I was waiting for your sources.

I'll just point out to you that you stating it doesn't make it a source.

So, since you introduced the topic with a Halachic claim, cough up the sources.

Tzaar baalei hayyim is a mitzva d'orita. It applies to all living beings:

http://www.koltorah.org/ravj/Bullfightandzoo.htm

"… The Gemara (Bava Metzia 32-33) indicates that Tzaar Baalei Chaim is a Torah level prohibition. According to the Gemara (Berachot 40a), it is improper to eat before one has fed his animals. The Gemara (Bava Metzia 85a) relates a story of a calf that stuck its head beneath Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi’s coat to escape the slaughterer’s knife. Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi told the calf that it should go to the slaughter, for this is why it was created. The Gemara relates that Hashem brought travails upon Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi as punishment for his failure to pity the calf.

The following Halacha demonstrates the priority Chazal accord Tzaar Baalei Chaim. The Gemara (Shabbat 128b) permits helping an animal that fell into a water ditch on Shabbat by supporting it with a pillow, even though it is a violation of the rabbinical prohibition to render an item Muktzeh on Shabbat. The pillow was not Muktzeh when Shabbat began and becomes Muktzeh when it is placed beneath the animal on Shabbat. Chazal waived this rabbinical prohibition because of concern for Tzaar Baalei Chaim. This passage in the Gemara is codified as normative by the Rambam (Hilchot Shabbat 25:26) and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 305:19). In fact, this Halacha serves as the basis for the Shulchan Aruch’s (O.C. 305:20) permission to ask a non-Jew to milk a cow on Shabbat. Rav Ovadia points out that it is rare for Chazal to waive a rabbinical prohibition relating to Shabbat. Tzaar Baalei Chaim is one of the very few considerations that merit such a waiver.

The Torah expresses its concern for Tzaar Baalei Chaim many times. The Mitzva to unload a donkey from its heavy load, the prohibition to muzzle an animal while it is threshing, the prohibition to plow with two different types of animals, and the angel reprimanding Bilam for needlessly striking his donkey, are a few examples of expressions in the Torah’s that we not harm an animal needlessly. Part of Eliezer’s test of Rivka’s character was to see if she also gave water to his camels. Sefer Hachinuch (Mitzva 550) explains that a reason for the prohibition to plow with two different animals is concern for Baalei Chaim. The different species might be incompatible and working together might torture the animals.…"

Went through Rabbi Jacter's article and no where does it say there is a Rabbinic obligation to protest treatment of non-kosher animals.

A Jew can not attend a bullfight.

But there is no obligation for a Jew to strap a television to his back and stand outside a bullfighting arena.

A Jew can not hunt.

But there is no obligation for a Jew to protest the start of deer hunting season.

Am I missing those sources?

Are you?

"Rav Ovadia points out that it is rare for Chazal to waive a rabbinical prohibition relating to Shabbat. Tzaar Baalei Chaim is one of the very few considerations that merit such a waiver."

So, let me see if I'm following your 'logic.' One must break Shabbos to save a suffering animal, even a suffering non-kosher animal, but one is not required to help end the suffing of that animal during the week?

Please.

Every Jew is required to protest animal abuse as soon as it becomes known. Why? Because our "neighbor" in this case (Rubashkin, a pig farmer in Israel, whatever) doesn't want to save his animal or end its suffering. Our 'neighbor' is the cause of its suffering and, until the state's laws are changed and enforcement is in place, only protest has a chance to help the animal.

So, if an animal is caught in a pit on Shabbos, and if we can't ease its suffering by "supporting it with a pillow," but we can help it by complaining about its situation to the government or to the owner, we must do that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As for Iggros Moshe, Rav Moshe forbid the traditional raising of veal because of tzaar baalei hayyim.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, you were wrong about geese, wrong about Iggros Moshe, and you're wrong about pigs.

Apologize.

...and Rav Moshe wasn't exactly a left-wing commie-loving PETA guy, either. But the Law is the Law, and Rav Moshe, unlike many of the current Orthodox rabbis, had the courage to state the obvious truth; that such meat is not-kosher, and can never be kosher as raised in a small cage the prevents movement.

It's funny how every Orthodox rabbi in this town will refuse to even enter the local Conservative shul on the basis of Rav Moshe's statements in that regard, yet they all eat at the local kosher Chinese place with many veal dishes on the menu. Funny, but pathetic.

You can't read Hebrew.

Rav Moshe did not ban veal. He banned white veal only.

Unfortunately, even though he was the Posek Hador, no one follows this psak.

I Do Not Eat Veal.

But Rav Moshe didn't say to go demonstrate in front of Glatt Mart.

You are not proving your point.

Giving a cow a pillow does not mean you have to protest the way pigs are killed for food.

Still waiting for any source that says there is an obligation to protest the mistreatment of pigs.

Shmarya, you invented this obligation.

No one is saying Tzar Baale Chayim is permitted.

People are violating Hilchot Nida. Do Rabbis have an obligation to enter bedrooms and prevent people from that aveira?

You're off course.

Now, you were wrong about geese, wrong about Iggros Moshe, and you're wrong about pigs.

Go back and read my words. I asked you for a source.

1. I gave you a source for geese.

2. I gave you a source that shows clearly that non-kosher animals are covered by tzaar baalei hayyim.

So APOLOGIZE.

3. If one has to break Shabbos to aid an animal in distress, certainly one must protest mistreatment of animals when made aware of it. That is exactly what Rav Moshe did. And, in the beginning, people listened – until big money in the kashrut business found ways around his teshuva.

But you are foolish.You want me to cite a source that tells you to go stand outside a pig farm with a protest sign.

But you should know that public protest only works in a democracy, and Judaism has had a very limited and very recent experience living in democratic societies. And, further, the issue of mistreatment of farm animals only became public knowledge in the last several years.

How could the Rambam or the Tashbetz have dealt with the issue of protest in this regard?

That we are dealing with a Biblical command that overrides Shabbos law clearly indicates the seriousness with which tzaar baalei hayyim is treated in classical sources.

But reread what you wrote:

"Rabbis have no legislative clout in Israel."

A false and laughable assertion.

"Where exactly did you learn that Rabbis have an obligation to protect pigs? … The only pigs rabbis are responsible for are people who push at a kiddush"

A Biblical command that overrides Shabbos.

"A Jew can not attend a bullfight.

But there is no obligation for a Jew to strap a television to his back and stand outside a bullfighting arena."

If Jews were staging bullfights in a Jewish state, there would be an obligation to protest.

"People are violating Hilchot Nida. Do Rabbis have an obligation to enter bedrooms and prevent people from that aveira?"

To enter bedrooms? No. To protest, especially in a Jewish state? Yes. And it's done all the time.

Rabbis speak out for hilkhot nidda. The Orthodox community spends money to promote it. It works inside the government ot pay for mikvaot. And, for many years rabbis have spoken out against sexual immorality (and the resultant abandonment of hilkhot nidah) in Israel.

You will find no parallel effort for tzaar baalei hayyim. And that is my point.

When you have no source, you get on your platform and yell.

And the louder you yell, the less you say.

Someone once asked Rav Moshe, why in the 1940's didn't you come out about women covering their hair? Nothing was said.

Rav Moshe answered. In the 1940's we were trying to save Jews from the Holocaust. We were trying to wrest away control of Kashrus from the Mafia. That is what we focused out energy on.

Shmarya, you have no sources except the ones in your head.

The Rabbis in Israel are so powerful, look how well they were able to stop the expulsions from Gush Katif.

The Rabbis in Israel are so powerful, look at the number of starving frum families.

The Rabbis in Israel are so powerful, look at the number of non-Jews are registering as Jews.

And you want them to drop it all and run to defend the rights of pigs.

Give it up.

All the rabbis in Israel called me last night on the phone and told me they appointed you the official representative to protest the violation of pig's rights.

Take it away.

Haredim are starving because they refuse to join the workforce.

Rabbis hold swing votes in Knesset.

Some rabbis supported Disengagement (which is why it passed).

Rabbis originally opposed changing the Law of return to define Jew by halakha.

Many wives of roshei yeshiva did not cover their hair in Lithuania even 120 years ago. Why? Because, according to some Lithuanian poskim, in a society where non-Jewish women do not cover their hair, Jewish women do not need to, either. The same held true for the US. Your Rav Moshe story is worthless.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now, back to the point:

You autistically demand written sources for an issue that was not known until the last few years, and was not existant in Israel until very recently.

Yet, as anyone familiar with responsa liturature should know, responsa are normally published years after being written (often ten's of years). It is unreasonable to expect to find something in writing about this. It is also unnecessary. You yourself note that Rav Moshe's teshuva on white veal was ignored. Tzaar baalei hayyim is not an issue the Orthodox world cares about, even when the animal is kosher and even when they will be eating it for dinner.

But, really, as I wrote above, my mistake was, "Using the word morality and using the word rabbi in the same sentence."

Your reaction to all this only proves my point.

It appears that several of your readers are Israeli pig farmers. Otherwise, they'd just accept the (very clear and concise) halachic argument, not consider mitzvot an either/or prospect (feed starving haredim or speak out against animal abuse), and get a life. Someone once said that a barometer of a civilization is how they treat their animals.

"Otherwise, they'd just accept the (very clear and concise) halachic argument,"
CAG - now you've become a posek too - dont get caught up in scotty's verbal prestidigitation
". If one has to break Shabbos to aid an animal in distress" the case cited in the SA does not involve "breaking shabbos" (unless one accepts scotty's ipse dixit lay word for it) what it does is merely relax a minor rabbinic enactment called "mevatel kli mahaychano" roughly translated as "decommissioning an otherwise shabbos usable kli" in the face of tzaar baalei chayim since the wet pillows used to let the cow climb out can no longer be used on shabbos (again only by rabbinic proscription)- if it rose to the occasion of pikuach nefesh (which it clearly doesn't) the Jew could just go in and save the cow (which ironically remains severely muktzeh machamas gufo throughout its ideal)
come on scotty - show us what you got when you stop the shouting

The logic you decry belongs to Rav Ovadia Yosef.

Now process: Tzaar baalei hayyim is an issur d'orita. Every day, Jews eat meat raised in inhumane conditions that violate that halakha. The kosher industry makes a lot of money off that suffering. Rabbis are silent, despite the halakha. Why?

"CAG - now you've become a posek too -"

No, no; I don't even play a posek on TV. Guys, you're so busy seeing the minutiae of the trees that you don't realize that you're even near the forest.

At some point, halacha has to breathe some oxygen outside of the hallowed yeshiva walls- it's no good if we only rely on theory and we aren't prepared to make the jump to practical application. Wet towels, a mutzeh cow? You're torturing the point. C'mon, pikuach nefesh requires an extreme example; can you a least try applying the rules to real, everyday situations, or is that too much trouble? Because I'm seeing an awful lot of hot air but very little action coming from your world.

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