« The Questions Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Did Not Answer | Main | Agriprocessors’ Child Labor Investigation Reveals "Egregious Violations Of Virtually Every Aspect Of Iowa's Child Labor Laws" – Attorney General Asked To Prosecute To The "Fullest Extent Of The Law" »

August 05, 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


change "legally dead" to "legally no longer alive" in the first sentence above.


IIRC, the Gemara (chullin 121b) tells us that the animal is legally dead at the moment of shechitah, when the two simanim (trachea/esophagus) are cut. This is brought down lehalacha (see below for explanation) in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 27, as explained in Shach and Taz (quoting the Tur).

Any movement thereafter, and in poultry there is a lot of movement thereafter, is meaningless as far as cruelty to animals etc., even if it offends our sensibilities as people far removed from the actual process of killing meat-animals.

There seem to be three stages, according to the Shulchan Aruch:

chai (until shchitah)
mefarcheses {death throes)
meis (completely dead)

For non-Jews, eiver min hachai (limb from a living animal) applies until full death. For Jews, one can eat meat that was cut from an animal during its death throes; one just cannot actually eat it until full death, because of the issur of "eating it over the blood of the animal". So if one can cut meat during death throes for later post-death consumption, kal vachomer yanking a meat hook through its throat doesn't violate cruelty to living critters, much less render it treifah.

And so what that one can see death throes in the video? That's apparently completely normal. Shechitah takes it out of the state of "alive" into the state of "death throes"; only time and further blood loss will bring it into the state of "dead."

Getzel Rubashkin

He later received a check for the remaining 14 hours.

Getzel Rubashkin

++Turns out he was comparing his check with the WRONG WEEK. A second check was issued for Mr. Yusuf for the week in which he worked 48 hours++

Correction: He was aggregating the week in which he received his check and the week for which the check was issued.

I also learned that having left early, he received a refund from the rental company, and he left town with one $50 loan unpaid. That was a loan given to him by the "exploitative" rental company.


I found the mayor to be the most memorable character in that little video. He had that look like little kids have when they get caught digging around in the cookie jar.

Getzel Rubashkin

A similar question*

Getzel Rubashkin

++what were their qualifications?++

A similar has been asked about you, numerous times, without response.


They made no changes for the Junket?
Why in the PETA videos the shchoichets cut was a sawying motion, while at the junket it wasn't-compare the videos.

The shortest route to a persons brain is through his stomach, I'm sure they enjoyed lunch.

Who were the experts & what were their qualifications?

Yochanan Lavie

I wonder if Sparky or Jeff Abbas could give their feedback about the video, as well.

Archie Bunker

"Anyone know what was the full menu that was served to the visiting group?"

I don't think that any of the delegation members refrain from eating Rubashkin product or Lubinsky would see to it that they wouldn't be invited.

Then again, there are even many Lubavitchers who do not eat Agri and Rabbi Dovid Shochet is supposed to be a very upstanding person. I'd love to know where he stands on all this. Not that very senior rabbis can't be duped sometimes too.

Getzel Rubashkin


Getzel Rubashkin

She also lived in Postville and was quite the gifted conversationalist.

Getzel Rubashkin

Oh, OK.

State of Postville

No, actually I live in Postville and was waering a Mexico t-shirt. And was darn proud of it.

Getzel Rubashkin

State of Postville: You are that woman that was wearing the FailedMessiah tanktop at the the immigration rally, right?

State of Postville

Well, all of the people who were interviewed should be ashamed. Holly Bohr(you are right in the Rubashkins back pocket with all of your cash advances that you get from them , why would you not say good things), Tom Udelhoven(all of the Jew jokes that you cracked about them as well) and to Mayor Bob Penrod(Mr. I Do Not Believe the Rumors, you do not even have a clue as to what goes on there). You all talk about the negativity of the Hispanics, well they have a darn right to be negative. All of the comments in the newspapers about helping the people caught up in the raid, HA HA HA. There I have had my laugh for the day. Yes, you did have your crony Ron Wahls take meat to some of the families a few days before the rally on July 27 and tell them "Sorry about what happened, here is some meat from Agri and could you please not march on July 27th." That is the extent of the help that Agri has given. How about some of the cash Sholom that you carry around in your briefcase to help with their day to day expenses? That is the least the Rubashkins could do after the grief and misery they put them through. And to all of those who think that all of what I say, think what you want. I have worked their and experienced first hand the AGRIVATION of working for the RUBISHKAN family. To all of the people interviewed, I just ask, "What kind of a raise did you get?"

Getzel Rubashkin

You have got to love it. Shmarya, you are truly unbelievable.

A widely circulated story, which you yourself posted, has been uncovered as a stupid mistake and shoddy reporting and all you can do is say "oh, I suppose all the other people are mistaken, right?"

Maybe they all are, or maybe not. But you would never know because you are just happy to pass on a damaging story. You don't even have the interest to pick up a phone and try to find out.

When it's pro-Agri there is always a way to dig just deep enough to make it look bad, but when it's anti-Agri it's taken at face-value, the very voice of truth itself. Never the possibility of a misquote, a mistake, contextual info, corrective action...

The Shochtim derive no benefit or suffer no harm from any position they may take on whether or not the head-restraint of the box gives them pause. That is especially the case with Shochtim who have retired and no longer work for Rubashkin.

Even according to your ugly smear that harm would result should anyone "dissent," you would agree that that would result only if they called for change, but not if they simply said, "Yeah, it gives us pause, but we can live with it."

You simply want to silence the voices of the people who are the only really valid opinion on this concern. You want to paint this as an issue without having to risk that someone who actually used it can contradict you.

This video is now in the public domain. I would be interested to see if any respected non-partisan Shochtim agree with your expert assessment.


Sigh. ***show**


Firstly, your clear and blatant bias hardly makes you an objective party.

If you reread the comments on this post, you'll see that I refuted someone claiming the shochet did not inspect the cut after shechita.

I also corrected him about the visual inspection.

I refuted claims that the shechita was not kosher.

While that does not prove me unbiased, it certainly does shoe that I am trying to tell the truth as I see it.


No, Getzel. They work for your father. If they could be asked in a way that guaranteed anonymity, perhaps.

I suppose the "dozens" of other workers who claim they were shorted pay or who had so many deductions taken from their pay that their checks were less than $10 are all "mistaken."

That's got to be it, right? Because it could never be that your family – which has a history of misappropriating union dues, federal grant money, and other things – would rip these poor people off. You're all too honest for that, right?

Getzel Rubashkin

1. Try this one on for size. You recently opened a post

"Of course, Getzel Rubashkin will tell you these are all "rumors" originating from people "out to get" his family business..."

The piece you included in that post featured a fellow by the name of Hassan Yusuf quite prominently. Included in the allegations you felt I would dismiss as rumors were that his pay did not reflect his actual hours and he was left with a very low net after deductions.

Turns out he was comparing his check with the WRONG WEEK. A second check was issued for Mr. Yusuf for the week in which he worked 48 hours, and the one he displayed accurately reflected his work for the previous week. The net after deductions included cash that was given to him as an advance. Without fees.

You consistently pretend that I have to deny stories or call people liars. This story is another proof that I do not.

2. I have no problem with you saying that. I was just clarifying where exactly you implied that there was a conspiracy, unless you mean to say they were duped, in which case you are just insulting their intelligence. Although, they could have easily pointed the camera over the tarp so I guess you're gonna go with conspiracy.

3. "You, Getzel Rubashkin disagree. Again, who cares? You have quite a bit vested in Agriprocessors surviving."

Firstly, your clear and blatant bias hardly makes you an objective party. Furthermore, I did not ask anyone to take my word. The Shochtim here are not hiding. I have asked a number of times if any of you have bothered to ask the people involved. Let your fingers do the walking.

"The way to determine that would be to have shechita filmed at various angles simultaneously over a longer period of time – an hour, say."

Another way to determine that is to simply ask the people who use or have used this box in the past. But every employee of Agri past and present is part of the big conspiracy, so maybe that wouldn't work after all...


1. Over and over and over again, reporters pulish stories with DIFFERENT workers, all with empty checks.

Getzel Rubashkin – a member of the owners' family – denies it.

Big deal.

2. What the 5TJT did is really what Luke Ford said is. No different from the Red Cross in WW2, no different from the hard American left with Stalin.

3. Again, I've seen shechita many times. What I see on this video looks like a shallow cut. The blood loss seems too small.

You, Getzel Rubashkin disagree. Again, who cares? You have quite a bit vested in Agriprocessors surviving.

4. Nicking the knife. I realize adjustments were made to the pen based on Temple Grandin's recommendations. It still seems to me a deeper cut could hit metal if the shochet's angle isn't right.

But that is based on video of only one slaughter viewed from one angle.

So, in this respect you may be correct. The way to determine that would be to have shechita filmed at various angles simultaneously over a longer period of time – an hour, say.

That can be set up and shot randomly over a period of days, so various shochtim are recorded at varying times without their knowledge.

That would show everyone what shechita at Agri is – good or bad.

A third party firm can do this as long as it – and not Agriprocessors – has complete control.

Getzel Rubashkin

Shmarya: You make statements like "does not appear to be enough blood flowing for the carotids and jugulars to have been properly severed," and "the cut falls so short of the metal because it is too shallow."

If I may ask based on what experience and credentials you make those statements?

I was standing right next to that box yesterday, and the metal of the head restraint was as far back as the spine of the animal, much deeper than necessary to cut. The Shochtim tell me they have no such concerns. I repeat: Which Shochet that has used that box has expressed these concerns?

++And that, no matter how much the 5TJT may protest, can be nothing but intentional.++

5TJT intentionally conspiring with Agri to make them look good.

I didn't say anyone lied. I said "He also believed repetition to be a substitute for truth." When I have challenged you, on a number of occasions you have repeated the allegation. That's what I was referring to. The rental thread, for example.

You constantly use the term "company paid" without making the distinction between the transportation, which was paid for, and compensation for time and effort, which was not. The cost for the time and effort was much greater than the transportation, presumably.


Anyone know what was the full menu that was served to the visiting group?

Yochanan Lavie

I doubt Getzel was a fan of the old MTV, but thanks for the correction.


For those with 1980's nostalgia:


That song is from 1979. (I'm sure Getzel would have pointed that out to you if I didn't, even though he wasn't born yet)


No one is lying here, Getzel.

But I will say this: A company-paid junket packed with friends of the company is not an investigation, and anyone who claims it is has ethical problems.


1. I never said it was a conspiracy, I merely pointed out that others were correct in noting the video is taken from an angle that restricts the view of the animal after shechita, and that is important due ti the previous problems Agri had.

2. The cut falls so short of the metal because it is too shallow.

Getzel Rubashkin

Speaking of Stalin, chances are his friend Lenin would have been a fan of this blog. He also believed repetition to be a substitute for truth.

“A lie told often enough becomes truth”
-- Vladimir Lenin.

Getzel Rubashkin

1. The other side is right in the middle of a production area, either blocking the Shochet's path to and from the box, or in the area where the animal falls out of the box and is hoisted onto the rail.

There is no reason for him to want to stand anywhere else but where he stood. He had a clear view of that area from where he did go.

But you are right. He could have stood anywhere. You are reading conspiracies into the fact that he did not.

The allegation that the tarp hid anything is ridiculous. The tarp reaches a bit above the elbow and he could have easily filmed the area in question.

2. You have deduced from the fact that he chose to stand in an unobtrusive place that he was forbidden to stand anywhere else. That is a baseless conclusion.

3. The final cut shown falls what looks like 6 inches short of the head restraint. I have spoken with Shochtim who have used this box and they have mocked that assertion. Don't trust me, call them yourself. Who have you spoken to that has used this box and has told you that it hampers his Shchita?

Yochanan Lavie

For those with 1980's nostalgia:

Video Killed the Internet Star (apologies to the Buggles)

I read you on the net in Failed Messiah
Lying awake intent on proving you a liar.
If I was naive it didn't stop you saying more. Oh-a oh

You took no credit and asked for sympathy.
You blamed PETA and the new technology,
and now I understand the problems you don't concede. oh-a oh

I met your children
Oh-a oh
What did you tell them?

Video killed the internet star.
Video killed the internet star.

Pictures came and told more lies.
Oh-a-a-a oh

And now we meet in an abandoned abattoir.
We hear the indictment and it goes so very far.
And you remember Juda Engelmayer.
Oh-a oh

He was the first one.
Oh-a oh
You were the last one.

Uncle Sam killed the kosher meat star.
Uncle Sam killed the Agriproces- sor.

In my mind and in my used car,
I can't return it, it's gone to far


Pictures came from the 5 Towns,
to deflect blame from Rubbishclowns.

(fade out)


1. There is no reason why he could not have taken video from the other side.

2. The tour was supposed to allow these "investigators" to visit any area of the plant and see everything.

3. A deeper cut done correctly does bring the knife closer to the metal than many shochtim are comfortable with. Look toward the base of the restraint, not the part under the animal's snout.

Getzel Rubashkin

and given that evidence, why in the world would the first cut be "intentionally shallow?"

Getzel Rubashkin

Any comment about the visual evidence that the head restraint is nowhere near the area that needs to be cut?

Getzel Rubashkin

One of the reasons you have to be a Yirei Shomam to be a Shochet is because Drasa among other things is notoriously hard to see. Yet you casually imply that the pressure was applied.

And, yes, there is a good reason why the cameraman along with the rest, were standing where they were, and I shared that with you, since your knowledge of what actually goes on in the plant and how it is laid out is lacking. They were not there filming a documentary. They were taking a tour and brought along a camera.


I'm not smearing the shochet, Getzel. I wrote what I saw.


There is o good reason why video wasn't taken from both sides.

Getzel Rubashkin

Ohoho! Surprise, surprise! The head restraint doesn't seem to be close to the cut now does it? It looks like the Shochet would hit the spine before the metal.

There is no reason or basis for you to impugn (smear?) the Shochet Yiras Shomayim by claiming that he applied pressure to the second stroke.

Those conspiracy theorists who are ignorant of the layout of the kill floor, the only place to stand that is not in the way is exactly where they stood. The only way any video could be taken from the opposite side of the box is if the person filming is a worker with a hidden camera.

The tarp is presumably there to protect from any blood spatters caused by the animal being dropped from the box. It does not hamper the line of sight to the animal dropped.


Gordon is deeply Lubavitcher, he has written a number of times about how he and his late father davened for years on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in an exclusive minyan upstairs in 770 with the old Lubavitcher Rebbetzin, among other things. He features large Lubavitch Torah spreads regularly in his paper. However, he is smart enough to make sure that the Lubavitch content is not so up front, in your face, and overwhelming, so as to make his paper become known as a Lubavitcher organ, with the decline in influence and credibility that that would entail.


All very good additional observations.

And why random inspections by third parties are necessary.

In addition, this was a carefully "staged presentation".

Who knows what occurs during abnormal operations.


If you want to see for yourself, watch the above video starting at 17:00 minutes.


There also does not appear to be enough blood flowing for the carotids and jugulars to have been properly severed.

I'd also note the animal is small, relative to cattle, and easier to shecht, and the shochet's return stroke appears to have pressure applied, as if the first stroke was intentionally shallow.


The animal does appear to be trying to lift his head after slaughter and after he is turned right-side up.

And that is the problem with this video. It is taken from a position where we cannot see the outcome of the shechita.

And that, no matter how much the 5TJT may protest, can be nothing but intentional.


The Shochet makes a tactile inspection of the wound, as required by Halacha but not a visual one (his head is turned away), also required by Halacha.

The visual inspection is made later, after the bleeding stops.


Good Points, Steve,

The Shochet makes a tactile inspection of the wound, as required by Halacha but not a visual one (his head is turned away), also required by Halacha.

I noticed that the animal moved its head prior to being dumped and in the next scene, a plastic tarp blocks the view.

Is Agri trying to hide something?

This is why random checks by third pary inspectors are necessary.

In addition, insufficient time was allowed after the cut until the animal was moved.


Note also that the shechita is filmed on the side of the rotating pen opposite that which the cattle are dumped -- in contradistinction to the PETA video. We never get to see what happens after the animal is dumped, whether there is any movement that might indicate the steer survived the cut. If they really wanted to show that things have changed since 2004, they would have filmed on the other side as the steer was dumped from the pen.

Excellent point.

Stephen Mendelsohn


And the proper name for this video is -- drum roll please -- AgriPropaganda!

Stephen Mendelsohn


Note also that the shechita is filmed on the side of the rotating pen opposite that which the cattle are dumped -- in contradistinction to the PETA video. We never get to see what happens after the animal is dumped, whether there is any movement that might indicate the steer survived the cut. If they really wanted to show that things have changed since 2004, they would have filmed on the other side as the steer was dumped from the pen.


While I'm at it, I have some questions for our anonymous friend, and for every rabbi and newspaper involved in this matter:

1. Does the Torah command us to "burn out the evil from among you?"

2. What would qualify as "evil" for you?

3. If a company willfully, knowingly, over the course of years, oppressed its workers in various ways, by underpaying, or not paying at all, or by not providing proper medical attention, or taking advantage of their weakness, or many other scenarios too numerous to mention, and in so doing broke many laws of the society in which it conducted business, would that qualify as "evil" in your eyes?

4. How about if it broke Torah law? "Evil"?

5. What if a company held itself out as strictly kosher, but in fact was providing unkosher products, would that be "evil"?

6. Does the Torah not command its adherents to defend the poor, and the widow, and the orphan, and the weak?

7. Does not God Himself say He will exact judgment upon those who enrich themselves by taking advantage of the weak of society?

8. Suppose a kosher company were to do all these things, and then they were to bribe and hoodwink the religious authorities of the day into supporting them? Would that not be compounding evil upon evil? What, if anything, would qualify as an example of "Chillul Hashem"/Desecration of God's name?

9. Imagine a scenario---impossible, I'm sure---where all the religious authorities of the day are base, corrupt, deceitful, venal, out for themselves, take advantage of the weak, look down upon those not in their little clique or philosophical orientation. Is God pleased with that?

10. May someone who sees this over the course of years speak up so as to correct the situation? If so, who may do so? May only the corrupt authorities condemn themselves--unlikely, you'd have to admit--or may someone who is not involved in that corruption speak up?

11. In the days of old, prophets condemned the religious authorities of the day as being corrupt, self-centered, venal, out for themselves. In your opinion, is it possible that human nature has not changed much and we are seeing much the same behavior today?

12. Are only people on the level of prophets allowed to speak up and condemn improper behavior? Or may anyone fulfill the dictum of Pirkei Avot: "In a place where there is no man, make an effort to be a man [and stand up and do what's right]"?

13. If people, by publicly speaking to each other in an international forum like this one, are informing each other of the alleged improper behavior of a company which acts in a corrupt manner, and by doing so they are enabled to make informed decisions of whether to purchase the products of that company, how, if at all, does this strike you as wrong on the part of the consumer?


Anonymous dude, we have rules of punctuation in this language. Look into it.


++I abhor you deeds you wicked man.++

Well at least you actually wrote this one - such as it is.

It appears to me that to assume the position you have snachted for yourself you would have to be among the greats of the generation which you are not. True that your impulses may have some truth nevertheless this does not make you fit to argue on great men. Based on the principal one evil deed entails another your probably one big accumulation of sins, for example the sins you accuse others of having and the sages say a default you have do not accuse another with it. One who's heart is full of filth will obviously perceive this in others. Instead of spending your days in Torah and prayer you rather make an early deathbed for yourself with your mighty god the internet how praiseworthy, stop waisting you precious time. You claim that a false leader must be shamed, does this apply to one who is niftar ? Considering the fact that many great leaders in the Rebbe's days praised him, how could one claim with certainty that what he knows of the the Rebbe is fact, if so also in this case does one shame a false leader?
in my opinion your worse then a moser.
as it says they believed in HASHEM and in Moses His prophet HASHEM's faith is intertwined with faith in Sages.
therefore if the mishna says all of israel have a share in the world to come etc...
and we know that the apikoros is yozteh min hakalal it would seem that you don't qualify
the Bertunoro explains a contrast it says by HASHEM those who digrace Me will be degraded the passive form does not imply that with certainty HASHEM himself will degrade this being the case we cannot conclude that the intention is such rather they will be degraded by themselves however by Avraham Avinou it clearly states those who curse you i will curse implying as the Rav explains that HASHEM cares more about their honour than HIS own awesome glory.
You yourself learned in tanya that there is such a thing as a rasha with no regret.
I abhor you deeds you wicked man.


He does it. He puts his hand in and feels for the severed parts.


Watch the Schechita closely.

Not more than 5 seconds was given after the cut, after which the pen was rotated and the animal seemed to move its head.

Sloppy shechita. The shochet is supposed to examine the wound after the cut before any further processing.

He didn't do it. This is a halachic requirement.


Typo. Fixing now. Thanks.

state of the Jews

18 kids were picked up during the raid, not 8.


Doesn't she!

Yochanan Lavie

Wow. After seeing this visit, I want to quit my job, sell my house, move to Postville and work for Rubbishcan. That blonde in quality control looked pretty hot.


It will be very interesting to see how long it takes for the OU to pull its certification, given the perfectly timed Child Labor Law charges being brought.

Best to let the junket happen and then throw the charges in Agri's face.

G-d willing, this will be just the beginning.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Failed messiah was established and run in 2004 by Mr. Shmarya (Scott)Rosenberg. The site was acquired by Diversified Holdings, Feb 2016.
We thank Mr. Rosenberg for his efforts on behalf of the Jewish Community


Comment Rules

  1. No anonymous comments.
  2. Use only one name or alias and stick with that.
  3. Do not use anyone else's name or alias.
  4. Do not sockpuppet.
  5. Try to argue using facts and logic.
  6. Do not lie.
  7. No name-calling, please.
  8. Do not post entire articles or long article excerpts.
***Violation of these rules may lead to the violator's comments being edited or his future comments being banned.***

Search this site with Google:


FailedMessiah.com in the Media