British Jewish Leaders Continue To Cry Anti-Semitism, Lie, To Protect Shechita
The truth of kosher slaughter is far more cruel and far more ugly than Orthodox rabbis of all stripes and Jewish communal leaders are willing to admit. But rather than fix the problems with with commercial shechita, these leaders instead choose to lie (or, perhaps more charitably, repeat lies uttered by others).
Stephen Pollard, the editor of the venerable Jewish Chronicle, Britain's oldest Jewish newspaper, wrote an op-ed published in the London Times today that contains both misstatements of fact and an outright untruth.
Pollard cites a very questionable Israeli study done by a kosher food industry insider and his colleague. Neither are animal biologists or veterinarians. Neither are actually qualified to reach the pro-shechita conclusions they reached. Both are Orthodox. One, Ari Zivotafsky, is also an Orthodox rabbi. Zivotafsky undergraduate degree is in electrical engineering and his Ph.D. in in biomedical engineering. His colleague Rael Strous is a psychiatrist. Both study brain science.
The paper Zivotofsky wrote was published in the Meat industry journal Meat Science.
Pollard could have found all this out in less than five minutes. He obviously either chose not to do that or intentionally misled Times' readers.
Pollard's deception, however, does not stop there. It continues, and among the claims he makes is this:
"…The recommended standard is a maximum 15-second delay between stunning and killing. That is rarely met. With shechita, the slaughter method is itself the stun, so there is no delay at all.…"[emphasis added]
This is absolutely false. In cattle, it can take two minutes for cattle to be rendered unconscious. If the cut is not correctly done – and this is alarmingly common – it can take even longer, as the 2004 Agriprocessors scandal proved.
Besides these egregious examples of twisting facts, Pollard's main tactic is to take examples of mis-stunning and compare them to examples of the best shechita possible – an old trick used by the Jewish community in the US in the past. Take a great shochet, remove all time pressue and all disturbing factors, have him kill one or two small cattle, and compare his results to standard non-Jewish stunned slaughter done on a production line at full speed. Shechita looks pretty good that way, especially when you compare it to results of stunned slaughter done with decades old "knockers" the captive bolt guns that propel a steel bar at extremely high speed into the animals brain, rendering it unconcious and serious brain damaged.
Those old captive bolt guns misfired far too often and their desogn allowed for easy operator error. A mis-stunned animal is supposed to be immediately re-stunned, but agitated operators using those old guns could easily fail to do that second stun properly, and the result in some cases was horror. Those sufferiing animals were, at least in the US, supposed to be immediately shot in the head with a rifle – after workers moved out of danger.
But today's stun guns rarely misfire and are designed to reduce operator error. Consequently, there are much fewer incidents of mis-stunning.
To his credit, Pollard doesn't cite the old data on mis-stunning a vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, misused yesterday on the BBC. But he still essentially lies.
As I noted yesterday, Arkush lied about stunning, citing findings drawn from extremely old studies that were based on techniques and equipment that have not been used in years – sometimes in many decades.
"Animal welfare organisations have shown that pre-stunning fails to stun in between nine and 31% of cases. When an animal is 'miss-stunned' it suffers enormous pain and distress,” Arkush said, failing to note that modern stun guns misfire closer to the 1% to 2% range.
Arkush also failed to note that kosher slaughter has its own error rate that is about the same or slightly higher than the rate of mis-stunning.
Arkush also failed to mention any of the many kosher slaughter scandals with horrific inhumane slaughter documented on videotape that have taken place worldwide over the past decade, from Agriprocessors in Postville, Iowa in 2004 to South America, France, Israel – where the most recent of several scandals took place a few months ago – and New Jersey, where inhumane Jewish ritual slaughter was documented earlier this year.
These types of misstatements or lies will not save shechita. In the end, they doom it, just as false cries of anti-Semitism doom it.
But most of all, what dooms shechita are scandal after scandal after scandal involving inhumane slaughter at the most kosher meat slaughterhouses in the world, from Iowa to South America, to France, to Israel.
Watch this video from Agriprocessors, then the largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse in the world, located in Postville, Iowa:
Now, here's Pollard's shameful article. Please click to enlarge: