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March 06, 2014

Will Pro-Shechita Lies Ward Off A Ban On Kosher Slaughter?

Chuck-roastWill lies propigated by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Shechita UK and other pro-shechita groups save British kosher slaughter from being banned?


Will Pro-Shechita Lies Ward Off A Ban On Kosher Slaughter?
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

Dr. John Blackwell, the head of the British Veterinary Association, debated the issue of animal slaughter BBC Radio with Jonathan Arkush, a vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Blackwell wants all animals to be stunned before slaughter but would be willing to allow ritually slaughtered animals to be stunned immediately after ritual slaughter as a compromise.

Arkush, who wants neither, resorted to stating as fact things that are actually false – in other words, knowingly or unknowingly, he lied.

Lying to protect shechita (Jewish ritual slaughter) is an old tactic practiced by everyone from haredi spokespeople in the US, kosher supervision agencies and pro-shechita British Jewish groups.

Blackwell said that animals should be "stunned at the time of death, [rendering them] insensible to pain until death supervenes.…It's important at the time of death for the animals' welfare not to be compromised.” He also said that he "respected the beliefs of religious sects".

Blackwell said that sheep could remain conscious for up to seven seconds after having their throat cut but cattle can remain conscious for two minutes.

As a veterinarian and a scientist, Blackwell said, he believes the welfare of these animals should come before religious beliefs. He also thought a ban on un-stunned ritual slaughter was on the horizon.

Arkush made the following untrue claims about shechita:

1. Animals do not bleed to death in kosher slaughter.

2. Kosher slaughtered animals are insensible to pain immediately on having their throats cut.

3. There is "no ritual in the slaughter of food for the kosher market.”

Arkush also called Blackwell's remarks "completely misleading" and attacked him for "speaking in a way that inflamed prejudice” – the anti-Semitism card so often played by defenders of shechita when actual facts supporting their argument do not exist.

Arkush then went on to lie about stunning, citing findings 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.

You can listen to the brief BBC interview here. (The written story that accompanies it leaves out Arkush’s most egregious errors. The audio, however, preserves them.)


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i heard from a member in the amsterdam parliment regarding schitah,secular jews are not interested and religuos jews can go to israel and live there with the laws of kashrus,i think that is prophetic its time for all jews to return to the holy land!

Kashruth is dying. The attitudes of those responsible for Kashruth are killing it. The europeans have picked up on the lies and deceit of those promoting shechita, and their lack of willingness to alter their rituals to suit the modern era. As a result, there will likely be no kosher meat in Europe within the next 20 years.

Let us be clear on this, Kosher is cruelty. The act of refusing to render the animal insensate prior to slitting its throat is cruelty. Make no mistake, the animal is in a state of terror during Kosher slaughter, it is quite aware of it being raised and hung. It feels the knife and it inhales the blood from the carotid cut. Most veterinarians know the process and have spoken out on this issue. Our orthodox shoichets are willfully ignorant on this issue as it is all they know and are completely unwilling to listen. This will be rammed down their throats in very short order and it takes only one minor variance to make Kosher slaughter acceptable. A high pressure stunning bolt does not render the animal unacceptable, and it serves as a humane starting point of the slaughter.

As a people we will have to make a decision. Get with modernity, become vegetarians, or move to Israel which is likely the only place in the world where one can buy ritually slaughtered beef and chicken.

Is kosher slaughter similar to halal slaughter as practiced by Islam?

This site suggests that 88% of halal cattle is pre-stunned


The problem is twofold:

First, shechita and the values it is supposed to incorporate evolved in a small-scale and localized pastoral economy where people slaughtered, cleaned, and soaked and salted their own meet. It was done for festivals and celebrations, not for daily diet, and it was usually your own animal. If you've ever seen Bedouins slaughter an animal, its almost identical -- as are their values about calming the animal and making it as quick and painless as possible. Even when Jews settled in Israel, the economy was intensely local and agrarian and most people did their own slaughter, or took it to a local slaughterer in their community -- which tended to micro-communities by our standards. Simply put, traditional shehita is an involved and time-consuming practice that is wholly unsuited to large-scale slaughterhouses. It was never intended to be industrial in scale and the halachot reflect that.

Second, from an orthodox perspective, one needs a Sanhedrin to institute stunning during shechita (and yes, a Sanhedrin can change the law, even torah law in some cases, and would therefore also be able to deal with agunot, geirut, and a host of other issues). The problem is, the orthodox world doesn't really want a Sanhedrin -- which would have the power to overrule their rebbes, hashkafah, minhagim, and practices.

The orthodox world has made a golden calf out of the pietistic and insular customs of the diaspora -- of which Rav Kook wrote: The Jews, in exile, are a people with a past but no present. Never have more accurate words been said. The orthodox world doesn't want a present because modernity and societal engagement terrifies them. -- esp. in eretz Israel.

Simply put, if you keep kosher and are worried about shehita -- which is virtually impossible to do properly in an industrial environment -- you'd best become a pesco-ovo-lacto vegetarian.

I can respect the idea of a ban on shechitah only if it is not hypocrite. What about hunting? And killing for skins? Isn't it cruelty according to your standards? And how do you define "cruelty"? See this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2393

In Judaism you base your moral code only on the Torah (Written and Oral). Many Jews who based it on the ideologic trends of the moment found out that their beliefs were full of double-standards.

Hi Ralph,
Can you point to anywhere in the Torah (not the man-made "Oral Torah") or Old Testament itself where the procedure of Shechita is described? How do you know that slaughter was done as it is today in the Second Temple period? Devarim 12 simply proscribes that you are forbidden to partake of an animal's blood but little else. Who says that stunning before slaughter is against God's commandment to Israel? Perhaps these rabbis are mistaken?

Rwisler asks
>Is kosher slaughter similar to halal
>slaughter as practiced by Islam?

Similar, but with at least one important difference. The growing consensus among Islamic scholars is that stunning or rendering the animal unconscious is permitted as long as it doesn't cause the animal to die before it bleeds out.

Here in Singapore, halal slaughter is governed by the Islamic Religious Council (Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura). They rule that all animals - yes, even chickens - must be stunned before slaughter. The only restriction is that the animal must be killed by the knife, not by the stunning - which with modern techniques is easy to ensure.

Hi RWiser,
good questions. I hope I can answer. But first I need a basis that we agree on. My basis is rooted in the Oral Torah and I do not understand how you can follow "Judaism" (if you believe you do) outside of that.

I have respect for those who try to follow completely and literally the Written Torah. But if you try to do that (1) in order to be truthful, you should aspire to do everything ("an eye for an eye", for example, and not sitting where a menstruating woman just sat) (2) still, there is much information lacking (what is the "first month"? what is acceptable behavior in Shabbat and what is not?).

So people pick on interpretations. Even Karaites have them. In order to understand what God requires of me I am using the Oral Torah. Why shouldn't I base my behavior on that?

"In Judaism you base your moral code only on the Torah (Written and Oral)."

Or you could just use your own discernment and innate compassion - like a grownup.

Whatever ever the Marits of the halachic argument against, pre staining, not all vetenarry experts are agreed it is nessesarry more humane.

I find it most sespecious, that the busy bodies, which pursue this issue, are not campaigning against the evil of factory farming.

Which apart from its cruelty, is a great danger to consumers.

I buy kosher meat though with reservations, one being it is not nessesarry organic.


You make no logical sense at all.

Try to process:

1. Many of the people trying to stop humane slaughter abuses with kosher and halal slaughter also try to stop factory farming abuses.

2. The vast majority of veterinary experts agree that pre-stunning is more humane than no stunning at all.

Lying and regurgitating the lies of other is not only unbecoming, Steven – it will lose you your argument and end kosher slaughter in Europe.

Try to be honest and accurate.


I can see the case for pre staining, though will say again, " I am suspicious of the motives of some of those pursuing the matter.

They remind me of the boycott Israel campaign, " Yes we don't like what happens in China, Russia, Turkey,but we have to start somewhere".

Is it just a coincidence, that both issues have emerged at the same time?.

Regarding "lies", No one should call you a liar, nor should you call anyone else one.

I have said all I wish to say on this matter.

Best Regards.

That's because everything you said, Steven, was false.

You need to stop relying on Shechita UK and other similar groups and individuals.

to understand what God requires of me I am using the Oral Torah. Why shouldn't I base my behavior on that?

Posted by: Ralph | March 06, 2014 at 06:21 PM

As you know, Oral Law both requires interpretation and changes all the time, in every generation.
Don't believe me? Two very simple current examples of attempts to change Oral Law:

MEN not working to support their families and teaching their children no trade (but thievery).
MEN being forbidden to shave despite the clear allowance in Oral Law for this.

The answer is that the Oral Law changes for a variety of reasons ALL THE TIME, even today. The question is: why is compassion not one of those reasons?

btw - I do keep kosher, would not consider eating meat (when I do which is rare exactly because of some of these issues) that is not kosher, but am beginning to hope that a proper solution will be found sooner than later.

My resposne to you, Ralph was just trying to show that claiming to follow the Oral Law is not really any different than claiming to follow just the Old Testament (literally or otherwise)..and while we're on the topic, a huge chunk of the founding philosophy of Chassidut is pretty much against the Oral Law as it is plainly written. (remeber those Misnagdim at the time?)

@Jeff: when emotions are strong there is no room for subjective discernment. I need something to refer to. If you have a dispute with your neighbor you know you can refer to your country's civil law. In religious and moral matters I refer to the Jewish Law.

@!: I understand what you say and I agree with that. My point was that the Oral Law is fundamental and nonneglectable. But there is some fluidity in the Oral Law, indeed. Maybe there is room to change some laws but it requires serious halachic debate and some consensus from the core (I mean openness from the leading poskim). Things go more smoothly when change is natural and consensual rather than imposed and divisive.

Also stunning seems very difficult to conciliate with Jewish Law: "Stunning damages various body parts and causes hemhorraging, preventing removal of the blood as required by Judaism, and thereby rendering the meat un-kosher."

from http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/178206#.UxvSdeewbHk

Magnificent website. Lots of useful information here. Im sending it to some friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat! kkfeeecfddeecfge

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