Menachem Lubinsky, the head of Lubicom, the kosher food industry's trade and marketing group, has written a letter to the Jerusalem Post attacking PETA,
But is Lubinsky being truthful? You be the judge:
Sir, The letter by Benjamin Goldsmith, Campaign Coordinator for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is toatlly misleading and fails to reveal the real agenda of the animal rights movement. The video scenes sereptitiously and illegally obtained by a PETA representative at the Agriprocessing plant in Postville, Iowa, may not have looked pretty to the untrained eye as might any killing field of animals, but all the leading rabbis in the US and Israel have subsequently ruled that the schechita was kosher and the actions by the animals were reflexive in nature and not that of concious animals. Schechita remains the most humane form of slaughter, a fact that is protected by US laws and regulations. The PETA representaive fails to tell your readers that his organziation is against all slaughter of animals, which they have grotesquely equated to the Holocaust. Nor do they remind readers of their complaint to PLO Chaiman Yasser Arafat over the use of a donkey in a suicide bombing. They are hardly qualified to tell a 3000 year-old religion what is humane. Incidentally, both the Orthodox Union and AgriProcessing have since vowed to make sure that even some of the "unpleasant" images on the video will be dealt with even as kashrut and humanene treatment of animals were never compromised. It should also be remembered that a veterenarian and 4 inspectors of the United States Department of Agriculture observe the kosher slaughter at all times as do 9 rabbis.
Is Lubinsky being truthful? You be the judge:
- Lubinsky claims that, a) "all the leading rabbis in the US and Israel have subsequently ruled that the schechita was kosher," and, b) the actions by all the animals on PETA's video, including the animal that walked away after shechita, "were reflexive in nature and not that of concious animals."
- The truth is that 12 rabbis involved in kosher certification have opined in a written statement that the shechita on the PETA video is kosher. (The Agudath Israel convention did vote to condemn PETA, but it did so without seeing the video or any other evidence, and it did NOT specifically rule on the kashrut of the shechita.
- The only two rabbis I'm aware of who defend the treatment of the animals shown on the PETA video are the OU's Menachem Genack (who told me that if he had seen the worker rip out the animal's throat with a hook immediately after shechita, he wouldn't have given it a second thought or stopped the practice) and the KAJ's Chaim Kohn. They both also claim that the animals were insensate and the actions of the animals, including walking, were refexive in nature, as does the OU's Rabbi Yisroel Belsky.
- What Lubinsky does not write is the fact that, as of today, no scientist or veterinarian has come forward to support those claims.
- Lubinsky writes: "[H]umanene [sic] treatment of animals w[as] never compromised."
- Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa, sits on the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's Kashrut Committee. In a letter quoted by Lubinsky in a previous Lubicom press release, Rabbi Cohen notes : "I am indeed pleased to note that all rabbis involved reaffirm their commitment to prevent inhumane treatment of animals and congratulate the O.U. together with the Agriprocessors's executives for making further efforts and introducing changes that will stop the procedure that might have caused unnecessary suffering to the animals."
- Lubinsky writes: "Schechita remains the most humane form of slaughter, a fact that is protected by US laws and regulations."
- What Lubinsky does not tell you is US law defines shechita as humane when "the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries."
- At least 25% of the time, the shechita shown on the PETA video did not meet that requirement.
- Lubinsky claims: "It should also be remembered that a veterenarian and 4 inspectors of the United States Department of Agriculture observe the kosher slaughter at all times as do 9 rabbis."
- "9 rabbis" do not observe "kosher slaughter" at all times. Lubinsky's claim is absolutely false.
Here is the section of USDA directive number 6900.2 excised at the request of kashrut agencies:
Inspection program personnel may act under section 1902 (b) of the HMSA if, after the animals throat is cut, it struggles or bellows for an extended period of time or otherwise exhibits consciousness, or if the act of slaughter includes throat sawing, hacking, or multiple slicing of the neck with a sharp instrument. Such incidents are examples of noncompliance because either the cut of the carotid arteries is not instantaneous and simultaneous, or the animals do not lose consciousness by anemia of the brain. If any of the above incidents are observed, inspection program personnel are to take steps to ensure that the animal is immediately and humanely rendered unconscious and slaughtered.
The new directive limits inspectors' actions and replaced the requirement for instantaneous and simultaneous severing of the carotid arteries with the allowance of a 'second cut' to "facilitate bleeding."
However, the directive still must function under section 1902 (b) of the HMSA, and the definition of humane shechita still is the animal suffering loss of consciousness by
anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous
severance of the carotid arteries."
In other words, even though the USDA inspectors had their hands tied by the lobbying of Agudath Israel and the kashrut agencies, the underlying law remains the same.
Sadly, it appears that Rubashkin and the rabbis violated that law quite regularly.
Lubinsky's letter can also be read here.