Rabbi Yosef Sholom Elyashiv, banner of books, opponent of science, advocate for animal torture – and the leading rabbinic authority in today's Orthodox world. [Photo, but NOT the caption, courtesy of Hatzoloh Israel.]
As you read this sad article from the Jerusalem Post, remember one thing:
Only the USDA can now be trusted to protect animal welfare during kosher slaughter.
The concept of tzaar baalei hayyim (preventing cruelty to animals) has been thrown out the window by the Black Pope of Jerusalem. Make no mistake about it – the Dark Ages have begun (and Rubashkin is laughing all the way to the bank):
The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition
'Force feeding geese for foie gras is kosher'
Mati Wagner, THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 1, 2005
Disagreeing with a High Court ruling and the adopted practice of a growing number of European countries, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv ruled there is no halachic restriction against force-feeding geese for foie gras.
Elyashiv, probably the most preeminent halachic authority living, was asked by a haredi foie gras producer to give his opinion after MK Moshe Gafni (Degel Hatorah) voted against Israeli foie gras production in the Knesset Education Committee, arguing that it contradicted the Jewish law prohibiting cruelty to animals.
Ze'ev Friedman, a resident of Bnei Brak [an overwhelmingly Ultra-Orthodox city], who has a 30 percent share in Foie Gras, a meat production plant in Petah Tikva that markets goose liver, initiated a meeting of a group of rabbis including Elyashiv, Rabbi Avraham Yosef, the chief rabbi of Holon, and Rabbi David Yehiel Verner, the chief rabbi of Hadera.
The rabbis described in detail the entire process of foie gras production to the nonagenarian rabbi. Asked if foie gras production was a violation of halacha, Elyashiv replied unequivocally that it was not.
Halacha permits causing animals to suffer if, as a result, there is some tangible benefit to man. That is why animals may be slaughtered, used for plowing or for carrying heavy loads.
However, writes Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe, Even Ha'ezer IV 92), not all benefits enjoyed by man justify causing suffering to animals. Based on this distinction, Feinstein prohibits raising calves for veal. Producing white meat is nothing more than a marketing ploy, writes Feinstein, and does not justify depriving calves of iron in their diet or limiting their mobility.
In contrast, Elyashiv ruled that the enlarged liver resulting from forced-feeding practices is a tangible benefit to man and justifies animal suffering.
As further evidence that there is no halachic restriction against foie gras, Friedman, a sixth-generation foie gras producer, cited stories that Rabbi Moshe Sofer, known as the Hatam Sofer, who lived at the turn of the 19th century, ate foie gras on a regular basis.
"It could be that my forefathers in Hungary actually sold the Hatam Sofer goose liver," said Friedman.
Foie gras producers force-feed newborn geese with high-caloric food by inserting a tube into the esophagus, resulting in the swelling of the liver. The process lasts about three months, after which the geese, who have a life expectancy of about 60 years in their natural habitat, are slaughtered.
Animal rights groups say force-feeding damages the digestive system and the esophagus and causes suffering.
In August 2003, the High Court agreed with a petition by Noah, an umbrella organization for animal rights organizations in Israel, that force-feeding geese for the production of foie gras causes unnecessary suffering.
The court ruled that foie gras production violates the Protection of Animals Law, 1994, which prohibits torture, cruelty or abuse to animals. It based its decision on a distinction between food items necessary for human existence and luxuries. Less weight is given to agriculture industry needs and more emphasis is put on animals' rights when a food product is a luxury item.
Chai Binyamini, secretary-general of the association of goose growers in Israel, said the Agriculture Ministry had invested NIS 200,000 to investigate more humane methods of producing foie gras.
Binyamini said 62 geese growers employing 600 workers produce 500 tons of foie gras a year. Industry revenues, including both liver and goose meat, are NIS 100m., of which NIS 60m. are for export.
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1109647369298&p=1008596975996