Here's the lowdown: AgriProcessors (Rubashkin) purchases veal and lamb from other slaughterhouses. I'm told the reason for this is, at least in the case of veal, primarily economic; Holstein cattle are notorious for having defects that render them non-kosher, and veal is almost always Holstein. One of Rubashkin's suppliers is (or was) Atlantic Beef & Veal. Atlantic is based in Brooklyn, and is the largest veal producer in America, and has plants in the Midwest. (Atlantic was involved in shipping to Japan beef that failed to meet US-Japan trade agreements for Mad Cow disease.)
Atlantic went into the kosher business primarily for Rubashkin. Its kosher output was all killed using the shackle and hoist method of slaughter, perhaps the most cruel method of slaughter regularly practiced in America. The animal is raised toward the ceiling by a chain attached to a hind leg, and is then slaughtered hanging upside down, in great pain and terror. Sysco, a major food distributor, has as a condition of purchase the requirement that all slaughter passes the Food Marketing Institute's Animal Welfare Audit (AWAP). Sysco's auditor failed Atlantic because of shackle and hoist. Sysco cancelled its $7 million contract with Atlantic.
Atlantic sued Sysco, claiming it had no idea its kosher slaughter would affect its AWAP score. Last week, a judge allowed that suit to stand.
In effect, Atlantic is claiming that it did not realize that its non-kosher shackle and hoist production, the byproduct of its kosher slaughter, would count on the AWAP score even though that shackle and hoist byproduct was sold to Sysco.
How does this affect us?
1. Rubashkin's rabbis supervise(d) Atlantic's slaughter and approved shackle and hoist.
2. This means the OU, which claimed to certify Rubashkin's own upside down Weinberg pen slaughter only because the Israeli rabbinute demanded it, readily gave supervision to other plants using even more cruel methods of slaughter.
3. Worse yet, those plants then sold to Rubashkin, with the full knowledge and approval of the OU, etc., and then sold that meat to you as if it had been slaughtered by Rubashkin is a less cruel fashion. The OU, et al, did this even as they touted Rubashkin's "improvements."
4. The rabbis are calling Sysco's actions an "attack" on freedom of religion.
5. Much of Rubashkin's own output comes from plants he owns or associates with in Latin America. They overwhelmingly use casting, another cruel method of slaughter, or shackle and hoist. I have been told that no Rubashkin-affiliated Latin American plant uses an ASCPA pen, and that all cast of shackle and hoist. This is also alleged to be true for Alle and all Satmar Latin American output, as well.
6. This means that, because most kosher food processors buy by supervision, any packaged meat product from hot dogs to TV dinners to airline meals, along with a fresh and fresh packed meats, may very well be made from the product of shackle and hoist or casting slaughter.
What should be done about this?
Until kosher meat carries an independent, non-rabbinically controlled guarantee of humane slaughter, all kosher meat must be presumed to be inhumanely slaughtered.
The rabbis have proven time and time again that they cannot be trusted. To drive that point home, at least for the short term, eat fish or go veg.