The Forward has an exclusive report on a new, just released undercover PETA video (link posted below in the extended post).
The video, made in an kosher slaughter house in Uruguay, shows an extremely cruel version of shackle and hoist slaughter. Cattle are hung by a chain from the ceiling by one leg while fully conscious, causing the animals extreme pain and suffering before death.
South American shackle and hoist meat is often under the OU's supervision, yet the OU itself opposes this method of slaughter.
Why is this happening?
Because Israel's haredi Chief Rabbis insist on upside down slaughter. (See here why this is based on a minority halakhic opinion, itself a mistaken reading of a Shach.)
Because Israel dominates South American kosher slaughter, the plants refuse to change to standing pens and standing slaughter.
Commenting on the new PETA video, the world's leading expert on animal welfare and slaughter, Dr. Temple Grandin, told the Forward:
“It is in a category by itself for badness,” said Temple Grandin, an American animal rights expert who has advised many kosher meat companies, referring to “shackle and hoist.”
“It’s cruel to the animals and it’s dangerous for the employees,” Grandin added.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, head of OU Kashrus, told the Forward:
“It’s not the kind of system that we want to have, that we would be proud of,” Rabbi Menachem Genack, the CEO of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division, told the Forward.
And Seth Mandel, the OU's head of shechita, said:
The Orthodox Union’s top expert on South American meat, Rabbi Seth Mandel, says that even within the problematic realm of “shackle and hoist,” the new video shows an unusually bad case.
“Not only is it unusual — this would not be allowed to go on in plants [slaughtering] for the U.S.,” said Mandel
The leading Orthodox expert on kosher slaughter met with Israel's chief rabbis late last year to try to deal with the issue:
Partially at Genack’s insistence, the chief rabbis invited a veterinarian who specializes in kosher slaughter, Rabbi I.M. Levinger, to attend their meeting last fall. Levinger told the Forward that the issue was discussed, but that the chief rabbis were hesitant to commit to anything.
“They want to see what they can reach with recommendations,” Levinger said. “I feel that this will not be much, I am afraid.”
Rabbi Genack told the Forward he has spoken with the Chief Rabbis many times about this issue, as well. And I personally know use of shackle and hoist is a problem that Rabbi Genack has tried to correct.
Like most animal cruelty issues involving kosher slaughter, the finger points directly at haredi rabbis – especially Israel's haredi-controlled Chief Rabbis and the haredi gedolim they answer to.