A parliamentary petition demanding an outright ban on slaughtering animals without stunning them first has attracted more than 100,000 backers, causing Simon "Shimon" Cohen of Shechita UK to criticize the BVA for its "obsession" with ritual religious slaughter, calling it a "dereliction of their responsibility" by avoiding more pressing issues like mis-stunning.
The Jewish News reports:
The campaign director of Shechita UK slammed the criticised the British Veterinary Association (BVA), for disproportionately focusing on religious slaughter, and neglecting more severe issues.
On January 29, a petition demanding an outright ban on slaughtering animals without stunning them first has attracted more than 100,000 backers. A six-figure threshold is required on the parliamentary petition site to trigger a possible time slot
Shimon Cohen, criticised the BVA for its ‘obsession’ with ritual religious slaughter, calling it a ‘dereliction of their responsibility’.
He said “The BVA has been obsessed with removing the right of religious communities to carry out religious slaughter, without conclusive evidence that it is less humane than conventional, industrialised mechanical slaughter.”
“That they continue to campaign on this issue, despite the Government’s repeated assurances that it will not be swayed, is a dereliction of their responsibility to focus on far more severe welfare issues such as mis-stunning and animal cruelty.”
A spokesperson for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) outlined that there are already ‘strict rules’ that govern the slaughter of animals in England, including additional conditions for Jewish and Muslim slaughter. “The Government has no intention of banning religious slaughter.”
“The Government would prefer animals to be stunned before slaughter, but we respect the rights of Jewish and Muslim communities to eat meat in accordance with their beliefs.”
Despite Government assurance that Shechita will not be banned, President of the BVA, John Blackwell said that “This is a truly fantastic result for animal welfare. BVA has long argued that all animals should be stunned before slaughter to render them insensible to pain and we are delighted that the British public has got so firmly behind our campaign. Consumers value the high welfare of British produce and care deeply about the provenance of their food.”
Ministers “simply cannot ignore the strength of public feeling” over animal welfare and a failure to let consumers know how their meat was killed.
Campaigners will now press for a fresh Commons debate on the issue after quickly exceeding the six-figure threshold required on the parliamentary petition site to trigger a possible time slot.
The truth is that much of the problems animal welfare activists have with shechita could be corrected without modifying any halakha. But like haredim elsewhere, haredim in the UK refuse to it. Instead, they play the cheap and dishonest blame game like Cohen.
For example, Cohen cites mis-stunning figures that are very old and which go back to the early days of captive bolt 'knockers' or stun guns. But the newer generations of these captive bolt stun guns are much better and the mis-stunning rate is dramatically lower – lower, in fact, than shechita's mis-slaughter rate. But for years, Cohen has cited the old the number while at the same time pointing to discredited studies (often paid for and even conducted by the Jewish community) that purport to show shechita's humaneness. These studies are inevitably done of one or two slaughters in a non-commercial setting (or in a commercial setting that is not open for business) by a very skilled schochet with no time pressures put on him. In the real world, the mis-slaughter rate is far higher and many, many animals suffer greatly, as the Agriprocessors-Rubashkin video posted below shows.
Anyone who saw that glatt kosher top-of-the-line Agriprocessors-Rubashkin shechita and then heard dozens of haredi and Modern Orthodox rabbis support it despite its horrible and unnecessary cruelty knows why many reasonable people believe governments need to regulate shechita or even ban it.
For those of you who never saw what the Rubashkin family and their rabbis did to animals, watch this undercover PETA video. And as you do, realize that Shimon Cohen and his colleagues never condemned this shechita in any way: