The OU Responds

Got a tip that Dani linked to the OU’s response to the Rubashkins/PETA controversy. For what it’s worth, I think they did a good job of responding to that which required a response.

    As rabbis and certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher
    meat slaughter in the United States, we are deeply concerned that the recent
    publicity surrounding the videotape released by a group called People for the
    Ethical Treatment of Animals may lead to misconceptions about the practices
    depicted on the videotape and, more generally, about the shechita process
    itself. We therefore wish to state as follows:
    1. Shechita involves the slicing or cutting of the trachea and esophagus
    with a sharp knife without nicks in a manner which has been established
    over centuries to be the most humane form of animal slaughter.
    Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost
    2. After the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible
    that it may still display certain reflexive actions, including those
    shown in images portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should
    not be mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not
    affect the kosher status of the slaughtered animal’s meat. There may be
    exceptional circumstances when, due to the closing of jugular veins or
    a carotid artery after the shechita cut, or due to the non-complete
    severance of an artery or vein, the animal may rise up on its legs and
    walk around. Cases when animals show such signs of life after the
    slaughter process are extremely rare, and even such an event would not
    invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were severed in
    the shechita cut.
    3. With the act of shechita, it is common to cut the carotid arteries, a
    practice designed to facilitate bleeding and accelerate
    unconsciousness. Excision of the trachea, however, is not common
    practice. We wish to make clear that nothing in any such post-shechita
    “second cut” or excision in any way undermines the validity of the
    shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal’s meat.
    We further note that regulations of the U.S. Department of Agriculture
    explicitly approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding.
    4. We reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish mandate of avoiding “tzaar
    baalei chayim,” unnecessary pain to any creature. We reiterate that the
    shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves to
    the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all
    religious and federal laws governing kosher slaughter.
    Rabbi Yisroel Belsky
    Halachic Consultant
    Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
    Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
    Kashruth Administrator
    Chicago Rabbinical Council
    Rabbi Menachem Genack
    Rabbinic Administrator
    Kashrus Division
    Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America
    Rabbi Asher Hatchuel
    Rabbinic Head
    Sephardic Beth Din of America
    Rabbi Moshe Heinemann
    Rabbinic Administrator
    Star-K Certification
    Rabbi Emanuel Holzer
    Chairman, Kashrus Committee
    Rabbinical Council of America
    Rabbi Chaim Kohn
    Rabbinic Administrator
    Khal Adas Jeshurun
    Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz
    Head of Beth Din
    Chicago Rabbinical Council
    Rabbi Yitzchok Stein
    Rabbinic Head
    Beth Din of Karlsburg
    Rabbi Yechiel Steinmetz
    Rabbinic Judge
    Monsey, NY
    Rabbi Aaron Teitelbaum
    Nirbater Rav
    Rabbinic Supervisor
    Alle Processing Corporation
    Rabbi Menachem Meir Weissmandl
    Rabbinic Head
    Nitra Beth Din of Monsey
Send this to a friend