Agriculture Secretary OK's Kosher Slaughter

“What I saw today was humane," said Iowa's Sec'y of Agriculture, after a tour of a large kosher slaughterhouse on Sunday. She had originally said she was "disturbed" by kosher slaughter practices.

, | updated: 13:51

"It was quick and there was absolutely no problem with the way [the cattle] were handled," said Secretary Patty Judge after touring the AgriProcessors plant on Sunday.

Ms. Judge toured the processing plant after PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) released a videotape showing animals in distress following slaughter. She had originally said that she was "disturbed" by the video, and called for a possible state investigation. She changed her mind, however, during her visit to the the world's largest supplier of glatt (extra-stringent) kosher meat products.

Officials at the Orthodox Union, the world's largest Kashrut-certifying organization, expressed satisfaction at Secretary Judge’s comments. “We are gratified that a personal inspection tour of AgriProcessors by Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture, Patty Judge, made it clear that kosher slaughter there is done humanely,” declared Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union, and Rabbi Menachem Genack, Rabbinic Administrator of the OU Kosher division. "Clearly, humane slaughter goes on at the AgriProcessors plant, in conformity with the laws of Torah which make it clear that humanity to animals is a religious requirement in Judaism.”

In a statement issued several days earlier, Rabbis Weinreb and Genack declared:
“After carefully studying the [PETA] video, Rabbi Menachem Genack and Rabbi Yisroel Belsky, one of the OU’s distinguished poskim (rabbinic decisors), traveled to Postville, Iowa to review the procedures at the AgriProcessors plant. They found that these procedures meet all OU standards to the highest degree, and that the shochtim (rabbinic slaughters) are all highly proficient, skilled and knowledgeable. Nevertheless, the OU and AgriProcessors, Inc. have worked together to make certain changes, namely that the trachea will no longer be removed following shechita (kosher slaughter), and that any animals that appear to have survived the procedure will be promptly stunned or shot.”

“This was the first time I had an opportunity to see kosher slaughter," Secretary Judge said. "I was glad to see how it works." She said she saw three cattle slaughtered, and that they were rendered insensible and unconscious within “two or three seconds” after the shochet's cut.

“Slaughter is never pleasant, but it was humane, quick, and I have no problem with the way those animals were being treated," Secretary Judge said. "The rabbis slaughtering the chickens were much more gentle than my grandmother was on our farm when I was a child."

"If done correctly under kosher law, the technique ensures quick and painless death," according to officials quoted in the Des Moines Register, an Iowa newspaper.
Information on kosher slaughter can be
found here.



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