Each year on the 20th of December- St Ignatius Day - Romanians obtain a live pig from a farmer, and slaughter it in a horrific and gruesome way. A cross is also cut into the animal’s flesh and blessed. The pig is then transformed into traditional sausages to be eaten on December 25th. One and a half million pigs are slaughtered each year to celebrate this event.
The EU has not been enthused about this tradition, but as Romanian philosophy professor Andre Cornea has observed, respect for national/traditional rights supersedes animal rights. He pointed out that the EU also respects Spain’s cultural tradition of bull fighting where some 7000 EU subsidized bulls are killed for entertainment each year. In both cases, the animals are tormented and tortured to death. Pre- torture stunning? Of course not!
There are other instances of the EU accepting cruelty to animals if it is traditional and cultural - and not Jewish..
The multi-million euro foie gras industry in France and at least five other EU countries is a case in point. These unfortunate ducks and geese endure agonizing pain as their livers are artificially enlarged by some 600%.
The popular hunting season each fall ends in the deaths of countless deer, boars, foxes and hares. Animal rights do not seem to apply to them either when it comes to tradition and culture.
A central feature of Jewish ritual slaughter (shechita) is to minimize or prevent pain and stress in addition to a quick death. (See Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks addressing the British Parliament on shechitahere.) This is in accordance with Torah law as well as the Noahide Laws. As early as Exodus (23:5) Jews are told to be kind to animals including those of adversaries. It goes without saying therefore that hunting as a sport is forbidden.
The world renowned animal scientist, Prof. Tempel Grandin has stated that shechita when performed properly, is humane and quick. Her advice regarding any possible improvements has been followed by rabbinic authorities. She has also pointed out that there can be serious flaws in stunning which is not a simple undertaking. Animals can be stunned and suffer considerably with cardiac arrest or seizures. The ECJ (European Court of Justice) probably does not care about those details which would be irrelevant to its prevailing anti-Judaic prejudice.
The ECJ has overruled the advice of its attorney general and deemed shechita to violate animal rights. Ironically the ruling occurred during Hanukkah when Jews celebrate their struggle, resilience and final success in defeating Hellenism, restoring Judaic culture and rededicating the Temple.
It would appear that Europe does not sincerely believe the oft repeated dictum by its leaders that “Europe without its Jews, is not Europe.”
It is only a matter of time until the prohibition of religious circumcision will follow the ban on shechita and from there, further attempts to expand BDS and other efforts to undermine the Jewish state.
If the ECJ were sincere about animal rights, they would certainly not be so blatantly hypocritical by cherry picking these rights depending on which culture they come from. Moreover a sensible way forward would be a law requiring all abattoirs to install CCTV cameras that would be audited by inspectors and available to the public to allay concerns.
Intersectionality has become de rigeur. It is only a matter of time until the prohibition of religious circumcision will follow the ban on shechita and from there, further attempts to expand BDS and other efforts to undermine the Jewish state. Already this is happening with European governments funding NGOs which are committed to Israel’s annihilation.
There was a time when European Jewish life was actively destroyed in gas chambers. Today the EU would appear to merely seek to deprive Jewish life of its oxygen.
This week, Christians will celebrate the date they believe is the birth of Jesus who was an Orthodox Jew in every respect, including the observance of Jewish dietary laws.
Millions of pigs, turkeys and lambs will be slaughtered for the celebration.
If Jesus were to witness St Ignatius Day he would be dismayed. He would also be stunned.
Ron Jontof-Hutter is the author of the satire “The trombone man: tales of a misogynist,” the “Kristallnacht Cantata: a voice of courage” and the satirical play,”BEST.”