Question: Kosher Slaughter on YouTube.com
I have been kosher most of my 57 years. With the computer age and curiosity for learning new things, I searched for kosher on YouTube.com. There was videos that showed kosher slaughter houses. It looked so inhumane. I told my wife that I now will not eat ANY meat products. I enjoy eating meat, but I found this treatment of animals disturbing. My question is this - is their any pain to the animal (cow or fowl)? The videos certainly showed the presence of pain. I realize the process on how to slaughter in the kosher way, but what does it do to the animal?
Answer: Dear David,
Thanks for writing.
There is no question that your fundamental assumption is accurate: kosher slaughter is intended to be as humane as possible. The "reason" for keeping kosher and for kosher slaughter is speculative, but there is consistent agreement on the need for humaneness.
The videos you saw were of only one slaughterhouse. We have all been appalled. Since the video was taken, two kosher supervisory agencies have increased the number of workers, enforced stricter standards, and increased the number of Rabbinic supervisors.
The various movements of Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist) do not all agree on the most humane way to slaughter animals. Israel's Chief Rabbis (Orthodox) continues to require the pen technique in slaughtering that was used in the video. They contend that it is more humane. In contrast, Conservative Rabbis concerned with these issues are now actively promoting changes in the slaughtering process. These rabbis prefer a system created by a animal humaneness specialist. They want to take out the hoisting and shackling of the animal. They are also investigating ethical issues for workers in the kosher industry.
Not eating meat or being a vegetarian is consistent with many Jewish philosophers on food and diet, and we urge you to consider it for various reasons.