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Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 31
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: judaism and animal cruelty   Sat Jan 12, 2013 3:36 pm


I was wondering what jewish views on animal cruelty and industrial meat are.

Context: I was having a discussion today on ritually slaughtered meat. I am strongly in favour of 'ritual' meat and have eaten halal for years (there are no kasher butcheries where I lived, but there were many small muslim shops; where I live now neither is available..). But as I was arguing about the little amount of sufferance that is involved in the actual killing, and the fact that I value the fact that the act of killing is consecrated with the invoking of G-d, that one doesn't kill lightly, and I talked about the muslim law that orders muslims to care well for the animals by life and to keep them from suffering, I realised I have no idea about jewish laws on the subject.

Or does this fall simply under the decreet of good husbandry, the responsibility that man has in relation to Creation? If an animal that comes from the meat industry with all its cruelties is slaughtered in the correct Jewish way, is it kasher?
Or is it prohibited because the decreet to care well for Creation wasn't followed?

Is there any law/consensus/whatever on this?
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Join date : 2011-09-23
Location : Tennessee

PostSubject: Re: judaism and animal cruelty   Sun Feb 03, 2013 11:34 pm

I have not read that it's un-kosher to eat an animal which was ill-treated (think industrial farming techniques). However, a Jew would not be allowed to ill-treat his own animals, as there are prohibitions against that.

An ox may not be yoked with a donkey (because the ox would hurt it); if you see an animal fall under its burden, you must stop and help unload it, even if it is your enemy's animal; if it's the Sabbath, you must make the animal comfortable until the day is over and you can unload it (and I think most rabbis would err on the side of the animal, so if it seems to be in distress, even if you've taken precautions against it getting hurt, you should go ahead and unload it); you must feed your animals before yourself, and you must feed them on the Sabbath; and your animals must rest on the Sabbath as well.

Ideally, Jews should eat cruelty-free meat. However, the cost of such meat, which is also kosher-slaughtered, is so astronomical that none but the richest people (or those who farm for themselves) can afford it. At present, I can't afford either kosher-slaughtered or cruelty-free; the two combined are right out.
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Posts : 166
Join date : 2012-12-29
Age : 31
Location : Wales, UK

PostSubject: Re: judaism and animal cruelty   Mon Feb 04, 2013 5:56 am

Thanks for your answer, Mychal!

I knew about the rule of feeding your animals before yourself and I think it is a brilliant way to say that one should let the welfare the animals that are under your care pass before your own comfort: feed the animals first, pay their vet bills before paying other costs, etc. Having animals is a responsibility as well as a blessing :)

With the last paragraph you basically told me what I wanted to know: that kosher-slaughtered is not per definition cruelty-free. But in he light of what you write before, it is surprising, with all these Tora rules for animal care and against cruelty...
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Debbie B.


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PostSubject: Re: judaism and animal cruelty   Mon Feb 11, 2013 2:41 am

Kashrut is more about method of slaughter and checking for deformities and indications of disease, and does not necessarily address cruelty in animal care. Here is a long discussion (Conservative responsum) about whether veal as typically raised in the US (which is quite inhumane) can be "kosher":
Veal Calves
It concludes that Jews should not eat meat from veal calves that have been raised in cruel conditions even if appropriately slaughtered and examined because the meat was effectively "treif". The vote by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards was 9 in favor, 5 opposed, 7 abstaining, which means that it is an acceptable opinion, but rabbis may rule differently.

An opposing response: A Response to Rabbi Pamela Barmash's Teshuva on Veal
It basically says that even though he agrees that US veal raising methods are inhumane, that to say that the meat cannot be eaten for kashrut reasons is like creating another kind of "Glatt Kosher" standard.

We do not buy veal meat in my household and we do not order it in restaurants, although I will eat it if served it as a guest (and it is kosher, of course). Few of our friends eat veal due to the cruelty issues. In fact, a large percentage of our friends are vegetarian for ethical reasons. I think I have been served veal once or twice by friends in Israel. I stopped eating veal long before I started to keep kosher when I found out about how cruelly the animals were treated.

A source for Kosher meat from grass-fed, pastured humanely treated animals:
Kol Foods
Expensive, but delicious beef, lamb, and poultry. Awesome sausages. We bought several kinds of this meat as part of a big group purchase which decreased the shipping cost. We eat meat only about once a week, so the high cost is less of an issue. We don't solely eat organic meat, but we do try to buy it when available. Empire organic chicken is often available at our local supermarket, Trader Joe's, or kosher supermarket.

Another source for Kosher pasture-raised beef and poultry:
Grow and Behold Foods
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