The video, provided to CHAI for distribution in Israel by People for the
Ethical Treatment of Animals, shows an Israeli slaughtering crew at one
of the largest kosher slaughter plants in South America suspending fully
conscious cows upside down in the air by one chained leg, a practice
called shackling and hoisting. The animal may hang upside down for
minutes during the slaughtering process, muscles and tendons tearing.
The practice first began when the 1906 U.S. Pure Food and Drug Act
required that, for sanitary reasons, an animal must be off the ground at
the time of slaughter. Ironically, because of the cruelty of this
method, the Jewish community initially expressed strong resistance to
using it. The method is no longer used in U.S. or European
non-kosher slaughterhouses, but continues in some kosher
slaughterhouses, though not in Israel. In 2002, the Conservative
branch of Judaism (through its Rabbinical Assembly’s Committee on
Jewish Law and Standards) ruled that shackling and hoisting should be
stopped: "Now that kosher, humane slaughter using upright pens is
both possible and widespread, we find shackling and hoisting to be a
violation of Jewish laws forbidding cruelty to animals."
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and members of the department on kosher laws of
Israel's Chief Rabbinate (the Orthodox Jewish religious governing body
in Israel) have witnessed shackling and hoisting during supervisory
visits to the South American slaughterhouses. Following this past
January’s visit, Rabbi Metzger’s only comment was that the meat coming
from them is certifiably kosher.
PETA – From the undercover video released in April 2010
At the time the cruelty was first exposed, in 2007, Rabbi Frank wrote to
Chief Rabbis Metzger and Shlomo Amar on behalf of Hakol Chai urging
reform. He also wrote an op-ed, which appeared in the Jerusalem Post.
Though the letters went unanswered, the media reported that at a meeting
between a delegation of the Chief Rabbinate, lead by Rabbi Metzger, and
the Orthodox Union (America's largest agency for kosher supervision),
the restraint methods were characterized as "extremely painful to
view," and an admission was made that they should be eliminated.
Rabbi Frank has once again written letters of appeal to the Chief Rabbis
on behalf of Hakol Chai, reminding them of the commitment they made in
2007 but, so far, have failed to keep.
In the most humane restraint method, the standing pen, the cow is
upright and calm throughout the process, but the Israeli Chief Rabbinate
requires that the animal be inverted in order for the cut to be in a
downward motion. Kosher meat consumed by strict Orthodox Jews outside
of Israel is produced with the standing pen method, evidence that
shackling and hoisting is an unnecessary restriction. The reason
purportedly given by slaughterhouse owners for not converting to the
more humane method is that they could kill over 100 animals an hour
using the inhumane method, but only 55 per hour with the humane method.
When Rabbi Metzger expressed concern for improving the welfare of
animals used to provide Israelis with kosher meat two years ago, he told
the press of a more humane inversion method approved by Israel’s Chief
Rabbinate and used by U.S. and European kosher slaughter plants. This
method employs a box-like holding pen that inverts the animal before
slaughter. "The only step taken by Rabbi Metzger, however," said
Rabbi Frank, "has been to meet with kosher meat importers in Israel –
the very businesspeople who must pay for the change – to request a
reform already made by other kosher slaughter producers around the
Rabbi Metzger places blame for the continued cruelty on the meat
importers, yet it is his department that supervises and endorses the
imported products. All slaughterers in South America are under the
supervision of the Chief Rabbinate and all kosher meat imported from
South America into Israel must be approved by the Chief Rabbinate.
"Hakol Chai respectfully calls on Rabbi Metzger to use his authority
to implement reforms," said Rabbi Frank. "A sense of
responsibility and moral outrage over the continuing abuse of animals
require no less."
For further details about this issue, please see
Kosher Slaughter: Should Shackling and Hoisting Be Permitted?
WHAT YOU CAN DO
CHAI asks that you
send a letter to Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, urging him to keep
his promise to convert to a more humane method of restraining animals in
Please also consider reducing or eliminating your consumption of meat to
prevent animal suffering, preserve human health, and save the
According to a
report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO), meat, not cars, is the number one cause of global warming. It
is also a major source of land and water degradation. The UN's Nobel
Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made up
of hundreds of climate change scientists worldwide, noted the importance
of lifestyle changes in meeting the challenge of global warming.
"Please eat less meat," said IPCC representative,
economist Rajendra Pachauri, adding that a meat-based diet also has
negative consequences for human health.