June 2011  

Israeli Rabbinate Fails to Keep Its Promise to Ban Import
of Meat from Slaughterhouses Using Cruel Methods




Despite the Chief Rabbinate of Israel’s promise to stop certifying as kosher meat from cows slaughtered in South America using the extremely cruel method of shackling and hoisting, it continues to certify the meat and allow it to be imported to Israel. Shackling and hoisting, which has already been banned in Israel, the U.S., and the European Union, requires that fully conscious animals be chained by the ankle and hoisted upside down before slaughter, causing excruciating tearing of muscles and tendons and extreme fright.


"The Rabbinate is on record as finding the practice of shackling and hoisting ethically problematic and certainly inflicting pain and suffering on animals," said Rabbi Adam Frank, rabbi of Congregation Moreshet Yisrael in central Jerusalem and Board member of Hakol Chai, the Israeli sister charity of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI).


Photo: Ha'aretz, 10 June 2011 (PETA)


A year ago, Avi Blumenthal, an assistant to Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, promised that if the South American slaughterhouses did not abolish shackle-and-hoist and switch to a more humane method by 2011, the Rabbinate would cease to certify the meat produced there as kosher. Rabbi Menachem Genack, the head of the kashrut division at the New York-based Orthodox Union, said Rabbi Metzger had told him of his intention to switch to the less cruel inversion pen.


But the Rabbinate has not kept its promise. At first, says Frank, “the public was pacified by statements on behalf of the Israeli Rabbinate that they would ensure a change would occur. Either they misled the public or they lied."


Blumenthal admitted that the Rabbinate still certifies meat slaughtered using shackling and hoisting. The Rabbinate requires that every cow be slaughtered while lying on his or her back, in accordance with kosher laws, but a box-like holding pen that inverts the animal before the throat is slit can be substituted for the more cruel shackling and hoisting method.


Blumenthal claimed that some slaughterhouses in South America have switched to the inversion method and those who did not will do so eventually, but the director of the Rabbinate's overseas slaughtering and meat imports department, Rabbi Ezra Harari Raful, said that while a small number of South American slaughterhouses have installed inversion pens, most of the 15-odd slaughterhouses that supply Israel still use shackle-and-hoist. Blumenthal conceded that the bottom line is that Israeli importers signed long term contracts with the slaughterhouses and so have no leverage to pressure their owners. The contracts with several of the slaughterhouses will expire over the next few years.


The fact that Israel is still buying kosher meat from slaughterhouses known to engage in extremely and unnecessarily cruel practices is completely unacceptable, says Frank.


See the article about this subject in Ha'aretz, 10 June 2011.


For further details about this issue, please see Kosher Slaughter: Should Shackling and Hoisting Be Permitted?




CHAI asks that you send a letter to Chief Rabbi Metzger, urging him to keep his promise to ban the importation of meat from cruel South American slaughterhouses that practice shackling and hoisting.


Please also consider reducing or eliminating your consumption of meat to prevent animal suffering, preserve human health, and save the environment.



Please donate to CHAI and Hakol Chai. Send your tax-deductible donations to:
CHAI, POB 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302, USA, or donate through our website.


Yours for a more compassionate world,

Nina Natelson


CHAI - Concern for Helping Animals in Israel

PO Box 3341, Alexandria, VA 22302
Email: chai_us@cox.net
Phone: 703-658-9650
Web: http://www.chai-online.org