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December 31, 2004 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-12-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Only the Rabbis
and Certification Agencies
Can Define the 3000-Year
Old Laws of Kosher
Slaughter (Schechita)!

Statement of Rabbis and Certifying Agencies
On Recent Publicity On Kosher Slaughter

As rabbis and certifying agencies involved in the supervision of kosher meat slaughter in the United States, we
are deeply concerned that the recent publicity surrounding the videotape released by a group called People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals may lead to misconceptions about the practices depicted on the videotape and,
more generally, about the shechita process itself. We therefore wish to state as follows:

1.

Shechita involves the slicing or cutting of the trachea and esophagus with a sharp knife without nicks in
a manner which has been established over centuries to be the most humane form of animal slaughter.
Shechita typically renders the animal insensible almost instantaneously.

2.

After the animal has been rendered insensible, it is entirely possible that it may still display certain reflexive
actions, including those shown in images portrayed in the video. These reflexive actions should not be
mistaken for signs of consciousness or pain, and they do not affect the kosher status of the slaughtered
animal's meat. There may be exceptional circumstances when, due to the closing of jugular veins or a carotid
artery after the shechita cut, or due to the non-complete severance of an artery or vein, the animal may rise
up on its legs and walk around. Cases when animals show such signs of life after the slaughter process are
extremely rare, and even such an event would not invalidate the shechita if the trachea and esophagus were
severed in the shechita cut.

3.

With the act of shechita, it is common to cut the carotid arteries, a practice designed to facilitate bleeding
and accelerate unconsciousness. Excision of the trachea, however, is not common practice. We wish to make
clear that nothing in any such post-shechita "second cut" or excision in any way undermines the validity of
the shechita itself or the kosher status of the slaughtered animal's meat. We further note that regulations of
the U.S. Department of Agriculture explicitly approve a second cut to facilitate bleeding.

4.

We reaffirm our commitment to the Jewish mandate of avoiding "tzaar baalei chayim," unnecessary pain to
any creature. We reiterate that the shechita process embodies this very mandate. We rededicate ourselves to
the ongoing responsibility of ensuring strict compliance with all religious and federal laws governing kosher
slaughter.

Rszi yedAsigilegsit

4ficoite,

RABBI YISROEL BELSKY

RABBI ASHER HATCHUEL

Halachic Consultant
Union of Orthodox Jewish
Congregations of America

Rabbinic Head
Sephardic Beth Din of America

RABBI CHAIM KOHN

RABBI YECHIEL STEINMETZ

Rabbinic Administrator
Khal Adas Jeshurun

Rabbinic Judge
Monsey, NY

RABBI SHOLEM FISHBANE

RABBI MOSHE HEINEMANN

RABBI GEDALIA Dov SCHWARTZ

RABBI AARON TEITELBAUM

Kashruth Administrator
Chicago Rabbinical Council

Rabbinic Administrator
Star-K Certification

Head of Beth Din Chicago
Rabbinical Council

Nirbater Ray Rabbinic Supervisor
Alle Processing Corporation

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fw& yedAgeg asamy

RABBI MENACHEM GENACK

RABBI EMANUEL HOLZER

Rabbinic Administrator
Kashrus Division Union
of Orthodox Jewish
Congregations of America

Chairman, Kashrus
Committee Rabbinical Council
of America

AKA Ca

RABBI YITZCHOK STEIN

RABBI MENACHEM MEIR

Rabbinic Head
Beth Din of Karlsburg

WEISSMANDL

Rabbinic Head Nitro Beth Din
of Monsey

12/31
2004

924590

17

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