Sunday, 23 March 2014
A note on Kosher slaughter
One of the challenges that the Orthodox community faces is the current campaign against Jewish ritual slaughter which, along with male circumcision, is one of the targets of the so-called enlightened liberal brigade, especially bodies such as the national secular society. Indeed a couple of weeks ago one of Britain's leading vets also got into the act as well, thus forcing David Cameron to publicly confirm that he would not be seeking to legislation to ban Kosher slaughter in the UK (to the Israeli Knesset).
What absolutely and utterly gets on my wick, is that we have a bunch of people (the National Secular Society) who go around and say religion shouldn't interfere with society or politics, and yet here we have a group that wishes to poke its nose into a religious practise and belief. Secondly, it seems to me that when discussing ritual slaughter, people portray our religion as being anti-animal welfare, which is the biggest load of cock ever .The is a Jewish concept of 'Tza'ar Ba'alei Chayim', that is regarding cruelty to animals which is prohibited under Jewish law, this says a great deal about looking after animals, as various Biblical quotes indicate. I'd say that this is one thing opponents of Kosher slaughter in the the National Secular Society and other lobby groups, don't quite grasp, that Judaism has always taken animal welfare seriously, long, long before the west started to legislated against animal cruelty (Jews are even forbidden to hunt for sport), so I spot the rich irony here of animal rights activists jumping up and down about the 'barbarity' of Kosher slaughter.
In terms of why we do not 'stun' animals, the most straightforward & blunt approach is to say that for us these methods of slaughter were divinely given teachings to us, from G-d via Moses, to follow for all time and as understood and explained in our Oral Torah and the vast bulk of Jewish legal opinion throughout the centuries. But OK if you are not Jewish then this argument means nothing, but there is also a secular argument to put forward a well, which I will now discuss.
In respect of stunning, the difficulty for us here is that we cannot eat an animal that has been injured before slaughter and stunning is seen as injuring an animal. In respect of stunning itself, I’d say that there is no guarantee that the animal is being rendered insensible to pain, the animal could in fact be only part paralysed, so all you are seeing is the animal being unable to express its pain .Furthermore sometimes stunning fails and means the animal has to be re-stunned which doubtless increases the animal’s suffering and this in what will be an extremely stressing ‘mechanical’ environment for the animal; whereas in Jewish Kosher slaughter, this is less mechanical as it is done by hand, by a trained professional called a shochet (who has to follow various rules of the method of slaughter). Shechita avoids these problems, as there are no mechanical or electrical appliances that can go wrong. The Schechita produces an effective and irreversible stun as well as being humane and efficient slaughter method.
Of course, I suspect most of this will fall of deaf ears.Most of the time, people don't bother with facts, but leap on the anti-religious bandwagon, which is a pity, given that the claim to authority by secularists is one of rationality, fact checking and erudite logic...