At a recent conference involving the Chief Rabbitate’s Kashrut Committee as well as Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger, a decision was made to only sanction meat imported to Israel as having undergone a kosher shechita (ritual slaughter) if the animal was killed utilizing the relatively more humane “boxing” technique.
The “boxing” method involves capturing the animal in a crate and “flipping it over” before slaughtering it. This is a more modern technique, commonplace in today’s slaughterhouses, and which undeniably causes the animal far less grief.
The Chief Rabbinate also vowed to “consult with experts and find other, practical solutions that will ease the pain and suffering on animals undergoing shechita”
Leading to the Chief Rabbinates decision was an appeal by Orthodox Union (OU) Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Genack. The OU is the largest body in the United States overseeing kosher certification.
The OU contacted Chief Rabbi Metzger after numerous pleas by animal rights’ groups in the United States, protesting what they deemed are cruel and inhumane “bind and lift” techniques practiced in kosher slaughterhouses.
In a letter to Genack, the chief rabbi noted that the pictures coming from these kosher slaughterhouses, which clearly document the animals’ pain and suffering, were indeed “extremely painful to look at”.
Also noting the political power held by animals’ rights groups in the US, Metzger also highlighted the PR damage that could be caused should such cruel shechita techniques persist. “There is undoubtedly here that extends far beyond cruelty to animals,” he wrote to Genack.
The Chief Rabbinate will also encourage slaughterhouses in Israel to abandon “lift and bind” slaughter techniques and utilize the “boxing” method instead. The Hakol Chai animal rights’ group commended the chief rabbinates decision.