Rabbi Yona Metzger
Photo: Dudi Vaaknin
'Examine the knives'
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov
Jewish slaughter in danger, chief rabbi tells importers
Rabbi Metzger initiates meeting with meat importers, asks them to pressure slaughterhouses in South America to adopt 'boxing' method which does not cause animals undue distress. 'The koshering organizations are under attack, and Jews are presented as cruel people,' he warns
After being approached by organizations for the prevention of cruelty to animals across the world, Israel's Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger met Monday evening with importers of kosher meat to Israel.
The meeting was held in a bid to recruit the importers to fight "the international attack initiated by organizations for the prevention of cruelty to animals against the kosher slaughtering," Metzger explained.
The chief rabbi told the meeting attendees that "although these organizations' motives are not always pure, you must do anything in order to prevent animals from suffering, otherwise the entire Jewish slaughtering will be in danger."
At Orthodox Union and Israeli Chief Rabbinate’s insistence, only meat slaughtered in more humane fashion not causing animal undue distress to be given kosher certification. Importers take note
During the meeting, Metzger addressed the slaughterhouses in South American, which are the main suppliers of kosher meat imported to Israel under the Chief Rabbinate using the "lift and bind" method, in which the animal's legs are tied before it is slaughtered, causing undue distress.
He noted that this was a primitive method and instructed the importers to exert massive pressure on the slaughterhouses they work with and make them stop using this technique and quickly adopt the modern "boxing" method used in Europe, in which the beast is spared unnecessary suffering before it is slaughtered.
Metzger stressed that "it is obligatory to examine the knives before each slaughter and ensure that they are not defective, so as not to cause undue distress to the beast. It is unthinkable that the beast will suffer unnecessarily as it is transported to the slaughterhouse."
'Anti-Semitic accusations'The chief rabbi did not spare criticism of the organizations for the prevention of cruelty to animals, saying he was not convinced their intentions were pure.
"There are different and odd foods like seafood, which are prepared with serious abuse, but for some reason these organizations are only heard when it comes to Jewish slaughter.
"Koshering organizations in the United States have told me that they were being similarly attacked by these organizations for the prevention of cruelty to animals. They told me that these organizations have serious influence and great power in the United States, and that they use this to present the Jews as cruel people and to make other anti-Semitic accusations. If this attack continues, Jewish slaughter is in danger," Rabbi Metzger said.
The same remarks were made in a booklet handed to the meeting attendees.
"We are living in a reality in which the issue of animals' rights gets a lot of media and public attention. At the same time, different elements are attempting to cancel the Jewish slaughter or make different conditions to disqualify it.
"This compels us to ensure that we do not, God forbid, reach a situation in which those who provoke us will overpower us and the Jewish slaughter will be banned for so-called 'humane' reasons, something which might influence other countries and have very grave results," the booklet stated.