December 12: Seeing red-red

Is the responsibility of the shochet (ritual slaughterer) confined to his knife and its deft use?

Letters 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Letters 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Seeing red-red
Sir, – Regarding “Criminal investigation launched against Tnuva for animal abuse” (December 9), the cattle that are electrically shocked in the Adom-Adom slaughterhouses, beaten and dragged by their legs with a forklift are the same cattle that are killed according to the laws of kashrut.
Is the responsibility of the shochet (ritual slaughterer) confined to his knife and its deft use? The shochet comes into intimate contact with these animals.
Why does he not speak out? When we are told that meat is kosher, do the kashrut authorities not have some responsibility for the animal’s welfare? Is the rabbinate content to relinquish its moral responsibility to the Environmental Protection Ministry? Is there no connection between kashrut and animal suffering?
Zichron Ya’acov
Sir, – As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I was saddened to read “Criminal investigation launched against Tnuva for animal abuse.” I am encouraged that the Adom- Adom plant owners are punishing the abusers and taking steps to ensure that such abuses do not occur in the future.
However, they, like most people, overlook the routine mistreatment of animals on factory farms. These farms artificially impregnate dairy cows on “rape racks” so these animals can continue to produce milk, and they take away their calves almost immediately, often to raise them for veal. When the cows can no longer produce sufficient milk, they are slaughtered.
Because they can’t lay eggs and, unlike “broilers,” have not been genetically programmed to produce much meat, male chicks at hatcheries are thrown alive into grinders or tossed into the trash to die from crushing or starvation. Farmers confine hens in spaces so small they can’t raise even one wing, and their beaks are painfully seared off to keep them from harming other birds by pecking at them out of frustration.
There are many more examples of abuse on factory farms.
What makes the situation even more scandalous is that the horrible mistreatment of farmed animals contributes significantly to many chronic, degenerative diseases, as well as to climate change and many other environmental problems, the inefficient use of land, water, energy, and other resources, and widespread hunger.
In addition, animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.
A major shift toward plantbased diets would apply Judaism’s eternal teachings to current crises and help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path.
New York
Run... away
Sir, – The egomaniacal former prime minister Ehud Olmert claims all over the world that he is being told “Run, Olmert, run” (“Olmert: I never said I would return to politics,” December 9).
I’m sure he is hearing this.
Fearing that he might settle in these places and bring his criminal actions and politics with him, people in each country are probably telling him to run to somewhere else.
Los Angeles
No prognosticator Sir, – With regard to “Daring to dream” (80th Anniversary Supplement, December 7), we should be very careful in accepting President Shimon Peres as a prognosticator regarding who is a harbinger of peace.
He can be judged by his embrace of Yasser Arafat with the Oslo agreement, and his current embrace of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who is anxiously courting Hamas as a partner within the PA.
Tel Aviv
Back to E1
Sir, – With regard to your December 3 editorial (“The logic of E1”), it is depressing to see a once sane newspaper like The Jerusalem Post decline into support for Jewish fundamentalists and settler supremacists. The latest example is your unwavering support for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s construction plans.
If you and the government were serious about the housing shortage in Jerusalem, more effective policies would need to be considered, like taxing large families rather than pinning hopes on stop-gap ideological measures that will have unfavorable consequences.
Sir, – In the optimistic days following the Oslo Accords, signs sprang up across Israel designating a traffic route between Jericho and Gaza. This was done because the two are not contiguous and had to be connected.
The same principle could, more simply, be applied to the Arab areas on each side of E1, which are a much shorter distance apart.
Disconnecting Ma’aleh Adumim from Jerusalem would put the former in the same dangerous situation as Mount Scopus before 1967. In any case, detaching Ma’aleh Adumim and E1 from Jerusalem would be strategic madness, as they control the vital eastern road to and from the capital.
‘Negligible’ Serbs
Sir, – I was quite galled to read “Supreme Court: Extradite Serbian- Israeli wanted for genocide” (November 30), given that your own pages have demonstrated the physical impossibility of the scale of killings of which Alexander Zvtkovic is accused. It’s a phenomenon that is reserved exclusively for the scoffed-at subject of the Balkans.
Has there ever been a subject so immune to historical correction? Also, your reporter seems entirely unaware that the testimony of the tribunal’s star witness – for which several people have been put away for life – is a proven and paid-for fraud.
As for the point of the article, of course the Serb lost the legal battle. The rule has always been that the Serbs lose. By publishing an approving report about Zvtkovic’s foreseeable extradition, the Post is adding insult to injury. But that’s all par for the course when it comes to the negligible Serbs.
Las Vegas
Who waits for whom?
Sir, – On a recent train trip to Haifa, the young haredi fellow sitting next to me began to address me, as fellow travelers often do. At first, the conversation consisted of the usual inquiries: Where are you going? Where are you from? How long have you lived in Israel? I answered all his questions and added that, as a new immigrant, I felt privileged to live in such a wonderful Jewish country.
He politely smiled and said: “Country? I’m sorry, but Israel is not a Jewish country yet – not until Moshiach [the Messiah] arrives. We must pray and await his arrival.”
“I don’t mind waiting,” I replied. “But as a Holocaust survivor I’m a bit tired of waiting.
You see, waiting for Moshiach was a rather unpleasant experience.
Then something incredible, something that shocked the anti-Semites everywhere in the world, happened: The Jews decided that enough is enough, and while still awaiting Moshiach, put a stop to the popular sport of Jew-killing by reclaiming their ancestral land and defending themselves by making Jew-killers pay a high price for their enjoyable hobby.”
After observing the new breed of Jews – the Israelis – and their extraordinary achievement of turning sand, rock and desert into fertile agricultural fields and splendid cities, I sometimes fantasize that when Moshiach finally does come, He would smile and say, “What took you so long?”