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Pennsylvania Governor Signs ‘humane Slaughter’ Bill; Shechita Recognized

A “humane slaughter” bill which exempts kosher slaughter houses from a requirement that meat animals must be stunned before slaughter has been signed by Gov. William W. Scranton.

The bill, which requires larger kosher houses to install a restraining pen invented by Cross Brothers and later purchased by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The pen will replace the present method of shackling and hoisting meat animals to the waiting ritual slaughterer.

The law is based on a model proposal supported by the ASPCA and backed by the Joint Advisory Committee of the Synagogue Council of America and the National Community Relations Advisory Council. The new law specifically recognizes that schechita–traditional Jewish slaughtering methods–is humane.

The bill exempts kosher slaughter houses that prepare less than 20 animals a week from the required use of the Cross pen and also slaughter of calves and sheep. The exemption for the smaller meat animals will be permissible until one year after the date of development of a pen for smaller animals which is now being worked on.

Sydney C. Orlofsky, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council and chairman of the JCRC religious freedom committee, and Jules D. Cohen, JCRC executive director, who led the effort to obtain enactment of the measure, pointed out that Jewish organizations do not sponsor such legislation. However, they explained that such matters are questions of concern because of the need to insure that such legislation recognize that schechita is humane.

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