Bid to ban ritual slaughter not anti-Semitism

To the Editor:

As a consumer of kosher products and kosher food, I need to take issue with Abraham Foxman’s impassioned defense of kosher slaughter. Despite the strange conclusions of Dr. Stuart Rosen, who seems to be the only "expert" reaching the conclusion that kosher slaughter is humane, by all accounts it is an archaic mode of slaughter that is actually quite inhumane.

Though when originally conceived centuries ago it was probably among the most humane, by today’s modern standards it is not. Modern methods of stunning the animal and then slaughtering are far more humane. We as Jews and consumers of kosher meat have to come to terms with the reality of kosher slaughter and acknowledge that some changes might be in order rather than find the one veterinarian who will distort reality to reach the conclusions we desire because of his own bias.

If there are any doubts remaining about the issue, I invite the reader to view this YouTube video.

Finally, when there is anti-Semitism, we should by all accounts ferret it out and call the offenders what they are; that is certainly a vital role of the Anti-Defamation League. However, when the issue is truly one that actually is speaking the truth about animal cruelty and only peripherally affects Jewish practice, we should acknowledge that as well. This case in Holland is not anti-Semitism. It might place compassion to animals above the concerns of Jewish ritual, but it is decidedly not anti-Semitic.

Ron Stern
Rabbi, Stephen S. Wise Temple
Los Angeles, Calif.

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