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Humane Halal & Kosher Kind | Mercy In Slaughter

Kosher (כשר) and halal (حلال) dietary guidelines—particularly in regards to the treatment and slaughter of animals—have long sparked controversy and debate, even within their respective religious communities. The most contentious aspect of ritual slaughter—taking the international stage more than once—is whether shechita (שְׁחִיטָה)[1][2][3] and zabiha/dhabiha/al-dhabh ( ذَبِيْحَة)[4][5][6] (the terms for slaughter performed to kosher and halal standards respectively) are the most humane and merciful or the most brutal and barbaric. [tweet this]

I’ll be honest that this has been one of the most daunting and profoundly challenging videos I’ve ever made. As a vegan educator, I know all to well that dietary practice alone is a hot button issue. Add in religion, culture, heritage, politics, and money, and you’ve got a proper powder keg of a topic. So before we get started, there are some very important caveats I need to clarify.

As Jewish and Islamic scholars continue to study, debate, and deepen their own understanding of kashrut (כַּשְׁרוּת)[7][8] (Jewish dietary laws under which permissible foods are deemed “kosher”) and halal[9] meat and slaughter even after thousands of years,[10][11][12][13][14][15] it’s not only unrealistic but also irresponsible to assume that I can adequately comprehend and convey the entirety of their teachings within a single video.

Presenting incredibly complex concepts in a simplified format always runs the risk of being overly reductionist. This is why—as with all of my intensively researched content—this article contains citations, a bibliography, and in this case, portions of my original draft that were cut from the final video for the sake of time. That it remains a comparatively lengthy video is a testament to the complexity of this topic.

Additionally, this is not an attack on Judaism, Islam, or even religion as whole. The aim here is to take a hard look at kosher and halal slaughter and evaluate whether they are genuinely humane, merciful practices. Such an assessment is perhaps even more vital for their adherents, as violation of these principles compromises the very foundation of their faith.

In fact, the values espoused by animal advocates opposed to ritual slaughter are, according to Jewish and Islamic leaders, the very basis of halal and kosher practices. But this potential common ground is rarely explored as almost every public debate over ritual slaughter arises from undercover footage exposing the horrifically brutal treatment of animals in halal and kosher slaughterhouses.

As this abuse grossly violates halal and kosher laws, rightly drawing outrage from all sides, the ultimate conclusion is almost always a call for better regulations and stricter enforcement of halal and kosher standards, leaving unanswered the very the question of whether these methods—when carried out as intended—are humane, and failing to address what truly lies at the heart of the humane slaughter debate as a whole: is it even possible to end the life of another being in a way that is kind? [tweet this]

In the effort to actually address this core question through the overwhelmingly complex lens of the ritual slaughter debate, I’m approaching this topic in a deliberately different manner.

Let’s begin with a brief overview of the similarities and differences between kosher and halal dietary laws.[16][17] Meaning “right/proper” and “lawful/permitted” respectively, both terms encompass far more than their most recognized application to meat and slaughter.[18][19][20][21] Their origins are rooted in scripture—the Tanakh (תַּנַ”ךְ) and Talmud (תַּלְמוּד) (the Written Torah and Oral Torah respectively)[22] for kashrut and the Quran (القرآن) and various hadith (حديث) (report describing the words, actions, or habits of the Islamic prophet Muhammad; plural: ahadith) for halal.

The exact rationale behind these regulations remains hotly debated—with religious and academic scholars offering a complex multitude of theories from health and hygiene concerns, to separation from Pagan nations, to ethics and compassion to an opportunity to demonstrate one’s obedience without explanation (termed “chukkim” within Judaism – the laws for which there is no reason given.)[23][24]

Both sets of laws dictate which species may or may not be eaten, expressly prohibit the consumption of blood—thus requiring complete exsanguination of the corpse—and specify animals must be alive, healthy, and uninjured at the time of their slaughter, which is to be performed with a swift cut from a sharpened knife (chalaf[25]/chalef[26] for kosher) in order to minimize pain and provide the quickest death.[27][28][29]

There are a number of differences and nuances within the specifications for slaughter, including who may perform the act—kosher law requires a Shochet[30][31] (specially trained Jewish slaughterer), while halal slaughter allows for any adult male Muslim invoking the name of Allah, aw well as meat slaughtered by Christians and Jews (People of the Book) when options are limited. Additionally, kosher laws prohibit the consumption of certain parts of an animal, and require an incredibly rigorous inspection (bedika) of the organs post-slaughter, and a full purgation of residual blood (koshering) through salting or broiling. [32]

Thus, while kosher meat is halal, halal meat is not kosher.

However, the most notable variation in regards to the humane debate is their stance on pre-slaughter stunning.[33] Kosher standards explicitly require animals be fully conscious and aware when killed. Some Jewish individuals, like Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, advocate the adoption of post-slaughter stunning—meaning immediately after the throat is cut—stating that:

“the drawn out moments between the slaughter and final death are terribly painful and stressful for the dying animal [who is] completely conscious and continues to shake in extreme pain for minutes after the neck is cut.”[34]

However post-slaughter stunning lacks any majority acceptance within the Jewish community.

While halal slaughter is traditionally—and still typically—also carried out on fully conscious animals, some Muslim authorities have approved very particular methods of pre-slaughter stunning, given they meet specific requirements[35] (must be nonlethal such that animal would regain consciousness in less than a minute and be able to eat within five minutes)[36] and almost all halal slaughter plants in Australia and New Zealand perform pre-slaughter stunning.[37][38][39]

This brings us to another layer of complexity. Irrevocably intertwined with the question of ritual slaughter’s “humaneness” is the role of governmental bodies in its regulation. Every country with humane slaughter regulations—which in and of themselves are a study in human ingenuity and self-deception—requires stunning animals prior to slaughter. [40][41][42][43] However, the vast majority—including the United States[44]—contain exemptions for religious slaughter, with the whole of the European Union specifically mandating member states permit non-stunning kosher slaughter[45] (previously member states had the autonomy to permit or prohibit ritual slaughter methods).[46][47]

Just as the humane treatment of animals is confoundingly offered as both the main objection to and justification for ritual slaughter, the issue is further muddied when every government’s humane regulations require stunning, yet simultaneously defend ritual slaughter with arguments of its enhanced humaneness.

How can this possibly be? All methods of slaughter cannot simultaneously be the most humane. Who is truly in the right?

Perhaps the most influential and oft-referenced study in regards to the humanness of ritual slaughter is the 1994 paper from Dr. Temple Grandin, widely heralded as the foremost authority on humane livestock handling and slaughterhouse restraint system design.

Grandin emphasizes the “need to critically consider the scientific information available about the effects of different slaughter practices on animals before reaching any judgments about the appropriateness of a particular form of slaughter” and to “understand the importance of these practices to the people who follow these religious codes.”[48]

The study outlines three basic concerns: stressfulness of restraint methods, pain perception during the incision and latency of onset of complete insensibility, meaning how long it takes for the animal to lose consciousness—and thus stop feeling pain—after their throat is cut.

Because animals are conscious at the time of ritual slaughter, they must be fully bodily restrained.[49][50] A large contributor to the confusion within the humane debate is the extreme variation of restraint systems and methodologies utilized around the world and even from factory to factory. For a rather exhaustive 76-slide PowerPoint presentation—from meat industry insiders—detailing these variations, complete with photographic illustrations and their impact on profits, see: [51].

One of the most objectionable and decidedly stressful forms of restraint is shackling and hoisting animals while fully conscious, a method banned in Canada and other countries, but still used in North and South America, Israel, and many others.[52][53]

The primary method of restraint utilized for ritual slaughter without stunning in Europe, as well as Israel, and select US plants, is a full inversion pen, wherein cows are flipped upside down with a head restraint exposing their neck for slaughter.[54][55][56][57] Largely preferred by Jewish and Muslim communities, because they allow for a more natural and controlled cutting motion, Grandin’s research along with subsequent studies, including one in 2004 from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA),[58] found this method highly stressful for cows, recommending instead upright restraint.

However, facing pushback from religious communities and what it cryptically refers to as “different stakeholders,” the European Commission ordered an extensive investigation and report comparing upright and inverted methods.[59] The report, issued on February 8, 2016, exactly 3 years and 2 months after its due date and over 6 years after its commission, concluded that there was no discernible different in animal welfare between the methods.[60]

It’s no wonder there’s such confusion and conflict surrounding ritual slaughter. With such variation in methodology, conflicting scientific studies and governmental back and forth, influenced to varying degrees by religious tensions, political pressure and meat industry interests, how can anyone be sure what kosher and halal even mean anymore?

Just as humane and free-range labels lack any meaningful improvements for animals, and governmental mandates lack timely—or any—enforcement, halal and kosher certifications have time and again been exposed as inadequately enforced, with rampant violations of both religious and governmental laws being the norm rather than the exception.

A particularly horrific undercover investigation conducted in Postville, Iowa, at AgriProcessors, the largest kosher slaughterhouse in the America, revealed unbelievably barbaric footage, subsequently featured in the documentary Earthlings, and sparked international outrage from all camps. [61][62][63][64][65]

While I believe it’s of vital importance to witness the reality of what we do to animals, I’m did not include the graphic footage in my final video above as it would no doubt result in it being age restricted, thus severely limiting accessibility to the remaining information. I have provided footage from the investigation, along with a mini-documentary response from the Jewish community and additional videos of halal investigations in the footage playlist at the base of this post.

The undercover investigator at AgriProcessors described in his notes seeing cow after cow loaded into the full inversion rotating restraint and having their trachea or esophagus ripped out of their open throats as they aspirated on their own blood. They were then dumped onto the blood-soaked floor and many struggled to stand with their heads nearly severed off. One managed to stand and walked into the corner. Some cried out despite their torn throats. He wrote:

“The first time I saw a cow stagger to his feet and walk around with his trachea dangling outside of his body, I thought to myself, this can’t be happening—but after several days I knew better.

There is no justification for the cruelty I documented in that slaughterhouse. The presence of the USDA didn’t have any effect, nor did the presence of the rabbis.

These animals were failed by both religion and regulations.”[66]

 

Jewish and Islamic communities were appalled by this footage, and even Temple Grandin said it was “the most disgusting thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe it.”[67]

When Grandin, visited the plant, workers had performed the slaughter to her standards, as they did for visiting rabbis.[68][69][70]

But the undercover footage taken over seven weeks showed this barbaric treatment was in fact standard operating procedure, leaving Grandin to conclude “the only way to ensure that correct procedures are followed in this plant is to install video cameras that can be audited over the internet.”[71]

This of course begs the question: what is going on inside of every other plant she’s approved—or any slaughterhouse for that matter—when no one is watching?

These atrocities are not anomalies. In an interview with activist Anita Krajnc of Toronto Pig Save, a kill floor worker from Riding Regency Meat Packers, a Halal and Kosher slaughterhouse in Toronto, Canada, observed rabbis reaching into the cows’ neck and grabbing their esophagus. He described how cows are routinely still conscious when chained and hung upside down, taking four to five minutes to die, such that the first few cows of each day reach the “scalper” and are fully aware when the skin is peeled from their face.[72]

Where is the regulation in all of this? For many in the Jewish community, that was the most astounding aspect of the AgriProcessers scandal. In the face of this blatant brutality decried by every side of the issue, The Orthodox Union, which certified the plant as kosher, stated “We continue to vouch for the kashrut of all of the meat prepared by AgriProcessors, Inc., which was never compromised.”[73][74]

In a most poignant summation, religious scholar Dr. Aaron Gross writes:

“Sadly, the abuse at AgriProcessors is a symbol of entrenched, systematic abuse of animals in today's meat industry, rather than an anomaly…though the Jewish community may be rightfully proud that kosher law dictates a method of slaughter that can reduce animal suffering during slaughter to an absolute minimum, there is presently no guarantee that this is the case…The entire tradition of reverence and compassion that is Judaism's life blood is drained when kosher slaughter becomes an act of cruelty.

…the fact that the products of factory farming and even abusive facilities like AgriProcessors are given moral legitimacy by being deemed ‘kosher,’ transforms kashrut from an ethical system into one that helps mask organized animal abuse. This awkward situation is so far from the moral vision of kashrut that it is painful to even acknowledge.”[75]

As I said at the start of this, while it’s vital to acknowledge that violations are the norm rather than the exception within kosher and halal factories, in order to truly evaluate the ethics of ritual slaughter, we must strive to assess the principles in their ideal manifestation, even if such a manifestation doesn’t actually exist in any current application.

In the end, after all of this human-created noise and confusion, the best way to answer whether ritual slaughter is humane is by simple observation.

I’ve even gone so far as to edit out the actual cutting of the throat or any visuals of blood. See the video at the top of this post at 12min 50sec to observe this most profoundly idealized example of ritual slaughter.  After the act, the slaughterer/narrator Sam Kouka of Mercy Halal shares:

“I want to assure you – only lucky animals are slaughtered here—they are very proud to fulfill their mission—it’s a necessary act for this meat to reach your table.”[76]

[Note: While this footage depicts halal slaughter (zabiha/dhabiha), however the core tenants of human treatment are consistent with kosher slaughter (shechita). I’ve provided an ideal example of kosher slaughter in the additional footage playlist at the base of this post.]

Even in this most idealized and artificially sterilized scenario—which even the slaughterer states is the exception—it’s evident this sheep was not a wiling participant. Ending the life any sentient being prematurely and against their will cannot possibly be a humane or merciful act.

Just like children, these beings cannot give us their consent. His cessation of struggling after much manipulation and assurance is more of a sad statement of his innocent yet misplaced trust in his caretaker turned slaughterer than any form of willful submission through a full comprehension of what’s to come.

The assertion that this act is necessary, thus justifying the lesser of the evils, is one of the main rationalizations offered by meat eaters, secular and religious alike.[77] But no religion—Judaism and Islam included—mandates the consumption of animals.

In fact, as I cover in my video series History of Veganism[78], primarily in the Middle Ages episode[79], the Quran and hadith contain numerous verses in support of compassion and respect for animals, even emphasizing the consumption of fruits and vegetables to sustain humans and animals alike.

And following Genesis 1:29, Rabbinic tradition has taught that human beings were originally vegetarian in the garden of Eden and it was only after the fall and the flood that meat eating was reluctantly permitted. Thus the spiritual ideal is a diet free of animal products.[80][81][82]

There are countless Jewish and Muslim vegans, many of whom state their decision to go vegan was a natural extension of their religious practice, and greatly deepened their connection to their faith.[83][84][85][86][87]

The myth of humane slaughter reaches beyond any religion. Humanity as a whole consistently strives to excuse and justify the enslavement, torture, and murder of sentient beings. There’s a level of absurdity with how much time, energy, detail, government money, and paperwork goes into finding just the right way to kill.

We point fingers at inexcusable abuse in other countries, cultures, religions, and specific companies, erupting in righteous outrage and conveniently avoiding any assessment of our own complicity in the deaths of the animals on our plates.

I’ll conclude with the words of Jewish author, noble laureate and Holocaust survivor Isaac Bashevis Singer,

“People often say that humans have always eaten animals, as if this is a justification for continuing the practice. According to this logic, we should not try to prevent people from murdering other people, since this has also been done since the earliest of times.”[88]

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. If you’d like to help support Bite Size Vegan so I can keep putting in the long hours [approximate production time for this video and article: 108 hours] to bring you this free educational resource, please check see the support page or see join us in the Nugget Army on Patreon. I’d like to give a special thanks my $50 and above patrons and my whole Patreon family for making this and all of my videos possible.

Please share this video far and wide to inform and spur focused, constructive debate. And subscribe for more vegan content every week.

Now go live vegan, no matter your faith or lack thereof, and I’ll see you soon.

see ya next nugget!

 

 

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FEATURED VIDEOS & RESOURCES:
The History Of Veganism
Ancient Times (Includes Judaism)
Middle Ages (Includes Islam)
The Myth Of Humane Slaughter
The Greatest Lie Ever Told
Holocaust Survivor Testimony
With Toronto Pig Save At Halal/Kosher Slaughterhouse Riding Regency
Meat is “Necessary” & Other N-Words
More On Europe’s Treatment Of Animals
Vegan Extremism


Click the icon in the upper left of the thumbnail below (next to 1/12) to view the list of videos.

NOTE: I placed the idealized kosher slaughter example first; other videos contain graphic footage. I've included the preview-length short for the documentary “If This Is Kosher…” as well as a two-part upload of the full-length version (though unofficial and of lower quality). You can obtain the full documentary here.

As covered in this article, the abuse within kosher and halal slaughterhouses exposed in these undercover videos, while in blatant violation of Jewish and Islamic principles, is the norm rather than the exception within this industry. I've provided this additional footage outside of the main video for the reasons stated in the article above.


CITATIONS: [bibliography available below citations]

[1] “About Shechita – The Jewish Religious Humane Method of Animal Slaughter for Food,” Chabad.org, accessed July 30, 2016.

[2] “Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws,” JewFaw.org, accessed July 29, 2016.

[3] OU Kosher, “The Kosher Primer | OU Kosher Certification,” Kosher, accessed July 29, 2016.

[4] “Zabiha /Dhabiha ذَبِيْحَة Slaughtering according to Islamic Rites,” Eat Halal, accessed July 31, 2016.

[5] Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, “Industrial FAQ – What Is Halal?,” accessed July 31, 2016.

[6] Sahib Mustaqim Belher, “The Halal Slaughter Controvesy: Do Animal Rights Activists Protect the Sheep or the Butcher?,” Mustaqim Islamic Art & Literature, 2000.

[7] “Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws.”

[8] “Making Sense of Kosher Laws,” Biblical Archaeology Society, August 9, 2015.

[9] “What Is Halal,” Eat Halal, accessed July 31, 2016.

[10] Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, “Mandate to Stun Animals After Kosher Slaughter,” Huffington Post: The Blog, May 4, 2015.

[11] Yadidya Greenberg, “Rabbi Yanklowitz Got It Wrong on Stunning,” The Kosher Omnivore’s Quest, May 5, 2015.

[12] Sahib Mustaqim Belher, “The Halal Slaughter Controvesy: Do Animal Rights Activists Protect the Sheep or the Butcher?”

[13] Aaron Gross, “When Kosher Isn’t Kosher,” Tikkun Magazine, April 2005.

[14] Jonathan Safran Foer, “If This Is Kosher” (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, 2006),  In full (unofficial) Pt 1

[15] Emily Moran Barwick, “The History Of Veganism Series,” Bite Size Vegan, accessed May 18, 2016.

[16] Mustafa M. Farouk, “Advances in the Industrial Production of Halal and Kosher Red Meat,” Meat Science, 59 th International Congress of Meat Science and Technology , 18-23 August 2013 Izmir/Turkey, 95, no. 4 (December 2013): 805–20, doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2013.04.028.

[17] Jeff Savell, “Comparisons between Halal and Kosher Meat,” Meat Science, September 15, 2013.

[18] “Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws.”

[19] “Making Sense of Kosher Laws.”

[20] Dayan Dr I. Grunfeld, The Jewish Dietary Laws (Place of publication not identified: Soncino Pr Ltd, 1989).

[21] “What Is Halal.”

[22] “Judaism 101: Torah,” JewFaw.org, accessed July 31, 2016.

[23] “Judaism 101: Kashrut: Jewish Dietary Laws.”

[24] William H. Shea, “Clean and Unclean Meats: Study of the Biblical Laws of Clean and Unclean Meat.” (Biblical Research Institute General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, December 1988).

[25] Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations, “Preslaughter Handling, Stunning and Slaughter Methods,” Good Practices For The Meat Industry (Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2004).

[26] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists,” CAB International, March 1994.

[27] “Is Shechita Humane?,” Chabad.org, accessed July 30, 2016.

[28] Department of Halal Certification Ireland, “Islamic Method of Slaughtering – Department of Halal Certification,” Department of Halal Certification Ireland, 2016.

[29] Savell, “Comparisons between Halal and Kosher Meat.”

[30] Food And Agriculture Organization Of The United Nations, “Preslaughter Handling, Stunning and Slaughter Methods.”

[31] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[32] OU Kosher, “The Kosher Primer | OU Kosher Certification.”

[33] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[34] Yanklowitz, “Mandate to Stun Animals After Kosher Slaughter.”

[35] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, “Guidelines for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock,” 2001.

[36] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[37] Animals Australia, “Ritual Slaughter in Australia,” accessed July 30, 2016.

[38] Food Regulation Standing Committee, “Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production and Transportation of Meat and Meat Products for Human Consumption” (Food Regulation Standing Committee, 2007).

[39] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[40] “92 Stat. 1069 – Humane Methods of Slaughter Act Index,” accessed April 22, 2016.

[41] Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, “Guidelines for Humane Handling, Transport and Slaughter of Livestock.”

[42] 95th Congress, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, 92 Stat. 1069, 1978, sec. Volume 92.

[43] The Council of the European Union, COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1099/2009 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing, 2009.

[44] Statutory Section of Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (7 USC, 1901-1907), Title 7, sec. Chapter 48, accessed August 2, 2016.

[45] The Council of the European Union, European Parliament Legislative Resolution on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing, (2010/C 212 E/49), 2009, n. Specifically Amendment 28.

[46] The Council of the European Union, COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1099/2009 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing.

[47] Jeremy Rovinsky, “The Cutting Edge: The Debate Over Regulation of Ritual Slaughter in the Western World,” California Western International Law Journal 45, no. 1 (December 20, 2015).

[48] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[49] The Council of the European Union, COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1099/2009 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing.

[50] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[51] Erika Voogd and American Meat Institute, “Religious Slaughter: Kosher and Halal Update,” October 2013.

[52] Grandin, Temple & Regenstein, Joe M., “Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare: A Discussion for Meat Scientists.”

[53] Voogd and American Meat Institute, “Religious Slaughter: Kosher and Halal Update.”

[54] C. S. Dunn, “Stress Reactions of Cattle Undergoing Ritual Slaughter Using Two Methods of Restraint,” Veterinary Record 126, no. 21 (May 26, 1990): 522–25, doi:10.1136/vr.126.21.522.

[55] European Commission, “REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on Systems Restraining Bovi Ne Animals by Inversion or Any Unnatural Position,” February 8, 2016.

[56] The Council of the European Union, COUNCIL REGULATION (EC) No 1099/2009 on the Protection of Animals at the Time of Killing.

[57] Ban Live Export and Animals Australia, “Damning Live Export Investigation Reveals Horror in Israel,” accessed August 3, 2016.

[58] European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), “Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) on a Request from the Commission Related to Welfare Aspects of the Main Systems of Stunning and Killing the Main Commercial Species of Animals,” EFSA Journal 2, no. 7 (July 1, 2004): n/a-n/a, doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2004.45.

[59] European Commission, “Restraining Systems For Bovine Animals Slaughtered Without Stunning: Welfare And Socio-Economic Implications – Final Report” (European Union, June 2015).

[60] European Commission, “REPORT FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL on Systems Restraining Bovi Ne Animals by Inversion or Any Unnatural Position.”

[61] “PETA Reveals Extreme Cruelty at Kosher Slaughterhouses,” PETA, accessed July 31, 2016.

[62] PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), AgriProcessors Kosher Slaughterhouse Undercover Investigation – Iowa, USA, 2008.

[63] Julia Preston, “Kosher Plant Is Accused of Inhumane Slaughter,” The New York Times, September 4, 2008.

[64] Donald G. Mcneil Jr, “Inquiry Finds Lax Federal Inspections at Kosher Meat Plant,” The New York Times, March 10, 2006.

[65] “Mutilations at AgriProcessors Slaughterhouse—(Full Version of AgriProcessors Investigation),” PETA, accessed August 1, 2016.

[66] “What the Investigator Saw,” PETA, accessed July 31, 2016.

[67] Foer, “If This Is Kosher.”

[68] Nathaniel PopperJuly 7 and 2006, “Animal-Rights Expert Endorses Kosher Plant,” The Forward, accessed August 2, 2016.

[69] PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), AgriProcessors Kosher Slaughterhouse Undercover Investigation – Iowa, USA.

[70] “PETA Hidden Camera Expose Costs Agriprocessors Support of Key Expert [VIDEO] | Food,” Jewish Journal, accessed August 2, 2016.

[71] PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), AgriProcessors Kosher Slaughterhouse Undercover Investigation – Iowa, USA.

[72] Anita Krajnc, Interview With “Mr. X” – Slaughterhouse Worker At Ryding Regency Meatpackers, March 8, 2014.

[73] Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, “Message from Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb and Rabbi Menachem Genack,” OU Kosher, December 9, 2004.

[74] Gross, “When Kosher Isn’t Kosher.”

[75] Ibid.

[76] Mercy Halal Islamic Slaughter Part 2 – B, 2011.

[77] Jared Piazza et al., “Rationalizing Meat Consumption. The 4Ns,” Appetite 91 (August 1, 2015): 114–28, doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.04.011.

[78] Barwick, “The History Of Veganism Series.”

[79] Emily Moran Barwick, “Vegans In The Middle Ages,” The History Of Veganism (Bite Size Vegan, June 24, 2015).

[80] Gross, “When Kosher Isn’t Kosher.”

[81] Foer, “If This Is Kosher.”

[82] Emily Moran Barwick, “Vegans In Ancient Times,” The History of Veganism (Bite Size Vegan, April 29, 2015).

[83] Nada, “‘Muslims Can’t Be Vegan’ – Where Veganism and Religion Collide,” One Arab Vegan, January 27, 2012.

[84] Brother Initiate Zamir Elahi, “Islam and Vegetarianism,” accessed July 30, 2016.

[85] “Jewish Veg,” Jewish Veg, accessed July 30, 2016.

[86] Shmuly Yanklowitz, “Why This Rabbi Is Swearing Off Kosher Meat,” Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2014, sec. Opinion.

[87] Emily Moran Barwick, “Holocaust Survivors Speak: Lessons From The Death Camps” (Bite Size Vegan, February 3, 2016).

[88] This quote is cited by John Robbins in “Diet for A New America,” along many other instances, though the exact source within Singer’s work or life is unclear.


7, Nathaniel PopperJuly, and 2006. “Animal-Rights Expert Endorses Kosher Plant.” The Forward. Accessed August 2, 2016. http://forward.com/news/394/animal-rights-expert-endorses-kosher-plant/.

“92 Stat. 1069 – Humane Methods of Slaughter Act Index.” Accessed April 22, 2016. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/search/pagedetails.action?na=_accodenav&se=_STATUTEfalse&sm=&flr=&ercode=&dateBrowse=&govAuthBrowse=&collection=&historical=false&st=humane+methods+of+slaughter+act&psh=&sbh=&tfh=&originalSearch=humane+methods+of+slaughter+act&sb=re&sb=re&ps=10&ps=10&granuleId=STATUTE-92-Pg1069&packageId=STATUTE-92.

95th Congress. Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. 92 Stat. 1069, 1978. https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/STATUTE-92/pdf/STATUTE-92-Pg1069.pdf.

“About Shechita – The Jewish Religious Humane Method of Animal Slaughter for Food.” Chabad.org. Accessed July 30, 2016. http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/222239/jewish/About-Shechita.htm.

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13 Comments

  1. robert macdonald on 08/4/16 at 5:27 am

    Everyday on a certain animal rights Facebook page, someone writes in about how bad halal slaughter is. And everyday the reply is posted that they are against all kinds of slaughter. There is no humane slaughter – killing is killing.
    (Thanks for the vid & all the work you do)

    • Emily Barwick on 08/8/16 at 3:34 am

      You’re so very welcome. And yes. It is all horrific.

  2. sally anne hubbard on 08/4/16 at 3:46 pm

    Very informative and educational. There is no humane means of slaughter. People use this term to somehow justify their eating of animals. There is no need to eat animals either. Our earth provides an abundance of plant foods.
    I have twice in my life had people think that Kosher was vegetarian. I am shocked at the number of people who do not understand the words vegetarian or vegan.

  3. Conchita on 08/4/16 at 10:25 pm

    Hi Emily,
    Wow, I mean, wow, really!!! So much work has gone into breaking my heart again, thank you. I just hope it breaks many more hearts and they make the connection once and for all. Excellent video, thank you so much for all your work. Truly amazing!!!!

  4. marisa on 08/5/16 at 2:59 pm

    Humane restraint…. good grief :(

  5. Linda on 08/6/16 at 12:18 pm

    Hi Emily, such a cruel world we live in! My heart breaks every time I walk by a meat counter. Please give me a good answer when someone rudely says to me “God put animals here on earth for us to eat”. I never can think of a good answer. Thank you for all you do.

    • Conchita on 08/8/16 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Linda,
      You can always say that he actually “didn’t”. He put them there to help us in our work and keep us company and we in turn were to look after them, feed them, give them rest and ensure their well being. Man was not allowed to eat animals until AFTER the flood, because of all the terrible things that were happening on the earth. Even so, God said that they must not be made to suffer and the killing should be swift. Therefore God made us Herbivores or perhaps even more precise, Fruitarian-Herbivores. People use snippets of information here and there for their own benefit. God also does not allow hunting for pleasure or sport. The most notable thing you can remind them is that “eating animals is NOT a commandment”. God also allows us to suffer yet he does not cause our suffering and being that he allows us to suffer does not mean he wants us to suffer. He allows it for a certain time, because the earth is rotten to it’s core, but there will come a time, very soon, when he will (not destroy everything as he did before, no), he will ruin those who are ruining the earth and that includes those who are ruining his precious animals. God is a God of Love and there is not room in his heart to allow and condone the murderous torture humankind puts animals through. (I know you asked Emily and she can no doubt give you an even better reply, I just couldn’t help myself, sorry).

  6. Freya on 08/8/16 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I am an observant Jew and have approached several rabbis to consider that kosher slaughter runs counter to “kindness to animals”.
    Emily, you have done a wonderful thing here, exposing the truth, eloquently and most thoroughly.
    I can’t watch the video (listened), but hey, I don’t need to. I have a guilt-free lifestyle.
    I have posted this on Facebook and I hope someone, anyone, will pay attention.

    • Emily Barwick on 08/10/16 at 12:54 am

      Wow thank you so much! This is so encouraging to hear! You may find the documentary “If This Is Kosher” of interest. I have in the additional videos playlist at the base of this post (you can also get it on Amazon, And I did at least make the video non-graphic, just so you know ;) Thank you SO much for sharing this with me and for sharing the video!

  7. ___ on 08/10/16 at 7:49 pm

    “No religion mandates the consumption of animals” This is not true in regard to Judaism. Explain Pesach Seder for example. And veganism doesn’t deal only with “consumption” in a strict sense, so what about Sefer Torah, the Tefilin, the Shofar?

    • Freya on 08/17/16 at 6:03 pm

      That is true. The Torah also calls for death to all descendants of Amalek and for the stoning of adulterous women. We seem to have found ways around both of these written laws, so why do tefillin, mezzuzot and the Torah still need to be written on parchment? This needs to change.

      • ___ on 08/17/16 at 7:12 pm

        The less innocent animals get killed, the best for me, obviously. But you’re missing the point.

        She said “no religion mandates the consumption of animals”, not “in the future no religion should mandate the consumption of animals”. There’s a difference. Currently Judaism DOES call for the exploitation and consumption of animals, so that statement is false.
        For me compassion goes hand in hand with truth.

        Also – I bring this up because you cited it as an example – the commandment to kill all descendants of Amalek was not abolished: it is just considered inapplicable because currently it cannot be clearly defined who’s an Amalekite. If the main religious scholars and the jewish community were to agree that a people today has the ideology and mindset of the Amalekites, then the commandment would apply again.

        • Freya on 08/17/16 at 7:44 pm

          Yes, it would apply, but would not necessarily be acted upon. And I was agreeing with your point, btw. But can you recall the last time and adulteress was stoned? There has been no repeal of that law, it’s just not enforced.
          My point is that although one cannot change so much as one letter of the Torah, it is also commanded that we follow rabbinic decisions of each generation. Therefore, we have seen new rules regarding our changing environment, technology and lifestyles. So…I am hopeful that one day an alternative to parchment will become acceptable according to: “The primary principle behind the treatment of animals in Jewish law is preventing tza’ar ba’alei chayim, the suffering of living creatures.”

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