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TypePad, Vox, and LJ are unreachable for many due to a power problem @ hosting facility, also affecting Technorati and Craigslist. More soon

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The OU Lies Again: Meat Hook Throat Probing *Not* USDA Mandated – Meat Hook To Throat “Part Of Glatt Kosher Slaughter”

The OU Lies Again: Meat Hook Throat Probing Not USDA Mandated – Meat Hook To Throat “Part Of Glatt Kosher Slaughter”

Rubashkin_hook Rubashkin_hook_2_3 I spoke yesterday with Trent Berhow, the vice president of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, and with Jim Shanahan, head of the local in Grand Island, Nebraska.

Shanahan told he he watched the latest PETA video with Dr. York, the veterinarian in charge of Humane Slaughter for this region of the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service. Dr. York, Shanahan, said, had been in Rubashkin’s Gordon plant a week or so before.

Dr. York defended everything on the PETA vido, telling Shanahan that everything was done according to regulation. When Shanahan pressed him, Dr. York explained the,, from the moment the animal enters the slaughter box until the moment it is removed from that box, the USDA has nothing to say or do about what takes place. The USDA, Dr. York told him, does “not interfere with glatt kosher slaughter.”

Dr. York’s statement is inaccurate. Humane Slaughter law does regulate what happens during kosher slaughter, even glatt kosher slaughter.

I believe Shanahan’s and York’s references to “glatt” kosher slaughter mean that Rubashkin – the largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse in America – is getting preferential treatment, treatment other kosher slaughter operations are not getting. But this remains to be seen.

I called Dr. York to ask him about this. He refused to speak and referred me to his district office. The district office also refused comment, referring me to the spokesman for the USDA FSIS, Steven Cohen. Cohen, you may recall, told me last week, repeating it almost as a mantra, that the USDA “does not interfere in ritual slaughter.”

Shanahan told me clearly the procedure done with a meat hook a few seconds after slaughter is not USDA mandated or requested, confirming what Steven Cohen told me last week.

This means this is a procedure instituted by Rubashkin and his rabbis. This also means Rabbi Seth Mandel, head of shechita (ritual slaughter) for the OU, lied about this when he claimed the USDA mandated the procedure. Or it means he has no idea what really takes place at Rubashkin’s plants.

Dr. Temple Grandin told me that this procedure is not USDA mandated, that it is cruel and that it should be stopped.

So what is going on at Agriprocessors? As I wrote last week, probably this:

So what is happening at Agriprocessors Gordon plant?

In October of 2003 a meeting was held in the USDA between Agudath Israel of America, rabbis from various kosher supervising agencies and senior USDA officials including, according to some reports given me, Ann Veneman, the then-Secretary of Agriculture. The rabbis complained about the wording of a new USDA Humane Slaughter directive that outlawed “sawing.” They were afraid USDA inspectors would stop slaughter lines because they would mistakenly view a shechita cut as “sawing.”

The outcome of that meeting was a new directive (some say the wording of this new directive came from Nathan Lewin, Rubashkin’s attorney and a Agudah operative) that prevented line inspectors from stopping ritual slaughter lines without first gaining approval of a regional USDA office. This was understood by some inspectors to mean, “Keep your hands off the rabbis and let them do whatever they want.”

Indeed, one can see a USDA inspector in the new PETA Rubashkin video. He does not stop the line.

The meat hook is used to speed bleeding. It is not part of kosher slaughter. Rather, it is a dressing procedure meant to reduce the amount of blood splash and bruising in the meat, which reduces the meat’s value. This primarily effects the non-kosher market, which purchases more than 65% of Rubashkin’s meat.

What this means is that the rabbis who supervise Rubashkin, and who promised to stop this cruelty 2 1/2 years ago when the Postville scandal broke, have not kept their promises.

It also means the USDA can no longer be trusted to supervise Humane Slaughter.

Jim Shanahan was appalled by what he saw on the new PETA video. But he is powerless to stop it. Why? I believe because of corruption that runs deep within the USDA and, it seems clear, the Bush Administration.

There is, in my opinion, no way to know if the meat you eat was slaughtered humanely and the rabbis we entrust with certifying the kosher status of that meat have repeatedly proven untrustworthy.

What you do with this information is up to you. 2 1/2 years ago, I stopped eating meat and fowl when I realized the rabbis were playing fast ands loose with the truth. While I encourage you to do the same, the choice, and its consequences, are ultimately yours.

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It appears that all of TypePad is down. I’m waiting to hear when it will be back up. In the meantime, I’ll repost a few newer posts here.

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Why The “Second Cut” Is Illegal

July 24, 2007

Why The “Second Cut” Is Illegal

At the end of 2004, the USDA issued a H.I.K.E. scenario to teach line inspectors what to do when they witness ritual slaughter and see violations. In part, it says:

…This second cut was performed by a person other than the religious authority making the ritual slaughter cut; it therefore does not fall under the HMSA but is considered a part of the dressing process. Note: The DO [district office] should be contacted for further guidance any time a second cut is made by the religious authority or by an establishment employee with that authority delegated to them. (In some establishments the ritual slaughter cut is performed by an establishment authorized employee in place of an actual religious authority, e.g. in Halal slaughter establishments using a taped blessing.) …

Conclusion: The Noncompliance Record documented the inhumane slaughter of a bovine. The PHV recognized through professional judgment that the bovine was showing signs of consciousness and that the plant employee had performed a dressing procedure on the conscious animal.

The H.I.K.E. scenario tells the inspector to stop the line, tag the restraining pen and cease all slaughter at the plant.

So why do we see a “second cut” approved by the USDA, a “second cut” done with a meat hook, no less, done by a plant employee, not the rabbi shochet standing there?

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The Perfidy That Never Was

The Perfidy That Never Was

Yad Vashem received the papers of Rudolph Kastner (also spelled Kasztner), the Zionist official who, although he saved many Jews during the Holocaust, was vilified as a “Nazi collaborator.” The vilification led directly to Kastner’s murder in Israel in 1957.

Here’s what Yad Vashem’s chairman and its librarian have to say about Kastner, after examining Kastner’s papers:

“There was no man in the history of the Holocaust who saved more Jews, and was subjected to more injustice than Israel Kasztner,” said former cabinet minister Yosef Lapid, chairman of Yad Vashem’s board of directors and himself a Holocaust survivor from Hungary.

“This is an opportunity to do justice to a man who was misrepresented and was a victim on a vicious attack that led to his death,” he said, calling Kasztner one of the great heroes of the Holocaust.

Kasztner’s backers say his actions were similar to those of Oskar Schindler, a non-Jew whose efforts to save more than 1,000 Jews was documented in the Oscar-winning film Schindler’s List.…

Robert Rozett, director of the Yad Vashem library, said that while Kasztner’s public legacy has remained in question, it has long been established among historians that he acted in good faith.

“This is a man who was engaged in rescue activities,” he said. “Rescue activities during the Holocaust meant being in touch with people who would not particularly like to invite over to your house to have a cup of coffee.”

Kasztner himself didn’t board his famous train to freedom, instead staying behind and negotiating the further release of Jews, risking his own life.

Rozett said the findings in the archives support the idea that he was dealing in rescue and not behind-the-scenes deals to sell off Hungarian Jews.

Kastner was widely vilified in large-selling book, Perfidy, by playwright Ben Hecht, a leading American Revisionist Zionist. Another book, Min HaMetzar (Out of the Depths) was published in the early 1980s by Avraham Fuchs (with whose son I used to frequently eat lunch and from whom I purchased several copies of the book). It was later translated and republished by ArtScroll as “The Unheeded Cry.” The Fuchs book tells the story of Rabbi Wiessmandal, whose rescue organization saved many Jews in Slovakia, Hungary and Romania and who had a very low opinion of Kastner. (BTW, Rabbi Wiessmandal’s son is the rabbi in charge of kashrut at all the Rubashkin meat plants.)

Both books are very popular in haredi circles, perhaps because haredi ignorance of history is so profound that the inconsistencies in them are rarely noticed. Yet these books serve as a partial ‘justification’ for haredi anti-Zionism.

On a personal note, years ago I gave former US Senator Rudy Boschwitz a copy of the Fuchs book because Boschwitz had been so instrumental in saving Ethiopian Jews. Knowing now that Kastner seems to be totally vindicated makes me regret that gift.

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The Lies Of Kosher Today Exposed

I wrote two weeks ago that the claim made by Kosher Today that OSHA had inspected Rubashkin’s Postville, Iowa plant and given the plant a clean bill of health, was most likely false. I pointed out that the man who made that claim, Rabbi Asher Zeilingold, was unreliable, and that he has a close business relationship with Rubashkin. I called OSHA and Iowa state officials and reported that no official visit was made by Federal or State Plan OSHA, and that the only possible "inspection" that could have taken place would been a consult done through the state’s consultancy program, which is not an inspection and has no bearing on what plant practices were before it or after it, but even this seemed unlikely.

The Forward has picked up this story (although it did not bother to give this blog a hat tip), and it did the one thing that I could not do – ask Rabbi Asher Zeilingold what the truth is. Here is what Rabbi Zeilingold told the Forward this week:

…Zeilingold, who is paid to provide kosher certification for the meat
at AgriProcessors, was an early defender of the company when the
original allegations appeared in the Forward. In Kosher Today,
Zeilingold said that the Conservative task force was “delighted to
accept all the lies and slander of the Forward article as absolute
truth because it gave them a pretext by which they could gain entry
into AgriProcessors and other plants positing as the champions of
‘kashrut’ and the rights of workers.”

Conservative counterpart, Rabbi Morris Allen, was not contacted for the
Kosher Today article, but Allen’s synagogue did write a letter to the
publication, defending their religious leader.

Rabbi Allen’s efforts — which are of no financial benefit to him — are
attacked by fellow Jews who also believe in the sanctity of kosher laws
is unfair and misguided,” the letter said.

addition to the criticism of Allen, Zeilingold told Kosher Today that
an official for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had
visited AgriProcessors and gave him a report praising the company’s
labor practices.

Reached this week, Zeilingold
said he could not release the OSHA report; however, he did say that the
OSHA official was not working in an official capacity when he made his
but rather as a “private consultant.”

My understanding is OSHA would like to find this "OSHA official" and discipline him. OSHA regional head Charles "Chuck" Adkins told me he wanted to find the man because no one has the right to represent OSHA unless he is on official business. "I want to put the hammer down on him," Adkins said.

Rabbi Asher Zeilingold’s veracity can further be determined by reading the data posted here.

[I should also note that Rabbi Zeilingold is the rabbi who excommunicated me.]

UPDATE: 2-8-07– I have now
confirmed the "OSHA inspection" was done by an employee of Federal OSHA
on his own time. It was not a full inspection, was not sanctioned or
approved by OSHA, and was arranged by Rabbi Zeilingold’s friend Carlos Carbonera (this
"inspector" is a friend of Carbonera’s). OSHA’s regional head Chuck
Adkins told me again today that he will "bring the hammer down" on anyone,
this inspector included, who uses OSHA’s name without permission. He
also pointed out that what this inspector did was a violation of
OSHA’s "internal rules and regulations."


Filed under Chabad Theology, Crime, Haredim, Kosher Business?, Kosher Meat Scandal, Rubashkin Worker Abuse