In a damning report by the Forward’s Nathaniel Popper, Rubashkin’s Iowa slaughterhouse stands accused of serious fraud and worker safety violations, as well as serious charges of other worker abuse. I can add that cattle growers have complained for years about alleged short weighing by Rubashkin, a fraudulant practice that costs them much money, and have echoed many of the charges made in the Forward articles.
The rub? Rabbis — including, it appears, the OU, KAJ, Crown Heights Beis Din and other kosher supervising agencies — have known about much of this abuse for years, and have done nothing. Why? Because, in their twisted understanding of halakha, meat obtained in whole or in part through fraud and exploitation is still kosher. Therefore, this rabbinic ‘logic’ goes, rabbis and kosher supervising agencies are not responsible to speak out against these abuses.
Many years ago, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein did speak out against less serious workers abuses, and refused to buy or consume produce raised and harvested through worker exploitation. We were once slaves in Egypt. Did God free us to exploit and abuse workers that provide our ‘kosher’ food?
Boycott Rubashkin, until this abuse is no more.
And, if you can do so, also stop consuming products produced under the many kosher supervisions Rubashkin employs, until the leadership of those agancies is replaced with a leadership that is committed to observing halakha in whole, and who refuses to endorse companies who exploit workers or tortue animals.
Judaism deserves no less.
[Note: I’m still blogging remotely, so my response to your emails and comments may be very slow.]