The ever helpful Internet edition of the Israeli Yated Ne’eman, controlled by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, has this to say about the rabbi’s position on shechita:
Recently a number of prominent members of the Jewish community in Germany met with members of an animal rights organization, telling them that the halochoh does not permit stunning the animal before shechitoh. The animal rights advocates said they would be willing to compromise by allowing local anesthesia of the neck using a special spray rather than by injection. The kehilloh members then asked HaRav Jakob to consult on the matter with Maran HaRav Eliashiv.
Maran replied that there is no way of knowing whether this type of anesthesia affects the animal’s viability, making it impossible to clearly determine whether the animal has been rendered a neveiloh or treifoh. Maran also said, "How do we know? The non-Jews may draw other conclusions from this with regard to Jewish shechitoh. They may draw inferences with regard to other things, if it appears to them that Jews are prepared to loosen shechitoh requirements. This could lead to further problems.
"Everything is cause for concern," said HaRav Eliashiv. "Even if it can be argued that it is theoretically permissible according to halochoh, we cannot change accepted practices and the [traditional] shechitoh practices must remain and should not be touched in the slightest."
When told the Jews of Germany have to work very hard to find kosher meat and the difficulty they have leads many Jews to eat non-kosher meat, Maran replied, "Jews work hard in every place over everything, but when legitimization is given to such a thing nobody knows where it could lead. Therefore one must not agree to it."
Apparently Rubashkin’s throat-ripping with a meat hook was part of the long haredi tradition of "accepted practices." But wait! You’ve never heard of such a practice before Rubashkin came up with it? No meat hook to the throat 5 seconds after the shechita cut and while the animal was fully conscious?
No, silly – not that practice. The practice of bending halakha for under the table cash and, when getting caught, claiming the throat-ripping or whatever as part of the time-honored haredi tradition.
[Hat Tip: The Good Doctor Filosof.]