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?