Many people are quick to criticize kosher slaughter and whist there are certain welfare concerns involved in shechita there are also very tangible welfare benefits. This whole discussion is quite complex and is not something I can cover in one post, so as it is Poultry Month, I am going to focus this piece on issues concerning poultry. Often when this conversation comes up, people seem to focus their attention on cow slaughter, which is the most difficult form of shechita to perform effectively. It is very much possible to achieve, but is often fraught with problems, especially outside the United States. When it comes to poultry, however, most non-kosher production plants have serious welfare issues. Comparatively, the methods used for kosher slaughter are arguably more ethical, reliable and consistent.
When I heard that this year’s Hazon food Conference would be focusing on poultry I quickly made up my mind to help provide heritage chicken for the event. The only problem is that there hasn’t been a run of USDA certified kosher heritage chicken processed in the US for as many as 60 or 70 years so I knew this might be a bit a of a challenge. But I’ve never let obstacles like this stop me in the past and I certainly wasn’t gonna start now. To make it all happen I would need birds, a slaughterhouse and a way to deliver the chickens from place to place. I had already established a relationship with a small kosher plant and knew I could rely on heritage poultry farmer Frank Reese to provide the chickens. The one problem would be getting the chickens from Frank’s farm in Kansas halfway across they country to a slaughterhouse in upstate NY. But I figured that I could work that little detail out later so I just checked in with the plant and Frank before pitching the idea to Hazon and they accepted.
Turkeys enjoy the freezing weather (left) at Good Shepard Poultry while Frank speaks to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal (middle)
Barred Rock (sides) & Jersey Giant (middle) chickens which we brought to slaughter brave 15 degree weather on the day before the drive.
About the blog:
Welcome to The Kosher Omnivore's Quest! My old blog on kosher slaughter, kosher meat, and animal welfare. For new content check out my new website, The Kosher Cut™. There you'll find: blog posts about shechita and related topics, educational slaughter presentations, kosher slaughter training, and a selection of high quality professional kosher slaughter equipment.