7. Kosher Slaughter (aka shechita) solely entails the draining of blood.
One of the aims of shechita is to drain blood but it’s not the sole purpose of the practice. The legal literature even states that if an animal mysteriously releases no blood during slaughter the meat is still considered kosher. Although it must undergo salting to be eaten raw, something not normally required.
6. For kosher production animals must be hung upside down to facilitate bleed out.
When an animal is shechted the heart quickly pumps the blood out of the body regardless of what position it’s in. This myth likely partially originates from the practice of hanging certain animals upside down during shechita. But this method of animal restraint, known as shackle and hoist, only gained prevalence because of USDA regulation and not kosher law. Additionally shackle and hoist is rarely practiced in the U.S. today.
Allot has happened since I came out with my original article supporting Urban Adamah and my follow up post tempering some of those words. This week the 15 hens in question were slaughtered in an unadvertised class that took place on the Berkley area farm. I'm personally glad to see that Urban Adamah was able to conduct their slaughter in peace and that the incident is finally coming to a close. I hope that the activists who have given so much energy to this fruitless pursuit that will find a better way to help animals in the future. While the protesters ultimately failed to force their will on Urban Adamah they did do people the disservice of ensuring that the farm will likely never be able to provide public slaughter education again. Education is of the utmost importance in improving our relationship with animals and changing the agricultural system and I am utterly saddened that the misguided protesters have taken this opportunity away from people. Now.... I think I've said enough on the matter so here are a few good articles and opinion pieces that have come out since last week.
After my controversial article criticizing the JVNA and supporting Urban Adamah came out last week, I decided to reach out to their executive director Jeffrey Cohan. While we disagreed on many issues relating to my article and the protest, we were able to have a respectful and positive conversation. One point he felt very unhappy with is that I used the words bullying, yelling and screaming to describe the organization's actions. After listening to his arguments I have come to see that the JVNA was not directly responsible for such behavior. I still do believe that JVNA deserved much criticism for throwing their hat into the ring with people that were partaking in aggressive and threatening actions as well as for doing nothing when protestors used their Facebook events page to defame and embarrass Urban Adamah. I also still believe that the JVNA should of engaged Urban Adamah in dialogue about the morality of their planned class rather than join a misguided and fruitless protests. Nonetheless I do feel that I was altogether much too hard on the JVNA who actually served as a voice of moderation within the protestors, and for this I would like to offer my sincere apology.
We Need Dialogue not Protests, Why I Stand by Urban Adamah and am Appalled by the Actions of the JVNA
In August of 2012, I ran one of my first kosher slaughter workshops at the Urban Adamah educational farm in Berkeley. I explained the kosher process and demonstrated live slaughter and processing on a few of their spent laying hens. Several participants cried during the slaughter and while some were inspired to eat better meat afterwards, others said they wanted to become vegetarians or vegans as a result of the experience. The class not only facilitated a tremendous amount of dialogue, growth and learning for all involved, it also provided a highly nutritious and tasty heritage chicken soup for farm visitors. This past Sunday, Urban Adamah had once again set up a workshop where they were slated to slaughter the remaining 15 hens of their laying flock. Things were going very smoothly until animal rights activists found out about the event and began to organize a mass protest. Their threat eventually caused the farm’s landlord to request a cancellation and despite holding strong until that point, farm founder Adam Berman was forced to scrub the workshop in the face of this large and disruptive demonstration.
Slaughtering animals can be incredibly transformative and powerful. When first experiencing shechita (kosher slaughter) I found it so powerful that my waking mind could not face the many dark and disturbing emotions that it brought up. I'd often wake up from disturbing dreams feeling frightened, sad and guilty about what I'd done. Today I've learned to cope and rarely dream as I did then, but the dreams I've had and things I've seen will forever hold a dark and frightening place inside my soul.
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.