Agriprocessors: Still trayfin' it up

PETA reports,

In 2004, PETA conducted its first investigation inside an AgriProcessors slaughterhouse, one of the largest slaughterhouses in the country. The initial investigation at the company’s Postville, Iowa, facility revealed almost 300 instances of inhumane slaughter, including that cows had their tracheas ripped out while they were still alive, writhed in pools of their own blood, and tried desperately to stand up as blood poured from their throats. When PETA conducted a second investigation into AgriProcessors in May 2007 at the company’s Gordon, Nebraska, slaughterhouse, the investigator discovered that animal abuse still takes place inside their facilities.

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22 thoughts on “Agriprocessors: Still trayfin' it up

  1. way to go koshernostra. is there any reason we should regard this hashgacha system as anything other than totally corrupt?

  2. Baruch Atah Adonai … I’m Vegan and I’m Jew: that’s a logical situation. I fight for compassion and Tikkun Olam.
    Shavua Tov veShalom,
    Saul Eitan from Sepharad

  3. This horror story brings to light the widespread disregard for animals’ well-being in the kosher meat industry. While recent focuses may have been on workers’ rights and eco-kashrut, it’s time to realize that these incidents of causing animals unnecessary suffering (tza’ar ba’alei hayim) aren’t isolated and that they deserve the careful consideration of the Jewish community.
    As Rabbi Haviva Ner-David wrote in the July 9 issue of The Jerusalem Report: “Truth be told, if we consider complying with the requirements of tza’ar ba’alei hayim a requirement for meat to be considered ‘kosher,’ today’s food industry renders all meat production non-kosher. … Today, mass production has taken over. Under these conditions, it is impossible to treat animals in a way that would comply with the laws of tza’ar ba’alei hayim. This is why all Jews concerned with Jewish values and/or Jewish law should consider vegetarianism.”
    Anyone interested in exploring the Jewish case for vegetarianism can visit

  4. I happen to know one of the rabbis that supervises the plant. When news first came out of scandal, he made a thorough investigation. He found that the whole thing is pure slander, aimed at the kosher shechita industry. PETA fabricated this story because they would love to some day be able to outlaw this method of animal slaughter as inhumane as has been done in other countries in the past.

  5. Rambler, I’m looking forward to hearing that rabbi’s (and the company’s) explanation. But the abuses were documented on video that was sent to independent experts in animal welfare and slaughter systems; they confirmed that what was going on was an abomination. To read their comments, go to:
    Dr. Lester Friedlander, a former chief veterinary inspector for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said, “More than 2 minutes elapsed after Shechita [in the first slaughter]. … The cow’s eyes were tearing, blinking and not rolled back. The ears were also moving. The cow was not in a Moribund State. … Within 40 seconds after Shechita [in the second slaughter], the Plant employee removes the metal state identification tag. This is unacceptable since the cow was still conscious and you can not remove or cut out parts of the cow. … [In the third slaughter, a] Meat Hook and Knife is used on a conscious cow after Shechita. This is unacceptable since the cow was still alive. … There was prolonged consciousness in the [fourth] cow following Shechita. The knife and hook was being used to tear the tissue apart to facilitate bleeding of the carcass. This is unacceptable since the cow is still conscious and can feel pain.”

  6. Rambler, it’s not slander if it’s true. I’m not a very big fan of PETA. But I can only think of three scenarios in which this could be slander:
    1) This video shows proper shechita and PETA is lying about it being improper. That’s hard for me to believe, but if you find me an expert shoychet (with no financial interest in, or connection to, Agriprocessors) who will say that what was filmed here was proper, I’d be inclined to believe him or her over PETA’s experts and call it slanderous.
    2) This video shows improper shechita and PETA left out the part where the shoychet declares it unkosher and has the cow’s carcass shipped to a dogfood plant. That would make this slanderous.
    3) This video does not actually show a cow being slaughtered at Agriprocessors. It’s either another slaughterhouse or altogether fake. That would be slanderous.
    But unless one of the above three is true, this video is not slander. And Agriprocessors should lose its hechsher.

  7. That rabbi is Asher Zeilingold, Michael, and his ‘report’ was originally released without an important disclosure – Zeilingold is paid by Rubashkin, receives donations from Rubashkin as well, and is Rubashkin’s friend. He only admitted to his business relationship after being challenged by the Forward.

  8. In this discussion we seem to be mixing two different frameworks for reality and then expressing surprise at the inconsistency. PETA has its standards, and Halacha has its standards. I can imagine people long schooled in halacha behaving in a way that is in harmony with halacha that would still rub PETA the wrong way. Halacha says death occurs at a certain point, PETA says it occurs at a different point.
    My understanding is that in any case of slaughter, the carcass will continue to twitch in the freezer for a good 40 minutes after slaughter. Is it still alive? No one would say yes. So when does death occur?

  9. The problem is that PETA’s “point of death” and science’s “point of death” are the same. Halakha’s point of death – at least according to the rabbis who now ‘lead’ us – is the moment the knife begins to cut.

  10. if look in the ramba”m and shulkhan arukh, you see that even after the shekhita, the animal is considered alive, making it “asur” to eat from the animal “ad sh’teizeh nafshah”.

  11. Not to entirely confuse, or add to, the slander question… But didn’t PETA recycle the 2004 video/report as an investigation into hallal slaughtering practices at ConAgra and claim that this was proof it wasn’t hallal?

  12. There are some fundamental Torah Laws regarding how we are to utilize animals as food sources:
    1. Animals are to be free ranged and their diet to consist solely of the green herbs that grow out of the ground. (Genesis 1:30)
    2. Animals are to be rested on Shabbat. (Ten Commandments)
    3. Prohibition of any unnecessary pain to animals.
    4. Prohibition of “Carnivorous Gluttony” (Quail Affair)
    Note: This prohibition was given BEFORE permission to slaughter animals outside of the Central Sanctuary for food.
    5. Proper Shechitah is one swift cut with a perfectly sharp knife, which severs the trachea and main arteries to the brain to insure that the animal dies as quickly and as painlessly as possible. According to Dr. Temple Grandin, who has observed proper Shechitah, the animal is dead in less than one minute.
    6. Animal that has been slaughtered is not permitted to be touched until dead.
    If we examine these fundamental Torah Laws, we may observe how very few, if any, are part of modern day “Kosher Animal Agriculture Establishments”

  13. I am not Jewish or vegetarian, but I am compassionate human being. I was so deeply hurt to see the methods these animals are slaughtered at the AgriProcessor plant in Postville, Iowa.
    I am familiar with the Jewish faith, but times have changed so should their methods how this animals are being killed.
    Please have a voice, do not support this method of killing, it’s inhumane.
    Thank you,

  14. The people who do this are just plain animals. Who could even say this is humane. This is an outrage. If this is humane than you trade places with the cow. People want to eat meat so bad they will lie through their teeth to get some. You will burn in hell.

  15. Rambler get the cow horn out of your ass this is about money they dont want blood in the meat so they do ANYTHING even take your mothers heart out to make more money

  16. I couldn’t care less about any religious laws, what I do care about is compassion for the animals. Any intelligent person just has to look at the videos to witness the suffering of the animals. All facilities should be closed until such time as a humane way of killing the animals is adopted. There is more suffering in the world to man and animal due to religous beliefs than I care to discuss. It is appalling. Ask yourself, ‘What would God think?, and look at it from 21st century eyes not the ancient books. We are intelligent human beings and compassion for all living things should be our first priority.

  17. I don’t see the debate- the video of these slaughters shows them to be non-Kosher. The animal is cut after Shechita but before unconsciousness. As to what is death… Of course no one is ever sitting taking the cow’s pulse, but the video shows obvious signs of consciousness- struggle, coordinated muscle movement with intent. Rabbi Shear-Yashuv Cohen and Rabbi Ezra Raful are just two who have deemed the video evidence of cruelty not consistent with the laws of Kashrut. The plant has claimed to have implemented new procedure where any cow that comes out of the restraining device showing signs of consciousness (even with trained the well-meaning Shechita the cut can miss) will be stunned, bolted and deemed not kosher. But can I now trust those that over-see this plant? I don’t think so. For all I know myself or my family could have eaten one of these cows that struggled for 3 minutes while the plant works ripped out its trachea. A disgrace and betrayal to all Jews who trust “Kosher” plants to maintain Kashrut to the letter and spirit of the laws whether for religious or humanitarian purposes.

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