Rabbinate, Knesset Discuss Preventing Animal Abuse in Meat Industry

Knesset

In separate meetings, the Rabbinate and the Knesset both met to discuss possible changes in meat processing certification and laws after a second expose revealed shocking instances of animal abuse at a kosher meat processing plant in Israel.

The expose, which aired on Israeli Channel 10, showed animals at the Soglowek chicken processing plant handling the chickens in a callous manner, chasing them with hooks, and in at least one case, a chicken’s head being roughly yanked from the machine where it was caught.

Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi David Lau called for a meeting of the Rabbinate on November 4 to discuss the disturbing tape and vowed to take action against such behavior in a kosher facility.

“Such awful sights should not be seen in Israel’s food industry,” the rabbi said. “The Torah commands us to show compassion to every living thing and to spare them pain whenever possible–even regarding animals that are to be slaughtered.”

Rabbi Lau also pointed out that the mistreatment of animals prior to slaughter may actually render the animals not kosher, something he plans to discuss with the Rabbinate. He will also bring up how the Rabbinate may act to help prevent animal cruelty cases from happening in kosher facilities.

The Soglowek tape was also a hot topic this week among Israeli lawmakers. After viewing the expose, MK Dov Henin introduced a proposed law in the Knesset that would hold company head’s responsible for cases of animal abuse found in their plants, rather than only the workers caught in the act.

Under the new rules proposed by Henin, the companies and directors would be held accountable for the decisions they make that allow abuse to occur on the slaughterhouse floor.

“Last week some disturbing images from the Soglowek slaughterhouse were exposed,” Henin said, explaining the need for law. “We saw how a factory treats living creatures like raw material, and neglects their basic welfare.”

Henin’s bill already has the support of many members of the Knesset.

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