The Matzav Rant: Are We the Idiots Who Have Learned No Lesson from PETA’s Antics?


matzav_networkBy Shmuel Miskin

I won’t sugar-coat it. In my eyes, PETA is a group of rabble-rousers. Period. Oh sure, their agenda is couched in self-righteous condemnation of those who they claim don’t live up to their standards. But there’s no question about what PETA is made of.

Today’s published report on a frum media outlet quotes this “senior researcher” as stating that “as the investigations of Agriprocessors demonstrated, egregious practices can be conducted right under the noses of mashgichim and USDA inspectors. It is in this sense that we hope you can use PETA’s covert work to demand more transparency and vigilance on the part of companies and kosher certification systems.”

So again we ask: Have we learned nothing from the last two years that these lies and fabrications can be spread without comment or refutation?

Shechitah was just outlawed in New Zealand. If PETA had its way, it would be banned here in the United States too. Don’t be fooled when a PETA “senior researcher” – on a frum site no less – uses terms like “tzaar baalei chaim.” It’s all a ruse. And all it means is that they’ve brought their attack and lies closer to our doorsteps.

So why, pray tell, especially at a crucial time like the present in the Rubashkin case, would a frum online media outlet publish the claims of a PETA “senior researcher” filled with lies and fabrications?

PETA “researchers” have an agenda and are disingenuous. There’s no question. But one thing they are not is foolish. You know how I can say that? Because they know that there is someone, somewhere out there – yes, even a frum-owned media outlet – who will be foolish enough to give them a voice and help them spread their agenda, while slandering a kosher slaughterhouse that was one of the cleanest and safest in the country.

And they know that they can even find exposure even during a trial brought about by their own nefarious actions against a company, Agri, that wouldn’t cave in to union demands and PETA’s unfounded attacks.

As reported by Rabbi Pinchos Lipschutz in his editorial posted here, the lies started years ago when a doctored-up PETA video, depicting so-called abuse of animals at Agriprocessors, was picked up by the secular Jewish media, who then seized upon it to mount a crusade against the company.

Though the Agriprocessors meat-packing plant was one of the cleanest and safest of its kind in the country, and upheld the most humane standards, the government observed that prominent Jewish voices had bought into the libelous reports and were questioning the plant’s commitment to Jewish law.

That spurred detractors to attack Agriprocessors without risk of a Jewish backlash. Federal investigators proceeded to do so with a vengeance. While Jewish fingers pointed and Jewish tongues wagged, the destruction of the slaughtering house that had brought so much benefit to American Jews from coast to coast was set in motion.

Did we not learn our lessons then? Did we not realize what happens when we play into the hands of evil forces by joining the chorus of denunciation against a facility wrongly maligned as a “jungle”?

In a number of countries throughout the ages, governments were successful in outlawing kosher slaughter. Even in the democratic and tolerant country of the United States, where the pursuit of religious beliefs are protected and respected, there have been various groups of animal-rights activists who have longed to become regulators of kosher slaughter. Some have the ultimate desire to see an end to the killing of any animals in any form. Most acknowledge that kosher slaughter is more humane than other forms of killing animals, but wish to regulate the methods used to perform a proper shechitah.

Interestingly, these activists fail to realize that the methods deemed superior by halacha may also be advantageous to the animal.

The constitution of the United States of America guarantees religious freedom. Additionally, the USDA acknowledges that kosher slaughter is humane. These animal-rights activists have failed, in many attempts, to outlaw shechitah using legal means, and have attempted to reach out to the general public and appeal for their sympathy by displaying seemingly gruesome videos of shechitah. Careful viewing of what takes place on the video s- without getting horror-struck or sickened by the sight of gushing blood and the throats of animals being cut – will reveal that the practices performed are not what they are portrayed to be by these activists. The emotional appeal of the video is only effective for the ignorant layman. There is a consistent opinion of anyone knowledgeable in areas of shechitah that, in fact, the procedures are most humane.

It is imperative to familiarize oneself with the scientific understanding of shechitah being a painless death. The Torah requires that the throat be cut in a continuous, swift motion with an exceptionally sharp and smooth knife of a prescribed length.  The blade is thus more acute than even surgical knives.

The movement of a swift cut causes no pain to the animal and takes a fraction of a second. It cuts through the bottom of the neck, severing the trachea, the esophagus, the two vagal nerves, as well as both carotid arteries and jugular veins, which are the main blood vessels supplying and draining the head and brain. Severing the carotids causes an immediate anemic shock of the brain, which is followed instantaneously by unconsciousness. Thus, the animal does not feel any pain and is unconscious within seconds. In addition to the supreme humaneness of the act of shechitah, it also produces better quality meat. The blood is drained from the body at such a quick pace, and this prevents the rapid deterioration of its meat.

The conventional way of killing animals is by shooting it with a captive bolt to the brain. This causes major internal bleeding, disrupts the nervous system, and the animal remains conscious longer. Although it may seem less gruesome to an observer, the animal experiences more pain. There is a significant proportion where the bullet fails to reach the sweet spot and the animal is thrown into agonizing spasms of death throws. It many instances, the animal has to be shot again – up to six times – before it collapses.

Are there still some among us who haven’t learned the lesson?

{Shmuel Newscenter}

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  1. there are no words for the irresponsibility shown by that site. i almost fell over when i saw the letter posted.

  2. i saw the “PETA open-letter” earlier posted on (deleted by moderator) . i was shocked at the editors from (deleted by moderator). how dare they give this cruel PETA investigator a platform!? It was really shocking to me. now i see i”m wasn’t the only person who thought that way. we should demand (deleted by moderator) to scratch it off and apologize!

  3. The article itself is very nice and to the point, but…

    Let’s not sugarcoat it. While Mr. Miskin often brings important points to the table, the fact that a big chunk of it seems to be aimed at lowering perception of a competing frum media outlet takes some of the steam away. Period. Oh sure, the agenda is couched in terms of the ridiculousness of PETA – a valid point indeed – but there have been too many articles on the internet recently whose sole point seems to be denigrate competitors.

  4. OK, do you really believe everything you wrote? Really?

    I am certainly no fan of PETA, their agenda and certainly not their tactics, but sir, you’re twisting as many – if not more words – than PETA.

    You also discuss a “doctored” video. “Doctored” alleges that the facts and images have been altered to lie and distort the truth. In truth the video was edited. That is not doctoring.

    Regarding the science of humane Schechita. Yes, it is humane. Yes, the common, non-kosher, method of slaughter causes more stress and pain to the cattle, but one cannot say “Severing the carotids causes an immediate anemic shock of the brain, which is followed instantaneously by unconsciousness.” If you have been at Schechita you will see that the animal does not become unconscious instantly. It does take anywhere from a few to 30 seconds, where the animals can move, twist and turn. The video that was widely seen shows this, and the Rubashkins did not dispute its accuracy. You cannot say that “the practices performed are not what they are portrayed to be by these activists.” Yes they are. The video showed Schechita in “all its glory.” It is a bloody process even when done with the utmost care and precision. To most it looks gruesome. It is the price we pay for eating beef.

    I can go on, but I will not.

    I will end with this; your attack on another “frum website” for publishing what it deems to be newsworthy and can open a valid discussion within our community is simply childish and rings very hollow.

    –To clarify. Yes, I am frum member of our community. Yes, I do eat very strictly kosher. I am not, and never have been, a vegetarian and eat fleishig numerous times a week.

  5. dear comment #4: first when i started reading your comment, it was a bit disturbing, but when i read more and saw that your defending yourself “yes i am a frum jew” i calmed down. if after writing those comments you feel guilty then your fine…

  6. You have got to be kidding,
    Hate to break it to you but it in no way takes thirty seconds to lose conscious. The animal loses consious as soon as blood is cut off to its brain. The animal does appear to be aliv beacause of residual nerve reactions.
    I would urge you to read the wonderful letter by the Honorouble Nathan Lewin (One of the the foremost constitutional experts in the US) posted on this site.

  7. Regardless of the positive or negative aspects of shechita versus other killing methods, please do not be fooled by what PETA really is- the most successful radical organization in history. They advertise as just caring for animals and their rights and have successfully convinced the public that this is all they are. They can make claims about “tzaar baalei chaim” and “animal suffering all they want but here are a few quotes from PETA president Ingrid Newkirk – and you be the judge as to what this organization stands for.

    1)Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, we’d be against it.
    – Vogue (September 1, 1989)

    2)Humans have grown like a cancer. We’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.
    – Washingtonian magazine (February 1, 1990)

    3)Six million people died in concentration camps, but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses. [emphasis added]
    – The Washington Post (November 13, 1983

    Enough said.

  8. that site posted these editors view after they started to get heat from matzav. this was hours after their original post.

    if they intended originally in writing an editors view they should of posted it together with the original letter to avoid any michshol of goyim reading it and getting upset without reading a response.

    it must be that they decided to write the response after the heat from matzav.

    BTW goyim do read these sites and perhaps the infamous rubashkin judge and jury can read these sites too and read that peta article. therefore, you need responsible reporting.

  9. those staff editors don’t seem to realize the iresposible act they did. thinking that commentators would respond sharply against the letter and therefor it wouldnt be a bad idea… and btw the editors reponse isn’t really ripping down mr schein just nice disagreeing, i would expect something more. now guys just wait untill the drive-by media picks up this whole thing, then you”ll really have a chilul hashem.

  10. You Have Got To Be Kidding is right. Just because we disagree with PETA on 99% of our respective hashkafic views, and just because they’re completely whacky, does not mean we cannot take legitimate criticism. Shlomo HaMelech taught us: eizeh hu chochom? Halomed mikol adom. Even self-hating b’nei adom are still b’nei adom, and we might have something to learn even from them. Why shouldn’t we be more makpid on tzaar baalei chayim? To davka be less just because PETA suggested it would be to be just as self-righteous as they are.

  11. Again Rabbi Miskin, why don’t you tell it as it is – who’s your daas torah?
    Who decides what’s important to be moiche about?
    What are you afraid of- why not respond?

    You know, it’s very easy to be a self-riteous kanoi. And when your “issue” just happens to be your competition, the nisayon is pretty strong.
    But if your’e so straightforward and just looking for emes, why don’t you clearly respond to the above questions? If anything, it would only give you more credibility!

  12. This website is like Pravda, the censored KGB newspaper. That’s why I read and comment on the other sites. They allow for other perspectives, at least.

  13. Dozens of years ago, before they got involved with Shechita matters, I admired them, since they objected to animal abuse in industry—cosmetic companies injecting chemicals in restrained animals’ eyes to test for irritation for example. They put out a book about 20 years ago exposing a lot of what we call tzar baalei chaim in industry, but doubt any of us ever protested..