19 juni 2011

Met dank overgenomen van E. (Esther) Ouwehand i, gepubliceerd op zondag 19 juni 2011.

Vrijdag zeer bemoedigende mail gekregen van Aaron Gross, Assistant Professor Theology and Religious Studies aan de University of San Diego. Hij maakt duidelijk dat er naar zijn mening wel degelijk reden is voor de joodse gemeenschap om verdoofd slachten toe te staan, en heeft me toestemming gegeven zijn mail in dit weblog te publiceren.

Ik wil daarbij graag één kanttekening maken, de Rabbinical Assembly beperkt haar toestemming niet tot verdoving na de halssnede, zoals in de link wordty gesuggereerd, maar heeft de Partij voor de Dieren in een mail van Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz d.d. 12-04-2011 bevestigd dat : ”The paper permits pre shitah stunning as well as post shitah stunning and bolting”.

Lees hier de mail van Aaron Gross:

Dear Sir, Madam,

I am writing you as a Professor of Jewish Studies and founder of Farm Forward, a non-governmental organisation which advances humane and sustainable agriculture.

Given this background, I’m very much interested in the Dutch debate over banning unstunned religious slaughter. I do not in this letter wish to discuss my view on the legislation itself. Rather, it is my impression that there are some persistent misconceptions regarding the various Jewish perspectives—in the media but also during today’s roundtable discussion in the Dutch Parliament. Let me therefore clarify a few points.

It is a misunderstanding to think that kosher slaughter in general is incompatible with various kinds of stunning. Different forms of Judaism decide such a question autonomously. In Haredi Orthodoxy (so called Ultra-Orthodox Judaism) there is indeed a legal consensus that makes most stunning unacceptable, but for other communities stunning is more often than not allowed within certain restrictions; in fact, for some Jewish communities stunning is now normative.

Moreover, there are different positions on pre-shechita and post-shechita stunning. For example, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative rabbis, has recognized that there are grounds to permit stunning before slaughter as part of its argument for the legal permissibility of post-slaughter stunning but has stopped short of endorsing the legal permissibility of pre-slaughter stunning (see http://www.rabbinicalassembly.org/story/clarification-regarding-stunning-and-schechitah).

Let me end by saying that personally, as a Jew, I find the resistance to stunning disappointing and incompatible with the sense of humanity (kavod habriyos) and compassion (rachamim) that animate Jewish law. One of the long-acknowledged and often-cited purposes of shechita is precisely to inflict as little pain as possible. If kosher slaughter means more suffering then we have a problem. In Jewish communities, the animal ethics we have inherited from previous generations, for all its enduring insight and power, is often turned on its head by the effects of modern technologies. The halakha (Jewish legal tradition) is a highly adaptive system with a remarkable ability to combine innovative responses to new situations with loyalty to enduring principles. Hopefully, this flexibility will be applied by all Jewish communities—as it already is in some—to allow the Jewish tradition of compassion for animals to inform how kosher certification adapts to new slaughter technologies that can improve welfare.

Thank you very much for your consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Aaron Gross


Aaron S. Gross, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Theology and Religious Studies, University of San Diego

Co-Chair Animals and Religion Consultation, The American Academy of Religion

Founder & Executive Vice President Farm Forward

Tijd om een einde te maken aan het onnodige, extra lijden van dieren bij de slacht. Op naar een historisch debat woensdag!