Workers at AgriProcessors kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa rip the trachea from conscious cows and dump the animals onto a concrete floor-as blood streams from their throats and they writhe in agony-in footage documented in a recent investigation by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Hundreds of animals are subjected to unbelievable cruelty each day at this animal torture facility; cows are mutilated while fully sentient, and chickens ride conveyor belts to an inhumane death.
In the United States, the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) stipulates that animals used for food production be "rendered insensible to pain" or properly stunned before death and shackling. This loss of consciousness and a swift death virtually eliminate pain and fear in animals, but the law makes two exceptions. It does not require the stunning of animals killed by religious methods, and it does not extend its protection to poultry. Fortunately, there is an initiative underway to obtain inclusion of poultry under the Act (http://upc-online.org/alerts/72204slaughteract.htm).
Performed correctly, kosher slaughter-butchering according to Jewish law-is kinder and quicker than traditional slaughter. It recognizes that taking the life of an animal carries great responsibility, and the rational for the religious laws behind it was to improve hygiene in primitive conditions by ensuring the slaughter of healthy animals. The footage PETA obtained from AgriProcessors, however, shows a clear violation of Jewish law and the HMSA, which requires the humane killing of animals, even in the case of its religious exceptions. Therefore, we are asking the US Department of Agriculture to prosecute the plant for its violations of the law.