Monday, 11 April 2011

Will Holland Outlaw Kosher Killing?

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The Netherlands has long been a welcome home to Jews who suffered persecution elsewhere in Europe. During the Holocaust, Dutch Christians were exemplary in their effects to rescue Jews, often risking their own lives. During the 1973 energy crisis, the Dutch were conspicuous in not yielding to boycott pressure, riding their bikes instead of using automobiles. The Dutch, who in the Dutch East Indies held one of the most populous Muslim lands on earth, have equally been solicitous toward the sensibilities of Muslims. In fact, many would say that Holland has been far too interested in yielding to Islamic pressures.

An issue has arisen, however, which seems to have transcended Dutch tolerance of almost everything. Judaism requires that meat be slaughtered by a Kosher butcher according to kashrut, the set of Jewish dietary laws. Only animals killed this way are Kosher. Islamic law also requires that animals be killed by Halal slaughter. The Netherlands has allowed the Kosher killing of animals for many centuries.

Now, however, animal rights advocates, who are really practicing their own pagan worship of nature in many cases, are moving to have Kosher or Halal slaughter banished in the Netherlands. New Zealand last year did ban the Kosher killing of chickens, although this policy was later reversed. Throughout Europe, nations such as Sweden and France have interfered with Kosher slaughter (shechita) by either banning or regulating it to death.

This is not the first case of a European nation banning the Kosher killing of animals. The Nazis did so as well, and their rationale was also preventing cruelty to animals. The first law passed by the Nazi government in East Prussia was one which banned the vivisection of animals and the use of animals in medical experiments. Nazi propaganda posters from the time show a room of grateful animals, wearing swastikas, returning his salute with “Heil Göring!” when the dictator of Prussia made vivisection a crime. On August 17, 1933, Göring announced that anyone in Prussia performing a vivisection of any kind on any animal would be sent to a concentration camp. As an example of how support for some form of chic New Age Leftism can lead to even greater evils, the Nazis also banned the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals. Their stated reason was not as an anti-Semitic measure, but rather as a way of standing up for animal rights.

Wallace Deuel wrote in his 1942 book, People Under Hitler, “Julius Streicher, the sadist and anti-Semite of Franconia ... wept when two pet canaries died.” He also noted that “Göring is a sentimentalist about birds and animals, as many Germans are…Göring’s abhorrence to cruelty to animals extends even to frogs. A 66-year-old fisherman of Zeqibreucken was once sentenced to six months in jail because he failed to kill a frog painlessly, as one of Göring’s decrees prescribed, before cutting off his legs.” Göring decreed the severest law against cruelty to animals ever passed to that point in time anywhere.

However, compassion for unborn human babies, who are tortured to death in some of the grisliest abortion procedures ever performed, does not cause animal rights champions to bat an eye. As one example, the vegan community, which finds even eating bird eggs to violate some moral law, is strangely conflicted when it comes to abortion. No animal rights advocates reported to date have splashed human fetal blood on celebrities who support a “woman’s right to choose" (infanticide).

Animals, of course, are much crueler to other animals than are humans. The term “hen-pecked” refers to the process in which hens peck to death a sick chicken. (The term “pecking order” also relates back to the instinctive behavior in chickens to torture their fellow chickens to death and sometimes to eat them.) Cats play with their prey before finally dispatching them. Dogs in packs slowly tear large animals to bits. Truly, " ... Nature [is] red in tooth and claw," as Alfred, Lord Tennyson observed.

Ironically, compassion to animals came out of religious tenets such as the Jewish tradition of Kosher killing. Although a chicken slaughtered by a Kosher butcher probably feels some discomfort, it quickly bleeds into unconsciousness and then death. In fact, tradition suggests that at the end of the long seige at Masada, the Jews — in order to avoid capture by the Romans — killed each other (including wives and children) by shechita, precisely because it was a relatively painless way to die.  (Romans, too, would open a vein in a hot bath as a largely painless way of committing suicide.) 

The Kosher or "clean" slaughter of animals is more benign than almost any other death that animals would find in the natural world. Kosher slaughter is also more hygienic than most other methods. Many Gentiles eat Kosher meat precisely because they know that the meat, which has passed rabbinical inspection, is probably cleaner and safer than meat which has been approved by government bureaucrats. (Recall the line in the Hebrew National hot dog commercial: "We answer to a higher authority.")

Judaic tradition also enjoins kindness toward living animals as well.

Christians adopted this attitude. The famous “Crusade for Kindness,” which launched the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the ASPCA (its American counterpart), the Humane Society, and other early movements to stop needless cruelty to animals, was based almost entirely on the teachings of devout Christians such as William Wilberforce, John Wesley, and John Newton. St. Francis of Assisi is perhaps the Christian most intimately connected with compassion for animals. The Judeo-Christian traditions, which provided the moral underpinnings for kindness toward other living things, also contributed the principle that Earth and its creatures were given to man by God to enjoy. When a Kosher butcher kills a chicken, it is not to cause pain to the creature, but to obey the commandments of God.

The effort to suppress the ancient and essentially humane methods of slaughtering animals that Jews have used for millennia is not based upon superior moral values. Instead, it is part of the relentless efforts of statists to abolish religious practices of Christians and Jews by imposing, in place of God’s law, man's law.