Kosher and Common Sense

I am not a Jew, so therefore I do not feel any moral necessity to keep kosher, but neither do I feel a necessity to forbid it. However, the issue of kosher slaughter -- the ritual killing of animals to make the meat kosher -- has come up, once again, this time in Belgium; and though charges of anti-Semitism are being hurled, the real crime is left-wing illogic.

Belgian region outlaws kosher slaughter

Wallonia government outlaws kosher slaughter, Jewish world expresses outrage. -- Israel National News

Belgium's linguistic communities have idiosyncratic laws, and recently Wallonia (the French-speaking south) has passed a law outlawing kosher slaughter as ostensibly inhuman to animals. One should not think that this is uniquely a Francophone idea. The Dutch-speaking Flemings are going to follow suit.

Lawmakers in both Flanders and Wallonia have agreed to ban kosher and halal slaughter by 2019, a move that triggered the protest of the World Jewish Congress, who gave today a tribune to Philippe Markiewicz, the president of Belgium’s Central Jewish Consistory. -- New Europe

Norway, New Zealand, Denmark, etc. have all banned Kosher slaughter. Their concern to prevent suffering would make sense if they also banned abortion, which they do not.

This impetus for this law probably did not originate in Belgium's large Muslim immigrant community, who also practice a form of religious slaughter. So we cannot chalk this up to mere sympathy with Muslims against the Jews, not when Muslim practices are also being targeted.

The Muslim and Jewish communities in Flanders have criticised a proposal by the Belgian region to ban the unstunned slaughter of small animals, which they say would contravene their rules for ritual killing. -- Reuters

Clearly this law is coming from the indigenous Celts (descendants of the ancient Belgae, from which Belgium derives its name). Religion is probably not a major factor in this decision. Most Belgians are fully secular, with church attendance very low.

There is clearly more to this than raw anti-Semitism, as some Jewish commentators have opined, even though the Belgian law does appear to be similar to Nazi legislation against kosher slaughter, as the Nazis proclaimed in this 1940 propaganda reel: The Eternal Jew. (Severe content warning). But, to avoid all histrionics, we have to note: Belgians are not Nazis.

This law is rather the result of a secular, leftist view taking over.

I do not argue in favor of all minority rights without discretion or necessarily against laws which curtail some minority communities. Clearly the Muslim communities should assimilate, and forego some of their practices. But this new law attacks a rather harmless practice common to more than one community; and offensive to nobody but extremist tree huggers.

The Belgians want to impose a tree-hugging liberal worldview on the people in their country; and that view raises animal rights to absurdly high levels, while diminishing the rights of religious communities -- including, as we shall see, some secular Gentiles.

Now, logically, nations have a right to govern themselves, and to set standards for their own country, as this Jewish comment on Israel's right-wing Israel National News noted:

-- Israel National News

But clearly, this law is not aimed only at Jews, but at the “other,” which would also include Muslims.

The core issue here is that of logic. Are we ignoring that Kosher slaughter may not only be more humane to animals, but also to humans?

The alternatives to kosher slaughter would be more dangerous to the consumer. Drugging the animal would introduce possibly toxic, and certainly deleterious chemicals into the meat the consumer would then ingest. Stunning the animal would introduce brain matter – and possibly mad cow disease – into the bloodstream and the meat. Kosher preparation limits exposure to E. coli. Natural food activists recommend kosher meat as safer – giving innumerable reasons why.

Forgetting about being merciful to the animals, why not have some pity on the consumer?

This is not just a Jewish issue. In New York State, where there is a large Jewish community, the state polices Kosher certification as a consumer fraud issue.

Kosher Law Protection Act of 2004

The Kosher Law Protection Act of 2004 requires that consumers of food represented as kosher in New York be provided with information identifying the person or organization certifying that food as kosher. -- New York State Department of Agriculture

Many have complained that New York State should not be policing religious practices, and I would agree, but this is something more involved here. It became obvious that there was a large Gentile population which sought out Kosher meat as healthier, better meat; and that was given as a reason for the state to police kosher products as a consumer quality issue. In New York, more Jews were eating kosher meat than Gentiles.

A growing number of supermarket shoppers are going kosher -- not for religious reasons, but because they are convinced the foods are safer and better for health. -- NY Times

This issue is being ignored in Belgium. Kosher meats are sought out by more than Jews.

This is the illogic of left-wing animal rights activists who ignore the core issue. Is Kosher meat more humane to the consumer? Belgium many have the right to pass this law; but it is insanely illogical, and indicative of a leftist world view that tramples on the rights of those who are not so left-minded.

I could see outlawing truly harmful practices such as the Muslim FGM, or banning the oppressive burqa or hijab, or even the very questionable Hasidic Metzitzah P'beh, but how is anybody hurt by kosher slaughter?

As a Gentile, I love cheeseburgers; but I learned a long time ago, be sure to buy Kosher frankfurters when buying hot dogs, or you will pay later on that evening.

Mike Konrad is the pen name of an American who wishes he had availed himself more fully of the opportunity to learn Spanish in high school, lo those many decades ago.