An Open Letter From PETA’s Senior Researcher To YWN

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PETA’s Not-So-Hidden AgendaAn open letter from PETA Senior Researcher (and undercover investigator) Philip Schein to YWN readers:

In response to PETA’s original 2007 investigation of “shackle and hoist” kosher slaughter in Uruguay, a representative of the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbinate of Israel defended the kosher status of the meat in the Jerusalem Post, arguing, “In fact, gratuitous cruelty to animals during the slaughter process does not disqualify the meat.”

It is a shame that to the general public, the image of kosher meat has degenerated from the proud, classic slogan “We answer to a higher authority” to “Gratuitous cruelty to animals does not disqualify the meat.”

Many kosher consumers, however, are disturbed by how tza’ar ba’alei chayim has been relegated to an afterthought in kosher meat production. For PETA, tza’ar ba’alei chayim is our primary focus. Much of our investigative work is clandestine, but we have an explicit mission to expose all the gratuitous cruelty that is obscured from the public so that consumers can make informed decisions and demand the best practices.

If companies are not transparent about their treatment of animals, our undercover footage provides a window into their operations. Audits—whether announced or unannounced—and orchestrated tours can never fully and candidly capture how a slaughterhouse functions. And 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.

Some of PETA’s tactics to publicize certain campaigns have been labeled as sensationalistic. This is true, but our core message is not extreme. Eliminating gratuitous cruelty to animals is a very reasonable, common-sense goal. Tza’ar ba’alei chayim is not a radical mission.

For example, whether one thinks kapporos should be performed with live chickens or with money, almost everyone would agree that providing no water to the chickens—or handling them roughly—is unacceptable. It is frustrating trying to work with the largest kapporos operations in Brooklyn to improve basic conditions and treatment of chickens only to be falsely accused of being anti-Semitic or anti-shechita.

Similarly, PETA’s investigations into the kosher slaughter industry were never about shechita but rather issues involving tza’ar ba’alei chayim in the handling of the animals and conditions for animals in the facilities. At Agriprocessors, the dismemberment of the tracheas and esophagi of still-conscious animals was conducted immediately after shechita—it was not part of the shechita process. These “dressing procedures” weren’t done for halachic purposes but rather for commercial reasons—to prevent blood splash (which reduces profits). Similarly, in South America, “shackle and hoist” kosher slaughter is done for commercial reasons only. One hundred cattle can be killed per hour by “shackle and hoist,” but only 55 per hour can be slaughtered using a more humane inverted pen.

This is the real hidden agenda. The kosher meat companies that PETA investigated were causing unnecessary pain and suffering for the sake of profit and then trying to defend those cruel practices by framing PETA’s efforts as an attack on shechita. In the wake of New Zealand’s recent ban on shechita, it is understandable that some in the Jewish community are nervous. But PETA’s investigations were never an attack on shechita. Quite the contrary. PETA said all along that the egregious practices filmed at Agriprocessors were violations of the legal exemptions provided for proper shechita in the U.S.—that what PETA documented was a horrible anomaly and needed to be corrected. Dr. Temple Grandin, the world’s leading slaughterhouse expert, agreed, saying that Agriprocessors’ methods were the “most disgusting thing” she’d ever seen and that these practices were never used in any other kosher slaughter plant that she had audited. Ironically, it was Sholom Rubashkin himself who said that they were “shechita in its full glory!” It was Rubashkin who made it about shechita and tried to defend the practice of hacking the tracheas/esophagi out of fully conscious animals (some of whom continued to struggle to their feet three minutes after shechita) as examples of standard, proper shechita.

The shocking findings of PETA’s 2004 investigation, confirmed by the USDA, naturally put the plant under greater scrutiny. But the conspiracy theories about PETA being in alliance with the unions, the government, the Catholic church, etc., in order to bring about the immigration raid and bring down Rubashkin are ludicrous. Our focus is always on humane improvements, and now that Agriprocessors has been sold, our attention is directed at working with Hershey Friedman of Agri Star to introduce third-party video-monitoring systems recommended by Dr. Temple Grandin. We would be pleased now to support any positive animal welfare reforms at Agri Star. We even praised Rubashkin when we indentified that Agriprocessors had a contract with the only plant in Uruguay that did not use “shackle and hoist” for kosher slaughter. So please be reassured that PETA has no anti-shechita or anti-Semitic agenda or a vendetta against Rubashkin.

Our kosher slaughter investigations make up only a small fraction of our work. Most of our efforts are directed at large conventional meat sellers such as KFC, McDonald’s, and Tyson Foods and at major offenders in other animal-exploiting industries, such as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. We even conducted an investigation of a Catholic monastery that was running a factory-farm egg operation that confined tens of thousands of hens to battery cages. That monastery has since started growing mushrooms instead and is thriving.

Personally, I have conducted more than 30 undercover operations in diverse fields. Besides my investigations into the kosher slaughter industry in the U.S., Canada, and South America, I have investigated racehorse slaughter in Japan, bear hunting in Canada, a chinchilla fur farm in Michigan and many others. We are “equal opportunity” investigators.

I think we share the concerns of most kosher consumers. We hope that our work will lead to more humane and accountable systems. It is clear that more vigilance is required and that even the monitors need to be monitored. If proper systems are in place to ensure humane treatment of animals, PETA can be taken out of the equation. Our agenda is to make ourselves unnecessary. Our ultimate goal is to be obsolete.

Thanks to YWN for posting this. I know this is a very sensitive issue. I welcome comments and will try to answer your questions, and I hope this can be the beginning of a respectful and constructive dialogue.

(YWN Exclusive by Philip Schein – PETA)




85 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Schein needs to study the hallochos of tzar ba’alei chayyim very carefully – particularly the parameters of where there are applicable.

    For example, in the case of hefsed merubah, tzar ba’alei chayim may not apply.

    Oh, and by the way, Kovod Ha’Odom takes precedence over tzar ba’alei chayyim no matter what the situation.

  2. I think that his hartz may sound nice but HOW it was done unfortunately leads me to think that PETA’s motives are not the best.(and I would tell him that to his face) All people including Gaza flotilla people have good intentions.Anyone who was by any shlachthaus would be appalled.You just have to know the facts.

  3. Philip Schein should be shackled and hoisted — and left in that position for a week or so. I can’t find a makor in Shas or poskim that would prohibit it.

  4. While Tsar ba’alai chaim is clearly prohibited by halacha, PETA does not accept that animals were created to be used (NOT abused, but used) by man.
    The highest service a kosher animal can achieve is to be a korban (a sacrifice) in the Beis HaMikdash.
    When PETA spokesmen can say (and I have heard them say it) that not even one rat should be sacrificed for medical experiments EVEN IF it would bring about a cure for cancer, then PETA has very warped priorities and hashkafos.

  5. While you make your religion to be humane treatment of animals which is not in tandem with conventional jewish practice despite the fact that we agree in regards to tzaar baale chiam you fully disregard the concept of mesirah which chazal have placed a way more serious focus with scary consequences. Gd does not tolerate that we are told and any jews connected to that will pay a heavy price for that behavior. We don’t envy you.

  6. Tzar baalei chayyim does not technically disqualify the meat from being kosher. But that doesn’t make tzar baalei chayyim mutar! There is NO reason to mistreat animals when they can be slaughtered in a perfectly kosher manner without such mistreatment. We aren’t suppose to rely on b’dieveds!

  7. To All tayereh Sheineh Yidden:

    I am frankly impressed with the writer’s attempt to reach out to us. I have been no fan of PETA. But please, everyone let’s keep our comments civil and on point. He wrote thoughtfully and considerately. He deserves the same in return. Imagine, he’d go back to his superiors and say, “I tried to reach out to them and they were the rudest bunch I’ve ever come across! Can’t they discuss an issue with civility?” Let’s not have that happen.

    I will take a stab, pun intended!, at helping this writer understand better where we are coming from.

    It is indisputable that there is a negative commandment known as, “Do not cause pain to a living animal.” But the whole of our relationship with animals is not solely based on this “don’t do.” It is also based on a premise of Jewish thought that runs through this negative commandment and defines our purpose for living in this world.

    That is: The world was created for man. All humans who walk on two feet, given the ability to speak, and who interact with the world are superior to animals. Animals ARE SUPPOSED to be killed for our benefit.(I heard this in the name of the Ari) We need not make any apologies for this because the Creator of the Universe sent us this message when He designed His world. Man came last because all of creation needed to be established for his entrance and ability to exist in the world G-d created.

    That the killing of animals MUST be done respectfully and responsibly is AXIOMATIC. The Torah tells us so. And we know this is the Will of the Creator of the Universe because He told us so in His communication to us through His Torah which we all hope to fulfill properly in a way that brings G-d pleasure.

    Any attempt to place animals on a pedestal because of their suffering will be met with derision because this is a profoundly non-Jewish idea. Animals must be treated humanely in order to serve their purpose in this world.

    By the way, for health reasons, I am moving away, myself, from eating meat as often as I used to. This is to protect my health. Another profoundly Jewish concept!

  8. I wouldn’t believe anything PETA says about anything and neither should anyone else. PETA’s only agenda is PETA and getting themselves in the media!

    Look what they did to Rubashkin! The spliced footage together that was totally “NOT” the truth or truthful about what was actually happening and released it to the public to make headlines and to pit their war against “KOSHER” and they are continuing on their path. Any and every JEW know that the halachas on kashrus and shecitah or very specific and mashgichim and shochtim take their jobs very seriously and take kashrus very seriously. WE certainly don’t need the likes of PETA or any representative thereof to point anything out in regard to our religion. WE have already seen what their agenda is and what their actions and intentions of destruction has caused us.

  9. This guy is a liar,peta is agaiinst shechita, and to consider mehudar methods of schechita tb”ch proves that peta got the sugya wrong. Animals do not have to be treated humanely humanely means human. Animals must be cared fior, but ultimately bishvil adam nivra haolam. It is because of such organizations’ mentality that morals are where they are. When you equate animals to humans you are denying that we are fundamentally different. When you equate animals to humans you are lowering humans to the status of animals, by denying the difference. When you equate animals to humans what is stopping you from equating humans to animals. And that is precisely what we are witnessing around us. When scientists consistently try to prove that murderers were born to murder, and that life experiences are grounds for acquittal, that shows a total denial of bechira, effectively equating the human to a gorilla. And although people may be affected by life’s experiences, they are just setting the stage of his individual challenges, which he must overcome. A challenge is not an excuse.

  10. All the mitzvos of the Torah were given to us for the reason of improving ourselves and the world, and we hope that Hashem will grant us aid and our observance of them all will have that effect. Choosing to specialize in one mitzvah can be a very admirable thing but not in the context of neglecting the others, for besides the commission of sins the heavenly assistance toward a holistic success, meaning a lasting benefit to the world coming from ones mitzvah actions, may be missing. With this in mind I disagree with Mr. Schein’s use of the word ludicrous above though I do not ascribe to a conspiracy theory among the players he mentioned, I do not believe the actions of PETA attacking Orthodox Jewish people are beneficial. There are better and purer ways to improve our observance of the prohibition of Tzaar Baalei Chaim and I am sure there are many among us who would make their knowledge available were they approached in the proper manner.

  11. Is Mr. Schein as proud of the way he & his cronies treated Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, his family, the town & the individuals he supported? Is Mr. Schein as proud of the fact he has condemned a good man to spending the rest of his life in jail & for condemning 16 year old autistic Moshe Rubaskin to a life of extreme stress at being parted from his devoted father? Is Mr. Schein proud of his scurrilous lies & defamation which destroyed entire families?

    Is he proud yet?

  12. Philip,

    Your attempt at clearing the name of the organization that employs you is commendable. However, in a forum such as Yeshiva World, it would be wise to explain exactly how Agri -or any other kosher slaughterhouse- is in violation of any halacha.

    Rather than simply stating how disturbed you are by the tza’ar ba’alei chayim, please let us know how and why any kosher slaughterhouse is in violation of hilchos tza’ar ba’alei chayim.

    To plainly state that a kosher slaughterhouse is in violation of hilchos tza’ar ba’alei chayim while not backing up those claims in any way, is typical PETA sensationalism. It would seem that you are only trying to play on the nerves of the people who you wrote this article for.

    As the writer of comment #1 pointed out, the halachos of tza’ar ba’alei chayim are vast and complicated. Have you ever learned them? Do you know anything about tza’ar ba’alei chayim other than its simple meaning “causing pain to a live being”? Before accusing anybody of violating any halacha I would hope that you have a deep understanding of that Halacha. What PETA views as cruelty to animals is obviously not what halacha considers tza’ar ba’alei chayim.

  13. Philip, it’s very nice that you’re involved in some greater purpose, etc.

    But don’t you feel a little foolish when see how much activism and care is needed by humans around the world? After all, you surely agree that an animal’s suffering isn’t more tragic than that of humans.

    If you are a true ideologist, and I don’t mean true to one pet ideology, rather true to to all worthy ideologies, then you are badly needed in more important areas. The world is full of fake ‘activists’ and ‘freedom fighters’ who are cruel people in disguise.

    Look, we have clear guides for Tzaar Baalei Chaim, and we had them thousands of years before “Animal Rights” started in Germany, by the same guys who…. (see Nuremberg Trials for the defense of some of the murderers).

    It is a true Chutzpa to come to Rabbis who have been protecting Tzaar Baalei Chaim for hundreds of generations, to a people who are the very ‘inventors’ of all these ideologies that you care about (even Hitler acknowledged that, that’s why he hated us – see his book), and tell them how to do things.

    Our success of survival, with the same values and ethics for thousands of years, is the secret of balancing properly between different values. Values always are contradictory, and ANY kind of crime could be supported by a true value, taking it to an extreme. We are fortunate to be given a Godly Torah, which teaches us what exactly is the proper balance. that’s why we’re still here.

  14. In response to AinOhdMilvado’s comment
    “The highest service a kosher animal can achieve is to be a korban (a sacrifice) in the Beis HaMikdash.”

    This reminds me of similar arguments members of Chabad made to me at kapporos about how the chickens were being “elevated” by fulfilling this higher purpose. The analogy told to me was that it was like taking a tree and turning it into a musical instrument. However, I think it is the opposite. It is taking a complete being (one of God’s sentient, complex creations – an individual and perfect in its own sense) and unnecessarily ”dis-assembling” that animal – reducing that completion to just its parts. In the musical instrument analogy, it would be like taking a clarinet and breaking it apart to make firewood.

  15. I see you draw the line between plants and animals and do not object to using plants although they are also complete creations (may even have a degree of sentience) , however by what basis is that the correct place to draw the line? Our Torah was received by Moses from the Creator and transmitted faithfully by Jews until today and says the line is between humans and animals.

  16. In response to aries2756:
    You are welcome to come to PETA and I will show you the hours and hours of raw footage. In the original 2004 investigation of Agriprocessors (linked in the letter above), 278 slaughters were filmed. In all of them, workers hacked out the tracheas and esophagi of the cattle immediately after shechita while the animals were still conscious. This was an SOP at the plant. This is a fact and it was cruel and illegal and not performed at any other kosher facility. More than 25% of the animals also demonstrated prolonged consciousness, some even struggling to their feet in agony three minutes after shechita. The USDA verified this and cited Agriprocessors for “engaging in acts of inhumane slaughter.” I accept that you have issues with PETA, but please do not cloud the discussion by making false accusations of the validity of the extensive footage that was verified by all parties including Rubashkin.

  17. May I ask all commenters here, why is there a discussion here with PETA regarding our HASHKAFA?! Of Course PETA doesn’t agree with us on hashkafa matters re: the world was created to serve MAN! So What! The point of our discussion with PETA should NOT be as to whether HASHEM created the world or to whether TORAH was given to us on Har Sinai; rather the point of our discussion with PETA should be (regardless of their beliefs/ideology and history) as to whether there is a legitimate point to their “Taana” that animals should be treated with more care and sensitivety through the Shechita process.
    As far as this is concerned, YES, definitely there is room for improvement in this area and it is commendable for US on our own to accept their “Ha’aros”, as per OUR HASHKAFA gven to us through “Divrei Chaza”l”. Isn’t it one of our primary obligations to follow in HASHEM’S ways, and the posuk in Tehillim says “V’Rachamav Al Kol Ma’asav” which includes all living creatures. This is the Midah that defines our nation – “Rachmanus/Rachmanim”. The Gemara charachtarises One who eats from an animal “Kodem Sh’teizei Nafsha” – “A ROSHO”. And it is well known the story brought down in the Gemara about Rabeinu Hakadosh, that an animal was bring brought for Shechita passed by Rabeinu while he was learning and requested from him Rachmanus-to be saved; wheras Rabeinu [being engrossed in learning and not fully aware] said to him “For this you were created”; and HASHEM punished him for 13 years for not showing sympathy for the Animal! And let’s not forget the aspect of “Chilul Hashem” – aren’t we supposed to be the Light shining on the nations – Even with regarding to Charachter/Bein Adam L’chaveiro/L’briyos!
    Of Course if any chumras in the halacha of Tzaar Baa’lei Chaim ran contradictory to Hilchos Shechita, we would definitely not institute it chas v’sholom regardless of World opinion; but if it doesn’t run contradictory at all, shouldn’t we embrace it so long as we are sure PETA has no intention to undermine Hilchos Shechita in any way.

  18. When the Nazi’s Yimach Shimom took power in Germany, the first concern they expressed was that Schechita wasn’t humane. History has well documented where those “well meaning” concerns led them. Let’s not for a moment be fooled by warm letters from people that mean us much harm.

    If PETA honestly means well which clearly they do not, their videos would not be publicized. They would be working quietly with Rabbonim Hamchshirim, and plant owners to address issues that are Torah based.

    I assume that Mr. Shein has no association with our Gedolim who are far more familiar with the Halochos pertaining to Tzar Baalei Chayim then he will ever be. Has he discussed in great detail with any Gedolim the complex Shailohs involved? Has he asked far greater minds then his to weigh in the balance what is to be gained from his involvement with PETA, against the unbelievable Aveirah of creating a Chillul Hashem in which he participates?

    Mr. Schein, if you mean well as you state, I urge you to break away from this group immediately, or to state for all to hear which of our Gedolim endorsed your involvement.

  19. Phillip Schein,

    With all due respect, and I have a few degrees including rabbinic ones, I think that your reply and comments actually clue us in to who you REALLY are.
    Any Jewish person knows the story of Eliyohu on Har Hacarmel but aside from that it sounds as you are a Vegetarian disguised as a do-gooder. If you believe that Torah was given from Sinai, then you will know the story of schechitah and its permissiveness by G-d himself.
    You will know the laws of Tzar Baal Hachayim. You will also know that G-d gave power to people to perfect the world.It’s why Jews of all stripes are practicing “TIKKUN OLAM”. One of those things is being able to eat chicken and meat and making a blessing which DOES elevate an animal’s purpose.

    A link to an old article
    http://jewishworldreview.com/1104/peta_undercover.php3

  20. Philip you are disputing a concept that is established already for generations by Rishonim such as the Ramban the Raavad as well as many other seforim quoted at length. yes, you have an agenda and lack the respect to look at the view of traditional Judaism that clearly states that an animal is elevated by being slaughtered for the purpose of a Torah Jew making a Berocho and doing Mitzvohs such as Simchas Yom Tov among others, but despite that ignorance you have the audacity to come an proselytize to us how we should behave! you obviously have a guilty conscience for being responsible for causing others’ misery with your mesira and you want us to pat you on the back for that? you and your cohorts are “usid liten es hadin”.

  21. An Open Letter to Philip Schein – Mr. Schein, you stated “For PETA, tza’ar ba’alei chayim is our primary focus.”

    I have been monitoring Peta for nearly 30 years now and your statement seems deceiving. I work like it for the record that you come out as a representative of Peta and state in clear words that “Peta is not in any way or form against the consumption of animals (although that requires killing them) and that it’s SOLE believe and function is to prevent cruelty to animals while stocking live stock and during the slaughtering process.”

    I think it’ll take a while for you to coin a statement that’ll step around the truth and continue to mislead the general public. Actions talk louder than words and your actions over the last 30 years and more have shown otherwise.

    Would you like a Tofu Turkey for Thanksgiving? 😉

  22. To: Philip Schein #15 –
    The essense of your error, of your problem, is to be found in your own words… “However, I think it is the opposite”.
    “I” think, you said. For Torah observant Jews, what counts is NOT what “I” think, it’s what G-d “thinks”, what He teaches us in His Torah.
    The Torah teaches us that while we must respect G-d’s creatures, we do that NOT by doing what WE think but rather by doing what HE commands, i.e. animal sacrifices (when there is a Beis HaMikdash), kosher slaughtering methods, not causing tsar baalai chaim.
    BUT, with that in mind, animals WERE intended for human use, i.e. for food, for clothing, for developing medicines, etc.
    By the way Philip, you did not address my comment that PETA holds the life of a rat more important than killing it in the process of developing life saving cures for human diseases. Do you deny that that IS a PETA philosophy?

  23. Great Article.

    The fact is many Kshrus organizations refuse to give hasgachos on things for reasons that have nothing to do with kashrus.

    The BADATZ pulled their hasgacha from Pepsi when Pepsi ran an ad deicting man evolving from an ape.

    The OU pulled its hashgacha from Glatt Yacht because the “atmosphere” on the boat was not “kosher”

    Many kashrus organazations will refuse to give a hechsher to a “hangout”

    By the same criteria a company that causes excesive Tza’ar Ba’alei and chilul Hashem should also be declined a hechsher.

  24. Mr. Schein,

    My initial comment is that for the most part you are an am ha’aretz who has NO idea what the halachos are of tzar ba’alay chaim. There are incidents mentioned in the gemora which you would think is cruel however the gemora says its not.

    I am surprised (no, not really) that you failed to mention that your group’s sole underlying agenda, which is the complete stop of using anything from any creature. You happened to pick on sh’chita this time but you & your group will go to no end to stop anything animal AND YOU KNOW IT!!

    Furthermore I would even suggest that your group is a TERRORIST GROUP! Your group employs terrorist actions to serve your left wing political agenda. Perhaps its not terrorist as in al quada, hamas, hezbola, or any other arab group as your terrorism is financial terrorism.

  25. And Philip, another point –
    Your tree/clarinet analogy is a bit convoluted.
    First you seem to be sanctifying the wholeness and “holiness of the tree itself, then you are saying that the clarinet (which was made by cutting down the tree) has the “holiness” and it would be sacrilege to break it for firewood?!?
    Of course being that you apparently so deeply respect all of “God’s sentient, complex creations” and would never harm them, I assume you have no wood in the structure of your home or the furniture in it.

  26. I, for one, am for transparency. If companies are slaughtering or raising kosher animals in a way that violates the lav of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, then I want to know about it. Kovod Ha’Odom does not justify violating this lav if it can be done another way.

    The meat industry has a notorious reputation for hiding these facts from the public. Even if, as you say, PETA incorrectly presented the facts about Rubashkin , in any case we are not allowed to believe such rechilus and must find out for ourselves. Would Rubashkin give open tours of the plant to a concerned consumer? If not, then it is important that some organization exists that can expose elements of the meat raising/slaughtering process that may be in violation of halacha. I would prefer to buy meat from a company I know for a fact is not violating any mitzvos.

  27. Mr. Schein, sir, it is a well documented fact that there is a neuro-chemical still present in the central nervous system of animals which makes them twitch, move, and try to get on their feet. The animal is dead and can no longer feel pain but it still has the chemical in their CNS which causes them to react but they are quite dead. Sir, you have intentionally left that out of your letter.

    Mr. Philip Schein sir, if you would study the laws of shechita thoroughly which includes the Shas Bavli through the Tur, and onto the relevant poskim, you would find that shechita is the most humane.

    The knife that is used has absolutely no knicks. Have you ever inadvertently cut yourself on a knife which was razor sharp? I have. You feel no pain at first. In addition, the carotid arteries and the trachea are lacerated in unison causing death within moments. Again, it is cut with a knife which has no knicks therefore the actual cutting causes no pain and the immediate cessation of breathing and loss of arterial blood causes instant death.

    Sir, you have not investigated any halal processing plants. Is there a reason why?

    In your response to AinOhdMilvado’s comment, you unintentionally reveal your true motives and that is that you find the actual practice of animal slaughter to be cruel and inhumane to beings that you liken to be on equal footing with humans. It is not because of tza’ar ba’alei chayim as you so vociferously insist upon.

    The Nazis too had humane societies, did you know about that? The Nazis too had Judenrats because they relished the pain that only a Jew could inflict upon another Jew.

    You, Mr. Philip Schein sir, have been deprived an authentic Jewish education hence you are misinformed and thus offer twisted arguments to your pious opinions. It is just that; a greatly ignorant op-ed piece meant to justify what you are doing which is to place a being which is meant to be of service to humans on the same level as humans. In doing so, you denigrate all of mankind and create a picture of yourself of being a self-hating Jew.

    You may not be aware but there is a final judgement that G-d metes out to all of those who cause pain to the Jewish people. The lies that Rubashkin has been accused of such as minors using chain saws and workers slaving away in hideous and filthy surroundings are just a tip of the iceberg. You have caused many, many sincere, devout, and G-d fearing Jews great loss of income and great emotional pain. G-d is waiting for you. It is unfortunate you are ignorant and don’t believe that something what I am describing is real. Such a pity. I guess you will have to learn the hard way.

  28. Let us not forget that once the yismaelim yemach sh’mom used a donkey as a homocide bomber & PETA yemach sh’mom condemned the unnecessary killing of the DONKEY!!!!

    They are a pagan religion that worships animals!

  29. Let us not forget the MOST IMPORTANT THING:

    Sh’chita is HALOCHA L’MOSHE M’SINAI. We do it this way because HKBH told us to. Of course when you deal with a religion that serves animals as their deity, they dont believe in the Melech Malchay Ha’Mlochim.

  30. crazykanoly, you call Philip Schein’s article great? Then again you are mentally deranged so therefore are incapable of differentiating between a great article and a political diatribe.

  31. RABOSAI!! We are causing unnecessary Chilul Hashem with all these derogatory comments! Please tone down and show some decency! Let’s keep our arguments intelligent and not venom full!

  32. That’s it. I knew this would happen. In the article he makes nice, luring everyone to waste their breath, and then in the comments you see what he really is, how you simply are wasting your time.

    Foreget about learning the laws of Tzaar Baalei Chaim. Go look at the first few chapters in the Bible. You yourself don’t realize how all your other ‘problems’ are all rooted in your one big broblem within yourself.

  33. I must admit that I am no great fan of PETA but I agree with Charliehall and Tomidbsimcha. In my opinion, Philip Schein does present a good argument here.

    Tzaar Balei Chaim IS a concern when it comes to kashrus. I have seen cows hoisted by one of its legs and it can’t be a picnic for the 1500 pound animal. Rav Moshe was not happy with the way veal is raised in a fashion that creates white meat but is clearly Tzaar Balei Chaim. Same for stuffing geese in order to make its livers enlarged for pate or for pesach shmaltz.

    And indeed, the animal IS still conscience when it’s esophagus is disengaged; so isn’t that at least as great as the emotional pain we are concerned for in birds that we send away the mother when taking the eggs or that we don’t shecht a mother cow in the presence of the calf. And don’t we wait until the chicken stops thrashing before processing. The Torah is filled with examples of giving dignity to inanimate and nonhuman objects so why not the animal that we are going to use for mitzvos; one cow is responsible for hundreds of brachos.

  34. to 37 cherrybim,
    You do? You agree that the guides of a Halachic issue called ‘Tzaar Baalei Chaim’ – which this thug managed to learn – be detrmened by crazy guys like PETA rather than a Rav?
    They’re looking for some more vulenteers, do you need a job?

  35. Philip Schein in #15 – I completely agree with you. Being a lifelong vegetarian (as my parents and sisters are), I just cannot imagine, cannot comprehend, how anyone can KILL (yes, KILL, you read that? KILL, MURDER, SLAUGHTER) a living being for his own good.

    I’m completely healthy, as are my parents and sisters, without EVER in our lives eating a single GRAM of meat. There is absolutely no need for humans to eat meat and there is absolutely no mitzvah in doing so either – the Torah *allows* us to eat meat, it does not *require* us to.

    For those who say humans must eat meat for health reasons, I ask you one thing: did Hashem create the human being perfect? Were Adam HaRishon and Chava perfect, physically? If so – then humans do not need meat, since until Noach they were not allowed to eat meat! If you say humans need meat, then you’re saying Hashem made a ‘mistake’ when creating Adam HaRishon and Chava, since they didn’t need meat. To me, the fact that humans did not eat meat until Noach proves that (as me and my family ourselves also prove) from the Torah, humans do NOT need meat to be healthy.

  36. In Response to “Your Sister”

    Please. These cattle were not just “twitching”! These were not just nervous, reflexive movements. Every single animal expert will tell you this. They were liftng their heads up, some struggling to their feet. It’s impossible for unconscious cattle to do this.

    This argument, claiming that the animals were really dead, reminds me of this classic joke:

    Once upon a time there was a man who thought he was dead. His concerned wife and friends sent him to a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist determined to cure him by convincing him of at least one fact that contradicted his belief that he was dead. So the psychiatrist decided to use the simple truth that dead men do not bleed. He put his patient to work reading medical texts, observing autopsies, etc. And after weeks of effort, the patient finally said, “All right, all right! You’ve convinced me. Dead men do not bleed.” Whereupon the psychiatrist stuck him in the arm with a needle, and the blood began to flow. The man looked down with a contorted, ashen face and cried: “Arrrggg! Dead men do bleed after all!”

  37. MDshweks#38: Disengaging the esiphagus while the animal is still conscience is part of the halacha forbidding one to eat from an animal after shechita until its “soul” has departed/”Ad Sh’teitzei Nafsha” (and which the Gemara calls one who transgresses this a “rosho”-wicked), since eating and disengaging is actually the same metzius.
    As far as shackle and hoist, if a different method is possible, then, although not halachaclly forbidden, may nevertheless be included under the klal of “V’asisa Hayashar V’hatov”-“Zu L’phnim Mshuras Hadin”; I wonder if DAAS TORAH from our Gedolim was ever consulted as to whether it was perferable/commendable to use a better method which was more sensitive to the animal.

  38. Phillip,

    The only thing you said which was absolutely ridiculous was, “I hope this can be the beginning of a respectful and constructive dialogue.” Here? Have you looked at this site before?

  39. I am quite embarrassed by many of the comments responding to Mr. Schein. He wrote a civil letter explaining his position. You may disagree with his points and should feel free to dispute them. But there is no place for the vicious ad hominum attacks on Mr. Schein. I hope that Mr. Schein understands that just as there are members of PETA who are not representative of the group as a whole, not all frum people are so ill mannered and ill considered. Thank you for starting a conversation.

  40. what a chutzpah of the ywn.com editors. Why are they giving the microphone to this hyporcrat liar and idiot schein! We should all demand from the editors on ywn to take down this article and replace it with an apolygy to rubashkin and all yiddin.

  41. i think it is ridiculous that YWN is giving a platform to this radical group. No matter what ivilized tones this spokesman might take, we all know exactly who/what PETA is. They aren’t interested in stopping tzaar baalei chaim, they want to stop all use of animals entirely. This is not only anti-Jewish, but it is anti-human!!

    YWN should be ashamed of itself for giving comfort to the enemy!!

  42. ““What do you mean by ‘animal rights’?”People who support animal rights believe that animals are not ours to use for food, clothing, entertainment, experimentation, or any other purpose…”
    From the PETA website

    Didn’t Schein write that the only problem PETA has with shechita is the “shackle and hoist”/”gratuitous” torture?? The website states that they are against any animal use.
    (See the FAQ about animal “rights” vs “welfare”.

    Forgive me if I think that this letter is a load of bunk, and they’re just trying to fight one battle at a time until they can ban shechitah, and then meat eating altogether

  43. In response to Bloggerman2

    The information in the links you sent was from the period immediately following the 2004 investigation. Since then, the USDA investigation about the case determined that Agriprocessors “had engaged in acts of inhumane slaughter” and the OU’s head of kashrut, Rabbi Genack, admitted that PETA was correct about the cattle at Agriprocessors being fully conscious after shechita.

  44. I forgot to mention, if u truly believe in animal rights, having a pet and treating it well, should be just as bad as keeping a human being tied up in ur backyard for companionship and entertainment (which I believe would be compared to…. um…. slavery.)

  45. Mr. Schein,

    I am more then quite shocked at your audaciousness to cloak the real intentions of PETA with the likes of “Tsar Balai Chaim”. C’mon – who you fooling aside yourself? Be a man, come clean, and tell the whole truth – the truth of what your organization really stands for. We weren’t born yesterday!

  46. YWN – why would you allow this maniacal liberal the platform of your site to spew his rancid views to your audience? And you call yourself a frum news outlet?! Shame on you!

  47. cherrybim [37, 39]
    I addressed all your points [in #38] – because the bottom line of all of them is that you trust PETA’s righteousness over a Rav’s… that is just obsured!

  48. In response to yitzyy:

    Yes, of course PETA advocates a vegan diet which is the most humane choice. No animals are involved. This is obvious. And it is also the best diet for human health and for the environment. But PETA is pragmatic and as long as there is a meat industry, we need to work with companies to improve animal welfare. These goals are not mutually exclusive.

  49. Phillip,

    Please show me any documentation that Rabbi Genack or any USDA official has said that about Agriprocessors.
    In a side note, as I said before PETA trying to “force justice” on Agri is morally equivalent to the Flotilla forcing Israel to give justice to the poor Hamas people.

    Did you read about shechita in the link I sent you?

  50. I for one am indebted to Mr. Schein for explaining his views so candidly for the YWN audience. Although many may disagree, he does bring to the table some valid points worthy of discussion. ‘Mikol m’lamdai hiskalti’. It would behoove Mr. Schein though, as a person who surely seeks the truth, to contemplate and study the negative responses to his letter.

    I would also commend, or better yet, greatly appreciate, YWN for opening the window into the minds of PETA activists.

    Just as our Tfillin Batim, Mikvaos and Matzoh production (both Hand and Machine) have improved greatly over time, so should our Mitzvas Shchita improve.

    We should not be afraid to listen and hopefully learn from those who critisize us. They may be on to something.

    If we CAN reduce the ‘tzar baal chaim’ during shchita, we should do everything within reason. I think the ‘Borei nefoshos rabbos’ would agree.

  51. While we are permitted to eat meat, there are numerous indications from the language of the Torah and the Gemara that one should not be cavalier in asserting this right.

    Consumption of meat has always been viewed as a luxury item. Today’s megaprocessors bear little relation to the Torah’s concept of meat eating.

    We would do well to recall the Gemara at the end of Meseches Kesubos that describes the punishment visited upon Rabbeinu HaKadosh for his “insensitivity” to the feeling of an animal.

    To take the approach that we are superior to animals and be callous about their feelings runs completely counter to the fabric of the Torah.

    What is truly painful is reading the completely insensitive comments by my fellow Jews; people who are supposed to be schooled in intelligent, thoughtful observation. The moment the name PETA appears it seems to bring out very primal instincts in this readership (for the most part) and suspends any honest investigation of the truth.

    People who behave like people are allowed to eat animals. Those who behave like animals….

  52. would you let hamas terror org write an open letter on this site??? Why not? Ha? You wanted the comments so you got them. Please do not post such open letters on your torah site

  53. First of all, I see the number of comments listed as “54” and there rae only 4 here (that I see as I type this).

    There is a link to “older comments” which does not seem to be working, even though I tried clicking on it well over a dozen times.

    #4 Philip Schein; You are claiming that your choice in being vegan is more humane then Torah, which obligates us to have meat (at least at certain times such as the Roasted shank bone on Pesach).
    Sorry but you cannot be more ‘humaine’ then H-sh-m.

    King Saul thought that way, when he spared the king of Amalik against the direct orders of G-d as given through the Naavi, and look what happened to him.

    Meat protein, helps build strong bones and muscles.
    I think it is no coincidence that poor countries where the people can afford little meat are usually smaller and not as strong or healthy as those like Americans who for the most part grow up on plenty of meat, by comparison.
    Even people who come from third world countries, as immigrants and raise their kids in America: The kids often grow up much larger then their parents, more like other Americans, because (I believe) they have a better diet, including more meat.

    But since you and PETA think that no meat is “more humane” and “more healthy” (neither of which is true, from what I have seen and experienced) obviously you and PETA would love it is teh world were totally meat free.

    Sure they will “work with” companies, to cater more to the animals wants and desires UNTILL they can destriy the meat industry and get all meat outlawed.

  54. Sure PETA is trying to put a kinder gentler face on their terroristic organization.
    Among their own where they all support each other, they express hatred and viciousness that impress hard core Neo Nazis (who side with the animal rights movement, anyway).

    Right now there is a channel (probably more then one) of an animal rights who loves to post the phone numbers and and home address of those they decide are “cruel” and whio need to be outright killed (and this has been explicitely stated many times by the owner of this youtube channel) and the owner has many friends and supporters who all agree with these terroristic methods.

    On that channel it also states that Humans are less then animals and that humans should die off or be slaughtered/

  55. Philip Schein – quote, “Yes, of course PETA advocates a vegan diet which is the most humane choice.”

    Your statement is opinionated and not supported by facts. Taking as a given that the Torah is 100% factual and the will of G-d you need to explain how you are wiser and more merciful than G-d is.

    It is clearly written in the Torah that G-d made for Adam and Chavi clothing from the skin of an animal. G-d could have clothed them from wool and thus not necessitating the death of an animal, but he didn’t. Thus we see that it is G-d’s will to kill animals for the sake of Humans. To deny this is to deny the believes of the 3 main monotheistic religions. Thus insulting the believes of over 1/3 the entire population of the world. [Being that Asian and others also eat meat, the truth is that the figures are much higher.]

    I could expound, but don’t feel it necessary. The reality is that your mercy is misplaced and under different circumstances you’d surely change you opinion.

  56. In response to Bloggerman2’s question:

    USDA “Report of Investigation” April 25, 2005:
    “The investigation determined that employees of AGRI had engaged in acts of inhumane slaughter. It was also determined that FSIS employees observed the acts of inhumane slaughter and did nothing to stop the practice.”

    Rabbi Genack (OU):
    “The initial claim from our community was that [the animals] were not conscious, but that’s probably not true because that type of complex motor activity means that there is a certain level of consciousness.”
    (Rabbi Genack in a lecture at the AskOU8 conference titled “The PETA Controversy,” August 2006)

  57. Mr Schein:
    Pre WW2 Germany had the same “mission” as PETA, they too felt that Tzaar Baalei Chaim was a big sin, so they forbid the jewish slaughter (just like PETA would do if only it was in their hands). Only to later become famious in mass manslaughter. Our sages teach us one who pities a non pitiful will in the end be cruel to the pitiful.

  58. 54: in other words, the ultimate goal would be if shechitah, (and ultimately meat) was outlawed. Why not just say that outright?

    [Besides, if people and animals are equal, because we obviously can’t get animals to be like people, we should legalize cannibalism (animals eat animals. If they are not equal then people should have no problem eating animals, which after all were put here for us (as per Jewish beliefs)]

  59. the torah states explicitly in devorim parshes reay ‘….with all your desire you shall eat meat’ (if you so desire)( …..v’amarta oichlu bosor, bechall avas nafshecha tochal bosor’

  60. I find it interesting that Philip Schein selectively answers questions, while ignoring the many that disprove his assertions.

  61. #67 ItsFunToBeBT posts: “Goals were served by publishing this letter, but they were not the Jewish community’s goals”.

    I actually think this does serve the goals of the Torah community because there are far too many of these
    anti-Torah “Animal Rights” types who have a lot of power and it is a seriously growing threat not just legally but physically because they are an increasingly, irrationally angry movement and growing political movements full of angry people looking for victims for them to vent their anger on, can cause a lot of serious harm to Jeews and to civilization in general.

    We need to know about this and take precautions just like we need to do what we can, about the growing threat from Islam.

    H-sh-m, please help us!!!

  62. lets put it this way, is the letter writer a shomer torah, believes in the` taryag beksav and bal peh and every letter is fom moshe mipi hagvurah maybe we can debate…but if not, he’s not begader klal yisroel( byes, thats the halacha) so no matter how eloqent, etc the letter is its totally irrelebvant what he ays

  63. Cherrybim;

    “I must admit that I am no great fan of PETA but I agree with Charliehall”

    Charliehal said that we are not supposed to rely on B’dieveds for Tzar Bali Chaim.
    #1 Perhaps we can.
    #2 I have never heard that we ARE relying on B’dieveds.

    “and Tomidbsimcha.”

    He said we must kill the animal with respect.
    For G-d yes, animals don’t understand respect and we are not obligated for example; To stand up for an animal when it walks by.

    Humane yes, respect? NO!!!

    ” In my opinion, Philip Schein does present a good argument here.”

    No he does not, he presents his anti Torah bias in disguise, there is no sincere argument here, on his part.

    “Tzaar Balei Chaim IS a concern when it comes to kashrus.”

    Are you paskening?

    “I have seen cows hoisted by one of its legs and it can’t
    be a picnic for the 1500 pound animal.”

    A cows leg is correspondingly strong enough for it’s body just like our legs are plenty strong for our bodies.

    If a human were hoisted by one leg they would most likely feel far more embarrassment then any real pain and animals don’t get embarrassed.

    What do you mean that;

    “Rav Moshe was not happy with the way veal is raised in a fashion that creates white meat but is clearly Tzaar Balei Chaim”?

    Did he say in those exact words that it was Tzar Bali Chiam?

    Did he pasken that veal was Assur (Just so you know I don’t eat Veal I think it tastes horrible. Now, Lamb Chops…YUMMMMM)?

    “And indeed, the animal IS still conscience when it’s esophagus is disengaged;

    How do you know for sure, this is true?
    Is this done al Pi Halacha or not?

    Your questions have been addressed point by point.

  64. BS”D

    I also agree that PETA, like its parallel organization Hamas, should never have a voice on any frum website. It was a good experiment but s’iz past nisht for here.

    Please don’t look for hits and comments with this stuff; you have plenty of readers who go here for quality and you can leave the sensationalist stuff to the filt mit rishus veniker mitzvos websites that don’t follow Torah guidelines.

  65. #72Hereorthere: Before shooting off your posts, maybe you should think twice. You quote and write:

    ” “And indeed, the animal IS still conscience when it’s esophagus is disengaged;

    How do you know for sure, this is true?
    Is this done al Pi Halacha or not? ”

    It is ASSUR GAMUR to eat from an animal before its soul has departed as stated in the Gemara. If so, wouldn’t it be a SAFEK ISSUR to disengage parts of the animal untill we are CERTAIN the animal is NOT at all conscience?! Especially since the Gemara categorizes one who does this act a “ROSHO”-“WICKED”! And, YES, it is definitely AL PI HALACHA!!

  66. hereorthere – You’re still very wet behind the ears. Do a little research before sounding off and you won’t come off sounding so ignorant.

  67. Heard a good shiur when a girl told a Rav she does not eat other animals [equate a human with an animal]. He respond but ANIMALS EAT OTHER ANIMALS.Every 70 years a new thing comes out Jews saying No difference between a Jew and a Non
    Jew and Non Jews saying No difference between Man and Animal. Don’t be so naive

  68. #75 excuse, but the gemmorah states explicitly ‘yisroel bishcihuta talye milse’ once its shecht its not ball chai any more no matter how it wiggles

  69. #78s Shimon: Of Course we consider it “Oichel” halachacly with regard to hechsher, tumas ochlin and other relevant dinim. However, its definitely not considered dead with regard to dinim related to “Metzius” like the halacha of “eating kodem sh’tezei nafsha” – the Gemara does not defrentiate btw shechita or not, actually to the contrary. This is POSHUT!!

  70. #75…besides, animals dont have ‘souls’, they dont end up in gan eden or gehnom…better to use the term ‘alive’ or ‘dead’

  71. #75: In fact the Gemara is davka discussing when shechita WAS done, since otherwise the animal would be Assur regardless with the issur of “NEVALA”. Again I repeat the Gemara/Chaza”l charecterizes a Yid who eats/disengages from animal AFTER Shechita while it is still Conscience a “ROSHO”-“WICKED PERSON”!!

  72. #80: I was just literaly translating the Gemara “Kodem Shteizei Nafsha”-Before its soul has departed. And for arguments sake, the pesukim and chaza”l consistently use the word “Nefesh” with a “Behaima”. See Koheles “nefesh habehama hayoredes l’mata l’aretz” and Chaza”l-“Nefesh Habahamis”. Animals don’t have a “Neshama” but they do have a “Nefesh”.