The popular Kolbotek program, which brings Israelis a weekly dose of investigative journalism by uncovering scandal after scandal, this week targeted a meat purveyor. This week Zoglovek, Israel’s largest deli purveyor was portrayed doing business as usual while grossly violating animal rights and many other laws.
There have been scandals, even of late, including the Adom Adom slaughterhouse, Tnuva’s largest, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that level of animal abuse against chickens and turkeys may be unprecedented.
The edited-for-TV footage shown by Kolbotek was alarming has led to a nationwide outcry, particularly from animal rights organizations. Without citing the details, suffice it to say the company has crossed many red lines, in a number of areas.
Class Action Suit
The Kolbotek report has already led to Noa Erez, who is described as a chareidi mother of four, is seeking to file a class action suit against Zoglovek. She feels that being that this is the largest manufacturer of deli in Israel; the company should pay consumers 50,000,000 in compensatory damages.
A Major Slaughterhouse Operation
To give readers an idea of the company, it maintains a number of plants but only one that includes a slaughterhouse, in the northern community of Shlomei. The company’s products bear a rabbinate hashgacha in addition to a number of mehadrin lines which carry respected hashgachos including Badatz Yoreh Deah (Rabbi Shlomo Machpud), Badatz Mehadrin (Rabbi Avraham Rubin) and Badatz Eida Chareidis. The point is the company’s products have penetrated the national marketplace.
The Shlomei plant is a large operating, in which 20,000 chickens and 8,000-10,000 turkeys are slaughtered daily.
Noa explains after seeing the photos and video footage, she is sickened and cannot get those images out of her head. Needless to say she is not buying poultry for the time being.
Rabbi Lau Wants to Yank the Hashgacha
Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi David Lau addressed the report in the media, expressing his outrage over what Kolbotek uncovered in the plant. He announced that he is convening the Chief Rabbinate of Israel Council to discuss pulling the company’s hashgacha. He indicated in the interview that personally believes this would be a prudent step at present.
Chief Rabbinate of Israel Statement
The Chief Rabbinate of Israel released a statement to the press, announcing the Chief Rabbinate Council will convene on Monday, 1 Kislev 5774 to discuss the ‘tzar baalei chaim’ seen in the Kolbotek report.
Chief Rabbi Lau stated that such actions are prohibited by the Torah and they are most serious. Abusing animals in this fashion is prohibited by our Torah. ‘It is unacceptable to see such difficult images in Israel’s food industry. The Torah commands us to exhibit compassion to all animals and to minimize suffering as much as possible prior to shechita’.
According to the law, the Chief Rabbinate is only responsible for supervising kashrus, but the difficult pictures that were released show that some of the abuse may very well compromise the chickens prior to shechita. Since treif chickens are sold in the marketplace at a significantly lower price than kosher ones, removing the hashgacha on chickens that were abused will serve as a significant incentive for owners of slaughterhouses to make certain workers treat the animals as they should.
At Monday’s meeting the council will discuss modifying kashrus guidelines to minimize ways in which animals can be abused.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)