August 6, 2018

End of Hoisting and Shackling Should Not Create Shortage of Glatt Kosher Meat

New York and Jerusalem…The end of shackling and hoisting animals in South America should not create a major shortage of beef, kashrus and meat producers told Kosher Today. Israel imports as much as 60% of its beef from South American countries like Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina while US kosher importers secure as much as 40% of the glatt kosher beef from South America (countries like Argentina are not USDA approved). First it was New Guidelines for Humane Kosher Slaughter by the Veterinary Services and Animal Health Division of Israel’s Agriculture Ministry. The ministry mandated that imported meat must be slaughtered using a rotating restraint device (commonly known as “the box” or the “Grandin Box”, approved by world famous animal-rights advocate Dr. Temple Grandin). This was followed by a missive by the Orthodox Union (OU) that it too would no longer certify animals slaughtered with shackling and hoisting, effectively ending the imports of such slaughtered meat to the U.S.

Fears that the change would create a shortage of the glatt kosher beef appear to be unfounded. Kosher meat experts say that between US and South American production sources there is an ample supply of meat although one purveyor said flatly, “shortage no, but frequent scrambling to meet demand, yes!” There are less than a handful of designated kosher slaughterhouses in the US with even those purveyors supplementing beef from South America. “It is definitely cheaper and with a rising demand for processed meat, the South American option is a good alternative,” said the purveyor. He was concerned that the steadily growing Orthodox community would require more production in the future.

Israel, on the other hand, imports almost all of its beef and lamb from abroad, mostly from South America (with some estimates at $1.5 billion) and also from countries like Poland ($500 million). Israeli sources say that previous strong opposition to kosher slaughter should be greatly mitigated by the new guidelines on shackling and hoisting although one source said that the opponents will find other reasons for opposing kosher slaughter such as the lack of stunning, clearly violating Jewish law.