In Banning Kosher Slaughter, European Countries Not Only Trample Religious Freedom, but Also Make a Mockery of the Humane Treatment of Animals

Jan. 11 2021

Last month the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) upheld a Belgian law effectively proscribing kosher and halal slaughter, which had been challenged on religious-liberty grounds. Rafi Eis explains what differentiates the Jewish conception of the moral treatment of animals from that underlying the Belgian law—and similar regulations in other European countries. He takes as his point of departure the prohibition against partaking of a limb torn from a living animal, which, according to rabbinic tradition, God gave to Noah when first permitting him and his descendants to eat meat:

Were God merely concerned with animal pain, the Bible would have just prohibited the ripping off of animal limbs while the animal was alive. Instead, the Bible also prohibits consuming these limbs, even if they get amputated by accident. This prohibition is not about animal pain; rather, it forces man to reckon with the value of animal life. Once humans are allowed to eat meat, they must also have additional training to respect the life of the animal. The act of snuffing out animal life can lead to human cruelty, and this must be prevented.

Kosher slaughter similarly has a dual requirement. Not only must the animal be slaughtered in precise fashion; if it is killed in any other way, it may not be eaten. Jewish law, in fact, requires the butcher to see the loss of life. This enables the slaughterer to appreciate fully what he is doing. He is taking a life. If he ignores the act that, he will first become indifferent to the death that he causes and eventually cruel. Stunning the animal before killing it, [as the Belgian law requires and kashrut forbids], allows the butcher to disregard the weightiness of his act.

[Animals’] purpose is not to be human food, but rather to “be fertile and increase on earth” (Genesis 9:17). . . Man may kill animals to support human life, like for food, shelter, and therapeutic medical experimentation. This permission, however, can never lead to cruelty. The animal must be slaughtered with care and compassion, while the slaughterer is fully aware of the seriousness of the act that he is performing.

For this reason, Jewish law prohibits hunting for sport, which degrades and harms animals. That the CJEU prohibits sh’ḥitah, but has little problem with hunting for sport, highlights its moral hypocrisy. The EU is concerned with minimizing pain, but in the process allows the human character to become indifferent to the loss of animal life.

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Read more at First Things

More about: Animals, European Union, Judaism, Kashrut

How China Equips the Islamic Republic to Repress Its People

In its dedication to bringing totalitarianism into the 21st century, the Chinese Communist party has developed high-tech forms of surveillance using facial-recognition software, a vast system of “social credit,” and careful control over its subjects’ cellular phones. Even stricter and more invasive measures are applied to the Uyghurs of the northwestern part of the country. Beijing is also happy to export its innovations in tyranny to allies like Iran and Russia. Playing a key role in these advances is a nominally private company called Tiandy Technologies. Craig Singleton describes its activities:

Both Tiandy testimonials and Chinese-government press releases advertise the use of the company’s products by Chinese officials to track and interrogate Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang province. According to human-rights groups, Chinese authorities also employ Tiandy products, such as “tiger chairs,” to torture Uyghurs and other minorities.

Iran has long relied on China to augment its digital surveillance capabilities, and Tehran was an early adopter of Beijing’s “social-credit” system, which it wields to assess citizens’ behavior and trustworthiness. . . . Iranian government representatives have publicized plans to leverage smart technologies, including AI-powered face recognition, to maintain regime stability and neutralize dissent. Enhanced cooperation with China is central to those efforts.

At present, Tiandy is not subject to U.S. sanctions or export controls. In light of Tiandy’s operations in both Xinjiang and Iran, policymakers should consider removing the company, its owner, and stakeholders from the international financial system and global supply chains.

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Read more at FDD

More about: China, Human Rights, Iran, Totalitarianism, U.S. Foreign policy