One particularly torturous practice virtually unique to the kosher industry is the "shackle and hoist" method of slaughtering livestock, particularly cattle, where the animal's hind leg is chained using an assembly-line apparatus where the animals are suspended for minutes at a time while awaiting their turn to be slaughtered, and then the animal is hoisted up and dropped to the ground thereby fulfilling the kosher stringency for the animal to be upside down when slaughtered. They are dropped and then lowered to the ground and wrestled onto their backs by human workers. Once immobilized, the cattle’s throats are quickly slit, and then, sometimes for minutes, the animal writhes in pain while workers furiously try to hold the dying cow down. Instead of remaining immobilized until losing consciousness, the raising in the hoisting of the animals serves to awaken their sense and delays the onset of unconsciousness. Often these fully conscious animals are flayed – deskinned – as the immediate next step in the “carcass dressing” process. The incision made in the kosher slaughter doesn’t kill the cow instantly; it only begins the process. The nation’s most famous animal welfare expert, Dr. Temple Grandin, who has been a great friend of kosher slaughter, describes “shackle and hoist” slaughter as "in a category by itself for badness," as it causes tremendous suffering to the animal and endangers the factory workers as well. This cruel practice has been abandoned and sometimes outlawed in the United States, Israel, and the European Union.
To the great credit of the kosher industry, no large kosher certifications companies in the United States will certify as kosher meat from animals slaughtered by the shackle and hoist method if those animals are killed on US soil. To their great discredit, though, these same kosher certification companies do regularly certify as kosher meat from animals slaughtered by the shackle and hoist method if the meat is imported. There is no ethical justification for this practice. It is a simply a matter of supporting animal cruelty that even the kosher industry itself acknowledges in order to produce cheaper meat. Animal welfare and worker’s rights laws in South America are much less strict, virtually non-existent, leading to lower production costs. Kosher leadership has told R. Shmuly Yanklowitz that the primary goal is to make kosher meat consumption as affordable as possible.
Today, much of the kosher meat in America (estimated between ⅓ and ½) comes from herds raised on the pampas of Argentina and Uruguay. Unfortunately, in South American slaughterhouses, shackling and hoisting is the dominant kosher slaughter method. In spite of promises from leading kosher authorities to reform practices after a 2008 video exposed this abuse, a second video from the Frigorifico Las Piedras slaughterhouse in Uruguay in 2010 documented that shackle and hoist slaughter for kosher animals is still the standard method for kosher slaughter in South America including kosher slaughter.
Undercover Investigation Reveals 'Incredibly Disturbing' Kosher Slaughter in South America
Undercover video footage taken by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals revealed the persistence of the practice, which the OU has condemned for years. Their investigation was a joint venture with the Israeli group “Anonymous for Animal Rights.” Continue reading>
Shackle and Hoist Video
A PETA investigation of a South American slaughterhouse that supplies kosher meat to the U.S. and Israel reveals the continued use of "shackle and hoist" despite promises from the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to phase out this method of slaughter. Watch it here>
Widespread Slaughter Method Scrutinized for Alleged Cruelty
Over the past few decades, kosher meat producers have learned what many others in the industry know: The broad expanses of rural Argentina and Uruguay have everything needed to make great beef, with a stable climate and seemingly endless pastures for grazing. The labor is cheap, and the open pastures on which the cows are raised mean that much of the meat can be marketed with those increasingly alluring tags of “natural” and “free range. Continue reading>
Chief Rabbinate ‘against’ shackle-and-hoist method
Kashrut, other dietary activists: South American practice of chaining steer’s leg to lift animal for ritual slaughter is cruel, abusive. Read more>
Conservative Movement's Teshuva on Shackling & Hoisting
Now that kosher, humane slaughter using upright pens is both possible and widespread, we find shackling and hoisting to be a violation of Jewish laws forbidding cruelty to animals and requiring that we avoid unnecessary dangers to human life. As the CJLS, then, we rule that shackling and hoisting should be stopped. Read more>
Widely condemned cattle-killing method is used by kosher meat firm's supplier
Import records and undercover video show the 'shackle-and-hoist' slaughter technique is used at a South American plant that supplies Alle Processing, the biggest seller of kosher meat in the U.S. Read more>
Farm Forward's Updates on Shackling and Hoisting
A Cut Above:Shechita in the Crosshairs, Again by Rabbi Moshe T. Schuchman, Star-K Kashrus Administrator
When pressured by kosher slaughterhouses, which were to incur considerable expenses eliminating the ‘shackle and hoist’ mechanisms, Rabbi Soloveitchik replied, “I am willing to fight to defend shechita, but not shackle and hoist!” Read more>
When pressured by kosher slaughterhouses, which were to incur considerable expenses eliminating the ‘shackle and hoist’ mechanisms, Rabbi Soloveitchik replied, “I am willing to fight to defend shechita, but not shackle and hoist!"
Email Kosher certifiers and tell them you want an end to Kosher certification on meat that was killed used shackle and hoist
OU - Rabbi Menacham Genack – firstname.lastname@example.org
Triangle K – email@example.com
OK – Rabbi Don Yoel Levy - firstname.lastname@example.org
Kof-K – email@example.com
Star k – firstname.lastname@example.org
CRC – Harav Gedalia Dov Schwartz email@example.com