Israel issues new guidelines requiring more humane ways of kosher slaughter on imported beef

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Agricultural Ministry has issued new guidelines that will require more humane ways of kosher slaughter on beef that is imported into the country.

In the New Guidelines for Humane Kosher Slaughter, the Veterinary Services and Animal Health Division of the ministry mandated that imported meat must be slaughtered using a rotating restraint device, which is seen as more humane than the commonly used shackle-and-hoist method.

The switch to a rotating restraint device must be made by June 1, 2018, and new suppliers must begin using the more humane method immediately.

The decision comes months after the release of an undercover investigation by activists from animal rights groups that exposed the cruelty of the shackle-and-hoist method in one of Paraguay’s largest slaughterhouses.

Forty percent of the beef consumed in Israel comes from Paraguay, which does not export beef to the United States. The practice is not permitted in Israel, which has limited kosher beef slaughter.

The shackle-and-hoist method is common in slaughterhouses in Argentina and Uruguay, which do export to the United States.

“Banning this extraordinarily cruel slaughter method is an important step forward,” according to a joint statement by  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA; the Israeli animal rights groups Anonymous for Animal Rights, and Let the Animals Live. “However, as consumers we should remember that every slaughter is painful, and there is no humane way to kill animals in an industry that treats living beings like products.

A petition by animal rights groups was filed with Israel’s Supreme Court after the investigative report went public, calling on the court to order that meat import licenses require foreign slaughterhouses to comply with Israeli law and other international ordinances and prohibit the use of the shackle-and-hoist method.

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