Here is an excerpt from Kosher Today (Week of Dec 15):
Rabbi Avi Shafran of Agudath Israel, while not a certifying agency, also took a hard-nosed position against those who wish to redefine kashrus. His organization’s Council of Torah Sages had issued a proclamation against an attempt by Conservative rabbis to introduce a new standard of kashrus based on ethics that used the name Hekhsher, a takeoff from kashrus. “Lapses of business ethics, animal rights issues, worker rights matters — all of these have no affect whatsoever on the kosher value.”
Tell a lie enough times and it becomes a truth all by itself. The lie here is about attempts “to introduce a new standard of kashrus based on ethics that used the name Hekhsher, a takeoff from kashrus.” How absurd! No one is attempting to introduce a new standard of kashrus (sic). The issue is all about the notion that kosher food needs to be produced in an ethically kosher manner. Apparently Mr Shafran objects to the use of the word “hekhsher.” Would “te’udah’ be better? Or how about “certificate of moral fitness?”
The last sentence atributed to Mr Shafran (see above) about lapses of business ethics, etc, paints a pathetic picture of moral bankruptcy. Long ago, the prophets called for ethical behavior. The Prophets railed against what we today call religious behaviorism. That is doing the right thing by rote but devoid of any real feeling.
Mr Shafran should be ashamed of what he said. He sure found a way to make all Jews look bad. But he is correct- an abusive boss would still produce a kosher product. What Mr Shafran left out is that it might well be prohibited to buy his product or enjoy the benefit of that product.