Here is an article that appears in this weeks Kosher Today. Our comments appear in parenthesis.

Supporters of AgriProcessor Decry “Ongoing Vendetta” Against Kosher Slaughterhouse
(Postville, Iowa)
For the third straight week (June 23, 2007), an article in the Forward covering the alleged labor abuses at the AgriProcessor plant has angered supporters of the largest glatt kosher slaughterhouse in the country. This week, the paper reported that the Conservative Jewish movement will investigate complaints about working conditions at the country’s largest kosher slaughterhouse. The Forward reported that the Conservative movement created a task force that will begin with a fact-finding mission to the AgriProcessor plant in Postville, Iowa.

Supporters of AgriProcessor are calling the ongoing coverage by the secular Jewish weekly “a vendetta aimed at discrediting schechita.”
(sigh! That’s right: don’t deny the charges or disprove them just raise the flag of anti shechita-ism. Why is it that “they” always pull that stunt? Look at the recent brouhaha over metziza be peh in NYC. Suddenly there was a hysterical reaction from the Chapeau Noir set over religious freedom… )
They point out that AgriProcessor had answered the charges with a full page ad in the Forward arguing that first-hand reports by Rabbi Asher Zeilingold and Dr. Carlos Carbonera (a part time employee of Agriprocessors and a member of his congregation)from St. Paul exonerated Agri, that there were no serious (and what do you call serious, Kemosabe?)violations issued by government officials who monitor conditions at the plant, and that Conservative Jews were not the core customers for glatt kosher in any case. (Gotta love this one.They don’t care what the comission from the Conservative movement says because it is not their main customer base. Nu? And if that commission finds some serious ethical breaches then what?)

One food industry official said that the Forward was obviously “out to get Agri” since there are regular OSHA and USDA violations issued against some of the largest meat plants, a fact that did not even receive a mention in the ongoing Forward coverage. (Yup, and four out of five doctors recommend… ! Who is this anonymous spokesperson? Does he work for Rubashkin, too??)Supporters also pointed to the praise being showered by local religious and community leaders for the “fair treatment” of local laborers, many of whom are poor immigrants. They say that without Agri, the community would be faced with high unemployment and concomitant poverty. Lengthy reply: Without Agriprocessors, the town would go broke. They are the only major employer in the little town. Because they hire a lot of minority people, the town gets literally millions of dollars from the Sate and Federal government for their schools. Postville is unique in that they have their own school system. They have not, as has almost every other small town, had to merge with other towns’ school systems to stay viable. The State recently commented that Agri does indeed pay less than any other processor in the State. Sure, they give employment, but let’s keep this within the bounds of reality.)

These statements of support for Agri were also ignored by the Forward, Agri supporters point out. They blame PETA and disgruntled Union officials for the onslaught against Agri. The Unions are said to be angered by the fact that the Agri laborers rejected an attempt by the Unions to unionize the plant. (Once again, we ask: where is the supervising agency? Why are they so silent? Even Silent Bob speaks when he has to! This is not a matter of being anti shechita as some would have us believe. This is a matter of ethics. Remember when the Glatt Yacht in NYC went out of business because the kosher certifying agency would not allow mixed dancing? The business went bankrupt because they needed more than just right wing Orthodox supporters. So where are all the kosher agencies on this matter? Suddenly ethics don’t matter? Feh!)

Posted on June 28, 2006 at 12:05 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink
In: General Topics, Uncategorized

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