New Ways of Accessing Kosher Meat

By Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

It is very painful to read about a plant that was supposed to be Glatt kosher and manages this by squeaking by the narrowest definition of kosher that could be construed by Halakha [Jewish law]. They ignored many of the issues that had to do with Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayyim [giving pain to animals] and unfair treatment of laborers, as well as knowingly breaking immigration hiring laws.

In the meantime I have received a request from concerned people who would like to be able to engage a Shochet [ritual slaughterer] and find a way to address the needs to get their meat from free-range animals that were not fed hormones and grazed on land that was not polluted by herbicides.

It occurred to me that it is time for another way to approach this. It would be to create a cooperative of all those who require kosher meat.

While there may be some efforts already on the part of denominational movements it became clear to me that it is imperative not to do this on the turf of any particular denominational group. I'm concerned that if a non-Orthodox group were to sponsor such a Heksher or cooperative they we would not be able to get the necessary Shochtim and Mashgichim [experts in ritual-slaughtering and in certifying kashrut]. I can very well imagine that some overzealous people would declare the meat non-kosher.
Moreover, since Jews cannot make use of the hind-quarters, it would be good if we could enter into a coalition with Muslims who require Hallal meat. They would be quite happy with those special cuts of meat that they could have. It would also be a very important ecumenical bridge.

I'm sharing this with you. If there would be a good way to organize such a co-op or hekhsher under neutral auspices in which all those groups that are interested in the meat that would be really Glatt kosher without the taint of Tza'ar Ba'aley Chayyim and will offer decent and fair treatment treatment to the religious functionaries and the laborers this would become a true Kiddush Hashem [affirming the holiness of God and Torah].

Many Brakhot in Gashmiyut and Ruchniyut
[Many blessings in the material and spiritual worlds]
Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi