Although I have been animal advocate for a long time, I was particularly disturbed by the JTA story, “Building an ‘Empire’: The life — and death — of a kosher chicken” (Aug. 18), because of its sheer insensitivity and cavalier dismissal of the suffering and death of the helpless birds. Please allow me to quote the author of this article, and then your readers can judge for themselves if what Uriel Heilman is describing is humane:
“The chicken referred to in the story is named Bob. He is guided toward the shohet, or ritual slaughterer, along a stainless steel panel meant for calming the birds.”
Why would you imagine that they need to be calmed? It is because they know what is about to happen to them. They are terrified. They have heard the screams and smelled the blood of their predecessors.
Continuing, “While a second worker held down its legs and body, the shohet gently grasped Bob’s head and, in what seemed like a split second, made his cut.” Sounds humane to you?
Continuing, “Every six seconds or so, another chicken followed. In all, 60,00 chickens would be killed by late afternoon.”
The article affords Empire the opportunity to pat itself on the back as they have done this is in an “environmentally responsible way.” As if the dead chickens could give a care how environmentally responsible they are!
Chickens are social animals. Like us, they feel pain, joy, fear, and despair. Like ours, their hearts beat in their chests, they see, smell, hear, and yes, feel. If all this disgusts you, I urge you to switch to a plant-based diet, and no one gets hurt!