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Why Kosher Meat Is A Healthier Alternative

Posted Aug 25 2008 3:27pm
This is interesting espially in light of the way our local farmer Chang slaughters her chickens. She said many of the same things, e.g., you want the animal to bleed out right away, we plucked it in cold water, etc., and most importantly, she slaughtered them so quickly and gently--pretty much the way that's dictated below--and the birds did not look like they suffered. She is Hmong from Laos. It's interesting how differed cultures evolved to have similar techniques. When you're involved with raising your own food, you begin to pay attention to these things.

From News Target:

There are three major issues involved with kosher meats. Kosher meats are those listed in the Bible as derived from animals deemed edible for the Jewish people. Any animal with a cloven hoof that chews its cud is allowable; conversely, those which lack both of these characteristics are forbidden. Cattle, sheep, goats, and deer are examples of kosher mammals. Horses, dogs and pigs are forbidden. Birds are allowable according to custom, but generally, it seems that birds of prey are forbidden. Chicken, quail, and doves are kosher; eagles are forbidden.

The second issue in regard to kosher meats has to do with the way the animal is slaughtered. The Bible is clear in its instruction that Jews are not to eat the animal's blood. It is also taught that man is not to cause the suffering of any other living thing. As a result, from the time of the giving of the instructions, a procedure has been carried down through the generations detailing how the throat is to be cut and the blood drained immediately. The cut is to be swift and sure, done with a knife that is always to be kept sharp and free of nicks. Done correctly, a kosher slaughter causes very little or no discernible suffering to the animal .

Both the animal and the slaughter must fit within the kosher rules. Both conditions must be met. Many people think any beef is kosher, but it is not if it was slaughtered in the most common way, which is not always humane and after which the blood is not removed.

A third rule for kosher meat is that the meat from a diseased animal cannot be considered kosher . In fact, with meat labeled Glatt Kosher, the lungs of the mammal have been checked for lesions and parasites and any other indications of illness. Only producers who have earned a disease-free status are used, and to better insure this high quality meat, the animals are given more room and not fed any animal by-products. Animal by-products, which are being added to some feed, can mean ground-up animals such as diseased dogs and cats from animal shelters, and even feces. Kosher animals such as cattle are vegetarian animals, not carnivorous; the conventional producers' purpose in adding the animal by-products is not for nutrition , but for adding bulk more quickly and cheaply. Additionally, kosher animals are young animals and so are less likely to contract diseases such as Mad Cow Disease.

The kosher slaughtering procedure has been shown to have direct results on meat quality. The purpose of this article is simply to point out these types of results. The author in no way intends to sway anyone to any specific religion. The intent is to point out that if a person still wants to eat meat, but is concerned with humane issues, he/she might want to consider trying kosher meats. Also, if a person is eliminating meat for health reasons, but really misses his/her burger, kosher ground meat might be an occasional treat to consider.

There has been much media coverage of the conditions of slaughterhouses and the disturbing treatment of animals by mainstream packing plants. Although such plants are regulated by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (1979), the regulation on how many shots to the brain allowed is five. That means an animal can be shot five times in the head before it collapses. With kosher slaughter, the carotid arteries, the primary blood suppliers to the brain, are severed at the same time as the trachea and esophagus. Because the loss of blood is so great, as is the drop in blood pressure, the animal is rendered insensate almost immediately. Studies have shown an unconscious state occurs within seconds. This has been determined by checking certain physiological criteria related to the eyes, tongue and tail. Both the Humane Slaughter act and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) have acknowledged that kosher slaughter is more humane than the common method.

The humane treatment of animals is important on a nutritional level too. Kosher slaughterers are extensively trained in how to treat the animal, the knife and the actual cutting. A gentle and calm approach on the part of the kosher slaughterer was observed to result in little or no reaction to the throat cut. Though a slight flinch was observed when the blade first touched the throat, it was a much less vigorous flinch than that of a reaction to an ear-tag punch. The animals were so loosely restrained that they could have pulled away, but they didn't. Animal welfare researchers have found that on a physiological level, all stunning methods (a form of conventional slaughter) trigger a massive secretion of epinephrine, an amount which increases with improper use of the stunning method. Other research has shown that there appears to be a fear pheromone released in the blood by animals undergoing stress.

While many consumers have been made aware of the problems with meat from animals who have been given hormones , most are not aware that hormones also enter the meat "naturally" through the bloodstreams of stressed, fearful and hurt animals . Both domestic farm animals such as cattle, pigs and poultry , and lab animals such as dogs and rats, were studied to see how fear-induced secretions affected the meat and the eater of the meat. Fear experienced during the slaughtering process resulted in elevated levels of steroid hormones, generally associated with adrenal-cortical secretions. Primary substances included adrenalin, cortisone-like secretions, and steroids which stimulate fear pheromone production. These remain in the meat and are transmitted to those who eat it. Humans have been found to be particularly susceptible to their effects. This is thought to be the cause of at least two conditions; the onset of puberty in girls at abnormally earlier ages, and 50% of impotence not attributable to other causes . ...

A more alarming finding from a study in Britain found the more meat eaten by pregnant mothers, the higher the levels of stress hormone, cortisol , was found in the child. The study looked at children born in 1967-8 to mothers who were told to eat a pound of red meat a day to avoid pregnancy complications. The cause of the higher cortisol levels was not known; it is possible that the mothers who ate the most meat experienced more stress during the pregnancy. Correlations do not prove causality, but are red flags that call for more investigation.

Furthermore, the 'bleeding out' of the kosher slaughtered animal provides an additional protection against potentially infectious organisms which are generally transmitted in the blood . Though a lot of the fluids drain out, the meat is also soaked in salt in such a way as to remove most of the remaining fluid. No precautions of this sort are ever done with the normal slaughtering procedure. Conversely, normally slaughtered animals may be treated less gently, which often results in petechial hemorrhages, (small pinpoint hemorrhages visible on the skin or other membranes). Thus, the meat contains even more blood than that from the kosher animal.

The American Health Department found that each year, one in four Americans suffer from diseases caused by spoiled food. This is significant, given that the blood is where the bacteria grow. In regard to kosher poultry, cold-water plucking is done, which helps prevent the spread of salmonella bacteria .

read more here .
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