Letter from Bruce Friedrich
To: Rabbi Menachem Genack
Cc: Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
September 7, 2007
Rabbis Yisroel Belsky and Menachem Genack
Dear Rabbis Belsky and Genack:
After receiving a complaint, PETA dispatched people to view and document the kosher slaughter methods that are being used at the Musicon Deer Farm in Goshen, New York. Please view the footage that they took on August 26, 2007-while you were present, Rabbi Belsky-here: video.
What our investigators recorded was appalling. As you may know, deer are high-strung, nervous animals. The deer killed by Musicon panicked when they entered the building. They were then wrestled into position in the restraining pen. In the Ã¢â‚¬Å“drop floor crushÃ¢â‚¬ restraint box, an assistant climbed on the back of the deer and knelt on the struggling animals' shoulders to try to immobilize them. Another assistant then grabbed the deer by the ears or antlers and pulled their bodies forward to expose their necks.
Deer panic easily. Any handling-especially this type of cruel handling-causes them extreme fear and pain.
In a September 1, 2007, letter to PETA, Dr. Temple Grandin confirmed that deer should not be knelt on or pulled by their ears during handling. Dr. Grandin also noted that at Musicon, there is not enough room to make a proper cut.
Immediately after shechita, the assistant would slam the pen door shut to keep the deer from thrashing; some dying animals had their heads squeezed between the frame and the door. The deer were conscious for up to a minute and a half after shechita and one was dragged away while still conscious, as confirmed by Dr. Grandin.
As venison is not a staple of the kosher diet but rather a novelty meat, and because handling and slaughtering deer in these ways violates the fundamental principle of tsa'ar ba'alei chayim (and cannot be done humanely given the nervous, frightened nature of the animals), I hope that the Orthodox Union will not certify any deer slaughter operation. Please remove your hechsher from the Musicon Deer Farm.