Kosher Production Suffers from Low or No Animal Welfare Standards
Since kosher certifications lack purview over how animals are bred, treated, and handled prior to slaughter, a third party auditor is one way to verify that farms meet higher welfare standards. Unfortunately, no third party certification currently includes comprehensive standards for kosher meat products, and therefore no kosher meat products are certified as higher welfare.
Genetic Welfare and Outdoor Access Aren’t Different for Kosher
Kosher certifications lack purview over how animals are bred, treated, and handled prior to slaughter. Unhealthy genetics and restricted or no access to the outdoors are conditions consistent across animal production in the United States and, increasingly, the world, including for animals that are certified kosher.
Virtually All Kosher Products are Factory Farmed: Here’s how we know.
People commonly believe that kosher production is different from the rest of conventional industrial farming, and that animals raised and slaughtered for the kosher market
The New Year for Animals: A Moment for Individual Reflection
Philosopher Rene Descartes asserted that animals lacked souls and feelings, and therefore one could do with them as one pleased. Descartes’ conception of animals still rationalizes the way we treat animals on factory farms today.
Kosher Animal Agriculture, Like Other Factory Farming, Depends on Drug Use
Earlier this year, JIFA released the results of groundbreaking testing of Empire kosher chicken taken directly from grocery store shelves. The drug we found, fenbendazole, is an antiparasitic used widely in industrial animal farming to treat common infections that occur in poultry raised on crowded factory farms.
Why Kosher Chicken Shortages Spell a Need for Change
Kosher companies and Jewish media are sounding an alarm that kosher chicken is in short supply in anticipation of Passover.
New Research Shows Shoppers Mistakenly Believe Kosher is Better for Animals
The data confirms what JIFA has inferred from previous research that shows people think kosher food is inherently better: consumers, both Jewish and non-Jewish, extend this belief to the way farmed animals are bred and raised, despite the fact virtually all kosher and non-kosher meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs come from animal raised on factory farms.
Advancing Jewish Ethics of Food and Farmed Animals—Together
It’s only with cooperation and allyship of organizations and Jewish leaders that we elevate a vision for a more harmonious, resilient, and just food system. Achieving this change will require the participation of Jewish organizations and leaders that haven’t yet addressed factory farming and its impact on Jewish communal life.
Making Sense of Hanukkah’s Dairy Tradition
Whether it’s latkes, sufganiyot, keftes (fried vegetable patties), or sfenj (North African doughnuts), Jews from all backgrounds can come together around a central culinary trend for Hanukkah: deep-fried foods, full of oil aplenty, to honor the Hanukkah miracle of the Temple’s long-burning oil. It may come as a surprise to many, then, that a different Hanukkah menu is recorded in the most central code of Jewish law.
The shemitah year calls us to repair a broken food system
Our modern food system puts little value on rest. Our system operates with an assumption of infinite capacity, and in ignorance of all creation’s basic need for relief.
The Meaning of Kosher
The concept of kosher has been a mainstay of Jewish life for centuries. Ancient kashrut laws have provided Jewish communities with a framework for determining which foods are “fit to eat” and how to slaughter animals according to approved religious procedures.
Jewish Kosher Consumers Are Doubly Deceived
Most kosher-certified animal products—and generally all of the ones found in grocery stores— come from the same factory farms that raise the vast majority of non-kosher animals for food.
Food and food systems are Ground Zero for the grieving of Tisha B’Av
As we enter the fast of Tisha B’Av, the Jewish Initiative for Animals invites us all to follow the lead of the tradition: focus on particular grief and destruction. Practice radical empathy to understand how that particular grief is located in a web of oppressions.
Religious Slaughter Bans Don’t Help Animals — They Target Jews and Muslims
Bans do more to restrict religious practices than to improve conditions for farmed animals—like in the US, most meat, including kosher, comes from animals that spend their entire lives on factory farms.
Redefining Jewish Continuity in the Age of Climate Breakdown
In this time of climate crisis, our institutions face — and often avoid — a question that Moses and our rabbis might have never seen coming: How can our identities and our religious teachings help us live within the ecological limits of a struggling planet?
Wrestling with Food Traditions: A Thanksgiving D’rash
Jewish and partaking in a Thanksgiving meal this year? It’s time to wrestle with the impact of participating in the most food-centric American holiday.
Repairing Our Relationship with Animals Is an Act of Teshuvah
Certain patterns need breaking. Certain problems require teshuvah — a personal and collective accounting of our actions that leads to growth and balance in the world — not just an aspiration to restore the status quo. Our first port of call if we’re serious about that deep, transformative work this year is our food system, and specifically: our relationship with animals.
Why Plant-Based Products are Going Kosher—and Where to Find Them
Serving all or primarily kosher plant-based meals allows institutions to adhere to their kashrut policy, and to articulate Jewish values-based foundations of their practice…And planning events this way by default is not only inclusive of community members with diverse dietary needs and preferences—it helps establish a more sustainable way of eating as the new norm.