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Is There Such a Thing as Mindful Slaughtering?

Jews are now observing the Nine Days, the period in advance of Tisha B'Av, when by tradition we do not eat meat or drink wine. Because animal slaughter was central to temple ritual and communion with the Almighty, and thus associated with holiness, the rabbis decided that the period leading up the remembrance of the destruction of the Second Temple was a perfect time to modify one's diet, leaving out elements connected with worship and rejoicing. Such time-bounded abstentionswhether Jewish fast days, the Muslim month of Ramadan, or the old Catholic tradition of not eating meat on Fridaysconcentrate our minds, connecting food with ethics, body and soul.

As a vegetarian, who tries not to eat meat out of concern for animal welfare, the Nine Days are a paradoxically hopeful time: mournful, but also alive to the possibility that we'll all continue to evolve in our awareness of our non-human friends. I don't think everyone needs to be a vegetarian, but I do think that everyone ought to take animal welfare seriously. In that spirit, I am intrigued by those who, while not vegetarians, make a professional commitment to improve the lives of animalsI am thinking of businesses like Grow and Behold, which sells ethically raised, kosher-slaughtered meat. And so I was curious to read in The New York Times on Wednesday about former vegetarians who now work as butchers.

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Author:Oppenheimer, Mark
Publication:Tablet Magazine
Date:Aug 9, 2019
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