Friday, November 05, 2010

Caveat Emptor

As many of you may recall, my husband and I are part owners of a dairy herd in the county where his parents and grandparents lived when they first came to the state where we now live. My great-grandfather, also, owned a dairy (elsewhere, of course) and my sister and I (in our elementary years, until my great-grandfather died) used to go every summer with our grandparents when it was time for my grandfather to help his father work on the farm. My grandfather took his two week vacation to go there each summer, and my sister and I learned a lot.

Since my childhood, I have a greater understanding of what goes on not just in the dairy industry but also the cattle industry in general. Kosher slaughter is one thing, of course, but I have also studied deeper aspects of the commandments regarding food that are given to us in the Torah. We are permitted to eat animals that have a split hoof AND chew the cud. Chewing the cud means they eat their natural diet of grass and herbs and grains that grow in fields. If they don't chew the cud, they aren't kosher to eat. We are not permitted to eat predators - animals that eat other mammals. Everybody knows this.

The reason I am bringing this up right now is that our farm has a manager, who is married. The farm manager's wife recently had to travel back to New York to attend her sister's funeral. When she returned, we found out for the first time what her extended illness had actually been - Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease, otherwise known as the variety of Mad Cow that humans get from eating diseased beef.

The beef is diseased because instead of "chewing the cud," standard factory farm practice is to feed the cows stuff made of other dead cows, blood from other dead cows, chicken carcasses (including the feathers), and carcasses of other animals - in short, they do not "chew the cud." They are no longer herbivores when they are raised on factory farms. Though laws were passed a decade or so ago to lessen the danger, either the factory farms have grown lax due to profit pressures from their Robber Baron owners, or the rules put in effect were inadequate in the first place. Either way, the cows have still been turned into carnivores. And it makes them diseased. Even dairy cows raised this way are diseased - their milk is full of puss and pathogens and factory farm conditions and feed is the reason that factory farm milk HAS to be pasteurized. It's disgusting. (Which is why I don't buy it at the store, either, even after it's been pasteurized. Boiled puss - yummy!)

The farm manager's sister-in-law is not the only case of Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease that I am aware of, lately. I have it from a source I consider reliable that the death of a Kentucky Farm Bureau officer was also from Mad Cow, and I was told directly by someone who is in a position to know that the family was not permitted to put in his obituary the real cause of death. The paper would not publish it, and it was implied to me that the Kentucky Farm Bureau itself was involved in "convincing" the family not to publish that the man died of Mad Cow "so as not to hurt the agriculture industry." The strong-arm tactics (if used) were successful, and the family was not allowed to publicize the cause of his death.

Which is not the same as a legal gag order, fortunately for us.

So word has gotten around anyway amoung those who deal with cattle - though you will not see it in the news. Mad Cow has not gone away. The factory farms are still feeding the cows carcasses and refuse instead of grass, hay and grains. The cows are still diseased. The meat is still unsafe to eat.

Having a hecksher does not change this. The Rabbis do not care if the biblical standards are met concerning how the cows are raised. They do not even care if the cows are raised humanely. All they care about is the actual slaughter. So diseased and unsafe cow meat is given heckshers every day by the Rabbinate in America.

I am telling you, as a public service announcement, that the meat is not fit to eat that you are probably buying at the grocery store. Mad Cow is still in the system. You are being lied to by the Rabbis, the State Farm Bureau where you live, and the US government. The media has said absolutely nothing. There is no pressure on the factory farmers whatsoever to change their filthy and biblically unclean practices.

So don't eat the meat.

Really.

Don't eat it.

It could kill you by rotting your brain from the inside out, and turn you into a drooling idiot until your body systems are so fouled up from the brain damage that you die. Get that, class? Are you willing to take that chance?

You must only buy beef that is certified organic or at least certified 100% grass-fed or certified 100% vegetarian fed. This is the only way to make sure the beef you are eating actually "chewed the cud" instead of being fed carcasses and refuse. Buy from local farmers whose farms you can inspect for yourself, if at all possible.

Only consumer demand and random independent consumer group inspections of cattle farms will stop the industry from using unclean factory farming methods. And only an outcry from observant people will stop Rabbis from putting heckshers on meat that doesn't meet the definition of Kosher, because they don't "chew the cud."

Or, you can play Russian Roulette with your Cholent every week - hey, at least that makes Cholent exciting for a change. It's your choice.

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