An interesting article over in the New York Times Magazine this past weekend looks at the issue of ethical kashrut, expanding the definition of kosher to bring in 21st-century food ethics. I’m absolutely fascinated by this from the standpoint of both kosher and halal. In the article, the writer asks questions about “the very meaning of kosher.”
Is it simply about cutting an animal’s neck and butchering it in a specific way? Or is the ritual also meant to minimize an animal’s pain or to bring sanctity to its death? Does it matter how the animal was treated when it was alive? How about the workers who processed it? Is reverence for life possible in a factory-farming setting?
I’ve had the same questions with halal-designated meat.