Jewish laws and teachings regarding the life of the factory farm animal
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
v, 84 pages
ProgramTowson University. Jewish Studies Program
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In Part One of this paper, the modern day factory farm is described in order to give the reader context about the modern realities of the food industry. In Part Two, I first examine the Jewish tradition's laws and ethical teachings regarding animals from Torah and its commentary. These laws and teachings stress vigilance toward proper and humane treatment and care of animals, whether or not they are used for food, and the Jew is clearly required to prevent animal suffering. The concepts of kashrut (dietary laws), tzaar baalei chayyim (the prevention of unnecessary pain to animals), and lefanim mishurat hadin (going beyond the letter of the law) are then explained and explored. Finally, three specific animal welfare concerns, including breeding, housing, and feeding at the factory farm are then examined in light of specific Jewish texts in Part Three. In conclusion, although by the letter of the kashrut law alone, often considered a category of ritual, the Jew is currently permitted to eat most animal products derived from animals raised in factory farm conditions, Jewish teachings affirm that it is a higher ethical standard to find alternatives that are more in line with the spirit of the laws, thereby going beyond the letter of the law and following the way of the righteous.