Rita Bloomberg, one of VEGA's campaigners, makes some comments in the Jewish Chronicle on ritual slaughter and on the relevance of vegetarianism
I have attended the open meetings of the Farm Animal Welfare Council (Geoffrey Alderman’s column, April 23) as the representative of the organisation Vega (Vegetarian Economy and Green Agriculture) for the past four years and am convinced that the chairperson, Dr Judy Mac-Arthur Clark, a vet, and her team to do their best to research a large number of existing problems and make recommendations to improve standards.
I suggested at the FAWC meeting in 2003 that the abattoirs should be open to visitors while they are operational so that, for example, members of youth groups could go and see the slaughtering and make up their own minds about it.
My view is that there is fear and stress experienced by all animals going through the loading and unloading, smells and noises at the abattoir and there is trauma in all methods of slaughter. Where there is a suspicion of pain and suffering being inflicted, many of us have decided to give the animals the benefit of the doubt and not eat them. If more people joined us, fewer animals would be artificially bred.
The quality of mercy is valued in Judaism and Moses was chosen to lead his people to the promised land after showing compassion to a lamb. There is now a wide variety of alternatives to animal-derived products in shops and supermarkets. Advice can be obtained free from the Jewish Vegetarian Society. A way of eating which includes beans, pulses, fruit and vegetables is generally considered healthier than one high in animal fats.
Rita J. Bloomberg, Woodlands Park, Merrow, Guildford, Surrey.