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Dec 1, 2009 06:50 PM

Humane Kosher Meat

I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma, and was pretty appalled to learn about the horrific conditions animals experience on commercial feedlots. I have no problem eating meat (with all respect to the vegetarians out there) but have an issue with animals being subjected to needless cruelty. I did a bit of research and found KOL meat, a distributor of grass-fed, humanely raised beef, lamb and poultry ( The prices were slightly high, but not outrageous. The meat is certified by OU, Star-K or CRC. There are definitely some inconveniences - for example, I could not order chicken cutlets, only whole chickens, and the lamb comes as a large order of several different cuts. However, I'd rather not support animal cruelty, so I gave it a shot. The order arrived tonight. So far, so good. It was packed on dried ice and frozen solid. The mix of cuts was good: rack of lamb, shoulder lamb chops, a lamb shank, a lamb neck, and lamb breast. I will report back after Shabbat, once I've had a chance to taste. In the meanwhile, just wanted to share in case anyone was interested.

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  1. We had mixed success with our KOL experiences. The meat didn't have the vastly improved taste we'd been prepared for, though we did like it and found it to be good quality--in addition to the improved humane treatment aspect obviously.It also seems they've abandoned the buying club model which is disappointing as I imagine it kept prices lower.

    2 Replies
      1. re: koshergourmetmart

        Not making a judgment, but just wanted to point out that Arcadia is grain-finished, for anyone who cares about that.

    1. Do you believe everything you read? "Horrific conditions" is something I would definitely *not* expect to find in a feedlot setting. The economics of it preclude having anything but the healthiest cattle, because contagion can devastate a closely confined herd. Typically, it is only the final stage of beef cattles' existence, and one that they typicaly seem to find appealing, with an improved energy source as food, plenty of water and salt. If you've ever been by Harris Ranch's feedlot off I-5 in California, the stench is pretty bad, but the mountain of manure is evidence that it is collected regularly, that they don't want their cattle wallowing in their own feces. The main argument that has been used against feedlots is not that they are inhumane, but rather that grass-fed cattle offer decreased evidence of antibiotics and hormones use and are healthier because they eat the diet that G-d intended they eat. I can buy the antibiotics argument, but don't buy the grass-fed argument. There is evidence of different chemical make-up of grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef, but how much significance it would have to human healthfulness has not been explored in the research or literature. So we're left with a skewed viewpoint of animal rights activists, rather than an understanding that feedlots are regulated not only by the Department of Agriculture, local, state and federal, but also the economics, which preclude "horrific conditions". By all means purchase the meat you wish to purchase, and read the books you want to read. But do try to recognize that what appears in print may not reflect reality, and you may well be fed a biased agenda along with your steak.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ganeden

        I have no intent of making a case for or against eating meat from animals raised on commercial feedlots. I did alot of follow up research, and anyone who cares about this issue can do the same. My intent was only to share my experience with KOL for other people who may be interested in this issue. Since this is a food board, it is probably not the place for extended debate on animal treatment, but I would caution against any assumption that it is always in the economic interest of producers to have healthy, well-treated animals. Fois Gras and veal are two examples where poor treatment result in a profitable product. So I think each person needs to research the details for themselves. Also, to the comment below - the point here is not kosher slaughterhouses, my post was in regard to the life of the animal, which takes place on a feedlot and is the same in most cases regardless of what slaughterhouse, Kosher or unKosher, ultimately slaughters the animal.

        1. re: ganeden

          We've removed some posts from this discussion, and ask anyone interested in pursuing the topic of feedlots and the term "humanely raised meat" start a new discussion on the General Chowhounding Topics board. If you disagree with the motivation for Hirschey's decision to change his/her buying practices, that board is the place to discuss it.

          Please keep this thread focused on your experiences with KOL or any other vendors you think will meet Hirscheys's criteria. Thank you.

      2. The original comment has been removed