For two days in a row, the New York Times has run  
articles exposing the dishonorable and enslaving working conditions of  
a meat processor in Postville, Iowa. These labor practices are  
positively hair-raising. The company that owns the plant is called  
Agriprocessors, Inc., a family business that "dominate(s) the nation's  
market for kosher meat and poultry" under the names of "Aaron's Best"  
and "Rubashkin's."  This is not the first we have heard of these  
gangsters.

There are many rules and regulations to abide by to certify the  
"kashrut" of any meat and poultry. A full-time "mashgiach" (basically  
a judge) is employed to testify that the workers have met these picky  
standards. But none of the standards seem to apply to how labor is  
treated. So you can't beat a cow. But you can beat a person.

The ultra-orthodox men (no women allowed because they may be "unclean"  
which means going through their "period") who usually oversee these  
arrangements are typically self-righteous and haughty. (Sorry for the  
generalization. But it's true.)  As today's Times story points out,  
Jewish leaders are calling for revisions to kosher food standards that  
supposedly would extend explicit controls to the treatment of labor.   
This is bound to be a long and intricate process. So, in the  
meantime, the rabbinical guardians of kashrut should rule that meat  
which is declared kosher should have been prepared for slaughter by  
people who have themselves been treated humanely. And everyone knows  
what that is, except the Rubashkin's and their enablers.