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Haven't Jews historically had many problems with some animal rights groups which have often opposed kosher shechita and advocated its abolishment?

Jews should work to improve conditions for animals not because of the views of animal rights groups, whether they are hostile to Judaism or not, but because it is the approach most consistent with Jewish values. It is the Torah, not animal rights groups, that indicate how far the treatment of animals is from fundamental Jewish teachings.

While there is probably some extremism and anti-Semitism in the animal rights movement, as there is in almost every movement, most vegetarian and animal rights advocates are people of good will who are rightfully appalled by how our society treats animals today and by the many negative effects of livestock agriculture with regard to pollution, hunger, and human health. The fact that many people have misconceptions about Jewish practices is all the more reason for greater involvement by knowledgeable and committed Jews.

It is important that the Jewish community engage in respectful dialogue with animal rights groups so that our teachings and our religious needs become better known to them.

The Jewish community should also consider how cruelty to animals can be minimized while meeting all halachic requirements. It is time for a commission of scholars and rabbis to consider how modern technology related to animals impinges upon Jewish teachings.

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