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General News    H2'ed 2/26/20

A Trump Sentence Commutation That Most People Missed

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Kosher and halal slaughter are shockingly cruel
Kosher and halal slaughter are shockingly cruel
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The year was 2008. Hundreds of ICE officers swooped down on Agriprocessors, the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse located in Postville, Iowa, in the largest single-site raid to date in U.S. history. Half of the 800 person workforce was arrested.

In addition to kosher brands, Agriprocessors meat was sold as Iowa Best Beef Brand in Albertson's, Kroger, Shop Rite, Wal-Mart, Trader Joe's, Ralph's, Pathmark and H.E. Butt.

Initial charges against Agriprocessors managers included harboring illegal aliens, use of child labor, document fraud, identity theft, physical and sexual abuse of workers, unsafe working conditions, wage and hour violations and shorting workers' pay.

According to the search warrant, one thousand discrepancies between worker names and social security numbers occurred in three years. A methamphetamine production plant existed with the slaughterhouse, sanctioned by management. At the time of the raid, Barack Obama, then an Illinois senator said of Agriprocessors during a campaign stop in Davenport, Iowa, "They have kids in there wielding buzz saws and cleavers. It's ridiculous."

Child labor charges were initially filed against Sholom Rubashkin, son of Agriprocessors owner Aaron Rubashkin, but they were dropped as prosecutors unspooled elaborate financial wrongdoing perpetrated by Rubashkin which they pursued instead. (Other Agriprocessors managers pleaded guilty at the outset of the trial to multiple charges of abuse of under-age laborers.)

According to the New York Times

"Judge Reade noted that Mr.[Sholom] Rubashkin had misled the bank repeatedly about the finances of Agriprocessors, ordering employees to create fake invoices and moving cash secretly among different accounts, including some designated for religious purposes. The maneuvers caused a loss to the bank of $26 million, the judge found.

In one episode, Judge Reade wrote, Mr. Rubashkin lent $4,500 to illegal immigrants working in the plant so they could buy new fake identity documents, after immigration authorities had questioned the validity of their original hiring documents."

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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