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Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, Kashruth Administrator at the Chicago Rabbinical Council, says:

You would think, with so many cow sh'chitas in America, with so many, you know, steaks, what we have, that there would be [udders easy to find], but doesn't — no one seemed to be doing [sh'chita on] milch cows.

It sounds as though he means a lot of kosher beef in America is from cows (female animals)[1] — just not from, as he puts it, "milch cows", cows that are bred for milk (or that are nursing).

Is it possible that that's what he means? In other words, is there in fact a lot of kosher beef in America from cows? I ask because I've always understood that kosher beef in America is from male animals exclusively or almost exclusively.


[1] which is why he'd expect udders easy to find

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I would think that your gut instinct would have to be correct. For breeding you need only a very low bull to cow ratio. For milk production you obviously need a lot of milk producing cows. He was probably speaking casually and said cows when he really meant cattle. But I have no actual information to backup my assumptions. –  Seth J Feb 16 '12 at 23:07
    
See the answer below that it is specifically milk cows (not female cows in general) that are not shechted because they are almost always treifas. –  Curiouser Mar 6 '12 at 21:26
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2 Answers 2

Speaking from Slaughterhouse experience.

The cows that are slaughtered are usually 12-24 months and have not become pregnant.

Female cattle are usually slaughtered as bulls are more valuable for obvious reasons. V"dal.

I saw on one occasion a pregnant behemah shechted and when they opened her up it was a ready to be born baby calf. The halchas on this are interesting but for another topic. Kitzur: The calf doesnt need to be shechted.

In the USA a calf in this situation is thrown down the chute with other refuse. In Israel I have heard that the calf is taken out and brought to the farm to live.

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We no longer shecht dairy cows, since most of them turn out to be treifas, as R. Schachter explained in a YU Audio shiur, which I have partly transcribed below.

R. Hershel Schachter Nov 22, 2008 "Kashrus in the Home" http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/729136/Rabbi_Hershel_Schachter/Kashrus_in_the_Home

"Dairy cows have a very high incidence of treifos -- it's taka a question how we're still allowed to drink the milk if there's such a high incidence of treifos....In America they milk the cow 3 times a day, which is abnormal -- years ago they never did that, and because they milk them for all they're worth, that's why they develop the sicknesses, and then when they are not producing enough milk, they kill them; and these dairy cows don't taste so good -- the fleish doesn't taste so good -- so usually in the industry they use this flesh to make hotdogs or salami, since with hotdogs or salami you put in so many spices, you don't taste the flavor of the fleish anyway; this fleish has a funny taste -- it doesn't taste bad, but it has an irregular taste...They told me that years ago they used to schecht these dairy cows and in America they found 80% incidence of treifos and in South Africa when they schechted the cows they had 95% incidence of sirchos (scabs) on the lungs..."

He then goes on to explain that, based on this, the milk should also be non-kosher, if we know that the cows are non-kosher, and that he is not sure how we are allowed to drink milk nowadays.

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I wonder if the same holds true for Cholov Yisroel or if we can expect that those animals are treated in accordance with tzaar baalei chaim. –  yoel Mar 6 '12 at 16:43
    
@yoel I am not aware that it is possible to check if a behemah is truly treif without opening it up which would then render it treif. Isn't there a concept that something is kosher right up until it is proven not? ie: Tefillin checking (at least the Rambams opinion.) This is how commerical dairies are run. Milk them, replace them, and get ride of the useless ones. Source: My friend was head mashgiach for the Cholav Yisroel Dairy in upstate New York for 3 years. –  user1292 Mar 6 '12 at 19:53
    
@mochinrechavim interesting, thanks –  yoel Mar 6 '12 at 21:11
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@yoel: There is no difference for cholov yisroel farms -- those cows are mostly treifas too. R. Schachter does not consume any dairy at all based on his concerns, although most people are lenient that there is a chazakah that any particular animal is kosher until it is established otherwise. –  Curiouser Mar 6 '12 at 21:14
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Despite your insistence, I am not labeling any Jews as sinning, God forbid. I am just trying to explain that there is a disagreement among the poskim, and some poskim are strict and some are lenient. (As with all issues, no news here). No pejorative sense is meant with my word choice. Please take care of your thoughts so as not to construe another's writing to mean something critical when you could interpret it as simply being descriptive. –  Curiouser Mar 11 '12 at 23:00
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