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Resource ID: #24048
Source:Forward (New York, NY)
This series of articles looked inside the kosher meat industry, a quietly guarded world worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The reporting began two years ago when the Forward's Nathaniel Popper wrote about the working conditions at the nation's largest kosher slaughterhouse, Agriprocessors, in Postville, Iowa, setting off a wide-ranging debate in Jewish community. The paper has continued to follow the problems at Agriprocessors and reported early in 2008 on the debate withing the kosher industry about a widely used but apparently cruel method of kosher slaughter known as shackled and hoist. Then, in the middle of the year, federal agents, citing the Forward's reporting raided the Agriprocessors' plant in Iowa. Since the raid, the Forward has followed each legal development, but has also reported on elements of the story that were being overlooked. The first such article detailed the way in which Agriprocessors had handled immigrants and unions at its Brooklyn warehouse-sparking a case that went to the Supreme Court. The next set of articles investigated the working conditions in the rest of the kosher eat industry, with particular attention paid to the labor battles at Agriprocessors' biggest competitor, Alle Processing, which had been completely ignored. The article and chart on industry-wide conditions were the first effort to systematically set down the relative size and production of the major players in the kosher meat industry. The Forward also wrote a lengthy report on the immigrant workers from Agriprocessors who had been released from prison and ordered to testify in federal court against their supervisors, but were given no means to support themselves before the hearing date. After Agriprocessors declared bankruptcy, the Forward reported on the unnoticed consequences for the town and its inhabitants, from the lowly turkeys to the local bankers.