Anti-Shechita Prosecutions in the Anglo-American World, 1855–1913: “A major attack on Jewish freedoms”

Anti-Shechita Prosecutions in the Anglo-American World, 1855–1913: “A major attack on Jewish freedoms”


David Fraser

Series: North American Jewish Studies
ISBN: 9781618117427 (hardcover)
Pages: 258 pp.
Publication Date: July 2018

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This is the first study of historical attempts by animal welfare groups to ban the Jewish method of slaughter (shechita). It details cases from Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, and the United States, many for the first time, in which anti-animal cruelty groups prosecuted those engaged in shechita as part of their attempts to introduce compulsory stunning of animals before slaughter. Despite claims to the contrary, this study offers clear evidence of underlying, unrelenting antisemitic motivations in the prosecutions, and highlights the ways in which a basic idea of innate Jewish cruelty was always juxtaposed with an overtly Christian ideal of humane treatment of animals across time and borders.

David Fraser is Professor of Law and Social Theory at the University of Nottingham. His research focuses on legal aspects of the Shoah and modern Jewish legal history in the Anglo-American world. He has previously published the book “Honorary Protestants”: The Jewish School Question in Montreal, 1867-1997 (2015).


An outstanding piece of research, Fraser’s work would make a valuable addition to any academic library.
— Randall C. and Anne-Marie Belinfante, AJL Reviews May/June 2019

Table of Contents

1: Introduction: Jews, Shechita, and the Law
2. Criminalizing Shechita: The Halifax Prosecution of Abraham Levitt, 1913
3. The Aberdeen Shechita Case of 1893: Criminalizing the Jewish Method in Scotland
4. The Mansion House Case: Anti-Shechita in London, 1855
5. Manchester Shechita: Criminalizing Orthodox Judaism 1878 and Beyond
6. The Birkenhead Shechita Cases
7. Criminalizing Shechita Down Under: The Sydney Case
8. Outlawing Shechita in America
9. The Massachusetts Anti-Shechita Story
10. The End (or Not) of the Story: Shechita and the Law in the Anglo-American World, 1855-1913