Kosher slaughter

Kosher slaughter is the method of slaughtering animals for meat prescribed in Judaism.

The actual laws of slaughter are in the Talmud (Jewish library of oral law and tradition). In the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament written by Moses) it says, "Thou shalt kill of thy herds and flocks as I commanded thee."

Kosher slaughter involves cutting the throat in a manner that induces rapid, complete bleeding and the quickest death as possible. There are two kinds of kosher slaughter: Glatt and non-Glatt. Only in the latter is post-slaughter stunning practiced. This is not accepted by the main stream Orthodox community and is related to blood splash.
The most important requirements of kosher slaughter are:
  • The slaughter should be performed by a specially trained person known as a ‘Shochet’
  • The knife (chalef) should be long (16 inches for cattle and other large animals and 12 inches for sheep) and razor-sharp and should be used to slaughter the animal in a single, unbroken move
  • The knife should be inspected by the Shochet (the slaughter person) for sharpness and damage before every animal is slaughtered
  • A blessing should be given before entering the kill floor
  • The oesophagus, trachea, jugular veins and carotid arteries should be cut without damaging the spinal marrow
  • The blood should be totally drained
Device for kosher slaughter designed by Temple Grandin
If the handler is alone and the animal is docile, it can be slaughtered by straddling the animal next to a wall. Photo: Tatiana Stanton