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335416.  Tue May 13, 2008 10:24 am Reply with quote

Onto F for Food now.

Q: What is the Jewish ritual of slaughtering animals called?

F: Kosher

A: Shechita

Kosher is the term most people would associate with food conforming to Jewish law, but the word to describe the actual method used to slaughter animals is shechita.
According to the Torah - the body of written Jewish laws - the laws of shechita were given to Moses at Mount Sinai, and must be followed if Jews wish to eat meat. As Shimon Cohen, from Shechita UK, an information resource on Jewish religious animal slaughter, explains: "It is absolutely the only method used, according to Jewish law. Eating kosher food is the foremost principle of being an orthodox Jew".
Shechita is performed with an extremely sharp knife, known as a chalaf, making a single cut across the front of the animal's neck, severing several arteries in order for it to bleed to death (as Jews are forbidden from consuming blood). Mr Cohen confirms that "this principle is the same, whether for a bird or a cow".
Advocates of shechita argue that this is the most humane form of slaughter, with the animal being rendered unconscious by the procedure. But opponents say the practice of stunning an animal before slaughter is more humane.


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