Shechita is the Jewish religious and humane method of slaughtering permitted animals and poultry for food. It is the only method of producing kosher meat and poultry allowed by Jewish law. It is a most humane method as explained below.
There is no ritual involved in shechita. It is a cardinal tenet of the Jewish faith that the laws of shechita were divinely given to Moses at Mount Sinai (Deuteronomy XII:21); the rules governing shechita are codified and defined and are as binding and valued today as ever and they ensure a swift and painless dispatch of the animal. Infringing the laws of shechita renders the meat unconditionally forbidden as food to Jews. The time hallowed practice of shechita, marked as it is by compassion and consideration for the welfare of the animal, has been a central pillar in the sustaining of Jewish life for millennia.
Shechita is performed by a highly trained shochet. The procedure consists of a rapid and expert transverse incision with an instrument of surgical sharpness (a chalaf), which severs the major structures and vessels at the neck. This causes an instant drop in blood pressure in the brain and immediately results in the irreversible cessation of consciousness. Thus, shechita renders the animal insensible to pain, dispatches and exsanguinates in a swift action, and fulfils all the requirements of humaneness and compassion.
It is noteworthy that since 1928, shechita has been protected by various enactments of primary and secondary legislation. Article 9 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, now incorporated into British law, protects freedom of religious belief and practice. In the United States and Canada, the humaneness of shechita is acknowledged in the Humane Methods of Animal Slaughter Legislation.