How to Properly Slaughter a Cow Under the Kosher Method Shechitah
Shechitah (sheh-HEE-tah) is the Jewish ritual of slaughtering permissible land animals and fowl so that they are considered Kosher and are able to be eaten by Jews. Keeping Kosher is a very important aspect of Judaism because it benefits the mind, body, and soul; however non-Jews often consume Kosher meat because of the special process involved. Shechitah ensures the the animal is slaughtered so that it feels no pain, and also ensures the meat is of the best quality. It is a very difficult process, however, and it requires years of experience, a vast knowledge of biblical laws, and experience with the anatomy of the animal being slaughtered. While you will not be able to do this yourself, because of the training involved, you might want to know the processes so you can understand why the price is considerably higher.
- 1Select a knife (called a Chalif) of the appropriate size. The length of the blade is twice the width of the animal's neck.
- 2Thoroughly examine the animal prior to slaughter. If the animal is ill or injured, it is no longer considered Kosher. This has two purposes. First, it ensures the quality of the meat because an ill or injured animal should not be eaten anyway. Second, it provides a disincentive for Kosher farms to partake in the methods of other farms, because if the cow is hurt in any way, it cannot be slaughtered.
- 3Restrain the animal so that the slaughtering can be done correctly and painlessly. If the animal is injured during the restraining, it is no longer considered kosher.
- 4Inspect the blade of your knife. Make sure that there are absolutely no nicks or unevenness. The knife must be sharpened to such a sharp point that if the Shochet were to slice of his/her finger, he/she would feel no pain. 
- 5Cut the esophagus, trachea, carotid arteries, and jugular veins in one quick incision. The incision must not at all pull or tear. If done correctly, the animal will die within 2 seconds.
- 6Drain the blood of the animal completely. Eating blood is not Kosher, because the blood contains the soul of the animal.
- 7Examine essential organs of the animal. For mammals (cows, sheep, goats, etc.), make sure there are no defects. The lungs must be inflated to check for unwanted holes, and for signs of lung disease. If there are holes or signs of active lung disease, the cow is not considered kosher.
- 8Remove non-Kosher parts from the hind quarters of the animal. These include the blood vessels and the sciatic nerve. As with the lungs, this only applies to mammals.
- 9Remove all fat surrounding the vital organs. Internal fat, known in Hebrew as "cheilev," is not considered Kosher.
- Stunning is against the laws of Kashrut, although it may be more humane to stun the animal before cutting.
- By law, a Kosher slaughterer must be an honest, kind and upright man. A cruel person person cannot be a shochet.
- A person must be trained and certified by special rabbinic authorities to become a Shochet.
- There is no evidence that this method is more humane or less painful to the animal.
- Although some people say that the reason that non-kosher animals are forbidden to Jews is that many of them are either scavengers or have some other anatomical property that makes them more susceptible to carrying diseases and parasites, the simple fact is that the laws of Kashrut are a supra-rational set of commandments given to the Jewish people, and any rational or scientific justification is done after the fact.
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