Judaism
Kosher Food

Are the animals in kosher foods killed in a humane fashion?

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09/30/2013

Yes; animals such as cows, lamb or chicken are all killed in a humane way -- the throat is slit quickly with a very, very sharp knife that is checked literally before each time it's used. The person doing the slaughtering says a blessing to "consecrate" the act, and to avoid belittling the act. Once the jugular is cut, the animal loses consciousness almost instantly as blood stops flowing to the brain. Unfortunately, and as some animal rights groups point out, there's lots of movement afterwards; but this is reflexive and unconscious. == Fish (and very specific species of grasshoppers), however, are not considered "animals" in Jewish law (there's a complicated reasoning; but in short, they exhibit behavior that is essentially purely instinctive and "automatic" without a basic sense of soul) and thus do not require the same process of slaughtering. Like all fish and grasshoppers caught around the world, they are simply allowed to die.

Answer 2:

Despite what many people think, that Kosher meat is more humane, the animal remains conscious for up to 6 minutes and is left to die in agony. We cannot argue freedom of religion at the expense of the living rights of other beings, animals most certainly included.

Answer 3:

The Torah, with its laws forbidding any unnecessary pain to animals, was given at a time when other nations killed unwanted infants.

Answer number 2, that the animal remains conscious, is regurgitating something posted on some internet site and is not factual.

Rabbi Menachem Rapoport served as a shochet in Postville, Iowa. In a report concerning his six years at Agriprocessors, only a couple of times did animals remain conscious for longer than a few seconds. In the vast majority of instances, the animal loses consciousness within 10 seconds after the cut is made, he stated.

Rapoport also cited renowned animal biologist Temple Grandin of Colorado State University. Grandin wrote a report, in which she stated that she had observed properly performed shechita:

"Most cattle will become unconscious and insensible within five to 10 seconds after the cut. Most cattle appeared to not even be aware that their throats had been cut," she wrote.

Rapoport described the Jewish laws and principles that govern treatment of animals and shechita.

For example, the knife used is specially designed. It has a square end and must not come to a point, to prevent any stabbing. The knife is over twice as long as the diameter of the neck of the animal on which it is used, to prevent the knife from entering the cut.

The edge and the bevels on either side of the edge must be completely smooth. In fact, at a kosher slaughter plant, the blades are checked by a separate person, not the shochet, and they are rechecked continually throughout the working day.

The shochet must make the cut in one single smooth stroke, and cannot bear down on the knife or put a finger on the back of the blade to press on it. Any hesitation in the stroke, or any catching of the animal's flesh on the knife, renders the meat non-kosher.

Moreover, concern about an animal's feelings during slaughter extends to emotions as well as sensations. The kosher rules call for not even permitting an animal to see another animal being killed.