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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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Question 6.10:
What process is involved in Kosher Slaughter?


Slaughtering an animal is a complicated process. One must use an extremely sharp knife, and in a single action must slice through both the windpipe and the artery carrying blood to the head. This immediately renders the animal unconscious -- it dies before having the opportunity to feel any pain. The knife itself must be sharpened to perfection -- to the point that one cannot feel any imperfections in the blade. Otherwise the animal is rendered non-kosher. In addition, a detailed examination of the animal must be performed afterwards, to ensure that it was not sick or disabled. There is a blessing said in advance, as there is before performing any commandment, but this is not a prerequisite (and in addition, one blessing said in the morning applies to all animals a professional ritual slaughterer does that day). The word "professional" is very appropriate--it takes months of training for someone who is already a Rabbi to learn how to do this properly. The result, though, is the kosher animals are healthy and died with minimum pain.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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