Kosher slaughter, or shechita, is conducted by a shochet, a person who has received particular education and training in the shechita criteria. The shochet kills the animal with a swift, deep stroke of a sharp knife across the throat. Blood drains from the carotid artery into a bowl placed below to catch it.
The major kashrut organizations in North America and Europe have certified many hundreds of Jewish slaughterers as meeting their standards. They do this by inspecting their practices and facilities to make sure they meet certain requirements. For example, the shochet must wear protective clothing that covers him from head to foot. He also needs to keep his hands clean. They cannot be soiled by meat products or other material associated with blood.
In addition, there are several important areas of expertise that only a trained rabbi can provide. For example, a shochet must know how to cut up a carcass into edible parts. He may also need advice about what parts of an animal are considered kosher and which are not. A shochet should never perform this operation alone; he should always be accompanied by a rabbi who can oversee his actions.
After slaughter, the animal's skin must be removed.
Shechita, or kosher slaughter, entails slashing the trachea and esophagus with a razor-sharp, perfect knife. This is done not for kashrut reasons, as the shechita is complete once the trachea and esophagus are cut, but rather for commercial purposes, to avoid blood splash, which makes the meat a deeper color. Although most people think that only dairy products can be made into cheese, anyone who knows anything about cheese manufacturing would say that shechita milk is used to make cheese.
There are two types of kosher meat: chometz (grain) and m'tzora (fruit). Chometz includes wheat, barley, corn, and rice. M'tzora means grapevine and refers to fruit that grows on a vine, such as grapes, plums, peaches, and apples. Neither type of meat may be eaten during periods of mourning or otherwise prohibited by Jewish law. During these times, neither chometz nor m'tzora may be consumed.
Kosher meat must come from animals that have their throats cut before they are put down. This ensures that there will be no pain when they are killed. Non-kosher meat may come from animals that have been "downed" (i.e., shot with a rifle), because they suffered pain before they died. This is also true for fish; however, since they don't have central nervous systems, they cannot experience pain in the same way that land animals do.
Kosher animals and birds are murdered using a specific technique called shechitah, in which a shochet—a highly trained, Torah-observant, and G-d-fearing individual—cuts the animal's neck fast, accurately, and painlessly using a sharp, flawlessly smooth knife (called a chalaf). A kosher animal is one that dies or is slaughtered in any other way. The only animals that can be used for meat products are cattle, sheep, goats, and deer.
The Jewish law of shechitah requires that all living creatures be given the opportunity to repent from their sins by submitting to God's command to be put to death. Only then may they be killed for food. This concept forms the basis for today's practices of humane slaughtering techniques.
According to the Talmud (Sanhedrin 5a), humans were created in the image of God, meaning that we have the ability to think and act like Him. Since animals are seen as having souls that can feel pleasure and pain, the Talmud prohibits eating them. However, since we do not have souls, we cannot sin against God. Thus, the only reason why Jews do not eat animals is because it is considered wrong by Judaism. In fact, according to Jewish law, it is not really killing that is prohibited, but rather the misuse of power through violence or force that is harmful to others.
However, despite this strict prohibition, Jews have long eaten meat because of their understanding that animals must be taken care of properly before being killed for food.