What is Ritual Slaughter?

| 8/8/2013 2:29:00 PM

Tags: ritual slaughter, kosher, halal, glatt, Cole Ward, Gourmet Butcher, Vermont,

Halal logoDon’t be influenced by how it sounds — there are no people dancing and chanting around the animal, nor is the animal considered some sort of sacrifice. Ritual slaughter simply means killing an animal in a manner that allows it to be eaten in the way required by a specific religion.

Kosher and Glatt Kosher are terms for foods allowable under the dietary laws of Judiasm. Halal is the term applied to foods allowable under the dietary laws of the Muslim faith. These dietary laws cover all foods, not just meat. 

But what about meat?

Kosher meat harks back to the Jewish Bible (the Torah), specifically, Deuteronomy (14:3-10), which states:

These are the animals you may eat: the ox, the sheep, the goat, the deer, the gazelle, the roe deer, the wild goat, the ibex, the antelope and the mountain sheep. You may eat any animal that has a split hoof divided in two and that chews the cud. However, of those that chew the cud or that have a split hoof completely divided you may not eat the camel, the rabbit or the coney. Although they chew the cud, they do not have a split hoof; they are ceremonially unclean for you. The pig is also unclean; although it has a split hoof, it does not chew the cud. You are not to eat their meat or touch their carcasses. Of all the creatures living in the water, you may eat any that has fins and scales.

But simply eating one of the allowable animals doesn’t make meat Kosher. The animal must be slaughtered in a specific way known as Shechitah, performed by a person called a Shochet. A Shochet must also be a pious man trained in Jewish law, particularly relating to Kashrut (dietary laws). The Shochet kills the animal with one quick, deep stroke across the throat. He uses a razor-sharp blade, which cannot have nicks or unevenness. The method is painless and causes rapid unconsciousness.

8/11/2013 2:48:01 PM


Sorry, but Cole Ward ("What Is Ritual Slaughter") did not get it 100% right . Kosher and halal are both ritual slaughter with religious meaning. The shochet (slaughterer for kosher) recites a blessing before he starts his work; likewise, with halal, the imam begins with a prayer.

As to "glatt" kosher,  the term is being used today  for "extra kosher".Many animals are rejected for the "glatt" designation, even if their lungs are perfectly smooth. Other factors prevent them from being sold to those who want a more guaranteed kosher product.,  Kosher, and moreso "glatt kosher", really do answer to a higher authority.

Rabbi Yosef Wikler

Kashrus Magazine, The Periodical For The Kosher Consumer


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