Shechita – the Jewish religious humane method of animal slaughter for food


There is a significant body of respected scientific opinion which concludes that shechita causes no suffering, pain or distress for the animal

Dr Temple Grandin, Associate Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University conducted a series of experiments in 1994. Dr Grandin set out to determine whether cattle feel the shechita incision. In one case, the device used to restrain an animal’s head during shechita was deliberately applied so lightly that during the incision it could pull its head away from the slaughter instrument. None of the ten animals in the experiment reacted or attempted to pull their heads away leading Dr Grandin to conclude:  it appears the animal is not aware that its throat has been cut.”

A similar experiment had been conducted two years earlier on twenty bulls by Dr Flemming Bager, Head of the Danish Veterinary Laboratory. The research indicated that they too did not react to the shechita incision:  “the bulls were held in a comfortable head restraint with all body restraints released. They stood still during the cut and did not resist the head restraint.”

Professor Harold Burrow, one time Professor of Veterinary Medicine, Royal Veterinary College, London, has stated:  “Having witnessed the Jewish method carried out on many thousands of animals, I am unable to persuade myself that there is any cruelty attached to it. As a lover of animals, an owner of cattle and a veterinary Surgeon I would raise no objection to any animal bred, reared or owned by me being subjected to this method of slaughter.”

Dr Stuart Rosen MA, MD, FRCP, Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College, London, in a recent paper, “Physiological Insights Into Shechita”, published in The Veterinary Record (June 12, 2004 Vol. 154) discusses the behavioural responses of animals to shechita and the neurophysiological studies relevant to the assessment of pain, and concludes that:  “shechita is a painless and humane method of animal slaughter.”