Recommended Religious Slaughter Practices

Ritual (religious) slaughter is slaughter done according to the religious requirements of either the Jewish or Muslim religious faith. The animal is slaughtered, without being stunned, with a razor sharp knife. When the cut is done correctly, the animal appears not to feel it. From an animal welfare standpoint, the major concern during ritual (religious) slaughter are the stressful and cruel methods of restraint (holding) that are used in some plants. Progressive slaughter plants use devices to hold the animal in a comfortable, upright position. Unfortunately, there are some plants which use cruel methods of restraint such as hanging live animals upside down. At Grandin Livestock Systems, we believe that the practice of hanging live cattle and calves upside down should be eliminated. For both humane and safety reasons, plants which conduct ritual (religious) slaughter should install modern upright restraining equipment. There are many different types of humane restraint devices available.

Kosher Box Operation, Design, and Cutting Technique will Affect the Time Required for Cattle to Lose Consciousness

Cattle should be cut in the cervical (C1) position to improve welfare during Kosher and Halal slaughter without stunning.

Questions about death of the animal when different stunning methods are used before Halal or Kosher Slaughter.

Welfare During Slaughter without stunning (Kosher or Halal) differences between Sheep and Cattle.

Correct english translation for the rules for performing a correct shechita cut.

1994 paper that contains Temple Grandin's observations of the animal's reaction to kosher slaughter.

Discussion of research that shows that slaughter without stunning causes pain.

Principles of Low Stress Restraint

Maintaining acceptable animal welfare during Kosher or Halal slaughter

Ritual Slaughter Tips

ASPCA Pen for Ritual Slaughter

Schematic Details of the ASPCA Pen for Ritual Slaughter

Conveyor Restrainer Systems

Small Restraint Systems

A Discussion For Meat Scientists

Conservative Jewish Law and Standards on shackling and hoisting

Translated article on Kosher slaughter from a religious journal in Israel

Kosher Meat from Uruguay

Answers to questions about cattle insensibility and pain during kosher slaughter and analysis of the Agriprocessors video

Evaluation of Methods of Restraint for holding (fixation) of Cattle,Calves, and Sheep for kosher and halal slaughter

Vocalization Scoring of Restraint for Kosher Slaughter of Cattle for an Animal Welfare Audit

Recommendations to facilitate onset of rapid insensibility after religious slaughter


AVMA (2016). AVMA Guidelines for the Humane Slaugher of Animals. 2016 Edition, American Veterinary Medical Association. Schaumberg, Illinois.

Grandin, T. (2013). Making slaughter houses more humane for cattle, pigs, and sheep. Annual Review of Animal BioSciences. 1:491-512.

Grandin, T. (2012) Developing measures to audit welfare of cattle and pigs at slaughter. Animal Welfare. 21:351-356.

Grandin, T. (1995). The Cut of Ritual Slaughter. Meat International. November/December (pages 36-39).

Grandin, T. (1994). Slaughter: Religious Slaughter and Animal Welfare. A Discussion For Meat Scientists. Meat Focus. 3:115-123.

Grandin, T. (1994). Euthanasia and Slaughter of Livestock. Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association. volume 204:1354-1360.

Grandin, T. (1992). Observations of Cattle Restraint Devices. For Stunning and Slaughtering. Animal Welfare 1:85-90.

Grandin, T. (1990). Humanitarian Aspects Of Schechitah In The United States. Judiasm. 39:430-446.

NAMI (2017). Recommended Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide. North American Meat Institue. Washington, D.C.

Click here to return to the Homepage for more information on animal behavior, welfare, and care.