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Causing an animal to suffer or feel any pain during Shechitah

Question:

Hello Rabbi,
A couple of weeks ago I saw a video of someone performing Shechitah on a chicken next to the Rosh Kollel who was overseeing the process. The Rav of my Shul watched the video and said it was a kosher slaughter. However, I noticed that when he was cutting the neck, he did not perform the cutting process as quick as I anticipated since I always thought based on what I always heard from my parents and Rabbeim that Shechita is supposed to be painless. When I confronted him the following day about it he said that painless shechita is an utter misconception and that the Rosh Kollel searched for sources regarding inflicting pain to an animal during the time of slaughter and didn’t seem to find anything agreeing with what I was always told. Is it really true that painless shechita is a misconception and that one is not required to make sure to slaughter the animal in a way that won’t inflict any pain?

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

The reason we do shechita is because this is what Hashem told us to do before eating the animal. There are plenty of halachos regarding the schechita, that don’t have anything to do with the pain of the animal. Nevertheless, part of the reason why we kill the animal from the neck with a razor-sharp knife… is not because it is painless, but because it has pain-less (meaning less pain). Th sefer Hachinuch writes this clearly, that one of the reasons we are commanded to do shechita, is that although mankind was given animals to eat, which involves killing them first, nevertheless it should be done in a way that minimizes the pain the animal endures. We see from this that the animal does endure some pain during the shechita process. It is much less painful than some other ways that animals are killed, however it seems that there is an element of pain to the animal in the process.

Best wishes

Sources:

ע’ ס’ החינוך מצוה תנ”א וז”ל “ועוד נאמר בטעם השחיטה מן הצואר ובסכין בדוקה כדי שלא נצער בעלי החיים יותר מדאי כי התורה התיר לאדם למעלתו ליזון מהם ולכל צרכיו ולא לצערם חנם” 

 

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