Government Regulations of Shechita (Jewish Religious Slaughter) in the Twenty-First Century: Are They Ethical?

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17 Scopus citations


Human beings have engaged in animal husbandry and have slaughtered animals for food for thousands of years. During the majority of that time most societies had no animal welfare regulations that governed the care or slaughter of animals. Judaism is a notable exception in that from its earliest days it has included such rules. Among the Jewish dietary laws is a prohibition to consume meat from an animal that dies in any manner other than through the rigorously defined method of slaughter known as shechita. In recent decades more and more attempts have been initiated by governments around the world to either outright ban or to control and modify the practice of shechita. This paper presents the requisite background about shechita and then analyzes the ethics of some of the recent legislation. The analysis includes a rebuttal of the assertion that shechita is an inhumane method of slaughter. It further presents the consequences on the Jewish community of legislation to impose pre-slaughter stunning and explains why such legislation is unethical. The actual effect of labeling laws is discussed and it is shown why such laws are also un-ethical.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-763
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Animal welfare
  • Ethics
  • Government regulations
  • Religious slaughter
  • Shechita


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