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Question - - 02/28/2013
If the Torah forbids causing pain to animals, why does it permit slaughtering them for food through shechitah? Wouldn't it be more humane to stun the animal, or use some other, painless method of slaughter?
Answer by Arachim
We note that when you posed your question, you did not cite any source that claims that kosher slaughter is painful. The fact is that kosher slaughter is one of the swiftest and least painful methods possible.

This topic has been discussed extensively for several generations. Entire volumes have been published by authors who devoted a great deal of their time and effort to examining this and other questions. Their works prove that by any standards, kosher slaughter is the most humanitarian method available to man.

One well-known book on the subject was written by Rabbi Eli Munk, of London, England, whose work has been accepted as a classic in the field.

The human intellect can never grasp all of the reasons for a Divine commandment, including that of shechitah. However, there are many insights known to us which are described in works dealing with what is termed "ta'amei hamitzvos", the "taste\' or \"flavor" of the commandments.

We know that we must eat in order to stay alive; however, we partake of tasty foods that please our palate more eagerly because of their good taste and tempting aroma. So, too, if we become aware of the ta'amim of the commandments, will it be easier for us to fulfill them.

One of the reasons given for the process of kosher slaughter is in order to minimize the pain involved. However, history has shown that there are always those who seek to attack Judaism. Such individuals and groups will protest shechitah as inhumane, whether or not their claims are logical and justified in actual fact.

History has shown that when opposition to shechitah comes from governmental bodies, the motives for it are political. It is often used as a rationalization for anti-Semitic measures, whether overt or covert, and disguised as concern for the prevention of cruelty to animals.

We find a classic example in Germany shortly before World War II. The topic has been investigated extensively, and the data clearly prove that shechitah is undeniably the least painful method of slaughter known to man. When approaching this topic, it is essential not to be drawn into the sensationalism of the media and the biased opinions expressed by some governments. It is important to ascertain that established facts -- and not emotion -- are the basis for conclusions drawn regarding the Jewish method of slaughter.
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