By Ariel Scheib
Shechitah is the kosher slaughtering of animals, performed by a professional called a shohet. This form of slaughtering strives to minimize the pain experienced by the animal before dying. A sharp knife, called a challef, is used to slit the animal’s throat causing the animal to immediately lose all consciousness. The blood is drained in accordance with the biblical injunction from the animal. The blood may not be devoured, because of its symbolic nature with man (Deut. 13:23-25). If the process is not done perfectly, the animal is not kosher to eat, terayfa. Given that animals killed by hunters are not slaughtered in accordance to the biblical laws of kashrut, Jews are not allowed to eat the meat.
Sources: Eisenberg, Ronald L. The JPS Guide to Jewish Traditions. PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2004; Kolatch, Alfred J. The Jewish Book of Why/The Second Jewish Book of Why. NY: Jonathan David Publishers, 1989; Wigoder, Geoffrey , Ed. The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia. NY: Facts on File, 1992.