The Hebrew term shechita, also transliterated shehitah, shechitah, shehita, is the ritual slaughter of mammals and birds for food according to Jewish dietary laws The animal must be killed "with respect and compassion" by a shochet, a religious Jew who is duly licensed and trained. The act is performed by severing the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, jugular veins and vagus nerve in a swift action using an extremely sharp blade only by a qualified shochet. This results in a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness. According to Jewish religious sources, the animal is now insensible to pain and exsanguinates in a prompt and precise action. The animal can be in a number of positions; when the animal is lying on its back, this is referred to as shechita munachat; in a standing position it is known as shechita me'umedet. Before slaughtering, the animal must be healthy, uninjured, and viable.
If the hindquarters of kosher mammals are to be eaten by Jews, they must be porged in accordance with a strict procedure – stripped of veins, chelev and sinews. Because of the expense of porging and the skill required to properly separate out the forbidden parts, a large portion of the meat of kosher mammals slaughtered through shechita in the United States winds up on the non-kosher market.