The Hebrew term shechita, also transliterated shehitah, shechitah, shehita, means the slaughtering of mammals and birds for food. In Hebrew the word is generic and does not imply any religious or cultural practice but in English the term has come to be used particularly for "kosher slaughter", that is the slaughter of animals for food according to Jewish dietary laws . The animal must be killed "with respect and compassion" by a religious Jew who is duly licensed and trained, often called in English a shochet although in Hebrew this word refers to a butcher regardless of any particular religion or culture. 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. According to Jewish religious sources, this results in a rapid drop in blood pressure in the brain and loss of consciousness rendering the animal insensible to pain and to exsanguinate 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.

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