A halal butcher slaughters animals and prepares meat according to Islamic law. Most halal butchers are Muslims themselves. Only certain types of animals can be used for halal meat, and the animals must be healthy and comfortable prior to being slaughtered. The actual slaughtering of the animals is done with a very sharp knife to ensure that the death is quick and painless. A prayer must also be uttered while the animal is being slaughtered, and the carcass should be hung to drain it of blood.
Halal food is food that is permissible for Muslims to eat. Haram food, on the other hand, is food that Muslims are forbidden to eat. According to the Qur'an, the holy book of Islam, a halal butcher must be a one of the people of the book. Some Muslims believe that this means that halal butchers can either be Muslims, Christians, or Jews. Other Muslims, on the other hand, believe that halal butchers must be Muslims. It is also stated that all halal butchers must be mentally stable adults.
Only certain types of animals are considered to be halal according to the Qur'an, and a halal butcher must be sure to slaughter only those animals. Most carnivorous animals, including birds of prey and animals with fangs, are considered haram. Pigs are also considered haram, since they are viewed as filthy animals. All animals slaughtered by a halal butcher should be alive, in good health, and under no mental strain.
It is typically the responsibility of a halal butcher to ensure the animals he slaughters are healthy and well fed. Most of the time, an animal will be allowed to eat and drink before being slaughtered. Before an animal is slaughtered, all blood of a previously slaughtered animal must be washed away by a halal butcher or his assistant.
An animal must also never be slaughtered in sight of any other animals, excluding people. As the animal is led to the place it will be slaughtered, it should be as calm as possible. It should not be forced or dragged, for instance, and it should not be blind folded or stunned prior to being slaughtered.
Stunning an animal before slaughtering it is believed to cause more distress and pain than is necessary, although some moderate Muslims do allow this. Death by a very sharp knife is the only method of slaughter that a traditional halal butcher is allowed to use. To ensure that they are as sharp as possible, knives are typically sharpened before the slaughtering of each animal.
One of the biggest differences between halal meat and other types of meat is the prayer that is uttered during the halal slaughtering process. A halal butcher must recite a prayer just before slaughtering an animal. The animal is basically killed in the name of Allah. It is meant to give thanks to God for the meat that He provides.
The killing of the animal is very quick and considered painless. The sharp knife is used to make one quick clean cut across the neck and throat. Both the carotid artery and the jugular vein must be severed, along with the windpipe. The spinal cord, however, must be left intact. Afterward, all of the blood must be drained from the carcass, since Muslims consider blood to be impure and forbidden.