Shulchan Aruch/Yoreh Deah/23
1) It is forbidden to eat that which is slaughtered by a butcher who does not know these laws of slaughter: “pausing”, “striking”, “hiding”, “lifting up/tipping” and “uprooting”.
2) What is meant by “pausing”? A person begins to slaughter and lifts up his hand before he completes the slaughter and pauses. Whether he did so inadvertently or intentionally, willingly or unwillingly. If he or another person completed the slaughter but delayed the amount of time it would take to lift up the animal and cause it to lie down, even if1 he slaughtered the greater part of the signs required for slaughter, his slaughter is not acceptable.
With regard to a small animal: the measure of “pausing” is the amount of is would take to lift up a small animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it. With regard to a large animal, the measure of “pausing” is the amount of time it would take to lift up a large animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it. With regards to fowl, the measure of “pausing” is the amount of time it would take to lift up a small animal, cause it to lie down, and slaughter it. There are some that say that the measure of “pausing” in fowl is the amount of time it would take to cut the majority of one sign without the lifting up or lying down.
And according to their understanding, one should take heed when one begins to slaughter a fowl and cut slowly until the blood comes out and lifts up his knife from the neck without completing the slaughter2. Accordingly there is concern that perhaps he might cut elsewhere on the gullet. And even if he does not lift up his knife but for a moment, there is still concern since [the measurement of] “pausing” in fowl is very small. Accordingly if he slaughters most of one of a sign in the fowl, he should do so quickly. Even if the shochet says “it is clear to me that I only cut the skin,” we don’t rely on this because blood has come out. If another person comes to ask after the knife has been lifted how he did it [the slaughter], they say to him that he should slaughter the windpipe alone in another place and afterward turn out the gullet and inspect it.
There are those that are more rigorous in the matter, reasoning that unless it is at time of emergency or there is potential for great financial loss, one should rely on the first argument. GLOSS: The common practice in these lands is to [rule] that everything that has been “paused” upon – even in the smallest amounts - is trief. Be it fowl or cattle there is no change. If a reed or something similar is found after slaughter in the membrane of the gullet or the windpipe and it was slaughtered with [the reed] in it, it is trief. For certainly it would have been necessary to pause even for the briefest moment in cutting this thing and as such it is trief.
3) He slaughters a little and pauses a little and returns and slaughters a little and pauses a little. If, when all of the pauses are joined together, and they measure “shehiyah”3 his slaughter is not acceptable. GLOSS: Accordingly this is the custom in every matter of unfit meat.
4) If one slaughters cattle with a knife that is not sharp and delays in the measure of “shehiyah” in his slaughter a little after [cutting] the first sign4, it is not acceptable.
5) After he slaughters most of one [sign] in fowl, or most of two [signs] in cattle, there is no “shehiyah” that can make it [the slaughter] not acceptable. Accordingly there is not “shehiyah” with the windpipe in fowl. But there are those that say that in any place that one does not finish the slaughter of both signs it [the slaughter] is not acceptable on the grounds of “shehiyah”, and ab initio they should take heed and be concerned about this. GLOSS: And even if after the fact, the custom is that the meat is unfit. Therefore after one slaughters most of the signs and the cattle or fowl dies slowly, one should hit it on the head to kill it and not return to slaughter.
6) One slaughters a fowl and pauses without knowing if he perforated the gullet, he should return and slaughter5 the windpipe in another place and wait until it dies. He then turns the gullet out and checks it [the cuts] against each other. If spots of blood are not found, it is known that there are no perforations and it [the slaughter] is kosher. GLOSS: The custom is that this is all unfit. Even if he did not pause but for only the briefest moment on the windpipe. It is forbidden to sell it [this cut animal] to a gentile. Rather he should kill the animal and then sell it to a gentile since he is not an expert in checking the gullet and we must take into account the perforations theirin. By the same reason, if one plucks the feathers from fowl and blood comes out or he cuts the hide of the cattle and blood comes out, it [this animal] is unfit. We must take into account the perforation of the gullet if no blood comes out and there is no cut on the hide it is kosher if he cuts above or below [the initial cut] and checks it against the place [of the initial cut]. And therefore one should take heed not pluck feathers if he is able to slaughter without plucking.