Most sheep are killed like most pigs—after an electrical “stun” administered to the head. Carbon-dioxide stunning and captive-bolt stunning are also permitted by law, though they are less common. Ritual slaughter of sheep, whether according to Jewish or Muslim tradition, involves the severance of the trachea, esophagus, carotid arteries, and jugular veins with a single incision, leading to death. In the United States, sheep are normally not stunned prior to the incision and remain conscious for between two and fifteen seconds thereafter (Davis, 2007).
They may be held in place by hand or with one of a variety of pens and devices used for that purpose. In other developed countries, the leading methods of slaughter are similar to those used in the United States. In the developing world, slaughter methods vary widely, and many animals are killed without stunning (Trent, 2009).
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