||The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the English-speaking world and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (December 2010)|
The animals most commonly slaughtered for food are cattle, water buffalo (for beef and veal), sheep, goats (for lamb and mutton), pigs (for pork), horses (for horse meat), and fowl, largely chickens, turkeys, and ducks and increasingly fish from the aquaculture industry (fish farming).
Traditions and laws 
Laws for ritual slaughter 
Ritual slaughter of animals is also used for food production. Such slaughter is governed by various laws, most notably:
United States 
- Chemical (carbon dioxide)
- This method is approved for sheep, calves and swine. The animal is asphyxiated by the use of carbon dioxide gas before being bled.
- Mechanical (captive bolt)
- This method is approved for sheep, swine, goats, calves, cattle, horses, mules, and other equines. A captive bolt stunner is applied to the livestock so as to produce quick unconsciousness in the animals before they are bled.
- Mechanical (gunshot)
- This method is approved for cattle, calves, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and other equines. The gun is used to render the animal quickly unconscious (and presumably dead) before being bled.
- Electrical (stunning or slaughtering with electric current)
- This method is approved for swine, sheep, calves, cattle, and goats. The current applied is sufficient to ensure surgical anesthesia throughout the "bleeding" of the animal.
Each of these methods is outlined in detail, and the regulations require that inspectors identify operations which cause "undue" "excitement and discomfort" of animals.
United Kingdom 
The UK is governed under both its own laws and EU law regarding slaughter. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the main governing body responsible for slaughter in the UK.
The general principle of the legal non ritual slaughter of animals for consumption in the UK is a two stage process to ensure a rapid death with less suffering than in earlier killing methods.
1.Stunning; the Animal is 'stunned' – rendering it unconscious
2. Killing; the animal either has its throat cut or has a chest stick (cutting close to the heart) both where main veins and/or arteries are cut and allowed to bleed causing death by Exsanguination.
In the United Kingdom the methods of slaughter are largely the same as those used in the United States with some differences. The use of captive bolt equipment and electrical stunning are approved methods of stunning sheep, goats, cattle and calves for consumption- with the use of gas reserved for swine. Free bullet slaughter (i.e. using a firearm) is not an accepted method in the United Kingdom if the animal is intended for consumption.
See also 
- Animal euthanasia
- Cattle slaughter
- Controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK)
- Humane Slaughter Act
- Ritual slaughter, Animal sacrifice
- Pig scalder
- Rendering (food processing)
- Canada Agricultural Products Act R.S., 1985, c. 20 (4th Supp.)
- Humane Slaughter of Livestock Regulations
- Slovak Pig Slaughter and Traditional Sausage Making - article in English with detailed pictures of a Slovak family slaughtering a pig in the traditional style
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