The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 2612

Based on obligatory precaution, the head of an animal must not be separated from its body before the spirit (rūḥ) has left its body, although this does not make the animal unlawful to eat. However, there is no problem if the animal’s head is accidentally separated from its body or due to the knife’s sharpness. Similarly, [it is not permitted,] based on obligatory precaution, to break the animal’s neck or cut its spinal cord before the spirit has left its body. The spinal cord is like a white thread that runs between the lumbar vertebrae and extends from the animal’s neck to its tail.