Rabbi Hiyya bar Yoseph taught the following in the presence of Rabbi Yohanan: The whole of the neck is the appropriate place for slaughtering – that is, from the large ring to the bottommost lobe of the lung. Rava said: ‘The bottommost lobe’ really means the uppermost lobe, for I hold that the appropriate place for slaughtering is the entire extent of the neck observed at the time when the animal is grazing. But on no account may the organs of the throat be stretched by force.
The lungs look like two wings that are divided into lobes on either side of the windpipe that is stretched between them until it reaches the bottom of the lungs. According to Rava, the appropriate place for ritual slaughter on the windpipe extends until the area opposite the lobe that is closest to the animal’s head, which is at the bottom when the animal is hanging by its feet, but at the top when the lungs are held up by the windpipe. This explanation stands in contrast with the simple reading of the baraita which could be understood to mean that the place of ritual slaughter extends to the very bottom of the lungs, the place where the windpipe enters them.
The Ba”h explains that the baraita used the expression “bottommost” in order to indicate that the animal should be checked after slaughter by hanging it upside down, since in that positions the lobes spread out and can be examined more easily.
A common misperception is that a giraffe cannot be slaughtered because we do not know where on its neck shehitah can be performed. In fact, as we learn on today’s daf (=page), ritual slaughter can be performed anywhere on the animal’s neck, which means that while a pigeon may only have a few inches for shehitah and a cow about a foot, a giraffe would have six feet of room for slaughter to be performed. (See “What’s the truth about…giraffe meat?” for more details.)