The rules for meat are extremely complex. Only certain kinds of animals are kosher, and there is a very specific method of slaughter. (See Wikipedia for details on kosher slaughter.)

Kosher land animals (as distinct from Fish and fowl) must have split hooves, and they must be cud-chewers or ruminants. This includes cows, bison, deer, sheep, goats, and even giraffes, though you might have trouble finding that last one at your local butcher shop. All of the kosher animals are mammals.

The pig is probably the most famous non-kosher animal. It is singled out for scorn of its split hoof. Based on its outward appearance, it seems to say, "Trust me, I'm kosher." But it's not a cud-chewer. According to Jewish tradition, the pig is the only split-hoof animal that is not a cud-chewer.

Aside from the pig, most non-kosher food animals might be considered uncommon or even exotic by most Americans & Europeans. These would include rabbits, alligators, snakes, possums, and horses, among others.

© 2009 by Steven J Klein