What is a kosher animals?

by kindsofanimals.com
kosher animals

Kosher animals, also known as clean or pure animals (in Hebrew: סימני כשרות בבעלי חיים/ in English: Kosher animals), are considered by Jewish people to contain elements that are compliant with, or adhere to, the regulations of Kashrut laws, in order to be deemed as Kosher food for Jewish people. These dietary laws derive from various passages in the Torah and have been modified, supplemented, and further clarified into Halakha rules. Many other regulations related to animals are also mentioned in the 613 commandments.

What is Kashrut?

Kashrut, also known as kashruth or kashrus in Hebrew (כַּשְׁרוּת), refers to a body of religious laws that dictate the dietary restrictions of Jewish individuals. Food items that are deemed suitable for consumption according to halakha, the Jewish law, are referred to as kosher (pronounced /ˈkoʊʃər/) in English. The term kosher originates from the Ashkenazi Hebrew pronunciation of the word kashér (כָּשֵׁר), which translates to “fit” or “proper” in this context, indicating that the food is appropriate for consumption in accordance with Jewish dietary laws.

Which animals are kosher?

Land Animals

The rule for land animals is a simple one: kosher animals must both chew their cud and have split hooves (Leviticus 11:3 and Deuteronomy 14:6).

The kosher classification allows for certain animal species to be consumed, notably cows, oxen, goats, sheep, buffalo, and deer. While urban moderns may be unfamiliar with the concept of chewing the cud, it is in fact a straightforward process. Ruminant animals possess a unique digestive system consisting of several stomach chambers, unlike humans who have a single stomach. When food is consumed, only a portion of it is initially digested while the remaining portion, known as cud, is regurgitated and rechewed until it is eventually digested.

kosher animals Land Animals

kosher animals Land Animals

The Torah neither elucidates nor provides justification as to why particular terrestrial animals were deemed acceptable for consumption and others were not. Thus, this unresolved matter will likely remain a subject of contemplation for contemporary scholars.

It is essential to note that land animals that possess divided hooves but lack the characteristic of chewing their cud are ineligible to be deemed kosher under any circumstances, regardless of the method of slaughter employed.

Undoubtedly, the most widely recognized instance of this phenomenon is demonstrated by the pig, as it possesses divided hooves yet abstains from rumination.

The pig is not kosher animals

The pig is not kosher animals

It is imperative to note that the attainment of kosher status for animals necessitates the presence of both signs, as there exists no classification for animals that are deemed “partially kosher.”


A fish can be kosher animals if it has both scales and fins (Leviticus 11:9 and Deuteronomy 14:9).

In accordance with Jewish dietary laws, a water-dwelling creature is deemed kosher only if it possesses fins and scales. Therefore, certain species such as salmon, tuna, pike, flounder, carp, and herring comply with the criteria, while others such as catfish, sturgeon, swordfish, lobster, shellfish, crabs, and aquatic mammals do not. Additionally, authoritative figures within the Jewish community have stated that any fish bearing scales will also have fins, thus signifying that any species with scales will satisfy the kosher standards, provided that it adheres to the aforementioned regulations.

Kosher animals Fish

Kosher animals Fish


The Torah enumerates a total of twenty-four avian species that are considered non-kosher, with the majority of them being categorized under predatory and scavenger birds. Although the Torah itself does not furnish any guidelines regarding what makes a bird kosher, the rabbis have provided useful insights through their interpretation of the scriptures (please refer to the attached article for further elucidation). To cite examples of birds that are deemed kosher, one can point to domesticated species like chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and pigeons.

Kosher animals Fowl

Kosher animals Fowl

It should be noted that any mammal or bird which falls into the category of being warm-blooded and considered kosher, is required to undergo both shechitah (kosher slaughter) and salting (to extract the blood) before it is deemed fit for consumption. In practical application, only meat that has been deemed reliable with official kosher certification may be utilized.

Everything Else

With the exception of four types of locusts, all reptiles, amphibians, worms, and insects are considered non-kosher animals. Although certain Yemenite communities may have a different practice, it is commonly observed among almost all Jews to abstain from consuming the kosher types of locusts.

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