Arts & Culture

Bad News for Giraffes: Endangered Species Declared Kosher

Should you ever find yourself presented with the chance to eat giraffe, rest assured that it's not a violation of kashrut—just a violation of the unspoken rule that people really shouldn't eat potentially endangered species. Heeb reports that the tall, … Read More

By / June 9, 2008

Should you ever find yourself presented with the chance to eat giraffe, rest assured that it's not a violation of kashrut—just a violation of the unspoken rule that people really shouldn't eat potentially endangered species.

Heeb reports that the tall, spotted, long-tongued African ungulates have been declared kosher by Israeli Rabbi Shlomo Mahfoud. JTA affirms that since giraffes have cloven hooves and chew their cud, they are totally kosher.

JTA also explains that eating giraffe meat only went out of fashion because the task of making a biblically correct slice on those notoriously long necks gave kosher butchers some serious headaches. Their puzzlement did not, however, inhibit the consumption of giraffe milk (also kosher), which is incredibly refreshing on a hot Saharan day!

The resident wildlife experts here at Jewcy did a little digging and discovered that despite their dwindling numbers, giraffes are not currently shielded by an animal protection act. But because giraffe parts are sought after for "good-luck bracelets, fly whisks and thread for sewing or stringing beads" (their tails are considered to be especially precious), not to mention their meat and hide, the otherwise all but predator-less, nice-guy creatures often fall victim to human attack. Despite what the San Diego Zoo might say, it sounds like giraffes are in some serious trouble.

In short: We are not enthused that Rabbi Mahfoud just gave the world a thumbs up on giraffe cutlets. If you must, try the milk. But if you want to do something truly Jewish, find out how you can help save giraffes on the Wildlife Conservation Society website and sate yourself with animal crackers.