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Are Giraffes Kosher?

September 27, 2006

Rabbi Aubrey  Hersh
Myth: Although the giraffe is a kosher animal, it is not slaughtered because it is not known where on the neck to perform the shechitah (ritual slaughter).
Fact: The reason giraffe isn't on the menu in your local restaurant is purely practical: it would be very expensive !! Also they are amongst the most difficult animals to restrain.

Of course before questioning how to perform the shechitah, we have to ascertain that the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is indeed kosher. However, a visit to your local zoo will reveal this striped giant standing on split hooves and chewing its cud. So no problem there.
But at what point on the neck? Well actually the specific boundaries are always the same for any shechitah, except that for a pigeon, the valid region is a few inches long; for a cow, over 12 inches; and for a giraffe, close to six feet. As a kashrut expert once quipped "Anyone who does not know where to shecht a giraffe, either knows nothing about the laws of shechitah or could not hit the side of a barn with a baseball."
Rabbi Aubrey Hersh