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Eating meat that was not removed from a living animal
Hi Rabbis and Michael-
How do we decide if some meat we want to eat is ok, ie: was it slaughtered and meat removed before death, if we don't want to go through the trouble of only eating kosher meat?
Thank you!
Here is one suggestion: I would inquire if the slaughter house meets the standards of the USDA and the SPCA. I am under the impression that they require the humane slaughtering of animals, which includes that the animal not be butchered until it stops moving.
Rabbi Yitz
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This Noahide commandment prohibits meat that was torn or cut from a warm-blooded animal or bird before it was dead (which for non-kosher slaughter means before the heart stopped beating).

PRACTICALLY SPEAKING, eating store-bought meat that comes from the large U.S. slaughter houses is no longer a problem. Although they aren't required to guard against that specific issue, the slaughtering regulations and guidelines they do have in place make it very unlikely that it ever happens, if the animals are properly bled out between stunning and butchering. Then it is very unlikely that any given piece of this meat in the grocery store was cut from a still-living animal.

My further recommendation would be to call the plant which is the source for the non-kosher meat you want to purchase, and find out how reliably it holds to the relevant FDA standards for "humane slaughter" - whether they can certify that nearly 100% of the animals they process go through bleed-out followed by a long enough delay to insure that "heart death" has certainly occurred, *before* they start removing any meat for human consumption.

Don't expect this to be easy. Many slaughter houses are highly suspicious about any requests from non-governmental outsiders for information, because of criticism and harassment conducted by some animal-rights groups.

Note: "mountain oysters"/testicles are often cut from live cattle which are castrated. They should not be eaten by anyone unless it is verified that they were removed from an animal that was already dead.
Is it really okay to buy meat in the store? How can we know it is not taken from a living animal?
A Gentile is only liable for a transgression of the Noahide Commandments if he performed the forbidden act knowingly, or knowing that there is a significant probability that he might be performing the forbidden act. (Committing unintentional homicide through negligence is an exception.) Usually, there is only a small chance (much less than 50%) that any piece of commercial meat sold in a store or served in a restaurant would have been cut from an animal while it was still alive. So when you get a random package of meat in a store or a meal in a restaurant, it's very unlikely (less than 50%) that you're eating a piece of forbidden meat, and therefore you could not be liable for anything on that account.

This is certainly the case if the meat is from a slaughterhouse that follows practices that make it very unlikely that butchering of an animal could begin before the animal's heart permanently stopped beating (regardless of whether or not the animal was stunned), and if there are inspectors to make sure that those practices are followed.

On the other hand, there are some animal parts that are almost always taken from living animals: testicles (for example, from castrated bulls) and bobbed tails (for example, from sheep and dogs). Those parts should not be eaten unless one knows with certainty that the meat before him was not taken from a live animal.

These points are explained in Part IV of the book "The Divine Code," Volume 1, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner:
The book also explains that for any meat that is reliably kosher for Jews, there is definitely no chance that it could be forbidden for Gentiles in regard to the requirements of the Noahide Code.

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Zemira Wrote:I am concerned lest I eat meat of an animal inhumanely slaughtered.  However, I am wondering about not being treated well while being raised, like chickens that can't even turn around in their cage and are treated horribly, their little feet not even touching grass in their lives.  Then there are the pictures we see of cattle desperate to escape being driven into the pens and slaughter houses.  Most of our meat is filled with antibiotics and chemicals....I try to avoid articles about the abuse, but it is inescapable.

I recommend that you browse through the web site of the American Meat Institute,

In particular, see the section on Animal Welfare:

The prime document to see is the "Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines and Audit Guide 2010 Edition (draft) February 2010" (PDF):

If you wish to be very particular about the meat you buy, it will probably require a significant effort, but you can try to find out the contact information for the personal businesses or corporations that run the slaughterhouses for the consumer meat that you have available to choose from. If the operation is large enough to require federal inspections, for any type of meat (beef, lamb, pork, poultry), you can contact the USDA and ask how well the operation is conforming to USDA regulations, and to the most current Recommended Animal Handling Guidelines.

Zemira Wrote: So my question is where does kosher meat come from?

Some of it comes from regular non-kosher slaughterhouses, which sell a small percentage of their animals for in-house kosher slaughter. Some of it comes from slaughterhouses that are dedicated entirely to kosher slaughter. If you contact the kosher-certification agencies that give kosher certification ("hechsher") to the various brands of kosher meat that are available to you, they can give you information about that. They can also tell you the method by which the animals are slaughtered (e.g. for cattle, whether they are slaughtered in an upright position, or hoisted by chain; most modern operations use the less stressful upright position).

Zemira Wrote: Is there a "kosher" way to raise animals?

"Kosher meat" for Jews refers to the method of slaughtering the animal, inspecting parts of the carcass for health defects, using only certain parts of the animal for kosher consumption, and salting and rinsing the meat. All of these have numerous ritual details, and Rabbinical oversight is required. The Torah's precepts that specify humane conditions for raising animals are separate, but somewhat related, issues, but this is not what determines the kosher status of the meat, for either Gentiles (for whom the meat must not have been severed from a living animal), or for Jews (who have many additional requirements and conditions).

Zemira Wrote: Is kosher meat raised by Jews who maintain a certain standard?

Most of the animals slaughtered for kosher meat are raised by non-Jewish farmers. There are exceptions, and Jewish-owed poultry farms are more common, including free-ranging.

Zemira Wrote:If I eat regular meat do I need to salt it to remove blood?

No. Gentiles are permitted to eat animal blood if they wish, whether or not it is the blood contained within the meat.

Regarding all of the above, please see this section of our web site, at
Re: Shops, butchers, and forbidden meat

According to "The Divine Code", Part IV, Topic 6:8, A Gentile does not have a prohibition in cases of doubt.

Now just so that I understand this clearly, and to ask a question:

The shops and the butchers around me ... I have no clue whether their meat is not forbidden. Sometimes I get meat from a Halal shop, but mostly I get my chicken and turkey from Sainsbury's or Tesco or Asda (UK stores). Is the fact that I don't know where the meat came from "doubt"? Or is it something I'm meant to investigate?

If I go to a place I've never been to before, should I even consider buying their meat if I have no clue where it's from? Is that "doubt"? Should I assume they are likely to have made sure the animal is dead before cutting off flesh? Or is it best to be vegetarian until I know something?

Thanks for whatever advice you can give.
In "The Divine Code", Part IV, one should study topics 6:8-10 carefully, with the footnotes and editor's notes, so the condition for meat being permitted to Gentiles because of doubt is well understood. The doubt which provides a Gentile with permission to eat meat is in regard to whether or not he/she will certainly be eating meat that was removed from an animal before it died.

Government regulations on animal slaughter in the U.S. and the U.K. are summarized on this web page:

It reports that:
"The UK is governed under both Its own laws and EU law regarding slaughter. Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) is the main governing body responsible for slaughter in the UK.
 1. Stunning; the Animal is 'stunned' – rendering it unconscious
 *2. Killing; the animal either has its throat cut or has a chest stick (cutting close to the heart) both where
      main veins and/or arteries are cut and allowed to bleed causing death by Exsanguination.
In the United Kingdom the methods of slaughter are largely the same as those used in the United States with some differences. The use [in the UK] of captive bolt equipment and electrical stunning are approved methods of stunning sheep, goats, cattle and calves for consumption[3] - with the use of gas reserved for swine.[4] Free bullet slaughter is not an accepted method in the United Kingdom if the animal is intended for consumption."

See for more information. *For UK slaughterhouses that follow these government regulations, especially #2 above, there will be very little chance than any given piece of livestock meat in the commercial food supply will have been cut from the animal before its heart stopped beating - in which case all of that meat is permitted for consumption by Gentiles.

In the UK as in the US, it is not so clear that the regulations for slaughter of poultry will ensure for all the bird-processing methods that the stunned bird is heart-dead before the butchering begins. See the following information:

The following is an article that addresses issues of "[in]humane slaughter" of poultry; but from the point of view of forbidden meat, it has to be read objectively in terms of the probability that the bird will be heart-dead when commercial meat is removed:

If the poultry slaughterhouse does indeed employ Neck Cutting and bleed-out before butchering, then the probability of any of the commercial poultry meat being forbidden for Gentiles is small, and it is therefore permitted.

Note this following informative source:,RJeff.pdf

 From the data, we see that in the late '80s and the '90s, the methods in the EU and UK allowed for a longer time until the death of stunned and bleeding-out poultry, compared to the US. Hopefully the situation has improved by now.
However, I am wondering about animals not being treated well while being raised, like chickens that can't even turn around in their cage and are treated horribly, their little feet not even touching grass in their lives. Then there are the pictures we see of cattle desperate to escape being driven into the pens and slaughter houses. Most of our meat is filled with antibiotics and chemicals...
I have a deep pangs of conscience because I need to eat meat 100% non-kosher ... Animals are deeply badly treated and confined to life, and then are killed anyway, or even worse, are shredded alive! I suffer too much about it because I care about Noetic Law referent. Sometimes I eat, feeling nausea ... but as a poor and dependent person, I can not see solution ... I ask G'd that one day I have conditions to buy my food in Jewish butcher. I do not see any other way to solve this drama. Or at worst, become vegetarian.
obs .: I wanted to see an answer to the other question above brought by aarti111
Thank you.

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