The question was asked: If someone for example is sick and must eat from a non-kosher animal. Must it be shechted (slaughtered) first like a kosher animal? I don't see any reason why it should, since the Torah and Chazal only gave the laws of kosher shechita for a kosher animal. However, perhaps there is a source that speaks this out explicitly.

(This is the best I can do to source this. If I would have had more ability to research this I wouldn't be asking the question looking for a source.)

  • anecdotally, I vaguely recall from the novel "The Wall" about lif ein the ghetto where the Jews there ate a horse and IIRC worked with their rabbi to make sure it was shechted. Of course, this is a 30 year old memory of a book I didn't enjoy about a detail I may just have invented.
    – rosends
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 12:00
  • 3
    I don't understand the motivation for your parenthetical comment. The motivation for your question is clear, and it doesn't look like you're making any assumptions that you ought to be providing a source for.
    – Isaac Moses
    Commented Jan 4, 2013 at 14:42
  • 1
    @IsaacMoses I've learned my lesson in the past and I never know what the moderators or others with high reputations might comment. A precautionary step ;)...
    – Yehoshua
    Commented Jan 5, 2013 at 16:38
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    Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/32163/5323
    – MTL
    Commented Dec 30, 2014 at 14:32

2 Answers 2


The Rambam rules (Avot HaTumah 2:1) that if one shechts a non-kosher animal it does not attain Nevelah status until it finishes dying, unlike by kosher Shechita where it is considered dead immediately after the Shechita even as it is twitching (and additionally, Kosher Shechita should remove the tumah and prohibition of Nevela, but possibly leaving it as a Tereifa). He also rules (Shechita 2:2) that non-kosher animals shechted in the Mikdash are not a problem of Chullin baAzara.

The Rashba rules like the first Rambam above in Torat haBayit haAruch 2:3 and clarifies that the reason is that Shechita does not apply to non-kosher animals. This Rashba is quoted by the Shach (YD 27:2) as well.


I recall explicitly learning that shechitah accomplishes nothing from a halachic perspective on non-kosher species; but would have to find the source.

There are stories of people who had to eat a non-kosher animal (either due to starvation or some odd medical condition) where they shechted it first to feel less bad about doing what needed to be done, but that's psychological, not halachic.

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