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I've understood (and of course, I could be wrong in my understanding) that Lev. 11 and Deut. 14 specifically prohibit human contact ("You shall not touch") and consumption ("You shall not eat") of the carcasses (נבלה) of the unclean animals/ fish/ fowl/ insects/ etc. listed.

But, I don't recall these scriptures ever stating that you could not touch one of those animals/ fish/ fowl/ insects/ etc. while it was still alive (and thus not considered a נבלה).

So, is it permissible to touch an unclean animal that is living (e.g., having a pet pig, snake, etc.)?

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  • this is not a problem in halacha but rather in mystical literature. i think the sefer chasidim talks about this but not sure.
    – ray
    Oct 13 '13 at 4:52
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Animals do not impart or contract ritual impurity while alive (at least not in any situation remotely likely for a pet owner (or anyone) to encounter).

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