Is Venison Kosher?

I’ve had this question asked of me more than once. I occasionally get an email asking, “is venison kosher?” I’ve also had people ask me in person, so I decided to investigate this topic.

While I am knowledgeable on venison, I’m not an expert on kosher laws, but I researched extensively to find the answer.

Is venison considered kosher meat?

Is Venison Kosher

Not all animals can be kosher meat. For meat to be considered kosher, it must have cloven hooves and chew the cud. 

Deer fall under this, which means venison is eligible to be kosher.

However, for the meat to be kosher, the animal must be slaughtered in a specific way.

This makes it impossible for wild sought venison to be kosher. Not only would many hunting regulations be broken, but it’s nigh impossible to harvest a deer in that manner.

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The Process of Kosher Venison

While deer are kosher animals, for venison to become kosher meat, specific rules need to be followed while slaughtering the animal.

For this reason, only very select farm-raised deer will become kosher venison.

Kosher law dictates that the animal must first be free of any disease or illness for meat to be considered kosher. 

The slaughter is then carried out by a trained professional (shochet), who uses a sharp knife to cut the animal’s trachea.

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Is Venison Kosher

Difficulty in Finding Kosher Venison

While finding kosher venison is rare, it’s not impossible and there are some high-end kosher restaurants with venison on the menu.

The difficulties I see with venison being kosher all concern the animal’s temperament.

Kosher animals need to be slaughtered in a slaughterhouse, so the first challenge is transporting the deer to the slaughterhouse. 

Some ranches have overcome this by having slaughterhouses on site.

The next difficulty is deer are flighty creatures. Unlike cows or sheep, deer are a lot more challenging to tame. 

They are also quick to react and present a risk of injury if spooked.

However, the fact is that deer are kosher animals, and farm-raised venison can be kosher meat, provided the animal has been properly slaughtered.

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