Is beefalo kosher?

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  • #611284

    This is a hybrid fertile animal made by crossing a cow and bison, both of which are kosher animals.

    #987780

    LevAryeh
    Member

    Is a mule treif?

    #987781

    writersoul
    Member

    Without commenting on its kosher status or lack thereof…

    …BEEFALO?

    #987782

    What does a mule have to do with this question?

    I believe, although am not certain, that this animal has both kosher symbols, rumination and cloven hooves.

    #987783

    LevAryeh
    Member

    Ok, I’ll explain my joke. A mule is a cross between a horse and a donkey, which are both treif. Some people…

    #987784

    Sam2
    Participant

    It should be Kosher as long as it has the Simanim. Can it cross-breed with a cow or a bison? If so, then it’s clear that it’s Kosher.

    #987785

    oomis
    Participant

    Buffalo and beef. Why not, they are of the bovine specie? It’s not like a sheep and cow were crossbred. Ask your LOR. I cannot bring myself to ear buffalo meat, for some reason, though.

    #987786

    akuperma
    Participant

    Bison are just a different type of cow, just like Blacks and Whites are different types of people. Bison and Cattle will breed naturally and produce fertile offspring. Based on DNA analysis, it turns out most American Bison are part cattle. By way of contrast, donkeys and horses do not mate in the wild, and the offspring are usually sterile.

    #987787

    Nechomah
    Participant

    SF – Not only do there have to be the simanim of a kosher animal, there has to be a mesorah of us eating it, like for example turkey. Not all Jews have a mesorah to eat it, but things got crossed along the way and now basically we all eat it.

    #987788

    Redleg
    Participant

    The difference between eating turkey and eating bison (beefalo) is that beheimos and chayos have explicit simanim clearly enunciated in the Torah. The Torah does not specify simanim of kosher ofos. the simanim for birds are from divrei sofrim. A better question would be is a bison/beefalo a beheima or a chayah requiring kisui.

    I have seen bison meat with chashuva hechseirim. Bison is very lean and one must be careful not to overcook it. An overcooked bison burger very closely resembles a hockey puck both in appearance and texture.

    #987789

    oomis
    Participant

    That hockey puck costs and arm and a leg. So THAT’S a far better reason to avoid cooking one.

    #987790

    twisted
    Participant

    The Chazon Ish ruling on the zebu would indicate that bison may be kosher but we can’t eat it anyway.

    #987791

    Sam2
    Participant

    Nechomah: The Chumras HaRama of Mesorah is Davka by birds, not animals.

    Twisted: I think everyone holds nowadays that had they discovered that the zebu can cross-breed with a cow before the Chazon Ish was Niftar, that he would have been Modeh that it was 100% Kosher.

    #987792

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    twisted: The ruling of the Chazon Ish on the zebu is not so simple. The Chazon Ish did not rule that a zebu can’t be eaten no matter what. He only responded to a ruling from Rabbi Herzog zt”l. R’ Herzog wrote that we do not require a mesorah on new animals, and therefore a zebu can be eaten. The Chazon Ish wrote that he disagrees, and if the zebu is a new animal, we shouldn’t eat it because we do require a mesorah.

    The question is, what defines a new animal? Many scientists regard the zebu as being the same as regular cattle, and even call it by the same species name.

    The other question is when do we require a mesorah? For a new animal we’ve never seen before is one thing. But a beefalo is not a regular animal. It comes from 2 animals, and we have a mesorah on each of them. Does the mesorah get passed down to their offspring?

    This is not a question for people here. This should be decided by a knowledgeable Rav.

    #987793

    Redleg
    Participant

    There are two kinds of domestic cattle. cattle without shoulder humps like European cattle and humped cattle like the Zebu and other Indian and eastern breeds. both varieties are inter-fertile. Zebus and zebu crossbreeds relatively resistant to heat and so are more commonly raised in the southern U.S. and South America. Humped cattle are shown in Egyptian friezes and were undoubtedly known in ancient Israel and Bavel. When Abaye and Rava had a barbecue, the steaks came from a Zebu or related variety..

    Bison, on the other hand, were never farmed until recently and while kosher, may very well be chayos. Other kosher wild animals that are currently farmed are deer, American Elk and Eland (a kind of big antelope) in South Africa.

    Interestingly, besides the American bison that we all know, there is a European variety, called Wissent, that is found in eastern Poland and Belarus. The RAMAH must have been familiar with it.

    #987794

    akuperma
    Participant

    1. There are two separate halachic issues: 1) whether a Beefalo (a Bison-Cow hybrid) is a kosher animal; AND 2) whether it is permitted to breed them because of a distinct isur of mixing separate animals (the “mule”) issue.

    2. There should be no problem with eating a “Beefalo” since it is just a funny looking cow (as are all Bison), and they are clearly cattle with which we have always been familiar. Unlike mules, they naturally mate and produce fertile offspring. No shailoh.

    3. The “zebu” was due to a person ignorant about biology asking a shailoh based on a false premise, i.e. saying that since a “zebu” is a new animal we have no experience with, do we need a separate mesorah to hold it to be kosher. If the person did his research properly before asking, the question would have been based on “a zebu is a funny looking cow from India – that is in all ways just another type of cow, not a separate species”. When one asks a shailoh, one states facts and the Rav answers on the basis of those stated facts, and if you mess up with your facts, the answer you receive is no more relevant than the misstated facts upon which the shailoh was based.

    #987797

    octopi
    Member

    i’m no rabbie, but yes, buffalo is kosher. i’ve had it before.

    #987798

    Outsider
    Member

    I recently had a discussion about this with my Rabbi #1…. Jews are not permitted to cross breed animals, or plants, but we are permitted to take benefit from the results. So, if you have a male and a female of an existing cross-breed, you are permitted to eat them, or breed them. Sorry, I can’t provide referenced… so…. read at your own risk.

    #987799

    So many “proofs” of the Torah come in the form of there only being one animal (genus Sus) that has cloven hooves, but doesn’t ruminate.

    If I was to cross breed animals until I produced an animal that only had cloven hooves…

    #987800

    Redleg
    Participant

    the psak from Outsider’s Rav illustrates a major difficulty in paskening practical halachah. The Rav is undoubtedly correct that it is assur to crossbreed animals. The question is, what constitutes crossbreeding. Everyone agrees that breeding a jack donkey on a horse mare, thereby producing a mule, is assur. What about breeding a Limosin bull on a Holstein cow? Limosin cattle are hardy and disease resistant so their heritable traits are desirable. Here’s a case where the Rav really needs some hands-on (or hands-in) experience.

    Secular, what you imagine cannot be done. The animal that has cloven hooves but does not ruminate is the pig. It is impossible to crossbreed any ruminant with a pig nor is it possible to crossbreed two ruminates and end up with a non-ruminant. On second thought, It might be possible with modern genetic engineering and recombinant DNA, but not through the normal, barnyard variety of gentech.

    #987803

    Redleg- DNA recombinant technology is not necessary to achieve what I proposed.

    How do you think we got the Cavendish banana?

    #987804

    Redleg
    Participant

    SF, Ok, How did we get the Cavendish banana? I know that there has been or is an effort being made to breed back the domestic cow to it’s ancestral form, the Aurochs. But an Aurochs is still a ruminant. How would one go about doing what you propose? How many rungs on the evolutionary ladder do you have to go back to get a critter that has cloven hooves but isn’t a ruminant?

    #987805

    PBT
    Member

    Not only is it kosher, but it has less fat than regular beef, and is therefore better for you. In some out-of-town places, like Denver, it’s been hard to come by lately because of the upheavals in the schita industry. But it has all the benefits of beef with less of the risks of disease associated with fat, etc.

    #987806

    Redleg- I tried to address that in previous attempted posts, but it was not allowed through the moderation.

    I wouldn’t suggest to “back” on the evolutionary ladder, instead undertake a artificial selection program to reach the goals, similar to the variety we see in the Canis genus.

    #987807

    Redleg
    Participant

    SecFrum, Don’t know about that. domestic dogs, no matter what their size and shape, are still dogs and have all of the features, however modified, of the ancestral form, the wolf. If you could come up with a dog that’s, say, a strict herbivore with the dentition and digestive tract to match, you might have something

    #987808

    Redleg- Yes, they are all “dogs.” The changes that have taken place did not affect that fact.

    However, there is no reason to believe that other changes desired by breeders could not be accomplished. If a breeder decided s/he wanted a herbivore dog, through enough generations it is completely possible.

    #987809

    WIY
    Member

    This thread is a load of bull

    #987810

    writersoul
    Member

    oomis: I know where the word came from, but it just sounds very funny. (Also, the time of night at which I posted that may be a factor in why I said anything at all… don’t remember when that was, though.)

    #987811

    Redleg
    Participant

    SecFrum, I’m skeptical but not prepared to dismiss your premise. If you’re selectively breeding for desired traits, as was done with dogs, the traits have to be there to start out with, however latent they may be. It’s an interesting concept though.

    #987812

    Redleg- Not necessarily. With enough generations, even non-preexisting traits can be brought about.

    But then we get into the discussion of what is a trait. Bacteria cannot run or breath or mate (not including conjugative transfer of genetic material), but animals can.

    #987813

    lebidik yankel
    Participant

    I seem to recall that the Chazon Ish was based on the shach that we eat only sheep goats and cows (- not the Rama). Of course, a Zebu might be a cow. A buffalo is a bit harder to consider a cow, probably. Its physical appearance is very different.

    #987814

    Redleg
    Participant

    There is no doubt whatever that a Zebu is a cow and was certainly known to Tannaim and Amoraim. A Bison, however, is certainly kosher but is a sufaik chaya. Chayos like deer or antelope, are certainly kosher bur require kisui hadam.

    #987815

    I don’t think we can judge an animal on looks. There is plenty of variety of appearance even from parents to offspring. But DNA analysis should not used either, due to there being no halachic basis for that categorization scheme.

    #987816

    Outsider
    Member

    Good questions. Are we permitted to breed a dog and wolf? What about a coyote and dog? A dingo and dog? How differenet are dogs and wolves in the first place?

    Some breeders actually do use original wolf stock to develop their dogs, to give them a certain “wild” look that is some people like to have. So this question isn’t entirely theoretical.

    #987817

    charliehall
    Participant

    “The Chazon Ish wrote that he disagrees”

    Based on what rishon?

    “A buffalo is a bit harder to consider a cow, probably. Its physical appearance is very different.”

    A Great Dane and a Yorkshire Terrier have very different physical appearances, but both are dogs.

    “A dingo and dog? How differenet are dogs and wolves in the first place?”

    Same species, all of them.

    #987818

    Outsider
    Member

    Charlie, I think you’re getting the American Bison and a Buffalo mixed up (maybe) True Buffalo look very much like cows.

    #987819

    Redleg
    Participant

    Outsider, You are correct in stating that a buffalo is a different animal, but the fact is that American Bison are commonly called buffalo even though they technically aren’t. Beefalo is a domestic cattle/Bison hybrid

    Re dogs. All domestic dogs, coyotes, dingos are, in fact, genetically wolves.

    I have raised this issue with our local Rav. Is conventional taxonomy and halachic taxonomy the same? If animals don’t resemble one another are the different minim, even though they are the same species according to conventional taxonomy? Are juvenile forms a different min than adult forms? As stated above, a great dane and a dachshund are taxonomically identical, are the different minim al pi halacha?

    #987820

    twisted
    Participant

    To the Zebu advocates: Any mehadrin frozen meat comming to EY from South America will have a “guaranteed no zebu” stamp on the kashrus label. The Chazon Ish, as others before him read that Shach out of its context, (horn characteristics of chaya) to equate the “we only go my mesorah in determining chaya status as we do by birds” to we use the mesorah limitation of birds to all determinants of animals. He gave a reason, that we may dismiss as not relevant today, and we may say that he was given wrong information, yet things change very slowly here, and many will not dare go against the Chazon Ish. As an a former American, in my carnivorous past I ate bison, and if I was zoche to a situation in which I could keep cows, I would keep Zebu. It is rumored to have an incredible “glatt rate”.

    #987821

    twisted
    Participant

    Redleg, the attempt to back breed the Aurochs (bovis primogena) has its roots in Nazi ymshm purity ideas. The result is the Heck cattle. If you are the type to shun Volkswagon and such, you should avoid Heck also. Another breed to watch is the Belgian Blue, a massive animal that sports huge muscle developement. Some breeders shave them to better show off the big bulges.

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