There space those that divide the world into porcophobes and porchophiles. The pig, depending upon the culture, is garbage or venerated. Why do Muslims not eat pork? we delve right into the anthropological check out of this issue at the hand that the American Marvin Harris and his publication Cows, pigs, wars and witches whereby he exposes the possible causes behind the religious taboo that prohibits Muslims and Jews from eat pork. The anthropologist ponders the reasoning behind why some civilization reject the same animal whilst rather love it, and also looks right into the reportedly irrational eating habits of different communities.

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The origins of the prohibition

Judaism, the oldest of the main monotheistic religious beliefs that arised in the center East, is the very first to denounce the pig as an impure animal in the publication of Genesis and also Leviticus. Some 1,500 years later it is the Prophet Muhammad who also points to the pig together a tainted animal. Yahweh and Allah have actually forbidden the pig for numerous Jews and also hundreds of numerous Muslims.

Harris clues out and reviews numerous hypotheses that define the ostracism and the barred of the pig; the most obvious and also popular until the Renaissance, is the id that the pig was a an extremely dirty animal since it wallows in its very own excrement. However, the anthropologist considers this reason insufficient and uncertain to justification why Muslims execute not eat pork, because other animals such together cows, if they remain in a closeup of the door enclosure, can do the same.


The pig makes up for its inability to sweat by cooling off with the clean mud , but if the does not have this and the room where it stays does not allow it come cool turn off in any kind of other way, then it becomes covered with its own feces. The greater the temperature, the dirtier the pig becomes and the arid climate the the Middle east would contribute to the dirt of this animals. The barred of the pig for reasons of public health was additionally endorsed in the thirteenth century by Maimonides, the prominent Jewish theologian and doctor.

for Harris, return this theory is plausible, that does not justify together an exhaustive prohibition, and he qualities the rational consolidation the this dietary taboo to the exploration in the mid-19th century that trichinosis was resulted in by eating pork that had actually not been well cooked. Nor is this a critical explanation because that the anthropologist, since he insurance claims that other conditions at the time caused by other animals were much much more serious than trichinosis and also lethal, and the animals that transmitted lock were not banned.

Other hypotheses suggest that the taboo top top pork comes from the consideration of the pig together a totemic animal by some tribes. However, because that the author, the truth that in the past they were thought about divine animals does not completely explain the refusal to eat it.

Ecology together a determining factor

for the skilled anthropologist, the many valid theory that explains why Jews and Muslims do not eat pork is environmental in nature. Harris considers that the pig was condemned due to the fact that the reproduction of these pets then constituted a danger to the integrity of the herbal and social ecosystems the the center East. These to be arid areas where the best adjusted animals to be ruminants: cattle, sheep and goats. The pig needs fields and rivers, does not create milk, nor skins, no one is it offered to plow or lug loads and additionally eats the very same as man. In short, the pig to be presented together a luxury item, a temptation and also even a challenger for man.

The expert defines that just like the taboo the prohibits eat beef in India, the greater the temptation, the greater the require for a divine prohibition . Follow to the anthropologist ” trying come raise pigs in far-reaching quantities was a bad ecological adaptation. A small-scale manufacturing would only rise the temptation. Therefore, it was far better to totally ban the intake of pork ”.

and also how is the persistence of this prohibition with time explained? Harris exposes his thesis in a resounding means in the book Cows, pigs, wars and witches : Taboos additionally fulfill society functions, such together helping human being to take into consideration themselves a distinctive community, which would describe the maintain of genealogical dietary rule to accomplish this function.

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Because in the end, expertise what is behind one culinary habit or another, provides us far better understand what we eat and also how us eat it. Spain, have to feel fortunate to have actually a distinct ecosystem that has made it possible to promote a society around the pig wherein it have the right to be took pleasure in as a delicacy and as one animal.