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Friday, April 29, 2011

This Is Not a Peccary?

This is not a pig!!--Such a comfort for the zoo-going  public at the peccary corral at the Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem. To cover most bases, the signage is in Hebrew, Yiddish, English, and Arabic. And it terminates with two exclamation marks to underscore its urgency and transcendent import. (See the photo below; the sign, of course, reads right to left.)

Source: FRGDR blog
 After all, “the other white meat” and the animal that gives it up are anathema to Orthodox Jews and Muslims. According to Leviticus, the pig has the desirable “cloven” hoof but doesn’t ruminate (i.e., chew its cud). To be zoo- and dinner-worthy, you need both assets.

Leviticus explains:

the pig, for though it divides the hoof, it does not chew cud, it is unclean to you. You shall not eat of their flesh nor touch their carcasses; they are unclean to you.

And the Qur’an's unambiguous position on pig consumption boils down to this: Just Say No! (or else!)

Enter the Peccary. But the peccary is a pigoid above the fray. So what if it they are known commonly as skunk pigs? So what if they are as hairy as Sean Connery’s back before Hollywood insisted that the original 007’s dorsal required a blade more persuasive than Odd Job’s? So what if they are members of the family Tayassuidae, a.k.a, New World Pigs, which belong to the artiodactyl suborder Suina, which also includes the bona fide pig family, Suidae.

Not to worry! In addition to cloven hooves, peccaries are blessed with the missing link to orthodox cred: a nonruminating stomach. (even though the organ has three chambers and an internal cuissinart that allows them to process roughage like prickly pear cacti.)

Peccaries for Peace. With that said, isn’t it time to elevate the peccary as a symbol of rapprochement in the Middle East? You’ve got a better idea? Let’s begin with our mutual tolerance for the little critters and erect a peace that lasts. Let's bring Arab and Jew to the peace table--a capacious table where all eat peccary together.

This Is Not a Peace Pipe?

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