In a development which is sure to cause bitter disagreement within the Jewish community, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow said yesterday in an interview with Israeli news site Ynet that cloned meat should not be subject to the rules that apply to the consumption of regular meat.
In the most controversial part of the interview, Rabbi Cherlow, who is a Modern Orthodox rabbi and posek based at Yeshivat Hesder Amit Orot Shaul in Kfar Batya, Raanana, Israel, says that “cloned meat produced from a pig shall not be defined as prohibited for consumption – including with milk.”
The interview, which was timed to preface his speech at a Bar-Ilan University symposium entitled “Science and Halacha” Rabbi Cherlow advocated rabbinic approval of cloned meat “so that people would not starve, to prevent pollution, and to avoid the suffering of animals.”
JTA reports the rabbi as saying that when the “cell of a pig is used and its genetic material is utilized in the production of food, the cell in fact loses its original identity and therefore cannot be defined as forbidden for consumption. It wouldn’t even be meat, so you can consume it with dairy.”
The suggestion is not entirely unprecedented. In 2013, Rabbi Menachem Genack said that lab-grown meat could be consumed alongside dairy products without violating halachic law.
Anticipating the likely controversy, Rabbi Cherlow said “Without prophesizing, clearly there will be a major disagreement. Halachic thought should examine the needs of all humanity, not only one’s own case.”