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What religions do not eat pork?

Pork is the meat from pigs, which is consumed in many countries around the world. However, some religions forbid the consumption of pork for various reasons. This article will examine the major religions that prohibit pork and discuss the reasons behind these dietary restrictions.


In Judaism, there are clear prohibitions against eating pork. This comes from directives found in the Torah, the central scripture in Judaism.

Specifically, Leviticus 11:7-8 states:

And the pig, though it has a split hoof completely divided, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.

This commandment categorized pigs as unclean animals that should not be consumed. The reason behind this prohibition has been debated by scholars, but it may relate to risks of eating undercooked pork or pigs competing for resources with humans.

Nevertheless, avoiding pork became an important part of following Jewish dietary laws known as kashrut or keeping kosher. This practice remains essential for observant Jews today.


Islam is another major Abrahamic religion that prohibits the consumption of pork. This dietary restriction comes straight from the Quran, the central religious text of Islam.

In Surah 2:173, the Quran specifies:

He has forbidden you only the Maytah (dead animals), and blood, and the flesh of swine

This verse clearly prohibits Muslims from eating pork or products derived from pigs. Like in Judaism, the reasoning is not definitively spelled out but may relate to health risks historically associated with pork.

Not eating pork is one of the key elements of following Islamic dietary laws. All Muslims who strictly adhere to religious obligations abstain from pork.


Most Hindus avoid eating pork as part of following religious dietary guidelines. The view of pigs varies somewhat across different Hindu sects and regional traditions.

In general, many Hindus consider pigs to be impure and avoid pork because pigs are scavengers. Some texts also associate pigs with evil or forbidden acts. Additionally, pigs are not considered acceptable for traditional religious sacrifices in Hinduism.

However, there are some groups in India that do include pork in their diets. Overall, though, devout Hindus traditionally refrain from eating pork.

Seventh-day Adventists

Seventh-day Adventism advocates following many Old Testament guidelines, including Jewish dietary customs. As such, most Adventists avoid eating pork based on the directives found in Leviticus.

In addition, Seventh-day Adventists often promote vegetarian or vegan diets for health reasons. The avoidance of pork fits within a broader tendency to exclude meat from diets.

So while not completely banned, pork is heavily discouraged among Seventh-day Adventists.


Rastafarianism emerged in Jamaica among followers who identify Haile Selassie I as a messianic figure. Rastafarians avoid consuming pork based on interpretations from the Old Testament.

In addition, Rastafarians tend to shun meat more broadly and often follow an ital vegetarian or vegan diet. Meat consumption is seen as promoting violence, while fruits and vegetables are viewed as good, natural foods.

So pork avoidance fits into the ital principles followed by many Rastafarians.

Buddhism and Pork

Unlike the religions already discussed, Buddhism does not expressly forbid eating pork across all its denominations. The Buddha did not prohibit any food, but instead focused on moderation between sensual indulgence and self-mortification.

That said, many Buddhists are vegetarians or vegans based on ideals of non-violence and compassion. And there are some specific Buddhist groups that encourage vegetarianism and do not eat pork.

For example, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Buddhists often follow vegetarian or vegan diets. So while not completely excluded, pork consumption is low among various Buddhist communities.

Religions That Allow Pork

While the religions discussed so far prohibit pork, it is permitted and widely consumed in some other major faiths. These include:

  • Christianity
  • Roman/Greek Mythology
  • Scientology
  • Cao Dai

The Bible includes passages that declare all food clean and allow Christians to consume pork. Roman and Greek myths also lack any prohibitions against pork. Newer religions like Scientology do not ban any food sources. And Vietnamese Cao Dai followers can eat pork as part of a normal diet.

So while pork is forbidden in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and some other faiths, it does not have religious restrictions universally across all religions.

Reasons for Avoiding Pork

There are some common themes around why certain religions prohibit pork consumption:

  • Purity – pigs seen as impure or unclean animals
  • Health – risks of consuming undercooked pork
  • Animal welfare – pigs viewed as scavengers or eating forbidden food
  • Non-violence – avoiding meat more broadly
  • Interpretation of holy texts

Of course, the specific reasoning depends on each religion’s teachings and traditions. But notions of purity, health concerns, animal ethics, non-violence, and scriptural directives all factor into various faiths’ avoidance of pork.

Population Demographics

Here is an overview of the global population that follows religions that prohibit pork:

Religion Estimated Global Population
Islam 1.9 billion
Hinduism 1.2 billion
Judaism 14.8 million
Seventh-day Adventists 21.9 million
Rastafarians 600,000

This gives a rough idea of the large number of people worldwide across different faiths that do not consume pork based on religious reasons. Islam and Hinduism have by far the most followers, given their prevalence across many countries.

Regional Differences

Looking geographically, there are some clear regional patterns in terms of pork consumption.

The Middle East and North Africa have very low pork consumption, as most people follow Islam. The country with the highest level is Israel, due to its Jewish population. But all other countries in the region have limited pork in diets.

South Asia also historically had low pork consumption due to the large Hindu population, along with Islamic adherents. However, Christians and others do consume pork. India has slightly higher pork usage than Pakistan or Bangladesh.

Jewish kosher rules impact pork intake in Israel relative to other Middle Eastern nations. And Seventh-day Adventists and Rastafarians affect pork consumption to some degree in the Caribbean.

By contrast, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa do not have prohibition on pork in major religions. So consumption is significantly higher in these regions.

Top Pork Consuming Countries

Here are the top pork consuming countries globally based on total consumption:

  1. China – 54.56 million tonnes
  2. European Union – 22.5 million tonnes
  3. United States – 11.5 million tonnes
  4. Russia – 3.1 million tonnes
  5. Brazil – 3.1 million tonnes

China stands out with by far the highest level of pork consumption, with over double the EU. The U.S. takes the third spot. Russia and Brazil round out the top 5 pork countries.

Top Pork Consuming Countries Per Capita

Adjusting for population, here are the top countries for per capita pork consumption per year:

  1. Spain – 96 lbs
  2. Austria – 83 lbs
  3. Germany – 82 lbs
  4. Poland – 79 lbs
  5. Denmark – 77 lbs

European nations take all the top 5 spots when looking at per capita pork intake. Spain leads the way with around 96 lbs per person annually. Outside Europe, China and South Korea also have high per capita consumption.

Modern Considerations

While the restrictions against pork in Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and some other faiths remain in place, there are some modern factors that impact pork consumption patterns.

These include:

  • Secularization in some countries leading people to diverge from religious food customs.
  • Immigration spreading cuisines and pork-friendly faiths to new regions.
  • Modern regulations and practices reducing risks of consuming pork.
  • Continued relevance of pork prohibitions as part of cultural identity within certain communities.

So while ancient dietary restrictions remain codified in religious texts, their practical adherence can be shaped by modern influences. This leads to variations in pork consumption even within ethnic, national or religious populations.


While most faiths allow pork consumption, it is prohibited in Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and some other religions. Reasons relate to purity concepts, health concerns, animal welfare and scriptural interpretations. This impacts dietary patterns significantly in the Middle East, South Asia and among other communities worldwide. However, modern factors can also influence pork intake. Ultimately, consider religious practices when assessing pork consumption, but also recognize diversity within any given population.