A lot of people outside of the Sikh faith are under the impression that every believer of Sikhism is a vegetarian or a vegan, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Are Sikhs allowed to eat meat?
Yes, Siks can eat meat, which includes: pork, beef, chicken, turkey, and all kinds of game without having to worry about breaking the rules. Provided that the animals sacrificed were not killed in the middle of a religious ceremony and did not suffer long, painful deaths.
If a Sikh decides to eat meat is entirely up to them.
Although there are a few rules of Sikhism that influence whether or not Sikhs can consume certain types of meat.
While many believers of this faith opt for a simpler diet, most indulge in eating meat at least every once in a while – if not regularly.
To learn a little bit more about Sikhs and their diet, particularly when it comes to eating meat, you’ll want to read the rest of the inside info we highlight below.
Can Sikhs Eat Meat?
Sikhs have been eating meat ever since the earliest days of this faith, but the “rules” governing whether or not meat could or should be eaten by true believers were set in stone on February 15 of 1980.
The Akal Takht, the governing or central body for Sikh Temporal Affairs, Matt, and the high priest issued a directive on this date stating that eating meat would not go against the religious code of conduct.
Later, certain segments of the Sikh faith decided to add some qualifiers into the mix – encouraging their believers to consume meat only if it was considered to be Jhatka meat (something we dig deeper into in just a moment).
At the end of the day, those that believe in this faith are going to be able to eat most anything they want when it comes to meat without having to feel as though they were going against their most deeply held beliefs.
Understanding Jhatka Meat
We mentioned a moment ago that some parts of the Sikh faith believe that meat can be eaten, but only if it is considered to be Jhatka meat.
What is Jhatka meat?
Is that some special meal or preparation of a meat-bearing animal?
No, not really – though the last question is closer to the meaning of Jhatka meat than anything else.
You see, believers of the Sikh faith that are serious about eating meat that is Jhatka only mean that the animals that were killed for food were killed quickly, without any suffering, and without any religious ceremony being held over the animals ahead of time.
Kosher meat as well as meat prepared according to some Muslim traditions would not qualify and would have to be avoided by these faithful Sikh.
Types Of Meat
While there are some Sikhs who believe that eating beef is against their religion, others argue that it is allowed as long as the meat is slaughtered in a specific way.
Ultimately, it is up to each individual Sikh to decide what they believe and follows accordingly.
Sikhs can eat pork if they choose to do so, though many practitioners of this faith elect not to consume pork when they are in the company of Muslim guests.
That’s something done more out of respect for others than anything else, though.
Sikhs eat bacon, the ham, they eat sausages, and they eat pork – once again provided that these meats have been harvested to their rules, are sacrificed as quickly and as painlessly as possible, and are not part of any other religious rites or ceremonies.
Of course, there are also a number of Sikhs that decide not to eat pork because these animals are such a big part of rural livelihoods in Sikh communities.
That has more to do with individual feelings about these animals than it does any religious rules or restrictions, though.
Poultry is also on the table (pun fully intended) for Sikhs, with many not only choosing to eat chicken, turkey, and other poultry but also choosing to consume eggs as well.
All of this has to be consumed from animals that were treated with respect, animals that led happy and healthy lives, and animals that were harvested via methods that are humane and fair to the creatures themselves.
Some Sikhs don’t like to eat eggs for a variety of different reasons, usually having to do with the fact that the eggs represent life in the earliest stages being ended prematurely, but that’s once again more of a personal choice than anything else.
Why Isn’t Meat Served in Langar?
In the Sikh community, there is something called a langar, the Punjabi word for “kitchen” – and that’s basically what this means for the faithful.
These kitchens are communal kitchens, serving meals to anyone and everyone, regardless of their faith, caste, their gender, their economic status, or anything else really, and encourage people to sit on the floor together (as true equals) and share a meal.
These kitchens are run, operated, and maintained by community volunteers of the Sikh faith and anyone that’s ever been to one of these communal kitchens has no doubt discovered that the meals are always vegetarian.
In fact, that’s probably a big part of why so many people outside of the Sikh faith believe that all followers maintain a vegetarian diet.
In reality, though, because the Sikhs that operate these kitchens want to be as inclusive as possible they tried to maintain menus that are able to be eaten by almost anyone and everyone.
By going vegetarian they don’t have to worry about running afoul of dietary restrictions from other religions, possibly excluding those people from these kitchens intended to be for all.
At the end of the day, yes, members of the Sikh faith are going to be able to eat meat – including beef – provided that the animals sacrificed for this meat or not killed in the middle of a religious ceremony and did not suffer long, painful deaths.
Other than that, though, there really are not that many dietary rules or restrictions in place in the Sikh faith.
Followers of this religion can eat beef, pork, chicken, turkey, and all kinds of game without having to worry about running afoul of their beliefs.