Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Four-legged Vegans in the House?

Now, my cat ate a squashed pea off of the kitchen floor the other day, and he's been known to snack on house plants from time to time, but unlike some vegans out there, I will not insist on trying to turn my perfectly lovely 9-pound carnivorous tabby into a vegan.

There's ethics about what your yourself eat, and then there's a step into Crazyland.

At some point, we have to accept the facts: cats are carnivores, from their sharp teeth to their razor-like claws to the chemical makeup of their stomach juices and length of their intestinal tract. Forcing them to an all-plant diet because you don't want animals to suffer is ludicrous. You'll only be passing the suffering onto your beloved pet.

Now I know that the anti-vegans out there will take this argument and project it onto humans and make wild claims about meat as an essential ingredient for human development, but even that is a subject of fierce debate. Did we evolve as scavengers? Was our brain development contingent on adding meat proteins to our diet? etc etc etc

My own personal belief is that for people, it is a different issue. We can survive without meat; unless there is scientific evidence of which I am unaware, conventional wisdom states that cats and dogs, as carnivores, can not. For people, it is a choice to abstain from meat for whatever reason, be it health, ethics or even aesthetics.

Making that choice for your pet can't be healthy. I don't know of any vets who propose a vegetable-based diet for animals.

I do agree that the pet food industry has been tainted by association with the meat-packing industry and the factory farming model. The leftover bits of livestock are ground up for pet food, and considering the quality of the "mechanically separated meat" that ends up in our tinned meats and soups for human consumption, I can not begin to imagine the meat that's leftover for our pets!

I do understand the desire not to participate in supporting the industrialized food model, but I can not put my pet's health at risk to do so. I haven't really researched organic pet foods - Hell, I don't know if they even exist - but I'd like to see what I can do to avoid Purina and other companies which I imagine use the dregs from the killing floors of the big slaughterhouses.


Cheryl D said...

This article is merely an opinion and not based on facts. Cats ARE Carnivores yes, that is true. Cats CAN eat Vegan and be healthy - there are tens of thousands of Vegan cats out there, including 12 of mine. There is lots of info out there, you just have to seek it. Also, my Vet who is not a Vegan himself highly recommends cats eat AMI Vegan Cat food. In fact he used to sell it in his office, but had a hard time stocking it since it is from Italy. They are working on manufacturing it here very soon though.

I wouldn't recommend calling people crazy who take the time to research and learn that cats can thrive on a Vegan diet. The crazy ones are the people who kill thousands of other animals just to feed their one pet.

Oh, and Vegan dogs? That's just a given. They are not Carnivores, they are Omnivores and can also thrive as Vegans

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