While many people would never think of eating cat meat, or dog meat, it is consumed in some nations. Some scientists even warn that if we do not control human population growth it is only a matter of time before cat and dog are on the menu world wide as beef will become too expensive. Should we be worried about eating cat meat or dog meat?
Many people grow up loving their pet cat, or their pet dog. Even in nations where cats and dogs are consumed, they are sometimes also kept as pets. People who eat cat and dog do not typically eat their pets, however, cats and dogs are often raised much in the same way we raise chickens, or cattle. In nations were eating cat or dog are common, some cats and dogs are caught off the street to be used as food.
There are risks to people who eat cat or dog meat, particularly when it comes from “stray” animals.
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Spread of Disease
Animals who eat other animals are more likely to have diseases which could affect the end consumer: You!
Mad Cow Disease (BSE) started because cows were being fed the processed remains of dead sheep. Cows, of course, are meant to eat only vegetation… not meat, but farmers found that dead animals, such as sheep, could be rendered and fed to cattle as a cheap feed, and bingo, we had BSE! BSE became a problem for people when people ate infected cattle.
When animals eat other animals they are exposed to every parasite, every disease, that animal has. In some cases one animal might have a parasite that does absolutely nothing to it, but the same parasite could cause problems further up the food chain… meaning that animals who eat other animals have more risks when they are eaten.
Some parasites, such as Trichinella, are found in many wild animals and can cause trichinosis, again the further up the food chain an animal is, the more likely they are to have this parasite as they get it from eating raw meat of animals that carry the parasite.
Cats are true carnivores, they eat more meat than dogs. Of note when Hawaiians and Polynesians ate dog, the dogs were often fed only a vegetarian diet, thus reducing health related concerns.
Rabies is always a risk one encounters when eating meat that is not farm raised, and indeed several people have contacted rabies by eating meat from contaminated dogs.
The known health risks from eating carnivores is responsible for laws against eating cats and dogs in Jewish and Islamic religions.
Note: I do want to note that the Chinese people are often given a bad name for eating cat and dog meat. This practice is not limited to China, and in fact eating cat or dog meat is now becoming a taboo in most of China, and laws are even being made against this practice as more and more people are keeping cats, or dogs, as pets.
It might amaze people to know that cats and dogs are occasionally eaten in countries such as Switzerland. In fact, many first world nations do not have laws against the eating of cats or dogs, as long as they are slaughtered humanely and the meat is inspected. The meat of cats and dogs (in most areas) can not be resold, or fed to people without their knowledge of which animal it is. That is to say that in some areas if a person kills their dog and its eat, it is okay, but to serve it to unsuspecting people in a restaurant as chicken (this has happened) is illegal.
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