So what’s stopping us from eating our Pets? Cats, dogs, Guinea Pig, and horses.

Katy Alvarado

Well, you wouldn’t eat a member of your family, would you? We build silent bonds with our pets such that they become to form a part of our family. The act of killing our beloved friends and companions that just happen to be of a different species feels so wrong that most would not even think about doing it, let alone consuming the meat. This is because we tend to draw a line between those animals we keep as pets and those animals we consider only as sources of food. The association between animals and food helps to swallow any guilt about killing the animal and makes it a more a necessary process by which we continue to survive. But pets are animals just the same as chickens, cows, and sheep. So setting aside this emotional bias that we have towards our pets, what is stopping us from eating cats, dogs, guinea pigs and horse? As it turns out, very little.


While killing your pet and then eating it sounds like first degree murder, the truth of the matter is that up until the end of 2018 if you found yourself in one of the 44 states that only required you to humanely kill your cat or dog, then there was nothing else stopping you from consuming that animal as food. The only other guideline to follow was that the pet meat could not be sold to or in restaurants or supermarkets. In other jurisdiction, such as Michigan, the horse or dog meat needed only to be properly labeled and no other rules were set. In fact, depending on how you interpret the law in the state you were in you might have found room to argue and possibly legally retain the right to eat cat or dog meat. However, with the recently passed “Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2018” it is now illegal in the U.S to “knowingly slaughter a dog or cat for human consumption” and to be basically be dealing with dog or car meat in general. The penalty for a violation would only be a fine which would not be greater than $5,000.  In some jurisdictions like New York, for example, dog and cat consumption had already been illegal prior due to the specific language used in the relevant law. New York makes it illegal “to slaughter or butcher domesticated dog or domesticated cat to create food, meat products for human or animal consumption.”


If you missed the opportunity to legally consume cat or dog meat, other pets are still legal to murder and consume. Perhaps you would like to try horse, guinea pig, or rabbit? Maybe these are not animals you would normallyconsume but horse meat is sold and consumed in different parts of the world as is rabbit meat. Guinea pig is a staple in many South American countries. Americans do not associate these companion animals that we regularly create relationships with as food. We treat our horses much more humanely because we do not eat them – we just use them for entertaining by forcing them to race. Horse, guinea pigs, and rabbits may not be on the same level as dogs and cats as far as being a popular choice for a pet. Still, there is a sense of reservation when thinking about eating these animals but under the law there is not much restriction on eating horses, guinea pigs, or rabbits. Actually, guinea pig meat and rabbit meat happens to be regulated and monitored by the FDA so it is perfectly within your legal rights to consume horse meat and perfectly safe to eat. So, it is legal to buy, sell, and consume guinea pig meat. You might even order guinea pig by going to the right restaurant. It is also legal to buy and sell horse meat in most states. The only restriction on horse meat is that you are not allowed to slaughter the horse which means you will not find a supplier in the U.S but that does not mean you can’t order it online if you really had a craving for horse.


So, the answer to our question is that it’s not a lot of legal restrictions holding us back from eating our cute, fuzzy, companion friends. It leans more towards societal and cultural norms, ethical values and an experimental palette?


2 Responses

  1. Interesting topic. Note items needing correcting: “to be basically be dealing with dog or car meat in general.”; “normallyconsume”; “we just use them for entertaining by forcing them to race.” Final paragraph needs some tweaking as well.

  2. Nice post on ‘So what’s stopping us from eating our Pets? Cats, dogs, Guinea Pig, and horses’. Personalized dog collars and leashes for your loved pets.

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