Or at least why doesn't the meat from other meat-eaters (carnivores or omnivores) feature very heavily in modern day diets? Is eating carnivores Paleo?
Off the top of my head I think of dogs (Koreans) and snakes (in parts of the mid-west and Asia), but even when they do appear, I think they tend to be speciality dishes rather than staples (although that might just be my ignorance).
Is it because we evolved to eat things that didn't bite back? I can believe that is partially true, but there must have been opportunities to wing the occaisional carnivore and take it home for supper.
Is it a neolithic remnant? It must be easier to farm herbivores than livestock that were liable to eat each other or require a constant supply of live food.
Or is it a biomagnification thing? But then aren't things like mercury pollution modern concerns? Would they have been such a big problem for our ancestors?
I'm not sure if it's apocryphal, but won't eating the livers of carnivores (such as polar bears or alligators) give you Vitamin A poisining? That seems to be a clear indication that we haven't evolved to eat them.
What would happen if I completely replaced the ruminants in my diet with the meat from carnivores? Would it have a deleterious affect on my health?
I would assume a big reason for this is work vs return. Carnivores tend to be reclusive, travel large distances in smaller packs, and weigh much less. It is much easier to track and selectively kill animals from a herd of buffalo for instance where there would be several hundred animals weighing a ton or more than to track a pack of 15 or so wolves each weighing around 150 pounds.
Carnivore "meat" has a very distinctly metallic gamey taste, in a way that is different than the gamey taste of venison, for example. I have had bear and cougar, both were not something I would seek out to eat again. So, food preferances on the palate could be one explanation. Not a lot of demand for the taste.
I honestly think it's an accessability thing. Why raise animals just to be eaten by other animals so you can eat that animal? Cut out the middle man. (Raise pigs to be eaten by wolves to be eaten by people or just raise pigs and feed them to people??) Just seems like you get a better bargan by cutting out the middle step.
There is some validity to eating things that don't pose a threat. However, humans eat a lot of food sources that are carnivores. Heck, the biggest source of protein in the human diet, around the world, is likely chicken and fish. Carnivores.
I find them to be to gamey as well as elitist and grass fed or not...a terrible sense of humor...but then, I've never wrapped one in bacon, so I could be converted. Truth.
I think aside from, say a bear or mountain lion potentially killing you during the hunt, it's not deleterious to eat them. It's cheaper and easier to, say, grow grass for ruminants than to feed meat to meat eaters then eat them. As to eating dogs, I see nothing wrong with it. For cultures other than some Asian ones, dogs have become more of a working or companion animal so we tend not to eat them. And, again, I think for what you would feed them vs the amount of meat you would get, you'd be better off eating lamb or fish.
Squid, fish (tuna, swordfish, shark), crocodiles, alligators, snakes, frogs are a few. Maybe the main reason we don't eat this stuff in America is because it is uncommon to hunt for it in the local supermarket :D
Also, regular predators who eat meat are likely solitary individuals or in small packs, as noted above. Things like cattle, sheep, and bison are easier to raise in a domestic setting because they can graze on grass. And as I've seen on other websites now while researching this, yes it can lead to a problem with "hypervitaminosis A" if you eat carnivore livers long term.
This is an informative read for those curious.
Wikipedia - taboo food and drink http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taboo_food_and_drink
While poultry may be omnivorous, birds of prey (entirely carnivorous) like hawks, eagles, vultures, owls are forbidden food for Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Hindus (about 3 billion people - or around half the world population), and other cultures. Notice birds of prey are often attributed in sacred contexts - the hawk as the symbol of Zeus, or in shamanic contexts (tribal and traditional religions), Horus - falcon-headed god in ancient Egypt, owl associated with Hindu goddess Laksmi, etc. Since many spiritual beliefs systems share this idea of a human soul taking flight like a bird - particularly a bird of prey this taboo might make sense.
If you're not interested in a spiritual explanation -from a practical point of view - hunting birds of prey is much more difficult then other birds.
On the fact that carnivores taste bad, one of my uncles was captive in a German PoW camp during WWII.
In order to supplement their rations, they used to catch local domestic cats (or maybe strays) and eat them. They quickly learned that cat meat is so sweet that they were not able to stomach it. Through trial and error they worked out that you have to boil the cat twice, completely changing the water before boiling it the second time.
Does it taste bad because we haven't evolved to eat it, or is it that we have just become accustomed to eating herbivores and anything else tastes weird by comparison?
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