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Moxie

I do not understand big game hunting

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I just read an article about the Trump boys and their love of big game hunting (this isn't political).

 

I know lots of people enjoy hunting but the ones I know IRL hunt things that they will eat. I'm trying to understand what is enjoyable about big game hunting. Is it the thrill of killing something so big and powerful? How is shooting an animal you won't eat more enjoyable than hitting a non-living target??

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I think it's just the trophy and expense.  Hunting is rather primal.

 

I don't get it either, but I don't begrudge them.  Trophy game hunting raises a ton of money for protected and endangered animal protection, which protects the same animals.  It's a freakonomics, not-intuitive at all but still works sort of thing.

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It makes me feel ill. I think it's horrifying. The picture of one of the junior Trumps holding and elephant tail nearly sent me over the edge. :(

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Can you eat an elephant or a leopard??

 

I didn't realize we were talking exotic big animals. I have no idea what foreign animals are edible. But moose or elk or whatever are big game (bigger than a leopard I thought) and are edible.

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I understand that some of it necessary for population control. Humans have probably upset the natural balance of things. But I personally don't want my family killing animals just for the sport of it. Hunting and using the meat I am totally okay with.

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In some cases, it is prestige. African big game hunting, for example, is not a middle-class activity. It is tremendously expensive and very elite.

 

I personally have nothing at all against big game hunting (or any hunting/fishing) that is meant for food and hides. Elk, moose, tuna...not even sure what else you can get license to shoot and keep the kill as meat.

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I don't understand it personally, but that makes sense as I am female and lack some of the kill big scary things instinct (instead I have the run away from big scary things instinct).

 

I don't understand people who are opposed to killing an elephant or lion or whatever but eat (ever) factory farmed meat.  The lion had a great life until the end.  The pig that made your bacon, or cow that made your milk, was miserable, either intermittently or constantly, for its whole life.

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Some people find the combination of tracking and marksmanship to be a thrill. We don't hunt things we don't eat and believe it is wasteful but I can't say it bothers me more than even a fraction of the things the other candidate, herself, had been involved in. It's not something my circles engage in, except a few older men, but it's culturally common among some groups.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I think trophy  hunting is a horrible practice which needs to end.  Trophy hunt with a camera. 

Mind you I oppose hunting, period, but trophy hunters are the worst of the worst. I almost wish there was a hell so they could go there..... 

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People do lots of things that I personally neither choose to do nor understand. Whatever.

Well, that's why I asked the question.

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To make themselves feel more manly because they are lacking in some way, perhaps?

 

People who get a thrill out of killing are sick--and that goes for any kind of hunter. 

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Well, I think for some (many?) it is the prestige or a sort of weird desire to kill things, and prove something.  And this is an attitude that can affect people who hunt for food and such as well, and it isn't a healthy attitude there either.

 

But I don't know that it is always that.  For the one hand, there can be legitimate reasons to want to control the size of populations, or to remove particular animals that have become dangerous.

 

But more than that - I think with hunting, just like a lot of other things, there is often really significant skill involved, and there can be real pleasure for people in exercising that skill to the fullest, even apart from the underlying reason for the hunt.  With some animals, there is also real danger, and there is I that likely makes the exersize of the skill that much more exciting - if it fails, you could die.  So the appeal there may be similar in some ways to other extreme sport type activities.

 

A lot of people who like to hunt, and don't have a consumerist attitude to it, find part of the satisfaction comes from explicitly being active within their ecosystem, interacting with nature on the basis of nature rather than as an observer - feelings of self-sufficiency are significant.  I suspect that big game hunters, even when that isn't such an accurate description of the situation, may still feel the thrill of that - acting explicitly as a predator, rather than being one, as humans all are, in a purely passive sense.  It doesn't much move me, but I feel something similar from gathering wild foods and gardening, though those things don't typically have the danger and thrill aspect.

 

 

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I think a good place to start for understanding the perspective might be Teddy Roosevelt's thoughts on it. He's sort of an odd figure to understand today, as he was both an avid hunter and avid environmentalist, and saw the two as fundamentally connected in a way that they are not seen today.

 

I think big game hunting was seen as a morally uplifting test of courage, along the lines of the Labors of Hercules, or the versions of running the gauntlet where if you made it to the other end alive, they forgave whatever you were being punished for.

 

Big game provided the illusion that it was more of an equal fight -- a person on their own might be trampled by an elephant or mauled by a lion in a way that a deer or a duck could never hurt them.

 

The connection with environmentalism, for the curious, was one of mercy -- in the same way that it was considered honorable to spare a person who was defeated after a hard fight in respect for the lessons that the fight taught the victor, sparing an animal's home was seen as the equivalent courtesy from hunters.

Edited by Anacharsis
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I have a few FB people that do it and I don't get it. One of them recently posted pictures of their teen dd on an African hunting trip and the pictures were too much for me, especially one with her posing with "her first zebra". It's not something I understand at all.

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I don't really get African safari hunting. Environmentalists are all trying to get the locals to not poach those animals, but rich western people get to come in and shoot them?
 

(yes, I get that economically it makes sense, and that that way it can be more targeted only at animal populations that might be too large and not willy nilly, but ugh, it doesn't seem right)

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I don't understand it personally, but that makes sense as I am female and lack some of the kill big scary things instinct (instead I have the run away from big scary things instinct).

 

I don't understand people who are opposed to killing an elephant or lion or whatever but eat (ever) factory farmed meat.  The lion had a great life until the end.  The pig that made your bacon, or cow that made your milk, was miserable, either intermittently or constantly, for its whole life.

 

Bingo. I was amazed how many people mourned Cecil the Lion who also brags about their love of bacon. 

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I have a tricky relationship with meat animals. I will likely never be vegetarian because as an animal myself I don't inherently see meat as unethical to consume. I think our treatment of the animals in factory farming is unethical. I do not eat red meat at all, as it's just easier not to. Strictly poultry of some form that is raised locally that I pick up from the farm myself. DH and I are also learning how to bow hunt (turkey and other wild foul), as I don't feel up to the commitment of ethically raising meat ourselves so this is the next best option. We fish and do shellfish (when on the peninsula), as well. I'm a very big environmentalist, zero waste, the whole nine yards, as well as going through a naturalist training program right now, but I do see an ethical side of hunting and know that in some cases meat is more enviro friendly (big picture).

 

Trophy hunting is not the same as food hunting. It is not about food or hides. It is no longer about showing off prowess. Many ethical hunters and marksman are all about prowess, so they challenge themselves in other ways (such as using a bow to bring down an elk, instead of a gun). Trophy hunting is about power over another living thing. This is a dangerous personality trait, IMHO. Many trophy hunters are not skilled hunters or marksmen/women. They hire very expensive guides to line up the shot for them and guarantee they get their kill. They only have to pull the trigger when told.

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aside - I don't understand how environmentalists can eat meat. 

I'm vegan so I don't have an issue with calling out trophy hunting. 

Even meat eaters tho can call out the barbarism of canned hunts. There's nothing 'brave' about being driven to a nature preserve in a Toyota Landcruiser with an entourage of guides so you can step out and shoot at a semi habituated animal. 

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Meat eaters who eat meat that was raised on a factory farm, with say gestation crates, have no place criticizing the killing of an animal, imo.  They can say that it isn't brave (of course, as they just airlift the people to the mountaintop to kill the goat, or helicopter them into the savannah, or whatever), but they can't say it's cruel to animals or some such nonsense.  

 

Killing something, however you do it, is not as bad as torturing it for its whole life and *then* killing it.

Edited by ananemone
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Now - if I had tens of thousand dollars in disposable income and I could go on an African safari and shoot exotic animals with my camera, that would be an amazing experience.

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aside - I don't understand how environmentalists can eat meat. 

 

 

Other people have covered my other thoughts, but regarding the above: It's the circle of life/food chain.

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I am neither vegan, vegetarian, nor environmentalist.  I am also not a hunter. I have no issues with anyone who kills animals, whatever their reason.

 

I simply ask that they USE what they hunt, and that they use as much as possible.  I don't care if someone wants to take down a lion.  I want them to eat as much of it as possible (or sell or give it away to people who can eat it if they cannot), and that they use every other part they can (or again, give it or sell it to whoever can use it.)  Well, an I care if they do it legally.  Meaning....there are laws in place to ensure sustainability, follow them.

 

Truth....if someone shoots a "trophy" of whatever species...and then simply hangs a head on their wall......but then GIVES the processed meat to people who can use it....or sells it to those who will then resell it to provide for their family (again...all legally)  or whatever....if the entire animal is actually getting used...I have no problem with it.  To me, that's how nature works.  A top predator takes down another animal, they and their kind feast on what they can, then smaller scavengers come and feast on what they can, then bugs come and pick the rest clean, then the remaining carcass, if there's any left, decomposes (again, with the help of other living things like bacteria etc) and feeds the environment as a whole.  We are animals, we are part of the environment.  But, as long as we act like the rest of the environment, and can USE as much of what we take as possible, I have no issues at all.

 

 

People who hunt, hang a head on the wall, and throw out everything else....I just don't understand. 

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Can you eat an elephant or a leopard??

Yes. At least to the elephant. I have a vague memory of eating elephant biltong (elephant jerky) as a child although I'm not sure if it's accurate.

 

I think you'd need to know whether the meat is used (by the local community is guess) before you decide whether it's different from any other game.

 

But that's just a correction on fact - I am not comfortable with the general idea of hunting although I recognise the hypocrisy in that as I eat meat.

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Meat eaters who eat meat that was raised on a factory farm, with say gestation crates, have no place criticizing the killing of an animal, imo.  They can say that it isn't brave (of course, as they just airlift the people to the mountaintop to kill the goat, or helicopter them into the savannah, or whatever), but they can't say it's cruel to animals or some such nonsense.  

 

Killing something, however you do it, is not as bad as torturing it for its whole life and *then* killing it.

 

On the whole I agree with you, but I would also say that killing an animal purely for entertainment / pleasure / "sport" is never necessary and always wrong. Killing an animal for food is sometimes necessary.

 

Not everyone has the resources to eat in a completely cruelty-free way, but it is a noble goal and is certainly much more possible in our society than in others. I greatly admire both vegans and people like you who completely eschew factory-farmed meat. 

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Barring exceptional circumstances, the vast majority of people can survive on a diet of no or very little meat; thus, at least in the US, I don't think many people are eating factory farmed meat because they *have* to, to survive or even to be healthy.

 

Killing an animal for food is sometimes necessary, yes.  Eating factory farmed animal products is almost never necessary.

 

We were very very poor for a while; we could not afford humanely raised animal products.  We didn't eat animal products, almost at all.  We got one large filet of salmon every month or so as our luxury eating budget, and other than that it was a lot of beans and rice.

 

There are people who need a certain amount of animal protein, I suppose, but I don't think it's a very large percentage at all compared to the percentage of people who eat them for convenience or pleasure or habit.

 

 

Also, I think in many 3rd world societies (but I could be wrong), animal protein is actually generally more rarely eaten and more humanely raised.  My sister-in-law's in-laws (her husband's folk) are from coastal Mexico and were/are pretty poor (no running water, etc.).  They eat beef that is raised by their neighbors and drink milk from their goats and eat fish caught by local fishermen.  It is the cheapest way to eat, there.

 

But I don't know much or anything about other areas, fwiw.

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Aren't humans omnivores? Like if classified by teeth, digestive system, etc.?

 

The short answer is yes...in terms of how we classify herbivores, omnivores and carnivores, humans, generally, are considered omnivores.

 

 

The thing about humans is.....we live EVERYWHERE.  And, we are an extremely adaptable omnivore.  Humans in some areas eat lots of meat and few plants.  Humans in other areas eat lots of plants and few meats.  In still other areas, humans eat a little bit of everything. 

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Killing for fun and killing for food seem to me to be different things. In some ways, I think a hunter who hunts for FOOD is doing better than we who drive to the supermarket for our meat-based dinner. 

 

So actually, I don't think it's hypocritical to abhor hunting for fun, prestige, trophy as opposed to hunting for food. 

 

It probably is hypocritical to make a point about it if you are buying factory farmed meat. A tad less so if you are doing your best to buy free range.

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Aren't humans omnivores? Like if classified by teeth, digestive system, etc.?

 

We avoid factory farmed meat by eating less meat and getting our meat from humanely raised sources..... I'm not talking  a huge burden or big expense,  I'm talking buying the slightly less cheap meat at Costco or whatever.  It's  not that hard to avoid factory farmed meats anymore.

 

Big game hunting is kind of nasty , but in terms of scale and scope it is such a drop in the bucket of animal cruelty.

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Barring exceptional circumstances, the vast majority of people can survive on a diet of no or very little meat; thus, at least in the US, I don't think many people are eating factory farmed meat because they *have* to, to survive or even to be healthy.

 

Killing an animal for food is sometimes necessary, yes.  Eating factory farmed animal products is almost never necessary.

 

We were very very poor for a while; we could not afford humanely raised animal products.  We didn't eat animal products, almost at all.  We got one large filet of salmon every month or so as our luxury eating budget, and other than that it was a lot of beans and rice.

 

There are people who need a certain amount of animal protein, I suppose, but I don't think it's a very large percentage at all compared to the percentage of people who eat them for convenience or pleasure or habit.

 

 

Also, I think in many 3rd world societies (but I could be wrong), animal protein is actually generally more rarely eaten and more humanely raised.  My sister-in-law's in-laws (her husband's folk) are from coastal Mexico and were/are pretty poor (no running water, etc.).  They eat beef that is raised by their neighbors and drink milk from their goats and eat fish caught by local fishermen.  It is the cheapest way to eat, there.

 

But I don't know much or anything about other areas, fwiw.

Agreed.  Especially if eggs and milk are part of the vegetarian diet.  Temple Grandon may disagree about whether locally grown beef is more humanely raised than the best factory farms.  More sustainable, more healthy for the eater, maybe depending on your perspective.  

 

Elephant and almost all herbivores are eaten.  I know somebody who ate mostly elephant at one point in their "vegetarian phase".  Not that the world can survive on elephant meat, any more than American style beef.  Carnivores are usually not eaten as far as I know.  Omnivores like pigs and bears are sometimes eaten, depending on the personality of the hunter.  

 

Personally I think urban non hunter non farmers' opinions on animal treatment are about as relevant as a Montana rancher's opinion of rush hour traffic in Boston.  I don't see much difference between a safari hunt and any other vacation consumption.

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2 of my sons are hunters. They only hunt introduced pest species that are destroying the native environment. Dogs and deer. We mostly eat venison. Deer are a major problem in our area. Not only because of the damage to vegetation but also the number of accidents they cause. Feral cats and dogs are the number 1 cause of extinction of native wildlife. My boys are right into conservation environmental protection. That is what they have done their tertiary studies in and the employment they work in.

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On the issue of conservation and whether it's ok to kill a successful species to save another species .... I really recommend the biologist Marc Bekoff. A book he edited makes the case for "Compassionate Conservation"

 

Here's a write up for the University of Chicago press

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo14398472.html

 

Many wildlife biologists and ethologists are grappling with this complicated issue.

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It really saddens me when people kill something exotic for the sport if it and do not eat it. There is no need to kill like that. They are not what there is too much of. Predators are important. I really hate seeing pictures of that. I would be horrified if my child was posing like that in front if something they killed. I do not have a problem with hunting to eat especially animals that are in over abundance.

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We avoid factory farmed meat by eating less meat and getting our meat from humanely raised sources..... I'm not talking a huge burden or big expense, I'm talking buying the slightly less cheap meat at Costco or whatever. It's not that hard to avoid factory farmed meats anymore.

 

Big game hunting is kind of nasty , but in terms of scale and scope it is such a drop in the bucket of animal cruelty.

As someone who has humanely raised turkeys, chickens, cows, goats, pigs, and rabbits (and fished and clammed) and helped butcher most of them, Im not sure I competely agree. For some that would be a huge burden and expense, especially families on one income like a single parent. Chicken legs and pork on sale at the local grocery store is much cheaper than even Costco factory farmed meats. Our family also has food allergies to eggs and dairy and doesn't feel well without a moderate amount of animal based proteins, which for us means meat and, unfortunately, in our present circumstances, often meat that is factory farmed. On the flip side, I actually know some families whose kids I observe are often left hungry because they'll only buy organic, etc., so seconds and snacks aren't freely given. Obviously that's an extreme example! But there are many variables in life.

 

ETA: It's such a bummer because we have generous access to basically more humanely grown (and much nourishing than milk any stire bought milk--grass fed) than we could ever drink for FREE, but we're allergic to dairy. Arg!!!! So frustrating.

Edited by ifIonlyhadabrain
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On the issue of conservation and whether it's ok to kill a successful species to save another species .... I really recommend the biologist Marc Bekoff. A book he edited makes the case for "Compassionate Conservation"

 

Here's a write up for the University of Chicago press

http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/I/bo14398472.html

 

Many wildlife biologists and ethologists are grappling with this complicated issue.

 

Deer are an introduced species here ( as are dogs, of course ). There isn't generally a lot of compassion for introduced species which go feral here, because of the havoc they wreak on our native species. The flora as well. We have some unique animals here, and people are generally more invested in saving them.

 

 We're just not generally concerned with the rights of harmful introduced species, right or wrong.

 

Deer are pretty and successful but they don't belong here.

 

I understand the book may be making a very different point, just saying it's a pov  that's unlikely to get any traction here.

 

We do also cull native species, like kangaroos. 

 

 

Edited by StellaM
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Introduced and invasive species are a difficult issue *everywhere*.

 

I get what you're saying but there's really no region where people are saying oh yea, easy decision (wrt cull or not).

 

I'm saying this is a very complicated issue with lots of developments, both in ethics and actual physical intervention technologies. Approaches to this problem are evolving and this anthology of essays by wildlife biologists who are working in the field is a good intro to new approaches.

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aside - I don't understand how environmentalists can eat meat. 

 

 

 

 

 

I can't understand how people that live off of plastic packed fake meat and tofu products, that were shipped halfway around the world using petroleum products and produced in smog-producing factories, can call themselves environmentalists. ;) (I'm not assuming you do this! Just my thoughts when I hear this argument. :) )  For me, locally grown food that is produced ethically and with as few fossil fuels as possible is the most environmental choice. I am not ethically nor environmentally opposed to meat eating when it is hunted from overpopulated species or raised ethically, since I do not see myself above other animals and consider all of us as part of the food chain. I cannot see a way for there to be ethically raised beef, for example, on the environmental side, so I will not eat it. This is only my opinion of course, and I do want to emphasize that I am not judging vegans, etc. I just hope we are all doing out best to preserve the planet for future animals and plant species for as long as possible.

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Sustainability is a big issue. The big game that those hunters want for trophies are usually fewer in number (iucn red list species). Other critters harvested for food by indigenous people may be of lesser concern, and can be harvested in reasonable numbers each year without resulting in a species becoming threatened.

 

Our local conservation and parks departments manage deer populations; culling prevents awful wasting starvation when there are more animals than food supply, and the meat is distributed to area food banks. I believe that being an environmentalist includes responsibly managing for sustainability.

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We avoid factory farmed meat by eating less meat and getting our meat from humanely raised sources..... I'm not talking  a huge burden or big expense,  I'm talking buying the slightly less cheap meat at Costco or whatever.  It's  not that hard to avoid factory farmed meats anymore.

 

Big game hunting is kind of nasty , but in terms of scale and scope it is such a drop in the bucket of animal cruelty.

 

Keep in mind that not everyone can get humane meat for "slightly less cheap" than Costco. Here you either have to have the money and freezer space to buy half a cow from a local farmer, or you can go to the one store in town that sells humane, grass-fed beef and pay something like $20 a pound. It's literally four times as much as the regular beef in the grocery store.

 

Of course, I'm firmly on the side that people should cut way back on meat for environmental reasons. 

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As a complete layperson with zero formal education on the subject, I can wrap my head around the primal instinct that's likely rewarded by dangerous and exciting hunting.  That doesn't mean people should be going around indulging it.

 

I know plenty of "real" hunters who just GLOW when talking about their hunting trips and the meat they bring home to their families.  I've got to figure it brings enormous satisfaction on a level I can't even imagine if they're willing to sit in trees in the wet cold for hours or days to attain it.

 

I kind of figure the ones who seek out empty and senseless killing are probably similar to those who seek out empty and reckless sex.  All instinct, no humanity.

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Personally I think urban non hunter non farmers' opinions on animal treatment are about as relevant as a Montana rancher's opinion of rush hour traffic in Boston. 

 

So I have to personally participate in cruelty before condemning it? Um, no. 

 

(FWIW, I live in a rural farming community full of avid hunters.) 

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Why not eat the dogs?

 

 

I have eaten dog meat.

 

I am not happy about it.  I didn't know it was dog before I ate it.  There was a huge table with all sorts of meats at a banquet we attended put on by a large Indian group.  There were about 20 different varieties of spiced meats.  We just ate and didn't think it polite to question what each was.

 

We were later told there was a dog meat, rabbit meat, croc meat, snake, and then your typical chicken, beef, lamb, pork meat.

 

We almost threw up, but it was too late.

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Can you eat an elephant or a leopard??

 

 

Yes, you can.  I have not had either, but you can.

 

It is illegal to eat leopard because they are endangered, but it is edible.  I am not sure it is legal to eat elephant anymore either, but it used to be.

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For whatever record you might want to put it on, my children have informed me that it's illegal for an American to eat penguin.

 

(My 5yo is a fan of trying unusual meats and was partially relieved and partially disappointed to learn this.)

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