by ecorazzicontributor
Categories: Animals, People, Print
Tags: , , .
Photo: Flickr via torre.elena

We love us some Jonathan Safran Foer, and that’s because he has inspired so many people to forgo using animal products and food, including celebs like Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway.

But the author of “Eating Animals” recently had an interview with The Guardian, where he revealed that the one person in his life he can’t convince to go animal friendly is his dog.

“I tried, but it just didn’t sit well with her stomach,” the 33-year-old vegetarian said. “I don’t feel guilty about it— dogs aren’t people.”

Okay, so his dog isn’t a vegan, but Foer has found a way to make it a bit more environmentally friendly. “I buy dog food for her that is advertised as non-factory farmed. Curiously it’s no more expensive,” he said.

Also in the interview Foer explained when he stopped eating meat and why. “Aged nine was probably the first time I became vegetarian,” he stated. The author was, “influenced by Melissa, our babysitter, who, offered chicken, said: ‘No, I don’t want to hurt anything.'”

Maybe all Foer’s dog needs is a Melissa-like moment in its life, does anyone have advice for Foer in terms of how to help his dog go green?

  • km

    Do all vegans feed their dogs vegan food? If so, I guess I’m not vegan. I realize the meat in dog food is not the meat they’d eat in the wild but they do eat meat. I’m not defending my position but I’m definitely a bit torn. Either choice is messing with nature. Sigh…

    • Rachelle

      I face the same dilemma with my cat. I just try to do the best I can as a vegan–but no one is a purist.

    • Tim Marshall

      I’m not torn, I don’t have a dog but if I ever adopt one I will feed it vegan food.. nothing could be messing with nature more than the custom breeding of wolves that has resulted in the mutants we call pets and keeping them domestically flys in the face of “nature” but nature isnt a quality or entity anyway , just a very broad very ambiguous term.
      feeding them meat out of a can isn’t *natural* either . so really we are left to look at harm. vegan dog food doesnt kill and shove an animal into a can and it keeps the dog healthy too.. so I think its a win.

  • JP

    I understand that some people don’t eat meat because they dislike its taste or appearance. However the people that does not eat because they don’t want to hurt animals are a puzzle for me. I believe that this is a personal decision, and I respect all vegans out there. Its is the hurting idea that doesn’t make sense to me. Basically we are killing animals (some without pain others unfortunately not) but basically we are taking their lives. It is not the same thing with plants? Their incapacity to express pain make us feel better when we take their lives to eat them? I repeat I respect everybody’s choice of food but I found illogical some of its explanations.

    • herwin

      Thanks for posting your posts and sharing your thoughts, and you can be sure many (veggie) people had similar thoughts.

      Here is my outcome of my train of thoughts :
      Plants dont have a nervous system which is required to feel pain.
      We, people and other animals, have a nervous system. And if we shut that system (eg with morphine which blocks receptors in our nervous system) we COMPLETELY dont feel any bodily pain.
      In short, to feel “pain” a living system REALLY need to have a nervous system, and plants simple lack such a system or any similar system.

      Please (hypothetically) watch two videos ; one video of a carrot being pulled out of the ground, and another video of a cow being dragged and kicked in a slaugherhouse, hanged by one legg and still kicking being cut in half.
      Please tell me which video is most disturbing to you.
      Dont think too much, just watch some undercovervideos of where your meat comes from, plenty on Youtube or Peta websites. :-)

    • Whoever…

      If you really want to know why people become vegetarians/vegans, then you should watch the following documentary (it’s free because the main goal of the people who made it was to enlighten others instead of making money):

      It’s a bit intense but I promise you’ll then understand exactly why we don’t eat animals.

      Regarding plants, they don’t have the same level of consciousness than the one animals have and therefore they don’t feel pain.
      Furthermore, in order to eat vegetables and fruits one doesn’t have to kill the ‘mother plant’ – the large majority of fruits comes from trees and only a minority of vegetables requires killing the entire plant (for instance carrots and potatoes).

      Let me ask you the following: “Would you eat human flesh? Would you eat cats or dogs?” Why not? Some cultures do it!

      Most religions have for too long said that humans are the superior species and that animals were put on earth to serve us, which is a load of BS!
      We are just one more species on the planet and we have no right to kill animals when we can live very healthy lives without eating them – millions of veg*ans all over the world are the living proof of that :)

      I hope I was of some help to you…

  • Emily

    If feeding his dog vegetarian dog food is harmful to his dog (and he says it is) why in the WORLD are you trying to guilt him into changing his dog’s diet? If anyone would do it under their own steam, it’s Foer.

    Back off the poor guy and let his dog eat something that doesn’t make it barf.


      Agreed. My damn dog barfs anyway as it is! XD

  • Danielle Vance

    My dog is also not vegan. I believe in eating what’s best for oneself. My dog has allergies to grains and a sensitive stomach. I finally found a food that works for him. His diet is primarily fish-based, and I’m okay with that. In fact, if I could afford to feed him 100% raw food, I would gladly do that, since it’s even closer to his natural diet.

    If your dog gets along well with a vegan food that’s fine, but vegan food may not work for every dog, and I think it’s silly to make people feel guilty about it.

  • herwin

    sounds like a great babysitter !! i cant wait for her memoires to be published.

  • Heidi

    Great article!
    I’m guessing you haven’t done much research on the meat and dairy industry. There is definitive suffering and the 2 industries work hand-in-hand. But, a huge reason to go veg is for the environment, not to mention health. All this aside, would you deem it fair (hypothetically speaking) if aliens of far superior intelligence decided to take our lives, even if it were “painless”? Who are we to suppose what living creatures can or can’t feel? There is new research that shows elephants communicate in a frequency we can only hear with sophisticated equipment. They also form a funeral-like procession when a member of their herd dies. They obviously mourn in different way than us, but that does that make it any less of a feeling?
    Eating plants may well be hurting them as well, but at least we can do our best to be sympathetic in an act that has such a profound effect on the environment, the welfare of living creatures, the political ramifications, and our health. I would strongly encourage anyone who isn’t educated on this to do so. Eating Is a political act. Any political act should be educated.

  • solar tubes

    Well at home in India, our dogs are basically omnivorous. I guess it depends on breeds. If you have a Siberian Husky or an Alaskan Malamute, you have to feed it meat.

    What do you think ?

  • Eva

    Wow, that Melissa sure did lead to a lot of changed lives!

  • herwin

    “the Melissa moment in your life”, wow, i like that expression !

  • don miguelo

    All dogs are descended from wolves, and neither dogs nor wolves are vegetarian, nevermind vegan. Feeding your dog no meat is against it’s biology and literally harmful to its health. Please don’t let the vet have to tell you that someday.

    I am vegan but dogs (and cats, for that matter) are omnivores that historically get their nutrients from catching other animals, eating fruits, roots and insects in the wild- not just eating one of those. Pointy canine teeth and quick digestive tracts certainly show they were meant to eat some meat certainly. I love animals but I also respect the circle of life more, otherwise I’d have to prevent the kill of every prey animal out there by every predator. That’s madness.

    Foer describes animal kibble that is “not factory-farmed”, I think that’s the way to go with this.

    • Lisa

      I agree wholeheartedly. Why does the headline say “reveals” like not forcing a dog to be vegan is a shameful secret?

      I’m vegan but would never dream of making a pet eat a vegan diet. They need meat, and their bodies often can’t tolerate the grains and plant proteins their well-meaning vegan human companions feed them.

      We have the choice to eat vegan based on our values. Such a choice shouldn’t be forced on anyone, especially creatures who need meat to survive. Reducing cruelty and suffering is admirable, and there are ways to make sure pets get the nutrients they need without supporting factory farming. It’s not perfect, but nothing is.

      The sight of *any* suffering animal is sad, including that of an animal companion who’s sick or crippled from a diet that doesn’t meet his or her needs.

    • Rachelle

      Spot on and well said! :)

  • Rachelle

    As I mentioned above–I face the same dilemma with my cat–who by nature is NOT a vegan. I do the best I can to follow my principles as a vegan–but I’m not a purist. I’d rather have my cat than to have it sitting in a shelter. In a perfect world everyone and everything would be vegan…but alas–this ain’t a perfect world. :)

  • Rachel

    Actually dogs are omnivores, requiring a significant portion of their diet to be meat, the veggies/grains they get are predigested in the gut of their prey. Many grains and veggies cannot be tolerated or fully utilized by dogs unless cooked down. Cats are what is called obligate carnivores, meaning they require practically nothing besides meat, altho certainly get veggies/grains in the same way, and in fact cannot utilize sugars at all.
    Altho there are people who home make or buy commercial vegan diets for their pets, and certainly dogs and cats who cannot tolerate certain animal products or any animal products, for most of these pets a vegan diet is not the most healthy and they will suffer a form of malnutrition if forced to eat that way. This is obviouly not the case for humans, for whom a vegan diet is healthy and can be complete.
    It is certainly a catch 22 for those of us who love our animal companions and want what is best for them while also not wanting to participate in a food production method that is intolerably inhumane and environmentally unsound. But we do the best we can and try to come to a balance. Good for Foer for recognizing that.

  • Whoever…

    Regarding cats and dogs, unfortunately these animals can’t become vegetarians (this is what I’ve always heard)… or at least there still isn’t veg*an cat and dog food good enough for them so that they can stop eating regular food.

    I have 2 cats I rescued from the street and the older one has renal problems – therefore he must eat a special type of food sold only in veterinarian clinics. Additionally there is no vegetarian food for this type of health problem (at least in my country) – so, what should I do? Let my cat suffer and see his condition get even worse? I’m very sorry but I’m not going to do that! I have no alternatives!
    I took the responsibility of taking good care of both of them and that’s what I’m going to do…

    Furthermore, I volunteer at the local animal shelter which now has aproximately 500 animals (mostly dogs but also cats).
    Where I live cat and dog vegetarian food isn’t sold neither in veterinarian clinics nor in stores. The only way we could get it would be by ordering it on-line and it’s extremely expensive!! Even if we wanted to there is no way we could afford it. Besides, most of the food we have is given to us by stores or private individuals… So, we should refuse this food and let nearly 500 animals starve to death!?

    Come on, it’s very easy to point fingers but certain realities prevent us from doing the right thing.
    Not all countries are the USA or Japan, for instance, where this is probably not a problem!

  • lisa

    dogs, just like humans are omnivores and just like humans can thrive on a vegan diet. there is no reason to feed one beloved animal (your dog) other tortured animals when it is not necessary for their health.
    check out vegan dog association and all the wonderful nutritionally optimal vegan dog foods that are on the market.