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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can you feed a cat or dog a vegetarian/vegan diet?

Both animals can be fed a vegetarian diet, although neither is a vegan by nature -- dogs are omnivores, and cats are carnivores. While both dogs and cats belong to the class carnivora, this doesn't mean a lot, so does the panda bear which is near vegan.

By nature cats and dogs wouldn't eat anything like what is commonly found in a can of pet food either. Special diets must be provided for cats, as they require an amino acid called taurine -- found in the muscles of animals.

Synthetic taurine has been developed, and is used in commercial (non vegetarian) cat foods. Vegetarian cats should be fed it as a supplement. Taurine deficiency can result in blindness and even death. Cats also require pre-formed vitamin A and arachidonic acid.

All known vegan cat foods contain these essential ingredients and the companies listed below provide them in their cat foods. Ask your vet about changing your pet's diet if concerned.

Not only is it POSSIBLE to feed most cats and dogs a non-meat diet, it is also DESIRABLE. Buying "normal" pet food is supporting the same meat industry with its attendant cruelty, exploitation, waste, and environmental damage that veganism is so opposed to.

Why should ten horses/cows/chickens/ducks or something have to suffer and die every year just to support your pet cat/dog?

This is not a matter of "imposing your beliefs" on your pets (or companion animals, or whatever you call them) since you are not forcing them to eat it and you are not stopping them eating local wildlife on their wanderings round the neighbourhood.

Also animals don't have morals or beliefs. They do whatever is necessary to survive, with no preference one way or the other about the impact on anything else. We however can make moral/ethical decisions - like the decision to be vegan.

In the wild, surviving may mean "kill something or else starve to death," but if your animal is being fed anyway, this becomes unnecessary. It is also no more unnatural for a pet cat/dog to be eating vegan food than any other food.

Firstly, the domesticated cat/dog bears little resemblance to its wild cousins so we're already in an artificial situation.

Secondly, the whole act of feeding it from a tin (as opposed to letting it find food for itself) is unnatural, so you might as well make the best of it. Thirdly, the actual contents of the tins of commercial pet food bear no resemblance to what a cat/dog would eat in the wild anyway... Could you imagine your darling moggy killing horses and cows and going deep sea ocean fishing for tuna?

What about those bugs, flies etc.?

Why kill even insects if we don't have to? The same applies to using killed insects for broaches, crushed insect wings for irridescent eye shadow, or dying insects in jumping beans. Why promote even at this level a callous disregard for living things around us?

For good reason, based on ethical intuition, that we are more impressed by the kind-hearted soul who nets the flies to let them out of the house alive versus the person hunting them down for certain chemical death with a bottle raid.

Even if our great White Suburban hunter of houseflies uses a fly-swatter for ecological reasons, the more admirable course pertains to the person who uses a butterfly net to simply capture the fly for relocation outside.

This doesn't mean we have to let our houses be over-run by pests or let our gardens be destroyed either. Common sense should prevail.

What about eating insects?

The farming of billions upon billions of insects to be crushed and processed into food for human consumption will seem repellent to many. Others might argue that the farming of insects is less cruel and less harmful to the environment than farming animals. IVU takes an ethical standpoint against the farming of ALL creatures. We must ask the basic question as to why we are even considering farming insects when there is no need for it, and the answer is simple. People have been conditioned into eating meat and that conditioning has led to the current situation where a substantial proportion of the worlds' natural resources and food crops are used in the process of raising and feeding animals. That is plant food that could be used to feed people directly, which is far more efficient than feeding it to animals that are then slaughtered for meat. We could alleviate the world's food problem, help mitigate many of the pressing environmental issues, reduce the increasing prevalence of various chronic health conditions as well as the risk of antibiotic-resistance and zoonotic diseases by adopting a plant-based diet, without the need of raising vertebrates or insects. Just check out our popular website for recipes and see how delicious a cruelty-free and environmentally-sound diet based on plants can be.

My friend says she'll become a vegetarian the moment I can prove to her that pigs, cows etc. have feelings. How can I prove this without taking her to meet the animals?

from a reader in the USA: The friend can be shown one of those videos of a cow or pig in a slaughterhouse that is put out by such places as

What would happen to all the animals if humans didn't breed and eat them?

They would live happy, humane lives. There wouldn't be overpopulation - people think that because there are so many of them...but there are so many of them because we're breeding them so we can kill and eat them.


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