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Old 28 December 2011, 09:38 PM
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Wolf Meatless zoos

Comment: I recently heard the claim that during WWII the carnivores in
various zoos throughout Europe switched to a diet of vegetables and grains
due to shortages of meat. And they did so without much if any trouble, and
continued to be herbivores for several years while the war continued.

This claim was made in the context of arguing for Creationism and the
further claim that carnivores before the Fall ate vegetables and grains. I
mention this in case it helps research the above question, but I'm mainly
interested in whether there is any merit to the claim that Europe's zoo
carnivores gave up meat during WWII.
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  #2  
Old 28 December 2011, 10:06 PM
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And here I was thinking PETA or some similar organization would make the claim.

I think we'd need to know which carnivores, too, wouldn't we?
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Old 29 December 2011, 03:10 AM
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Here's a few references to what the carnivores in zoos were fed during wartime.


From the Dublin Zoo's history page:
Quote:
1916 Getting in and out of Phoenix Park became difficult during the Easter Rising and meat ran out. In order to keep the lions and tigers fed, some of the other animals in the zoo were killed!

1939-1945 During World War II the popularity of the Zoo soared despite the difficulty in replacing animals who died. The public donated food for the animals and, after the war when fuel was still difficult to acquire, trees were chopped down to heat the houses.

An article about the Newquay Zoo's WWII exhibit:
Quote:
Visitors can also learn about the plight some zoo's faced as meat rationing was bought in. This posed a problem as many keepers had to change the dietary requirements of their residents.

Penguins and other fish eaters suffered heavily as they had to make do with meats covered in cod liver oil as a substitute.
Looks like they had access to meat but not all the varieties they needed.


An article about the history of horse meat in the US:
Quote:
Eating horse meat has almost always been taboo in America, but it was a brief necessity in many places during World War II because of the high cost of beef (there's a rumor that the then-new San Diego Zoo got by feeding its lions horse meat).

A history of the Tiergarten Schönbrunn: The Zoo of Vienna:
Quote:
Before World War I, the zoo had a collection of 700 species with 3500 individuals. Since WWI was a bit of a disaster for Austria, supplies soon ran short and feeding meat to animals was less of an option than feeding animals to people. By the end of the war (which coincided with the end of the Empire), the number of animals in the Tiergarten Schönbrunn had dropped to a mere 900. The zoo was now property of the Republic of Austria, which had more severe problems than taking care of the Emperor′s animal collection.

An article about the Siege of Leningrad:
Quote:
The first really violent bombing happened on September 8, 1941. Actually it started on September 7 and continued on September 8. One bomb hit the zoo and killed our favorite elephant, and a rollercoaster burned down nearby. Naturally, it affected us deeply. We loved the elephant so much. He was such a kind creature. It was a great delight for all the kids to see him offering his leg.

We felt sorry and missed the elephant. But, in fact, he helped the zoo animals to survive, as his meat was used to feed them. And when the darkest days came, zoo workers took animals home. They saved them, keeping the animals at home despite the terrible famine. They were really dedicated to protecting nature.

I couldn't find any references to carnivores being put on vegetarian diets during any wars.
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Old 29 December 2011, 03:39 AM
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Apparently the website answersingenesis.org regularly claims that carnivores can become vegetarians without any difficulty. Here's a typical article of theirs. Get ready to


I found this blog post which debunked their claims pretty well.
Quote:
And, of course, even if the Westbeaus really didn’t feed meat to Little Tyke, they admit that much of her diet consisted of milk and eggs- which are animal proteins. Cats cannot survive without a source of animal protein; they absolutely cannot be vegans. For example, cats require taurine, an amino acid found only in animal proteins. Without it, they go blind and develop fatal heart enlargement. The remainder of her diet was said to be cooked grain. The cooking would be essential as cats cannot digest uncooked grain. Even if one makes the rather feeble claim of "yes, but that's still a vegetarian diet and could be possible in Eden!" one still has to account for where all the milk and eggs will come from, and who will cook the grain for the wildcats!
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Old 29 December 2011, 12:45 PM
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"Who will cook the grain for the wildcats?" sounds like a lovely title for a song about environmentlism, if it was sung by a kookie christian rocker.
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Old 29 December 2011, 01:31 PM
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Kellogg was a big proponent of vegetarianism. He kept a vegetarian wolf which by most accounts was rather sickly.
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Old 29 December 2011, 01:34 PM
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I'm reminded of the vegetarian protestors in an episode of The Simpsons.

"We taught a lion to eat tofu." [cut to shot of weak, emaciated lion]
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Old 29 December 2011, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
I'm reminded of the vegetarian protestors in an episode of The Simpsons.
It was Futurama. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSLQu-d6ZQ
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Old 29 December 2011, 06:39 PM
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Right! I knew that. Okay, I didn't. I mostly remember the lion.
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Old 29 December 2011, 09:37 PM
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Dogs are omnivores and can be fed a vegetarian diet as long as it's balanced properly. Cats, as mentioned above, are obligate carnivores and absolutely cannot survive on a diet without animal protein in it.

I would imagine that other zoo animals are in the same category as cats--the penguins and sea-mammals that eat only fish, e.g.
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Old 29 December 2011, 10:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Right! I knew that. Okay, I didn't. I mostly remember the lion.
I remember something similar with a cat who was forced to go vegetarian, and sadly whimpered "kiiilllll meeeee"
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Old 30 December 2011, 04:23 AM
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I agree erwins. I imagine that most of the omnivores would be ok as long as the diet was very carefully balanced, even the meat-heavy omnivores like dogs. A lot of animals simply can't live on vegetation.

This thread brings to mind a vague memory of a book or short story I read some time, about a zoo in a war zone and the people who were trying to keep the animals alive. I think it was a non-fiction book (or plausible fiction at least), and the zoo in question was probably in Europe, in WWII. I think it may have been in Berlin, but I may be way off there. It may have been about one of the zoos referenced by Gutter Monkey.
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