Eating: Omnivorous

(feeding on a mixed diet of plant and animal ingredients)

Mother telling sons to quit playing with their food which are pets.
Come on boys, stop playing with your food and make up your minds!
Which one are we going to have for dinner?

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Cultural clashes in omnivorous societies

There are conflicts in East versus West about what is appropriate to eat. Asians and a few others are willing to eat just about any animal.

  • There is considerable criticism by some people who are concerned about Asian eating habits.
  • Shark fins, dogs, monkeys, bats, pangolins (long-tailed scale-covered creatures with long snouts and sticky tongues for catching and eating ants and termites), cats, snakes, et al. are involved.
  • There is a big issue of overfishing of almost every species that is taking place in most seas.
  • Asian-owned fleets are largely, but not solely, to blame.
  • Japanese, Taiwanese, Korean, and Thai vessels; as well as, Russian and Spanish ships, have been involved in overfishing.
  • Hong Kong owned, Latin-American registered vessels have been part of the illegal fishing of the prized Patagonian toothfish.
  • As for whales, eaten in Korea and Japan, the arguments of the opponents of allowing bigger catches appear to vary between the threat to the survival of several kinds of whales to the belief that the methods of catching them are cruel to the purely sentimental arguments that whales and dolphins are a superior kind of mammal deserving of protection not accorded to pigs, cows, and others.
  • The dog question seems almost entirely a cultural one.
  • It may be man's most loyal friend, but servility hardly justifies giving it the special protection not accorded to what many would regard as more noble creatures, like deer and horses, or more useful ones, like the plough-pulling water buffaloes.
  • Horse meat may no longer be found on many menus in France or Italy, but it is still eaten often in those places.
  • In Japan, basashi (raw horsemeat) is prized as superior to its beef equivalent.
  • As for pangolins, civets, monkeys, and other forest food viewed as delicacies in southern China, Vietnam, and throughout Asia, the argument against hunting them must be that they would become extinct.
  • The only country in the world that can claim a modest amount of moral high ground when it comes to eating is India, where perhaps 50 percent of the population call themselves vegetarian and where whole neighborhoods are being declared meat-free zones.
  • Snake blood, monkey bones, and sloth brains

    Just outside the front door of a restaurant in Haikou, China, were wire cages containing sea turtles larger than platters, snakes, partridges, yellow weasels, and other wild creatures. At a bloody wooden cuttng block, a butcher skinned a snake and drained its blood into a glass.

  • The Chinese have a long tradition of eating wild animals and taking potions made of their blood or bones, particularly in southern cities; such as, Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan.
  • As for residents of Canton, near the border with Hong Kong, other Chinese like to say they will eat anything that moves . . . except cars, etc.
  • Tradition holds that a person can acquire the strength and vigor of a wild animal by eating it.
  • Many animal parts are prescribed as cures for specific ills, for example, some Chinese drink snake blood with rice wine in hopes of curing backaches or enhancing sexual potency.
  • Partly as a result of these practices, the black bear, scaly anteater, giant salamander, leopard, and other animals are on the endangered list and China finds itself criticized abroad.
  • No one knows how many endangered animals are killed each year in China to satisfy diners and medicine makers, but a report in the official newspaper Legal Daily hinted at the size of the problem.
  • It reported that a single restaurant in Canton served 183 monkeys, 112 hawks, and 8.73 tons of pangolins, boas and pythons and giant lizards in a six-month period.
  • Inspectors who visited 136 hotels and restaurants in Canton found that nearly half were serving endangered wild creatures, the paper said.
  • China's booming economy has created a new monied class for whom eating rare and expensive game is a popular way to flaunt their wealth.

Traditional Chinese Health Food

According to "traditional Chinese medicine", eating wild animals can cure numerous human ailments. Here are some widely accepted prescriptions:

  • Menstruation problems: anteater scales.
  • Severe, chronic headaches: owl.
  • Fever: turtle shells, rhinoceros horns.
  • Male infertility: bulls's genitals, snake blood, otter.
  • Chronic scabies: fox.
  • Rheumatic pain: brain of the sloth.
  • Flatulence: wild cat.
  • Upset stomach: tiger's stomach.
  • Severe heart and abdominal pains: civet glands.
  • Constipation: musk deer, otter.
  • Cough: ground bones of the Chinese badger in wine.
  • Blood in the sputum: Chinese badger fat.
  • Dysentery: soup of jackal skin or wild dog skin.
  • Malaria: tiger meat or skin.
  • Backaches: snake blood.
  • Scrofula (a form of tuberculosis characterized by swellings of the lymphatic glands): tiger's testes.
Excerpts for this page came from:
"Chow down in Asia"
by Philip Bowring, Hong Kong,
as seen in the International Herald Tribune, page 7; July 1, 2005.
"Snake blood, monkey bones and sloth brains . . . Good for what ails you"
by Charlene L. Fu, The Associated Press,
as seen in The Stars and Stripes, pages 18-19; January 26, 1994.

The main unit of vorous words. The main vorous unit of words.

Cross references of word families that are related directly, or indirectly, to: "food, nutrition, nourishment": alimento-; broma-; carno-; cibo-; esculent-; sitio-; tropho-; Eating Crawling Snacks; Eating: Carnivorous-Plant "Pets"; Eating: Folivory or Leaf Eaters.