BOOKS: Vegetarian Dogs

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1998:

Vegetarian Dogs:
Towards a World
Without Exploitation
by Verona re-Bow
and Jonathan Dune
LiveArt (POB 7056, Halcyon, CA
93421), 1998.
55 pages, spiral binding, $12.00

In India, where one can hardly open
one’s eyes without seeing a street dog, and
where commercial dog food is almost unheard
of, there are indeed plenty of malnourished,
even starving dogs. One wonders, however,
if the malnourishment is not due less to the diet
of street garbage––mostly fruits and vegetables
–– than to parasite infestation and over-competition
for the garbage caused by too many dogs,
too many pigs, and lots of monkeys.

Dogs have survived for at least
10,000 years on human leavings, with a population
hardly in decline. Only in this century
did feeding dogs come to mean more than
scraping plates, boiling a few more potatoes,
or frying up some hushpuppies (if one happened
to live in the American south). Yet marketers
of commercial dog foods have done
such a good sales job in the U.S. that today’s
“responsible pet owner” thinks feeding table
scraps to a dog amounts to poisoning him.
Now enter the new wave of homemade
vegetarian dog food diet promoters.
Until reading Vegetarian Dogs, I’d have said
they’re all tedious, tiresome, strident, and
have too much time on their hands. Vegetarian
D o g s authors Verona re-Bow and Jonathan
Dune have managed, against what would seem
great odds, to make the subject not only palatable
but poignant. The beautifully illustrated
little book is full of dog rescue stories nestled
between uncomplicated scientific evidence and
streamlined philosophical premises. For example,
“…a dog should not be held to an ethical
standard…Therefore, it is not wrong for dogs
to eat meat. But, is it right for humans to participate
in the killing of other animals by feeding
meat to their canine companions?”
re-Bow and Dune avoid the more difficult
subject of vegetarian diets for cats, but
they make no bones about their goal in promoting
vegetarian diets for dogs: to “save the lives
of many farm animals and reduce the profitability
of the meat industry.”
I’m not personally going to start
cooking for our dogs, because I don’t have the
time to do much cooking for anyone. And I
won’t be buying much commercially prepared
vegetarian dog food until it’s more easily available
and less expensive. But I have absolutely
no argument against Vegetarian Dogs– – t h e
book or the concept.


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