New Mexico's Pet ResourceWINTER 2004


Imagine offering filet of horse at an equine rescue fundraiser. Or doggy- and kittyburgers at a pet adoptathon. It would never happen, you say? No, probably not. We have strong cultural taboos against eating the meat of companion animals. Yet nonprofit humane societies and shelters all over the U.S. who rescue chickens, pigs, cows, goats and other livestock, as well as dogs and cats, don’t think twice about serving foods like eggs and sausage links, fried chicken, pepperoni pizza, frankfurters or hamburgers to guests at their events. What’s wrong with this picture?

“Food for Thought: Adopting an Animal-Friendly Menu for your Shelter Events”, is a national campaign sponsored by Animal Place, a California farm animal sanctuary. The philosophy behind it is that reasonable humans recognize that animals—including so-called “food” animals, those raised to provide meat, dairy and eggs for humans—have feelings and suffer. So shelter workers should ask themselves, what animals do they protect? And do they serve those same animals at their events?

When animal products are served at shelter events and meetings, the public (and staff) gets, at best, a mixed message about animal protection. There is no way to justify saving them on the one hand and serving them on the other; it is morally inconsistent.

As a humane alternative, Animal Place suggests offering vegetarian fare. There are many meat and dairy substitutes available for use in preparing crowd-pleasing foods like pizza, burgers or spaghetti and meatballs. Another choice is serving ethnic dishes—Mexican, Thai, Chinese, or Indian, for example. Those shelters that have experimented with vegetarian entrees report no complaints from their staff or the public.

For more information about going veggie at your next event (and delicious recipes), visit or write to Animal Place, 3448 Laguna Creek Trail, Vacaville, CA 95688.

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