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Carnivore Confusion / Disney and Pixar

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  • The talking/non-talking roles were reversed for morbidly comic effect in The Emperor's New Groove, with a grisly little reference to The Fly (1958): a bug caught in a spiderweb screams "Help meee! Help meee!" in a tiny voice, then is promptly eaten by the spider.
  • In the early Mickey Mouse cartoon Ye Olden Days, the royal court is made up of Clarabelle Cow and several nameless pig footmen in addition to other anthropomorphic farm animals. When the King calls for the royal feast, some of the first foods to emerge from the kitchen are a whole roast boar and bull. Now, the Anthro cows and pigs are shown eating spaghetti and soup but, really, that's right out of Silence of the Lambs.
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  • The many times Donald Duck has worried about not having enough money to put a Thanksgiving/Christmas turkey/goose/chicken on the table. And yet has shown objection to the idea of roast duck once or twice. Donald may not be as confused as he seems, ducks are, at most, only as closely related to geese as we are to chimpanzees and, no more closely related to chickens and turkeys than we are to pigs, cattle, or sheep. Donald rejecting the idea of roast duck makes perfect sense-humans, generally speaking, don't eat apes, but most of us are fine with eating beef despite being mammals.
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks features a sequence that takes place underwater, with the live-action cast dancing with a city of talking fish. All well and good — until the merry ball is broken up by a fisherman. Who turns out to be a talking bear. Because all the animals on this island were made human-like thanks to a magic spell. Hello, Fridge Logic.
  • Finding Nemo:
    • Addressed in Finding Nemo. Nemo is introduced to a pelican who makes an apology to Nemo on the off chance that he had ever tried to eat him in the past. Apparently, predators only eat prey animals they're not on a first-name basis with. Which makes sense, one with pet fish usually won't go after them for food, and many people keep farm animals as pets without going vegetarian.
    • Also, carnivorism among sharks is rendered as similar to alcoholism, and the sharks in the movie belong to a "Sharks Anonymous" group. The question of what they're supposed to eat instead is completely ignored (although they don't seem to care about dolphins).
    • The trope is also subverted later on. At one point a character points out that whales only eat krill, which most people don't think of as being a "creature" and thus whales are often not thought of as carnivores (as opposed to say "Killer Whales"). Immediately a swarm of krill pass through the scene, screaming and swimming for their lives as a whale tries to eat them.
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    • Bloat, a pufferfish, sharing a tank with Jacques, a Pacific cleaner shrimp (even though pufferfish mainly eat crustaceans in real life) seems like a classic case of this, but it really isn't. Real cleaner shrimp feed on parasites that infest the scales and gills of fish—even large predatory ones such as sharks. Their bright red and white colors let their prospective clients identify them, so even fish that normally eat shrimp do not attack them. Many owners of saltwater aquariums keep cleaner shrimp for that very purpose.
  • The Lion King:
    • The Lion King, as a film with the cycle of life and death as its main theme, does address this issue to a surprisingly high degree. True, Mufasa is never shown eating a single animal, and Simba becomes an insectivore; however, Mufasa makes it very clear at the beginning that lions eat animals and are part of the Great Cycle of Life, Scar rewards the hyenas with a shank of zebra, Simba practices his hunting skills with Zazu and tells Timon and Pumbaa he's so hungry he could eat a zebra, Nala tries to hunt Pumbaa, the hyenas finish all the available food once Scar takes over, and Timon and Pumbaa lure the hyenas away by posing as delicious wild game. It's an uncomfortable twist on the concept of governmental dominance — the monarchy not only orders you around but might also eat you.
    • Painfully averted in an early script of the movie that would eventually become The Lion King. Two of Simba's friends are an aardvark and a zebra, Daabi and Lemuta. Lemuta and Simba are playing when they see Simba's parents hunt a zebra, who happens to be Lemuta's mother. She escapes but that makes Lemuta notice that their little "games" are preparing for something different and stops being friends with Simba.
    • Lampshaded when we first meet adult Nala—hunting Pumbaa. Simba jumps to his friend's defense, only for the two to recognize each other and immediately become friendly. Even Pumbaa quickly relaxes, to Timon's utter astonishment.
    Timon: Let Me Get This Straight.... You know her, she knows you, but she wants to eat him. And everyone's...okay with this? DID I MISS SOMETHING HERE?!"
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora has an almost out-of-character delight in pointing this out and creeping Timon and Pumbaa out. At the end of the first visit, Timon and Pumbaa worry that Simba won’t tell the other carnivores that they’re his friends and thus they’ll be eaten. Also interesting in that the hyenas were portrayed somewhat sympathetically.
    • Subverted in the Timon & Pumbaa series, where the duo discover a cartoony snail with an uncanny resemblance to Bing Crosby (as opposed to a "realistic" looking one) and can't bring themselves to eat him. Well, Pumbaa couldn't. Timon was more than willing to eat him even after he proved that he could talk. He only relented when the snail revealed his singing talent.
      • May be a clever Shout-Out to that old Merrie Melodies cartoon where a young quail could not bring herself to eat a worm (whom her father spent the cartoon trying to grab) because he looked like Frank Sinatra.
      • Also played with in another episode featuring a visit from Simba. Pumbaa insists that despite rumors that a vicious predator is lurking around, it couldn't possibly be their lion friend. Timon is initially sympathetic but increasingly suspicious after rationalizing that there's no way Simba could sustain himself on bugs as an adult, though he just seems worried about him eating specifically him.
    • An episode segment features the Hyenas trying to catch and eat a circus monkey.
      • Another episode features them and the host of a nature show, who keeps giving steaks to an armadillo. They try to convince him to give them some steaks and he just kicks them off the set. He's also rather abusive toward his assistant. Eventually, they (both the hyenas and the assistant) get tire of being kicked around, and are seen at the end about to cook (and presumably eat) the nature show host, while the assistant happily films it.
      • Another hyena episode has them being sent away from the Pride Lands by a pair of cheetahs who are tired of the hyenas bungling their hunts. The hyenas are away for several months looking for an alleged goose to eat, after which the two cheetahs have grown morbidly obese from getting to freely hunt and eat so much. Then the hyenas return and prepare to eat the now too-fat-to-run cheetahs... until the goose turns out to be real and distracts them all.
  • In Lilo & Stitch, Lilo feeds Pudge (a pufferfish) peanut-butter sandwiches because if she fed him tuna sandwiches, "I'd be an ABOMINATION!" Pudge would probably get a great deal of vindictive satisfaction from eating a large piscivore, but Lilo is five and wouldn't be expected to realize that.
  • Bambi avoids the issue entirely (except where human hunters are concerned), to the point where Thumper the rabbit can hang out unconcerned under Friend Owl's gaze... The original Felix Stalton novel addresses it directly. Here predatory animals and humans are not so much mean as constantly on edge. If they act rude, it's only because it is so much harder for them to find food.
  • Brother Bear plays No Cartoon Fish straight during almost all the movie, and the end of the main characters' journey takes place at a salmon fishing pond for all visiting bears. However, The Stinger after the end credits subverts this with glee: Koda gives a disclaimer stating no animals were harmed in the making of the movie, only to see Kenai chasing a salmon swimming as fast as it can while screaming, "Help! He's going to eat me!" Koda promptly covers the camera.
  • A Bug's Life:
    • The black widow spider and the praying mantis get along great with all the other bugs, not even a hint that they'd be in danger. In fact, the moth was married to the praying mantis. The only animals that actually behaved like carnivores were the birds. Except for the time she was talking to an insect about how her past husbands died and he was unnerved, to put it lightly.
    • Especially unnerving is the scene where Hopper attacks Manny, which should be vice versa in Real Life.
    • Then there's the whole premise. If grasshoppers swarmed an ant colony, the ants would rip them apart and eat them. A tamer version happens at the end of the film when the ants realize their strength, but still.
  • In WALL•E, the title character is shown cannibalizing other shut-down robots for parts. Any Unfortunate Implications of this are never addressed. Justified in that WALL•E, being a robot, isn't actually ingesting and digesting them, only grafting pieces of other robots onto himself. So it's more like organ transplants.
  • The issue is mostly avoided in Bolt in which the three main characters (a dog, a cat and a hamster) are essentially treated as omnivores who eat only human food. Justified in that Bolt and Rhino have no experience outside human care while Mittens has been abandoned by her owners after being declawed and can no longer hunt effectively.
  • Referred to at least twice in James and the Giant Peach; the giant anthropomorphic bugs talk about their dietary habits in a song, and the other bugs are also distrustful of Ms. Spider. She acknowledges this to be in their nature, and then there is this exchange:
    Mrs. Ladybug: (when eating the titular peach) Better than aphids!
    Ms. Spider: Mhm...Better than ladybugs!
    Mrs. Ladybug: What?!
    Ms. Spider: Excuse...
    • This is potentially justified, since they only recently gained intelligence.
  • Lambert the Sheepish Lion: A Disney short where a stork accidentally delivers a lion to a family of sheep. It's never questioned how Lambert survives without eating the other sheep. In one scene he saves his foster mother from an evil, hungry wolf.
  • In The Little Mermaid Triton mocks humans for eating fish. That leaves the question of what do merfolk eat? According to later supplementary material they are vegan and eat foods like kelp, but that isn't shown in-series. The fish, themselves, on the other hand...
  • Zootopia finds some interesting ways to explore this issue. Because only mammals (and possibly birds and reptiles, if Word of God is to be believed) are anthropomorphized in this setting and the creative team confirmed that fish and invertebrates are a non-evolved, non-sapient food source, obligate carnivores have plenty of guilt-free options to sustain them. On the other hand, in this setting the anthropomorphic mammals evolved from normal wild animals which did previously eat each other. Prey species haven't forgotten the bad old days, and that historical tension leads to some serious social issues regarding Bias and Fantastic Racism.


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