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Carnivore Confusion / Western Animation

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  • The Flintstones has a weird case with their animal appliances. The animals talk and are apparently sentient. There's also non-intelligent animals as well, though, such as Dino. In a strange Flintstones episode called "The Snorkasaurus Hunter", Fred and Barney hunt a Snorkasaurus who turns out to be intelligent and able to speak. Wilma and Betty befriend the creature, who becomes the Flintstones' servant. Wilma refers to the Snorkasaurus as "Dino". Previous episodes had already established the Flintstones pet, Dino, who looks very similar tonote  the talking Snorkasaurus Dino that most viewers are familiar with.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • Subverted very nastily in an episode: The gang spends the episode hung up on the moral quandary of eating hamburgers and other foods made of meat (all the major characters are animals). In the end, they resolved to simply become vegetarians. This works out fine until Buster sits down to eat a carrot. The carrot suddenly sprouts a face and limbs and begs not to be eaten. Buster, realizing there's no way to win here, just sighs and eats the carrot anyway.
    • Another episode (or the same one) had Plucky show what Thanksgiving is like at his home. The whole family, who are ducks, is shown about to have turkey.
  • Kaeloo: Mr. Cat has threatened to eat Stumpy and Quack Quack at times, since he is a cat and they are a squirrel and duck respectively.
  • Overcome in The Animals of Farthing Wood by the Oath of Mutual Protection, where the animals promise not to attack each other, bully or eat each other during their journey to White Deer Park. However what happened before and after they got there is depicted as a brutal fact of life; in the cartoon series when we first meet the leader of the group, Fox, he is asked a question by a group including a rabbit and has to put down a dead rabbit he is carrying in his mouth before he can answer. And when they get to White Deer Park, whilst the Farthing Wood animals continue to uphold the Oath amongst one another, the other animals of White Deer Park are not bound by the Oath and as such many of the smaller Farthing Wood animals are killed and eaten during the series. And, as Adder is quick to point out, the Oath doesn't apply to eating the animals of White Deer Park either.
  • In some stories, human/animal shapeshifters angst over eating meat. Beast Boy in the animated series Teen Titans said it best: "I've been most of those animals!"
    • Which is a little bit of Fridge Logic as he also routinely turns into carnivores.
    • ...And then later he threatens to eat some talking tofu. Because he's a vegetarian.
    • Coming at it from another direction, there are characters who pointedly avoid transforming into livestock.
    • There's also Aqualad, who gets sick anytime someone eats fish next to him.
  • Futurama:
    • The episode "The Problem With Popplers" addresses this several times. First, there's a bunch of hippies trying to enforce vegetarianism. Leela points out eating meat is a part of nature, and the hippies point to a lion they taught to eat tofu. It's sickly and looks like it'll fall over dead at any second. Also the main characters casually bring up a few animals they eat in the future that are not usually thought of as food here in the present, such as parrots. The real meat of the episode however focuses on popplers, which resemble popcorn chicken, and are portrayed as absolutely delicious. Everybody happily devours the things until one hatches, and they realize that popplers are the eggs of the Omicronian people. "When my species grows up, we eat our moms!"
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    • Fishy Joe claims that the only reason humans aren't cannibals is because humans taste terrible. (And before anyone asks how they found out, one episode reveals that they had to resort to it during an economic depression several decades ago.)
  • Interpersonal relationships in some children's series sometimes get a little... odd... if adults think about them too long. For instance Franklin, where the cute turtle and goose and rabbit are bestest buddies with the equally cute bear and fox, or Little Bear (see below), in which the titular hero hangs out with a duck and a chicken...and a cat, and an owl. (Also a human girl, but that's a whole 'nother story...)
  • While the characters are anthropomorphic to an extreme, it's still rather odd to realize that, in Arthur, Sue Ellen, a cat, is taught by Ratburn, a rat. But they seem to get along just fine. Sue Ellen even becomes vegetarian several seasons in.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • The excellent short "Birds Anonymous" may be the earliest example of the "predators can just quit eating animals" trope. Sylvester joined the titular group, then suffered hard while going cold turkeys due to lack of bird flesh. In the end, the president of Birds Anonymous ends up chasing Tweety as well.
    • Sylvester decides to stop eating birds in at least one other cartoon, but only birds go off his list. Considering how much trouble Tweety hands him, it's hard to fault his decision.
    • Even though Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are sapient, humanoid animals, a massive chunk of their cartoons involves people trying to murder and/or eat them. They don't usually succeed, but it's still disturbing when one thinks about it, and it makes one wonder why this aspect of the Looney Tunes mythos hasn't been deconstructed yet. In Daffy's debut, "Porky's Duck Hunt", Daffy is closer to a Talking Animal as opposed to Porky being a Funny Animal. Daffy went through an Anthropomorphic Shift later on, but WB directors still did cartoons where Porky was out to hunt Daffy for food in spite of them both being Funny Animals.
  • The Looney Tunes Show:
    • In the episode "Sunday Night Slice" Bugs and friends go to a BBQ restaurant after their favorite pizzeria closes. Daffy orders pork ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, which offends Porky, but he doesn't catch on when Daffy points out that Porky himself eats pepperoni.
    • Later in the episode, Porky actually finds out the truth about pepperoni and is horrified... but still has a hard time ordering plain pizza.
  • Brandy & Mr. Whiskers handles this in a surprisingly brutal way for a Disney Channel series. While predators are usually handled as villains, not all of them are entirely bad. Some are just annoying or indeed just doing what they were born to do. Even more startling is that some of them actually succeed. In a particular unexpected example, a rodent family is eaten by a crocodile in a slightly anvilicious aesop - but it's still played for laughs.
  • In both his SatAM and Archie comics incarnations, Sonic the Hedgehog has a prominent fondness for chili dogs. As non-sapient animals are rarely portrayed in the series, where the meat comes from is a bit of a mystery.
    • "Non-sapient animals" is limited to Muttski. Who's a robot now. Possibly this explains where the meat for his chili dogs comes from.
      • There are multiple episodes showing non-sapient rats, birds, and fish. There are also the terrapods (though intelligent, they're non-sapient). And in "Ghost Busted", Sonic mentions the headless ghost rides a non-sapient buffalo.
    • The guy running the chilidog stand is a pig, in both of the episodes featuring chilidog stands.
    • Assuming it even is meat...The lack of livestock in the village and the presence of a chilidog machine that produces edible chilidogs 10 year after the city was abandoned/taken over, combined with the food replicator from Sonic & Sally all tend to point to the idea that the chilidogs are either Star Trek food constructed atom-by-atom, or are vegan hotdogs and vegan chili.
      • Or, maybe that's what really happens to the biological components when someone is roboticised...
  • Father of the Pride plays with this. The main character is a lion who's best friend is a Gopher who's name is "Snack". At one point, Snack's girlfriend (also aptly named "Candy") dumps him, and to protect his feelings, tells Snack that he ate his girlfriend instead.
  • In an episode of CatDog, Dog tries to answer the question of where meat comes from. He explains how there's a guy who plants meat plants — meanwhile, Cat just explains slaughter. Dog goes crazy at the idea of eating sapient beings, who he thinks are friends, and turns vegan. Then, Dog starts to become delusional as he imagines that vegetables are his friends. After all that, Dog then tries to eat Cat, because he's not his ''friend'' but his ''brother''. Fortunately, the guy who plants meat plants appears and solves the problem.
    • To make things more horrifying, Cat and Dog share bodies. So if Dog eats Cat, he eats his own body. Although they only felt pain in their half, so they have their own bodies, but they meet in the middle. So Dog would have only eaten Cat, which just leaves Dog and his half of the body...
    • Another episode involved Cat succumbing to his feline instincts and trying to eat Winslow, an anthropomorphic mouse.
    • Both CatDog and Rocko's Modern Life had Thanksgiving episodes featuring the main characters hiding turkeys at their houses. Turkeys meant to be eaten by the mostly-animal people of Nearburg/O-Town.
  • An episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog has Courage and Eustace attending a burger joint owned by two pigs. Another episode shows one of the aforementioned pigs owning a meat shop at a local market.
  • George of the Jungle:
    • Addressed in a rather interesting manner in one episode: George proclaims himself to protect the animals of the forest, which frequently results in the "Predators Are Mean" approach, with them being beaten up by George. However, in one episode he rescues a bird from a snake that was strangling it, causing the bird's family to reward George by carving his face on the mountainside. However, near the end of the episode, we hear the snake's side of the story, and it turns out that the bird was going to steal and eat the snake's eggs, and the snake's actions were thoroughly justified. The bird family promptly reverses the carving and flees once their facade of innocence is ruined.
    • On another occasion, George helped the carnivores give up meat, turning them into hippies. By an unfortunate coincidence, Ursula and Magnolia were teaching the herbivores to stand up for themselves, turning them into a vicious gang. Luckily, when it's pointed out that there won't be enough vegetables for everyone, the carnivores snap and the food chain is restored.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy has to gather food for all the animals under her care, including fish for a group of otters. In an earlier episode she's seen waving to a bunch of smiling fish, indicating the fish have some variant of sentience. One wonders how she manages that kind of dissonance. The IDW comics show she holds the "meat-eating is a fact of life" mindset and she doesn't really seem to mind seeing two packs of animals fight to the death in order to see which gets to eat the mane six.
      "Nature is so fascinating".
    • The ponies supposedly eat hot dogs. Applejack's farm raises pigs. Lauren Faust eventually explained both of those: vegetarian hot dogsnote  and the pigs work for the ponies because apparently ponies like truffles. This is fine and good, but it doesn't explain how in "A Bird In The Hoof", you clearly see a sandwich with a pink slice of something. One hopes it's a soy product or any number of vegetables that could approximate the colour.
    • A frequently referred-to problem is what gelatin is sometimes made from, by people who've never heard of the many plant-derived gum alternatives that you'd now expect to be developed first.
    • The buffalo are based on Southwest Native American tribes. Which made their tipis out of buffalo hide. More a slightly creepy irony than the trope, though.
    • The ponies are also seen eating eggs on a regular basis, although they aren't technically meat unless they're fertilized.
  • The ending of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving has Snoopy and Woodstock, the latter of whom is a bird, sitting down to have a turkey dinner. The bonus feature on the special's new DVD release has Bill Melendez admitting even he thought that scene was rather morbid. It really doesn't help that on at least one occasion in the comic, Woodstock and the other birds spent Thanksgiving hiding at Snoopy's place because they were terrified of becoming Thanksgiving dinners themselves.
  • Wonder Pets tends to go out of its way to avoid this issue entirely. No matter what animal the Pets save, they are given a gift of celery, which makes sense given that the Pets are a duck, a guinea pig, and a turtle, all of which are herbivores. But then there's the circus episode, which in addition to its other issues, showed a lion eating celery.
  • In Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends, Spiderus is the only spider that is known to have eaten other bugs. He seems to have dropped the practice after getting married to Spindella. Additionally, the kids encounter a frog named Felix who refuses to eat bugs and enjoys eating berries. Though Felix's parents, particularly his father, are not happy about this ("Bugs are food!"), they eventually settle things with the community of Sunny Patch, the father even agreeing that he might try some of those berries.
  • The Fairly Oddparents ' "Crash Nebula" episode has the hero, Sprig Speevak, tell his alien classmates a story about the time he rescued an alien princess, which included a part where his kid sister Sprout calls him in for dinner, which is turkey, and it makes the alien turkey mad, so Sprig revised that part to Sprout telling him that their mom made the turkey a sweater.
  • The Goode Family subverts the vegan carnivore subtrope. Rearing the family dog on a soy-bean diet has made it so starved for meat that he takes to eating all of the neighborhood pets.
  • Dinosaur Train seems to go out of the way to talk about the differences between herbivores and carnivores. The dinosaurs that are carnivores, however, do seem to have come to an unspoken agreement to not eat fellow dinosaurs.
    • While they're alive, anyway. Buddy, on discovering he's a Tyrannosaurus, also discovers that he likes carrion, and in another episode, Annie explains that the T. rex family migrates to follow the herbivores, because "they eat plants, and we eat them".
    • Actually, the carnivores do mention that they hunt and eat other dinosaurs. Some episodes even discuss predator-prey relationships.
  • In an episode of Krypto The Super Dog, Krypto and his cat friend Streaky (who also has the same powers) are exposed to red kryptonite and turn into fish versions of themselves. Not only are the sharks portrayed as being mean bastards preying on innocent fish, there's actually a dolphin who is appalled that Streaky eats fish, and has the nerve to call him (along with a bunch of other fish who find out the truth) a "fish eater". Both Carnivore Confusion and Artistic License – Biology since both dolphins and whales are treated as if they are related to fish. It's even worse when you consider that Dolphins feed primarily on fish.
  • Back at the Barnyard - the fact that some of the cast of barn animals include a dog and a ferret, tends not to bother the others at all. However, Freddy the ferret does very frequently fantasize eating his best friend, Peck (who happens to be a chicken), but tries to maintain a vegetarian diet (the producers seem to disregard the fact that ferrets are obligate carnivores and completely lack the ability to derive nutrition from plant matter). In one hilarious scene, Otis the cow is seen eating a salami sandwich, but later turns out it's just veggie salami.
    • The fact that the cast are intelligent, talking animals raises the further question about the morals of human meat consumption, and why other equally intelligent barn animals don't try to avoid this fate.
      • The farmer is a vegan.
      • There's even an episode where Freddy, who can't remember the night before, is put on trial and banished for allegedly eating Peck.
  • The Christmas Special Christopher The Christmas Tree uses the Predators Are Mean model. A group of Woodland Creatures take up residence in the eponymous tree, specifically seeking shelter from foxes and weasels. The only time said fox and weasel show up, however, all the other animals are out looking for food, so they simply taunt Christopher and leave.
  • Madagascar franchise plays with this trope big time:
    • Averted, then reconstructed in the original movie which is a major plot point. Alex the Lion, after escaping the zoo where he was fed steaks, eventually gets hungry and starts wishing to eat his herbivore companions. They ultimately succeed in finding another source of food for him - sushi.
    • Drives the whole plot of The Penguins of Madagascar episode "The Falcon and the Snow Job". Kitka the falcon crash-lands in the zoo and instantly catches Skipper's eye; however, everyone else is uncomfortable due to her diet. To allay their concerns, Kitka swears not to eat any of the zoo's residents, but still ends up accused of snatching Julien. In the end, Skipper successfully Clears Her Name, and she insists she only ate one squirrel outside the zoo...then coughs up Fred. Cue Skipper's "I think we should see other people..."
    • A similar situation happens in another episode where Private befriends a leopard seal (They eat penguins) and after finally bringing her back to her village in the Antartica; the rest of penguins are captured by the leopard seals when they try to "save" Private from his friend. Because he had saved his daughter, the chief of the village makes a feast in his honor. Problem is, the food is Skipper, Kowalski and Rico.
  • Vuk the Little Fox averted this: many animal characters, even those who have spoken lines, or even names, are killed and eaten by the main character, a fox.
  • One episode of Tom and Jerry Tales had Tom enthusiastically meeting a group of lions during an African safari. Unfortunately for him, the lions thought their "cousin" would make a good meal.
  • Utilized throughout almost the entire series plus Tom and Jerry shorts. Despite the constant cat and mouse chase, only a handful of instances depict Tom with any interest in eating Jerry. One short further confuses the matter by having a dog trying to eat Tom.
  • Adventure Time:
    • The inhabitants of the Candy Kingdom in the Land of Ooo are sentient candy. Every building and the streets are made out of candy too. This is addressed in the first Susan Strong episode—after Finn shows her that she can eat the sidewalk, she tries to eat a passing resident. Finn stops her, explaining that she can't eat a Candy Person. Unfortunately, she assumes that she can eat everyone except that person and brings her tribe to attack the city.
    • More specifically referenced in the episode 'Hitman' where Finn and Jake are making sandwiches with slices of meat.
    Finn: What kind of meat is that?
    Jake: That's Meat Man's meat
    Finn: Do you think it hurts Meat Man when he gives us his meat?
  • In Thundercats 2011, Third Earth's World of Funny Animals depicts Thundera's Cats not as obligate carnivores, but omnivores like humans. They eat meat, presumably non-sentient species, but the Fishmen sailors from "Ramlak Rising" have no qualms about eating other the Cats. Indeed, the ship's cook has designs on stuffing the Thunderkittens, and when the Fishman Captain Tunar says he would have let the Cats eat his own first mate had he known they were such competent fighters, he's not entirely joking. In a subsequent episode, the Cats leave nonanthropomorphic fish-skeletons as food scraps, while an enemy Lizard Folk muses on the idea of eating the Cats roasted.
  • A stunning aversion in a one-off gag on Tuff Puppy. When looking into Kitty's past, they see her sixteenth birthday where her mother hired a very sentient (yet normal sized) mouse magician, Kitty ate him without even a second thought, understandably squicking out the partygoers.
  • VeggieTales has a world populated by talking vegetables and fruits, in which there are pies and popcorn balls as food, and apparently "apple choppers". It was confirmed in the commentary for Duke and the Great Pie War (and demonstrated in Jonah) that there are non-sentient fruits and vegetables in their world as well. In their version of Daniel and the Lion's Den, a cucumber is tossed to lions.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • Heffer has been seen eating beef products.
    • In the show, Anthropomorphic animals seem to exist alongside regular animals and some episodes made a point of that quite clearly.
    • Heffer's family are all wolves (he's adopted). Some of the family members seem not to be strongly opposed to the idea of eating him, and it's strongly implied that they might have already done so if "Mom" hadn't been protecting him.
  • Diego in Go, Diego, Go! often has to help a prey animal evade a predator (the reasons aren't specified) though he's also helped predators to live. In one episode, he helps a llama outrun a puma until he realizes that he personally knows the puma, and it's a "nice" puma who only wanted to borrow a book. The prey animals are always described as being "afraid of" their predators, but the idea of animals actually eating each other never comes up (unless it's fish).
  • Alfred J. Kwak:
    • The King of Great Waterland is a lion, who in one of the early episodes is shown hunting in the forest. With a rifle. In a land full of talking animals. His servants are later shown taking dead pheasants with them.
    • Even the fish talk, and at one point ask Alfred for help because they are afraid that they'll be hunted to extinction by a new high-tech fishing boat.
    • The character Krabnagel is a dangerous criminal and known to eat others (including little children). He is never charged for this, when he ends up in prison it's for other crimes.
    • K. Rokodil is happily married to a bird that a real crocodile would have probably eaten.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force Dr. Weird takes this trope to it's (il)logical conclusion.
  • For the most part, this trope is skipped over in Phineas and Ferb, despite one episode showing other species had some type of Animal Talk, and that certain ones are (secretly) hyper-competent secret agents. However, there is one recurring joke about how Agent T the Turkey disappeared around Thanksgiving that spikes off a lot of Fridge Horror.
  • One of Uncle Grandpa's friends is named Pizza Steve, and yes, he is a living slice of pizza wearing shades. Despite this, he still eats pizza.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • The Sheriff of Elmore is a doughnut who loves eating doughnuts.
    • In "The Meddler", Gumball tries to pass off his telling Penny "I love you" as "I love peanuts". Penny gets offended because she is herself a peanut, and says that would be like her telling Gumball she liked to eat cats.
    • "The World" shows that while some of the food is anthropomorphic enough to live like a human would, all of the food (and everything else) is sentient, and some of it isn't too happy about being eaten. Though the hot dog and soda seem alright with it.
    • A poster in the back of Elmore Middle School listing rules includes a rule against eating other students. In "The Coach" it turns out Jamie has done exactly that: cue a flash cut of Sarah's head (ice cream) with an unpeeled Banana Joe on top, each having a noticeable bite taken out of them.
    • In "The Flower", Leslie (a flower) tries to get Penny to give up plant-eating because she's herself a plant and shouldn't be eating her own kind.
    • In "The Bumpkin", Idaho (a potato) ask Richard what the french fries he's eating are. Richard then throws them out the window.
    • In "The Job", Gumball and Darwin deliver a pizza to two anthropomorphic pizzas, though the pizzas talk about it as though they're going to raise him as a child rather than eat him. Then Gumball drops it.
    • In "The Name", Gumball takes a bite out of an apple on the table in front of Banana Joe. This causes him to remark "Hey! That's my cousin!" and we then see said apple had a face and begins to cry.
    • "The Potato" has Darwin giving up eating potatoes due to thinking it is offending Idaho. It turns Idaho didn't mind because apparently potato-people are not the same as edible potatoes.
  • Little Bear, is a bear, but is friends with a cat, a hen and a duck, all of which can be prey animals to a bear. The only meat he is seen eating is fish, and this is mostly because No Cartoon Fish is in appliance. There are also Cat and Owl. They are said to hunt at night and when Little Bear meets a mouse, he knows that he has to hide it from them.
  • In the 3D animated series Maya the Bee almost exclusively Thekla is bug and predator.
    • One mole cricket is vegetarian and does not eat rain-worms, but her sister apparently does. (Although it is not main point of the plot. When the sister appears, she eats truffle and causes an oak to die.)
    • Birds, frogs and lizards talk and sometimes decide not to eat a bug.
    • See also German-Japanese Adventures of Maya the Honeybee in Anime & Manga.
  • In Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman Theodore is stated to be vegetarian while his brothers aren't. They're all chipmunks, obviously, and are usually depicted as normal chipmunks who have picked up more humanoid tendencies (despite their abnormal size).
  • Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood is of the type that completely ignores the issue. Daniel Tiger and his friends O the Owl and Katerina Kittycat all go to school together. If Katerina was really a cat and Daniel was really a tiger, O would be a meal to the former and a light snack to the latter.
  • Dinotrux plays this a little weird, given that all animals are animal/vehicle hybrids. Almost all of them simply feed on ore, with the T-Trux being feared mostly because they are usually powerful territorial jerks. The show also features scavengers that like to collect scrap metal (so, the flesh of other Dinotrux), but seemingly just to build their nests out of as they are never seen eating it. So that getting replacement parts does not have to involve our heroes killing other dinotrux for their parts, an acceptable target is given to them in the form of bitbugs; literally just replacement parts with insect wings that certain kinds of reptools can harvest by eating them and spitting them back out sans wings.
  • This is a primary theme of Don't Eat the Neighbors. A family of rabbits live near a family of wolves, and a fox and a bear are also present. Fox and the father wolf wants to hunt and eat the father rabbit. Meanwhile, the kids in the wolf and rabbit families don't try to eat each other and get along fine. And Bear doesn't seem to want to eat anybody.
  • The Lion King largely avoided this trope until The Lion Guard. The cartoon is about Simba's son (a lion cub) and his friends (several who are carnivores or omnivores) protecting the Pridelands. More than once this involves "saving" prey from predators (or rather, unsympathetic predators). Despite this, the main characters eating other animals is acknowledged. One episode even revolves around the fact Fuli (a cheetah) hunts alone, though we never actually see her catching her prey. The Lion Guard frequently interact with prey animals however they don't seem scared of them. To add to the confusion, sometimes they speak, other times they only make animal noises.
  • Rather horrifically deconstructed in Bojack Horseman, which takes place in a world populated by humans and Funny Animals. One episode shows a chicken farmer who is himself a chicken, and his livestock are just as anthropomorphic as himself, but as he explains they are injected with hormones at birth that make them mentally retarded. In a previous episode, a cow waitress was shown angrily serving steak to a customer.
  • One of Cinar's The Real Story of... cartoons features a city inhabited by sheep, wolves and dogs. One of the sheep approaches a dog police detective's (yes, the detective is The Hero) lunch, and the detective shouts at him to leave his shepherd pie alone. The sheep, meanwhile, is positively sick from smelling it.
  • The Wild Thornberrys has an episode where Eliza is trying to convince a stoat not to eat an Arctic hare, to no avail; the episode eventually ends with the pair running away to continue their war. Eliza discusses this with her father, who notes that they are animals, after all—stoats eat meat, and you can't convince them not to.
    • Despite talking to animals who are all sentient, Eliza herself is apparently not a vegetarian, if the meals her family are shown preparing are anything to go by. That said, she regularly talks to carnivores and presumably understands the importance of predation in nature.


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