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Please note that all sapient animals are people, but not all sentient animals are people.
"If I'm gonna eat somebody, it might as well be you."
Lou the Goanna, FernGully: The Last Rainforest

On the Sliding Scale of Anthropomorphism, one of the first aspects to be added and the last to be removed after sentience is sapience. Whether they walk on two legs or four, whether they speak or grunt, a cartoon animal will show some level of human intelligence. So when a sapient animal is intending to eat another sapient animal, a certain kind of drama arises.

While this does not strictly count as cannibalism (such as a talking wolf eating a talking sheep), anthropomorphism by definition puts an animal on a level of humanity that the audience is meant to identify with. An intelligent animal ceases to be an environmental hazard and becomes a character. "That bear is trying to eat that rabbit" transitions very quickly to "That man is trying to eat that little girl" when the audience identifies with both bear and rabbit. This makes a very short road to Predators Are Mean, particularly if the predator takes the time to taunt its prey with their intended fate, or if they decide to be 'sporting' and invoke Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. People will naturally wonder why are sapient animals any different in rights than humans, and predators that don't kill their prey swiftly and painlessly will come across as consciously cruel if not outright sadistic for knowingly hurting creatures with the same rights as them.

There are generally three scenarios where this trope can come into play, based on the involvement of humanity:

  • In a world run by humans with Nearly Normal Animals or Civilized Animals, only the audience and human characters will be informed of the animals' impending doom, and blatant Animal Talk will prevent the animals from finding out their fate. (Unless perhaps a precocious child who Speaks Fluent Animal tells them.) If the animals do find out, this can add an element of drama.
  • In a setting where humans are either completely nonexistent, or not directly involved, or are otherwise placed alongside Funny Animals and any manner of humanoid creatures and aliens. This puts all prospective predators and prey on a near-to-level playing field in their given society. Predator and prey can carry on full conversations about how one considers the other fully edible, no matter how they protest. More sympathetic characters can at least go the route of saying that friends are not food, and only strangers are acceptable meals.
  • If humans are ever the designated prey, two sister tropes can also occur. I'm a Humanitarian is when humans are textbook cannibals, eating other humans. To Serve Man is when some other species is preying on humanity.

Likewise, it's possible that the predators have rules about who is, or isn't, on the menu, to say nothing about other things, with the possibility that failing to follow the rules could lead to a murder charge:

When a sapient does this pragmatically for reasons beyond mere sustenance, you have Eating the Enemy.

Often a result of Carnivore Confusion or Let's Meet the Meat. See also Predation Is Natural, which is often used in conjunction with this trope in examples where predators are sympathetic. Predator-Prey Friendship is what happens when two characters of this type avoid their instincts and become friends.

Contrast Vegetarian Carnivore, Furry Confusion, and No Cartoon Fish, which each can be used as methods to avert this trope in Carnivore Confusion-type situations.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This is an illegal but unfortunately common occurrence in the world of Beastars. Carnivores, willingly or not, do kill and eat sapient herbivores. There's also a Black Market in meat from hospitals and funeral homes, and extremely desperate, impoverished herbivores sometimes sell their own body parts.
  • The Promised Neverland: The overarching antagonists are demons who eat human meat, with the main characters being children from a People Farm who discovered this fact and are trying to find safety. However, humans and demons can interact and understand each other just fine, and it's shown in a flashback that during The Great Offscreen War that the two of them are on equal footing in terms of strength, intelligence, weaponry, etc. After the humans' escape, they run into a pair of demons, Sung-Joo and Musica, who don't eat humans due to their religion, who help them get to safety. Although Sung-Joo's motives are to make humans wild game again, and thus be able to eat them. (Their religion requires them to eat wild food.) Musica's assistance is more sincere, and it's implied that she's never had human meat.
  • It is a Running Gag in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid that Tohru keeps unsuccessfully trying to feed her own tail meat to Kobayashi.
  • This appears in early episodes of Pokémon: The Series. Pokémon are varying degrees of sapient, which has only increased over time. Still, in the second episode Ash's Pidgeotto tries to eat Caterpie, the characters once tried to eat a Magikarp, and in the Japanese version Meowth mentioned wanting to eat Pikachu. This was later dropped in the anime, with Pokémon being depicted as herbivorous (even when they aren't in the games).
  • You Are Umasou: Both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs are fully sentient and sapient, but that doesn't stop the latter from devouring the former and even each other.
  • Kumoko in So I'm a Spider, So What? will eat literally anything that isn't so poisonous that it will seriously damage her. This includes humans that attack her, though she never actually starts a fight with humans first. However, she does actively hunt dragons at a few points despite probably recognizing that they're as intelligent as she is. She only briefly considers the moral implications of this early on before deciding that it doesn't count since she's a giant spider monster now and said spider monsters will kill and eat literally anything they can get, including each other (one of her earliest memories after being reincarnated was her mother trying to eat babies that weren't fast enough to escape). Later on she even seems to be morally against not eating anything she killed herself, considering it to be wasteful.
  • It's common in The Death Mage Who Doesn't Want a Fourth Time for various intelligent races to eat each other. Van himself gifts some dead adventurers to a tribe of ghouls he meets early on and they happily eat them, though Van politely declines to eat any himself. And before you go feeling bad for them, humans also have ways of cooking Scylla (which are a race of women with octopus legs) and use ghoul body parts as alchemical ingredients. Everyone eats orcs (except other orcs) and would eat kobolds and goblins too if they didn't taste so bad, though it's debatable as to whether goblins are sapient in the first place.
  • In Frieren: Beyond Journey's End, demons are a sapient species capable of human speech. However, they are also a form of monster which preferentially preys on humans. They communicate with humans solely as a means of deceiving them to either escape death or create an opening to attack.

    Asian Animation 
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: The entire conflict is that the sapient wolf Wolffy and his wife try to catch and eat a group of equally sapient goats.
  • Tik Tak Tail: Sapient tiger Tak wants to eat the equally sapient rabbit Tik.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • The Far Side: Several strips have sapient deer being stalked or killed by human hunters, with the implication that both species live in the same society ("Do I know this guy?").

    Fan Works 
  • All Assorted Animorphs AUs: Played for Drama in "What if they were caught during their first mission?". Essak 1275 kills and eats over forty Leerans while in lerdethak morph (a mass of snake-like vines), and it's implied to cause his host, Jake, to cross the Despair Event Horizon.
  • The Desert Storm: The mission to intervene in the Kaleesh's genocide of the Yam'rii takes an abrupt turn when it's discovered that the Yam'rii eat live Kaleesh eggs as a delicacy.
  • Escape from the Moon: In addition to being emotivores, sirens like to drown ponies and then devour them.
  • From Behind Bars: Laila is a captive-bred lion who has never hunted before. One day, the zoo keepers put a live sheep into her enclosure. Laila reluctantly attacks the sheep. She feels bad about killing it and almost lets it go, but she kills it after it calls her a "mockery of a feline". She still feels bad afterwards.
  • Going Native (Ideas-Guy): Saiyans can and will eat the corpse of a sapient being if given the opportunity or need. They don't even care if it's the body of an enemy or an ally. The only sapient beings they don't eat are other Saiyans.
  • Little Fires: Played for Drama. Emberpaw's first time hunting a mouse is unpleasant. Killing others, even prey, isn't as fun as she imagined. To make it worse, she swears she heard the mouse beg for its life.
  • One Piece Final Saga Alternative: David runs an illegal market that turns sapient races like Fishmen, Minks, and the like into food to attempt to gain immortality.
  • Ozma Sees Herself: The Hungry Tiger wants to eat Ozma until the Cowardly Lion introduces them properly.
  • Paradise shows that ponies were once normal prey animals to other species. When Celestia and Luna were foals, they lived in fear of griffons, dragons, and especially wolves. The former two can outright speak the same tongue as ponies.
  • The Problem with Predation: Griffons being predators are one of the reasons why they're historically disliked by equines. Gilda hates having to hunt but she needs to eat meat to survive. As a result, she prefers to hunt old or weak zebra.

    Films — Animation 
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven. King Gator is set to eat both Charlie and Anne-Marie... until Charlie's nearly-final howl prompts a (nay, THE) Big-Lipped Alligator Moment. King Gator then goes on to eat Carface at the end of the climax.
  • An American Tail: Cats, mice, dogs, rats, and pigeons are all capable of interacting in their Mouse World, but the cats still plot and scheme to eat the mice, even if it involves building a giant mousetrap.
  • Chicken Run: The intelligent chickens start out as strictly egg-laying hens, until they stop producing. But even that won't save them once Mrs. Tweedy decides chicken pot pies are more profitable. Even once the chickens have constructed elaborate machinery to escape, she remains resolute as ever to turn them all into mincemeat.
  • Cinderella: Lucifer, Lady Tremaine's evil pet cat, tries to eat the anthropomorphic talking mice Jacques and Gus.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: A goanna sings an entire song to a shrunken Zak about how he is going to eat him.
  • Finding Nemo:
    • Nearly all under-water creatures, from krill to whales, are sapient. This, of course, includes the carnivores. Marlin and Dory happen upon a group of sharks who have vowed never to eat fish again, and view the desire as a Horror Hunger. They're fine with eating dolphins, though. The barracuda and the angler fish, on the other hand, seem to show no sign of sapience.
    • Nigel the pelican regularly has conversations with the fish who live in a dentist's office, but also apologizes to Nemo in case he "took a snap at [him] at one time". He also would have been fine letting Marlin or Dory get eaten by seagulls until he learns that Marlin is Nemo's father.
    • Averted with Finding Dory where the normally fish-eating beluga Bailey and the octopus Hank are perfectly friendly with the fish characters, while a giant squid that attacks them earlier is purely animalistic like the aforementioned angler and barracuda. Played with when Dory ends up in a bucket of dead sardines meant to be food to Destiny the whale shark, who turns out to be Dory's childhood friend.
  • Free Birds: Turkeys resort to screwing with time to escape being slaughtered every November by humans.
  • The Great Mouse Detective: While the dog and cat of the movie are portrayed as the pets of the more anthropomorphic animals, they emote like humans. Nevertheless, Ratigan's cat follows his orders on who she is and is not supposed to eat, even if he changes his mind mid-mastication.
  • Ice Age:
    • The Smilodon start out just wanting to eat that baby, but they quickly plan on having mammoth (and sloth) for dinner as well once Manny takes guardianship of the child.
    • Manny only seems to get truly upset with brontotheres Carl and Frank when they say they're not going to eat Sid after killing him. He states that this is because he doesn't like it when animals kill for no good reason.
  • The Land Before Time: Even without the giant, snarling Sharptooth, there are plenty of predators who can talk just as much as the main characters while making their dinner plans.
  • Leafie, a Hen into the Wild: The one-eyed weasel is at first presented as an animalistic Big Bad but as the story goes on it becomes clear that she's just as sapient as everyone else. At the end Leafie lets herself be eaten so that the weasel can produce enough milk to feed her young. The weasel ends up crying as she attacks Leafie.
  • The Lion King (1994):
    • Almost as soon as they're introduced, Scar tries to chow down on the king's majordomo, Zazu, after trying to do the same to a completely non-sapient mouse. Considering that Mufasa is more concerned with Scar's absence from the presentation of Simba than finding his brother with a mouthful of hornbill, this is apparently a common incident.
    • The hyenas loudly make puns about eating Simba, Nala, and Zazu, right in front of their intended prey. Unfortunately, their dinner guests get the joke and run off while the hyenas crack wise.
    • Nala attempts to chase down and eat Pumbaa, yet both are perfectly content to be friends after Simba's intervention. This is immediately lampshaded by Timon, who's already uncomfortable with Simba's carnivorous tendencies.
  • Madagascar:
  • Moana: The giant crab-monster Tamatoa has no qualms about eating the human heroine, the demigod Maui, or his own grandmother, and even gleefully sings about how he's going to do it.
  • One Stormy Night revolves around this issue. A goat named Mei befriends a wolf named Gabu. Their friendship is considered against nature and the two end up running away together in order to avoid their family's scorn. Most of the drama revolves around Gabu's need to eat meat and his temptation to eat Mei. Gabu tries to become Vegetarian Carnivore but, being a wolf, he ultimately needs to hunt behind Mei's back. This horrifies Mei, but he later tells Gabu to eat him in order to avoid starvation during a blizzard. Gabu refuses to.
  • Rock-A-Doodle
    • The Grand Duke has no qualms about eating a human boy, but transforms Edmund into a kitten as a matter of preference: "Kittens are more digestible."
    • The Duke and his overly-theatrical minions show delight at dining on the smaller sapient farm animals, waiting only for their only flashlight's batteries to die, and drawing out the process with an upbeat musical number about how they're going to be eaten while setting the table.
  • Sausage Party: The whole premise of the movie is a world where our food is sapient.
  • Shrek: While Dragon is The Speechless through the entire franchise, she's plenty intelligent, and removes Farquad from the equation at the climax of the first movie. He even sings Stayin' Alive in the after-party sequence while she holds the microphone against her stomach.
  • Sing: A large Russian bear with tries twice to eat Mike as retribution for cheating him at cards. The last we see of him, he's still chasing Mike to try again.
  • Vuk the Little Fox combines this with Protagonist-Centered Morality. Vuk is a sapient fox and The Hero; he eats equally sapient chickens, geese and ducks, but since he's the protagonist, nobody questions this morally.
  • Zootopia plays heavily with this trope. The animals don't actually eat each other... anymore. Though they have made peace, there is still a historic tension between the species that used to be predators and the ones that used to be prey. Also, insects and fish are still non-evolved in this world, so there are still non-sapient sources of protein for the carnivores.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Babe: Subverted. Hoggett takes a duck to the chopping shed; the audience is allowed to think it's Ferdinand that became Christmas dinner for quite some time, before he finally pops up next to Babe.
  • Charlotte's Web: Subverted. After Fern says she absolutely will not let her dad kill the small piglet, the movie immediately cuts to bacon being fried; and then after that it cuts to Fern holding the small piglet and bottle-feeding it, so as to make clear that the bacon is from some other pig.
  • Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi: The Ewoks nearly try to cook and eat the main characters, other than C-3PO (assumed to be a god) and Leia, before Luke convinces C-3PO to convince them he'll use his "magic" (actually Luke employing Jedi Force-manipulation techniques) on the Ewoks unless they free them.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): After being picked up by Yondu Odonta and his Ravager faction, Peter Quill was routinely threatened by Yondu to be fed to the others since, "they ain't never tasted Terran before." In the second movie, Yondu tries to tell Quill that he was just kidding about it, but Quill had halfway believed him at his word.

  • Bruce Coville's Book of...:
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Monsters:
      • The titular character of The Beast With a Thousand Teeth attacks and devours humans.
      • In Timor and the Furnace Troll, trolls eat elves. And if an elf eats another elf, they become a troll.
    • Bruce Coville's Book of Magic: Attempted during Malefestra's party in Wizard's Boy, when some of the ogres attending decide they'd prefer some fresh dwarf to the food being served. The wicked dwarves who were invited naturally think this is a bad idea.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): All monsters in the Dungeon are willing to kill and eat anything weak enough; the majority of them are not sapient, but when they are, it seems to make little difference. Since a key part of getting stronger is to eat enough biomass points to mutate one's body parts into superior forms, and the sapient monsters generally achieved their level by overpowering and eating their peers, this is not especially surprising — especially since there isn't really any other food source in the Dungeon. Even the ants, who are civilised enough to coexist peacefully with anyone who doesn't pick a fight, have no qualms about eating their defeated foes (though they do not eat their own dead).
  • Known Space: Kzinti have no compunctions whatsoever about eating other intelligent beings, and will happily go as far as hunting them for sport. Under the Kzinti Patriarchy, "slave" and "livestock" were largely synonymous terms. True cannibalism is rare, but not unheard of either; in "Cathouse", a Kzinrett from a population of archaic Kzinti mentions that males cannot be relied upon to help raise young because they're too likely to eat the cubs.
  • The Big Bad Wolf of The Three Little Pigs and other appearances often has conversations with his prey, both before and after revealing his intentions.
  • Charlotte's Web: Unlike Babe, who makes himself useful, Wilbur gets saved merely by having a benevolent spider crochet words above his pen to convince humans that he's too special to eat.
  • In the Discworld, the Amazing Maurice is a perfectly normal feral tomcat. Until he forages on the dump where wizards have discarded centuries of old magic and eats a rat who has been living on that particular dump. The rat in question is a talking one, but due to a speech impediment, is unable to protest his fate. Maurice acquires its sapience and ability to speak Human as a sort of unwelcome magically-assisted indigestion. Life then begins getting complicated - and profitable - for a cat who has realized sapient rats are now off the menu.
    • Subverted, in that The Amazing Maurice does not eat any sapient creature after he achieves sapience, only before. Additionally, even though he was just a cat when it happened, he feels extreme remorse for having eaten a sapient rat, something which he cannot really be held responsible for.
  • The Star Trek novel The Final Reflection mentions that the Federation considers "zentaars" an intelligent species while the Klingons consider them meat, which causes concern over the possibility of a Federation ambassador being served one for dinner.
    • In the Star Trek: Titan novels, we learn that the Pahkwa-thanh (a species of sapient lizards that look similar to dinosaurs) are more than happy to eat other sapient beings. However, it is a HUGE faux pas in their culture for them to eat any individual that does not think of itself as prey. Therefore, you don't have to fear them eating you unless you want to be eaten.
  • The Jungle Book:
    • Both predators and prey are sapient; however, they both follow the Law of the Jungle which allows predators to eat their prey species when they are hungry. Predators Are Mean is averted: predators who keep the Law of the Jungle, such as the wolves or Bagheera, are good, and only predators who break it, such as Shere Khan and Tabaqui, are evil.
    • The story even has an example where the predator is the hero and the prey are the villains: the monkeys that kidnap Mowgli are the antagonists, and Kaa rescuing Mowgli by hypnotizing and eating the monkeys is treated as a heroic act.
  • Redwall: Even giant snakes like Asmodeus can wax poetic before trying to make a meal out of a talking mouse, rat, fox, etc.
  • In the poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" in Through the Looking Glass, the Walrus cheerfully convinces the oysters to come and take a walk with him, with the intention to eat all of them. The poem also made it to Disney's Alice in Wonderland, and is a surprisingly dark scene for a Disney movie, since the Walrus actually succeeds in eating the oysters.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Narnia contains both sapient and non-sapient animals. Any sapient creature eating another sapient creature is considered cannibalism In-Universe and an abomination (which some villains, like the Northern giants, are capable of). In The Silver Chair, the main characters' reactions to being tricked into eating a talking deer are used to illustrate the cultural differences between them and Narnians. Jill Pole, who is from our world, is sad an animal suffered. Eustace, who is also from our world but has been friends with talking animals, looks at it as a murder. Puddleglum, a native Narnian, becomes almost suicidal and feels like he had just eaten a baby.
  • In the Tuf Voyaging story "Guardians" human colonists on an oceanic world are threatened by a sudden plague of sea monsters that came out of nowhere. After some study of the sea monsters Haviland Tuf discovers that they are artificial, and they mostly appear in the same places as a limpet-like mollusc that the colonists call "mud-pots" and like boiled with melted butter. With the help of a psychic kitten Tuf confirms his hypothesis, the mud-pots were sapient and while they lacked the typical signs of civilization they were masters of genetic engineering.
  • It's implied in Warrior Cats that prey animals are sapient, though cats cannot speak with them and it is suggested that they are less intelligent (or at least more primal) than cats.
  • In Bravelands, almost all animals are sapient and they can speak (though not all in the same tongue). Predation Is Natural and animals are fine with that.
  • Tailchaser's Song:
    • Squirrels and cats can both speak Common-Singing and they're both sentient species with their own cultures. In exchange to let him go, Tailchaser makes a promise to squirrels that he won't hunt squirrels anymore. This proves too hard to keep, especially since it is often hard to find any type of prey (nevermind non-squirrels), but in the end of the novel a compromise is made: squirrels have one forest where cats can't hunt them, but everywhere else is game.
    • When Tailchaser is having a conversation with a raven, he's afraid the entire way because ravens are dangerous. At the end of the conversation, the raven's son innocently asks if he can eat Tailchaser, which his father declines.
    • Used for squick when the Clawguard manage to capture a large dog. They then proceed to eat it alive. Tailchaser has to shield Pouncequick from the unnatural sight.
  • Pops up for Black Comedy in Cat Pack. While talking to the cats, a crow character repeatedly mentions that he wants to eat Carlotta's kittens (but only if they're already dead first). There's also a mouse character who the cats reluctantly swear not to eat after they befriend him.
  • Played for Laughs in Kris Longknife. Humanity has acquired two races of lower-tech aliens as their allies, the lion-like Sasquans, and the Alwans which are large semi-flightless birds. A Sasquan exchange officer meets an "Ostrich"note  on a space station and promptly tries to make the bird its dinner, only to be kicked silly when he pounces. Much to the humans' relief and bemusement, both species find the altercation hilarious and start up a fight club.
  • Animorphs: Conversed in The Ellimist Chronicles. As a young Ketran, Ellimist loses a round of a Spore-like video game when his species is eaten by the other player's. His opponent caused an overpopulation-induced famine, motivating them to develop a space program so they could travel to the moon Ellimist's species lived on.
  • In The Cold Moons, it's implied that most, if not all, animals are sapient. The badgers simply can't communicate with them, It's a part of the badger Animal Religion that good animals live in peace together in Asgard upon dying, but those that are eaten have to wait until their predator dies to go to Asgard.
  • Sometimes crops up in the works of Beatrix Potter, most startlingly in The Tale of Little Pig Robinson, in which, after describing how Pig Robinson's aunts own a farm and take in washing, she matter-of-factly concludes that they ended up as bacon.
  • In the world of Wings of Fire, humans are not the dominant species, and are treated as animals by the equally sapient dragons. While dragons don't go out of their way to hunt them, most of them are certainly not above opportunistically eating humans. When ironclad proof of human sapience surfaces, some dragons are noted to look rather ill all of a sudden.
  • Oddly Enough: The giant in "The Giant's Tooth" is intelligent, but eats humans, who are also intelligent.
  • In Dinotopia, all the prehistoric creatures are sentient and most live alongside humans in society. That still doesn't stop many of the carnivores from preying on other sentient animals and humans, which is seen as an alternate way of life. Animals that are dying will even make a pilgrimage to go to the wild and leave their body as food for predators, who will actually allow them to pass first before eating.
  • Men in Black: The Green Saliva Blues: The Zahurians are a race of Man-Eating Plant Aliens who devour non-plant species regardless of sapience (and sometimes even other plants too, out of desperation), which makes them one of the most hated species in the galaxy. The tables are turned when the MiB recruit a Nelek, a member of a telepathic alien species, who is revealed to be capable of paralyzing and eating the Zahurians (and is most annoyed when the MiB agents burn them before he gets the chance to feed).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dinosaurs: Everything in the family fridge is a smart-mouthed prey animal waiting to be eaten. Occasionally someone in the cast is in danger of being eaten by other dinosaurs, or other monsters even higher up on the food chain. About the only "animals" that don't talk are the cavemen, which normally aren't even considered for predation.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: Empress Georgiou treats Michael to a meal of Kelpien, a humanoid species that exist as a servant class when not being cooked up in the mirror-universe and of which Discovery's XO is a member. The Fear Ganglia in particular are considered a delicacy.
    • Even in the Prime universe, Kaminar - the Kelpien home planet - has two sapient species, the Kelpien and the Ba'ul. Kelpien are the prey (or more accurately, livestock) and the Ba'ul are the predators / farmers. A long time ago the Kelpien were the predators; the Ba'ul used technology and social engineering to turn the tide and keep the Kelpiens in their defenseless infantile state.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Two Doctors": The Androgums are a cannibalistic race of beings who have a "refined palate" (read: for every and any living-or-dead creature they can get their hands on, they will prepare and eat, even sapient creatures). The secondary character of Shockeye, who is a galactic butcher, has a particular desire, as if it were a withdrawal from a drug, to consume human meat. He tries to carve Peri like a roast, but is prevented from doing so just as he's about to make a cut. Later, the Second Doctor is transformed into an Androgum, and with Shockeye, clean house and menu at a Spanish restaurant. (Thankfully, they don't actually eat anyone there, but Shockeye does fatally stab the proprietor when he doesn't accept his off-Earth currency.) Shockeye later tries to "tenderise" Jamie, but the Sixth Doctor is able to rescue him before any permanent damage is done.
    • "The End of Time": The Master comes back wrong and suffers extreme hunger. He eats several people, but is also shown scarfing down burgers and entire turkeys in seconds, and doesn't show any particular preference for human meat.
    • Madame Vastra, a Silurian living in 1880s London, introduces herself this way in "A Good Man Goes to War". The most disturbing aspect of the exchange is that it appears Jenny (the maid) may have asked the question in the sense it was answered.
      Vastra: Jack the Ripper has killed his last victim.
      Jenny: How did you find him?
      Vastra: Stringy, but tasty all the same. I won't be needing dinner.
    • Later on in "Deep Breath", Jenny tells Clara that Vastra is having the Camberwell Child Poisoner over for dinner. "Best stay out of the larder."
    • In the Expanded Universe book Venusian Lullaby, the Venusians do this to their dead. It has the added purpose of allowing the eater to share in the eaten's memories.
  • The Muppet Show: It's a Running Gag that the Swedish Chef often tries to cook food that is alive, and understandably quite resistant to his efforts to turn it into lunch. On at least one occasion, he tried cooking Kermit's nephew Robin on-camera.

  • We Are All Pokémon Trainers: Every Pokémon is perfectly sapient, and the predatory ones will indeed kill for their food. The prevailing view amongst predators apart from Law of the Jungle-esque ethics while hunting is to mainly aim for jerks and not to revel in the kill.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ashen Stars:
    • Kch-thk were enthusiastic devourers of other species, making no exceptions for tasty-looking sentients. As their contribution to the founding of the Combine, they agreed to a species-wide genetic alteration that prevents them from eating humanoids.
    • Although capable of subsisting on any fatty tissue, lipovores, for reasons they never consistently explain, prefer that of intelligent beings. They refuse to refer to any sentient by any word other than food.
  • Dungeons & Dragons provides a weird example in the Beastlands. It is a Neutral Good afterlife where people attuned to nature are reincarnated as talking animals. Since they become part of the local ecosystem, they naturally hunt and kill each other, with neither prey nor predator thinking there's anything wrong with it. They will also cooperate to gang up on any outsiders who try to hunt them for sport. Notably, as this is an afterlife, no-one actually dies.
  • Ironclaw: Eating other sapient beings is highly taboo, with the exception of an order of vultures in Akoma who ritually eat the dead to prevent their use by necromancers. And whales are hunted by multiple factions who don't realize their sapience.
  • Myriad Song: When carnivorous morphir plants are fed the brains of sentient animals, they produce buds that can be smoked as a hallucinogen, with visions of the animal's memories. When morphir are fed brains from sapient animals, they produce particularly potent buds, and eventually become sapient themselves, and mobile, and able to shapeshift into the beings whose brains they consume.
  • RuneQuest:
    • Trolls are Extreme Omnivores with no compunctions about eating other people. Elf and dwarf are their most prized delicacies, and their burial rites simply consist of the living eating the deceased.
    • Scorpion men are cannibalistic omnivores, eating both their own kind and members of other sapient races.
  • Warhammer: Ogres are very opportunistic omnivores that will happily eat whatever they can get their hands on, especially meat, and have no compunctions about eating other sapients — including other ogres.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The kroot are able to absorb genetic traits from their prey, and have developed a culture with a certain degree of indifference to whether that prey could talk or not. In the Ciaphas Cain novels they manage to identify a genestealer infection in some local humans because the meat tastes bad.

    Video Games 
  • Lonely Wolf Treat: This, and the fear of this, is what drives much of the series' Fantastic Racism.
  • Oddworld: You play a hapless alien employee at an otherworldly slaughterhouse where profits have been dwindling because the critters that make up the main line products have been slaughtered to near-extinction. So, the resident Bad Boss came up with a novel solution: chop up the workforce. Literally.
  • Cubivore: You play as a sapient animal hunting and eating other sapient animals.
  • Halo: Several of the Covenant's species are fully capable of eating each other, with the Jiralhanae/Brutes having a particularly bad reputation for eating their own subordinates. Halo 2 even implies that one common method of execution is feeding the condemned to Kig-Yar/Jackal prisoners.
    Grunt/Unggoy NPC: If hungry, eat Jackal!
  • Jak and Daxter: A legitimate worry for Daxter after becoming an ottsel, especially when a surly mechanic comments on how good he'd taste skinned and buttered.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild: It's possible for players to make Link cook Bokoblin livers...
  • Many Roguelikes such as Nethack have a disturbing tendency of allowing you to eat the fresh corpses of sapient enemies.
  • Pokémon:
    • It's made clear in the games that Pokémon eat each other and that humans eat Pokémon. Pokémon on default are presented as sapient, with some even being able to talk (either through telepathy or actual talking). Adaptations such as the anime largely gloss over this element and present Pokémon as herbivores, though there were a few scenes early on that touched on this subject, such as Ash's Pidgeotto trying to hunt his Caterpie, and the main cast trying and failing to eat a Magikarp. Perhaps not coincidentally, these Pokemon are a bug and a fish respectively.
    • Subverted in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. They take place in a world devoid of humans where Pokémon are portrayed as living in communities similarly to humans. The only foods characters are depicted eating are vegetarian stuff, such as berries and apples. Still, jokes pop up such as a bug-type worrying that their bird Pokémon partner wants to eat them.
  • Starbound: Florans usually have few hangups about eating other sapients, up to and including other Florans. They are coming around, but the realization that others have thoughts, feelings and loved ones and that eating them might be wrong is considered a great feat of wisdom and a show of character. You can find a diary where the author makes this realization about his captive, and even though he still thinks they're different and not of the same level as himself, just the concept itself is enough to amaze him.
  • Stellaris: The "Utopia" DLC introduces alternate slavery and purge options, such as "Livestock" and "Processing".
  • Tooth and Tail: All the anthropomorphic species in the world are omnivorous. All of them can survive on plants. All of them want to eat meat. In the backstory, a Slave Race of pigs provided meat for the rest, but the pigs are going extinct due to excessive demand, forcing society to hold a lottery of whomst amongst them shall be eaten first. When the lottery ends up claiming the son of Self-Made Man Bellafide, he starts a Civil War for revenge and the corpses of the fallen soon become the primary meat source to whomever comes out on top.
  • There's a civilization ethic in Dwarf Fortress that governs how willing a civ is to engage in cannibalism (here defined as eating any creature with the Can_Learn tag). Dwarves, humans, and kobolds see cannibalism in any form as unthinkable, but elves will eat sapients killed in battle (though they won't kill other sapients specifically for food), and goblins just don't care and can butcher and eat anything. As major ethical conflicts can cause civilizations to go to war, this can result in dwarves and humans declaring war on elves and goblins over eating sapients, though other reasons can be cited instead.
  • This appears in Spyro the Dragon. For example, one mission in Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage! is to save baby turtles from being made into turtle soup by an enemy.
  • Star Control:
    • This is part of the backstory for the Zoq-Fot-Pik, an alliance of three alien races that are able to be recruited in the second game. On their planet, four sapient races evolved simultaneously: The Zoq, the Fot, the Pik, and the Zebranky. Unfortunately, the last race were predators of the other three. The other three decided to team up and exterminate the Zebranky.
    • In Star Control Origins, the Phamysht engage in eating other intelligent species all the time... while the victim is concious and alive, at that. They claim that being Eaten Alive is a great honor among their own species... but even if this is true, they force members of other species into the role with no hesitation, and everybody considers them psychopaths. Even their allies, the Xraki, turn on them and reduce their civilization to a broken shell as soon as the Phamysht have served the Xraki's purposes. It's noted that the Xraki seem to have a particular hatred of the Phamysht, even though they plan on annihilating all other races too.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, the Tsaesci are supposedly a race of Snake People native to the continent of Akavir, far across the ocean to the east of Tamriel (the continent on which every game in the series has taken place to date). The Tsaesci have something of a Multiple-Choice Past, with some sources stating that they are snake-like right down to having no legs and slithering, while others state that they are men little different from those in Tamriel. In either case, the Tsaesci have been said to "devour" other sapient races, including the Red Dragons and "Men of Akavir". Once again, sources conflict as to whether "devour" means that the Tsaesci literally consumed these races, or if it is a colorful term for enslavement and cultural absorption. Unless/until they actually show up in-game, we may never know.
  • Alice: Madness Returns proves it's possible to take the already creepy Walrus and the Oysters scene from the aforementioned Alice in Wonderland and make it creepier, with The Reveal of the Walrus having a hidden torture room full of the remnants of brutally murdered and partially devoured fish-people and a chapter climax that consists of the Walrus going on a rampage at the height of the play, devouring the oyster call-girls and then most if not all of the fish-people audience after ranting about how death is inevitable and all have "the right to be eaten".
  • Slicenrice from Yo-kai Watch fear getting eaten by Hungramps.
  • Probably not the intention and more likely due to limited dialogue, but in Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, during the Splatoon-themed events, players could catch the squid and octopus forms of Inklings and Octolings and give them to Chip, who would talk about them the same way he'd talk about any other fish in the game: with hunger.
  • In Cuphead, Rumor Honeybottoms threatens to eat Cuphead and Mugman in her boss fight introduction, rubbing utensils while licking her lips.
  • In Puyo Puyo, several characters express interest in consuming Serilly, a mermaid. Serilly herself lives in fear that, since it is said that one becomes immortal if they eat the flesh of a mermaid, people want to eat her. Others only want to eat her because she's considered a kind of seafood, though.
  • In Them's Fightin' Herds, this trope is the reason why the sapient ungulates of Fśnum banished the equally intelligent Predators into The Hold long ago. Though smaller non-sapient predators that are treated like regular animals are not treated as a threat and were not locked away, as well as the ones with instincts to protect ungulates rather than eat them such as dogs or the longma race.
  • In Genshin Impact, a few characters find resident Butt-Monkey Fairy Companion Paimon delicious-looking, and it's even possible for the player to refer to her as "emergency food" on multiple occasions.
  • Zniw Adventure: Although this is never shown on-screen, it's hinted (or even outright stated) multiple times that dinosaurs in this world do eat each other despite being anthropomorphic.
    • Zniw is terrified of a Daspletosaurus, a large, carnivorous dino.
    • A Deinosuchus is seen sleeping at one point, and it has a chunk of meat in its teeth. Its unclear whether or not this creature is sapient, but Zniw takes the chunk of meat and gives it to Sam the snake, who is definitely sapient, as a snack.
    • When Sam the snake says that he's hungry, Zniw defiantly says that she doesn't plan on becoming his meal. Sam reassures her that he never intended to eat her, making this a defied example.
    • Some Troodon threaten to eat Zniw when she enters their turf.
    • Popoeilo the azhdarchid, who is also clearly sapient, attempts to bite Zniw (or at least, the dummy of Zniw made by the player) with his sharp beak. He's big enough to crush the dummy to pieces, so his beak could probably cleave Zniw in half.

    Web Animation 
  • Dear Rabbit revolves around a wolf debating on whether to kill a scared, injured rabbit or befriend it. It ends up killing it.
  • In the first episode of Wild House, Dave (a wolf) orders a pizza delivered by a moose delivery driver. Upon realizing they messed up his order and delivered a vegan pizza, Dave points out the obvious solution. Cut to the next scene, the residents of the house feast on the deliveryman's corpse, and we find out that this type of thing happens all the time.

    Web Comics 
  • In Kevin & Kell the fact sapient carnivores must prey on sapient herbivores is accepted as a fact of life, although herbivores will take reasonable precautions to prevent it applying to them personally. One storyline was based around a body being discovered that hadn't been eaten, making it murder.
  • In 21st Century Fox pretty much every animal, including insects, is sapient. It was generally relegated to jokes like the fox main characters dealing with annoying bunny bellhops by eating them until one arc where the Supreme Court declared predation unconstitutional. Carnivores were required to eat Scientifically Produced Animal Matter grown in vats from tumors, which turned out to taste better than "real" meat so most continued to eat it after the ban was repealed.
  • Doc Rat initially dodged the question of what carnivores eat. But it eventually came to envelop the rest of the comic with a wolf character who married a rabbit and is attempting to start an anti-predation movement.
  • In Gene Catlow, Word of God establishes that animals often donate their bodies for meat, much like real-world organ donors.
  • Housepets!: Animals do eat each other but this not explored very much. The only time in the comic it is actually shown happening is in an early comic where Grape kills and eats the leader of a group of mice that were annoying her.

    Web Original 
  • The Jenkinsverse: Other sapient beings are the standard diet of the monstrous Hunters. This also caused the rest of the galaxy — mostly herbivores — to be extremely suspicious of the omnivorous humans and Gaoians.
  • Orion's Arm: Some polities, such as the Burning Hunger habitats in Sadalmelik, allow carnivorous sophonts to hunt and eat other sophonts. This being Orion's Arm civilized space, sophonts killed this way can simply be restored from backup. Indeed, many of these habitats have a brisk tourist business catering to those who wish to experience the hunt from either or both sides.
  • Serina:
    • During the Ultimocene, a species of very intelligent but not sapient flightless birds, called gravediggers, develop a hunting technique based on following their prey around until they learn their movement patterns and then setting a trap in their way. They prove so successful at this that wipe out all their local prey species but one, a type of antlear (very specialized fish descendants roughly analogous to elk) which is just bright enough to spot the traps and avoid them. This leads to intense selective pressure where the gravediggers need to get smarter and more adaptive to set traps that the antlears won't recognize and the antlears need to become smarter themselves to keep up with the gravediggers' increasingly cunning traps. Eventually, both lineages breach into sapience, leading to the fairly unique situation of a sapient predator specialized for hunting sapient prey. The gravediggers eventually have to give up preying on the antlear people, though, although not because of moral qualms — by the end, hunting them had just become too difficult.
    • Some time after the rise of the sapient gravediggers and antlears, a number of porplet species — four-finned, dolphin-like marine birds related to the gravediggers — also begin to approach true sapience. Two of the most intelligent members of this group are the ringnecked proplets and the seastrikers; the former are peaceful, herding grazers, while the latter are carnivores that hunt them, and over time the seastrikers become increasingly specialized predators of their porplet relatives. Unlike the gravediggers and antlears, who eventually cease to antagonize each other and come to actively cooperate, the porplets become trapped as prey of the ferocious seastrikers and are eventually farmed as sapient cattle. Eventually one population of seastriker (known as the daydreamer) manages to achieve true sapience while still continuing to farm porplets. However, some of them come to believe that eating porplets is immoral due to their close relation and the porplet's intelligence being comparable to daydreamer children, start feeding only on things like fish and other small prey and do so for so long that they become better physically adapted for it and develop into their own distinct phenotype (somewhat analogous to a different ethnicity among humans).
    • Later on, the whaler daydreamers, a cultural group adapted for hunting large prey, comes to be sufficiently physically and behaviorally distinct from shallow-water fisher and pastoralist daydreamer cultures that they no longer view them as fellow people — to them, they're just meat on the fin.
    • The coastian thalassic gravediggers once hunted the woolly wumpos, unable to recognize them as fellow people because the latter's ultrasound based language was inaudible to them, until a widemind named Retally drove them off after discovering how to use fire. Up until Brighteye's time, the two have given each other a wild berth ever since, with the wumpos referring to the gravediggers as "demons", and the coastians having a taboo against making permanent settlements on the Serinarctan continent.
    • The slaughtersprinters descend from the squabgoblin, who was a natural predator of squaboons such as the sylvanspark, and they used to partake in hunting them even after they both became people until the sylvanspark's developement of metal tools made them too dangerous to hunt. While by the present their relationship is less tenuous and the two groups often trade, encouraging less violent interactions between them, there's still some tension between the former rivals.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Series: The Al Muddi are a race of man-eating mud-men, but the gap of apparent intelligence between the well-spoken sultan and the non-speaking grunts is considerable. Nonetheless, it's the sultan himself who seems most keen on having humans for supper.
  • In Arthur, all non-anthropomorphic animals are shown to be sentient. Though that doesn't Nemo from trying to hunt a bird in "It Came From Beyond". In "Flea to You and Me", an oxpecker attempts to eat Pepe the flea and only lets him go when he entertains him and the other oxpeckers with a circus act.
  • Babar:
    • The Hunter continues his effort to hunt animals even though it seems to be common knowledge that large animals are sentient and getting civilized.
    • In "Babar's Triumph", the crocodile king threatens to eat the other animal kings if they annoy him.
    • "The Gift" has a talking crocodile that tries to eat Babar and Zephir, then Rataxes and Basil.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers: Being a team comprised of rodents with a cat for their primary adversary, being devoured is a common danger from villains such as Fat Cat and Sewernose de Bergerac.
  • Father of the Pride: With the main characters being a family of lions, and a main character being a prairie-dog named Snack, predators eating civilized prey can take up the plot of entire episodes.
  • Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers": Humans discover what they at first think is a delicious new meal and instead are the infants of a sapient alien species. The adults of which are big enough to swallow a human whole, and which happens to be their plan for revenge.
    Lrr: Whoa, I think there was something funny in that hippie.
  • Looney Tunes uses this trope and uses it often.
    • Henery Hawk, plus any incidental family, are always trying to catch Foghorn Leghorn or the chickens on his farm for dinner.
    • Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird. Tweety taw a puddy tat, and will take the time to banter with him before evading being devoured.
    • The Tasmanian Devil (Taz). Being an Extreme Omnivore, Taz can and will consider making a meal out of any of the other toons that cross his path, be they man, bunny, duck, or otherwise.
    • Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner. Wile E. has tried to eat Bugs Bunny on several occasions.
  • Private Snafu had an episode about not wasting food which featured a bull willingly being slaughtered to feed soldiers, only for the bull's ghost to be disappointed when he sees his meat getting thrown away so his noble sacrifice was all for nothing.
  • Sitting Ducks: The alligators and the ducks they prey on have human-level intelligence and live in their own modern towns. The plot centers around Bill and Aldo, a duck and an alligator who actually manage to become friends after the former is almost eaten by the latter. Aldo only manages to stay friends with Bill by restricting his diet to fish which are apparently non-sapient.
  • In The Smurfs one of Gargamel's goals (aside from using them to create gold) is to eat the Smurfs.
  • While normally not a problem with Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM)'s all animal cast, one episode in the second series featured resident Butt-Monkey Antoine becoming king of a group called "Nasty Hyenas" who plan to eat him as a sacrifice. And apparently they're a splinter group of a much larger group.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "One Coarse Meal", it is revealed that Plankton is terrified of Pearl, fearing that she will eat him.
    • In "Shanghaied", the Flying Dutchman decides that SpongeBob and Patrick aren't making good crewmen after all, so he decides to just eat them. Even when they magically wish him into being a vegetarian, he just turns them into fruits to make good on his threat. On the other hand, in the alternate scenes where Squidward/Patrick gets the last wish, the episode ends with Spongebob, Squidward and Patrick eaten by the Flying Dutchman.
    • In A Pal for Gary, SpongeBob's new pet becomes so aggressive he tries to eat Gary.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987): Although possibly just an idle threat, the Shredder makes an awful lot of fuss over dining on turtle soup.
  • Thunder Cats 2011 has mentions of Fishmen eating Catfolk, Catfolk eating Fishmen, Lizardfolk eating Catfolk, and Maniac Monkeys eating Bird People.
  • Zigzagged on Timon & Pumbaa. Their usual diet consists of non-sapient, non-anthropomorphized bugs, but occasionally they have no qualms about eating talking insects. However, one episode has the duo meeting a talking (and singing) snail, with Timon stating that they can't eat him because of it. Timon and Pumbaa spend the rest of the episode keeping the snail from being eaten by other predators.
    • Played straight with the three hyenas, who are willing to eat a talking circus monkey in one episode and a talking goose in another. The ending of another episode also implied they were preparing to eat a human, which his employee was content with because he was a Bad Boss.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Much like their progenitors, the Tiny Toons are frequently threatened with being devoured by polygamist southern alligators, nonverbal hick possums, a pale-faced hitch-hiking escaped convict, a riverboat captain toad, quibbling condor brothers, animate candy bars, an outlaw coyote gang, and a wolverine.
  • Tom and Jerry: Tom's motivation is usually just to catch Jerry, usually because it's what his owners expect of a cat, though eating him has been an implied as a possible result of their endless game of wits.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Two sketches in "The World" points out a consequence of a world where Everything Talks: all the food isn't just made from living things, it's alive while being eaten. One centers on Gumball's lunch acting as an army unit "in enemy territory" who he mercilessly eats without any challenge. Conversely, the other sketch has Richard microwaving a sausage, and it's really into it.
    • Despite all the "people" of Elmore being Funny Animals, them eating each other is played for laughs a few times. Anton, a piece of toast, has been eaten by his classmates at least twice.
  • Played horrifyingly straight in Bojack Horseman which has no non-anthropomorphic animals, not even insects or fish. The solution, at least in modern day, is to keep what are essentially Slave Races of normally sapient bird, cow, fish and other food species on farms, drugging them from birth to prevent them from developing intelligence beyond what real animals have. What makes this even more bizarre is that this has nothing to do with Fantastic Racism, as other members of those exact same species are considered full citizens with civil rights. Since the show doesn't really focus on the World of Funny Animals setting outside of the episode that shows this, there was never an in-depth explanation for this.
  • Rocko's Modern Life takes place in a world populated by Funny Animals. One of the main characters is a steer named Heffer who was "adopted" by a family of wolves with the intention of eating him. But while they were fattening the baby Heffer up, they grew attached to him and took him in as one of their own. He was even nicknamed "Steak" by his adopted father. Despite his species, his family expects him to partake in their wolf traditions, one of which was "bringing an elk for dinner". Heffer instead starts dating an anthropomorphic elk and brings her home to have dinner with as opposed to eating her like his parents expected.
  • A problem in Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts. Some animals are sapient, some are not. Wolf interrogates the pig when she catches it; she won't eat things that can speak.
  • In The Lion Guard, the Pridelands function on a sort of tradeoff; the herds let local predators hunt them in specific sectors at specific times, and in return those locals keep all other predators away from the herds all the time. Everyone is cavalier about the arrangement note , although it makes governing the area very difficult, because citizens not being where they're supposed to be can be a matter of life and death. Making sure nobody cheats the system is an exhausting job that requires five animals working full-time.
  • Primal (2019) is set in a fantasy version of history where many animals demonstrate human levels of intelligence, from giant bats living in symbiosis with a monster-sized spider to mammoths with advanced ceromonial burials to T. rexes that can plan, reason and emote. The show makes little distinction between these animals and non-sapient ones, with predation being treated as a brutal but expected part of daily life.