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Xenophobic Herbivore

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Oftentimes, fiction will portray plant-eating species as being rather friendly, but many more recent works have taken to subverting that trope and depicting intelligent herbivores as irrationally xenophobic, particularly towards intelligent carnivores and omnivores. In these settings, humanity is usually absent and replaced with a World of Funny Animals. However, should humanity still be present, it is very likely that it will be considered a predator species by these herbivores, and dealt with accordingly. Some such treatments happen to elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and formerly gorillas, whose their great power and tremendous size make them dangerous to most smaller predatory animals.

In real life, herbivores tend to be the prey of something else, so a variety of different species will react to strange things with a strong flight-or-fight response. Relatedly, herbivores that are normally chummy with each other and other plant-eaters may be instinctively afraid of carnivorous and omnivorous species.

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In certain situations, these herbivores may outright kill the predatory species and eat their carrion.

The inverse of Herbivores Are Friendly, may or may not appear with Predation Is Natural or Predators Are Mean. Frequently overlaps with Absolute Xenophobe. No direct relation to Evil Vegetarian, despite the similar connotations.

Animal Stampede happens when multiples of Xenophobic Herbivores appear to run over other animals or other objects.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastars: Herbivores tend to regard carnivores with anything from wariness to active hatred. As it's common for predators to murder prey for food or even just hurt them by accident, this attitude has its justifications, but doesn't excuse the excessively sadistic retaliations some powerful herbivores inflict on carnivores, like burying their ashes in a personal carrot garden and feeding the carrots to unsuspecting students.
  • Made in Abyss: The Orb Piercer is a large porcupine-like creature that feeds off of moss. It also, however, has razor-sharp poisonous needles growing from its back that induce profuse bleeding and can penetrate metal. It is also fiercely territorial, attacking any delvers who enter the Cup of Giants.
  • Oumagadoki Doubutsuen: One of the villains in the Circus Arc is a stallion-man who's incredibly prejudiced and racist towards carnivores, calling them stupid and brutal, and is show expressing contempt both for Shishido and Uwabami (a lion and a snake) and also for his own comrades Byakkov and Toytoy (a white tiger and a poodle). He immediately takes a liking for Kisazou, an elephant, because he's a "fellow herbivore", but as soon as he see him protecting his carnivore friends he turns hostile and attacks him.

    Fan Works 
  • It's common for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanworks to depict ponies — a herbivorous species who cares for and often develops strong bonds with other animals — as possessing an instinctive fear of carnivores or a general revulsion towards the idea of eating flesh.
    • Triptych Continuum: It's extremely difficult for carnivorous and omnivorous immigrants in Equestria to have access to proper nutrition, since buying meat is all but impossible. The few living in Canterlot have to make do with a few small shops carefully tucked out of sight, some of which technically sell pet food, and a couple of eateries similarly insulated to make sure that the city's herbivorous residents never have to actually acknowledge their presence. In Naked Lunch, when an enterprising griffon tries to set up a butcher's shop to cater to this market, a mob quickly forms to try to shut it down on moral grounds. A mirror of this trope happens across the sea in the griffon nation — the hypercarnivorous griffons see plants as prey food and have parallel objections to produce shops in their cities, making it difficult for their own herbivorous and omnivorous minorities to get their food.
    • The Trouble With Truffles: When Fluttershy sees Applejack sneak into the woods with a pig to hunt for truffles on the sly and mistakes certain comments she makes as meaning that she wants to eat the pig, she reacts with horror and fury at the though of Applejack murdering and eating an innocent animal. As she sees it, it's bad enough that some animals have to do this to get by, but a pony choosing to eat flesh is evil and obscene.
      "How could you say that...?" The pegasus croaked out, after barely succeeding in fighting back the nausea. "It's sad enough that some animals just can't do otherwise, but we don't have to, you're actively, willingly, deliberately engaging in something horrific you shouldn't even have to do, this is just sick, it's the definition of evil!"

    Films — Animation 
  • The Land Before Time: The herbivores even tended to avoid other herbivores before they all ended up in the Great Valley. The narrator even comments on this, mentioning that "there had never been such a herd before" when referring to Littlefoot, an Apatosaurus, and his friends, who are a Saurolophus, a Stegosaurus, a Triceratops, and a Pteranodon (the last of these was actually a carnivore in real life). An earlier draft indicates that the pachycephalosaurs who attack Cera near the end of the film are similarly xenophobic (in the final film, it comes across more as Carnivore Confusion), essentially treating Cera to the same speciesism that she used towards Littlefoot and this leads to her coming around away from that viewpoint in the sequels.
  • Zootopia: The Big Bad is able to inflame the historic tension between predators and prey by setting up a conspiracy to cause some predators to "go savage" and then manipulates the prey population's fear of being attacked for their own political ends. The trope is downplayed in that the herbivore population is shown to be quite diverse where some herbivore characters are bold, while others are timid, and others are just citizens reacting to a crisis situation. While the fear of "the other" is at play, the story is more about how a crisis can create a fear that can be manipulated instead of a specific type of citizen (i.e., herbivores) always being naturally xenophobic. A straighter example is the elephant manager of an ice cream shop who tells Nick, a fox, to leave in a scene which very much resembles racism and only agrees to serve him after Judy, a rabbit, lightly threatens to report him for health code violations.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Babe: The sheep on Farmer Hoggett's farm have learned to trust the young pig, since he's polite and non-threatening. This stands in contrast to the working dogs Rex and Fly, whom the sheep still call "wolf". It becomes a plot point when Babe is sent to herd blackface sheep that don't trust him, and Rex beseeches the Hoggett sheep for a means to signal the other sheep that Babe can be trusted.
  • Jurassic World: Dominion: The herbivorous dinosaur Therizinosaurus living in Biosyn's sanctuary is highly territorial and aggressive, killing a deer with its long claws merely so it could eat the berries the animal was eating and stalking Claire when it hears her nearby.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs: A downplayed example. Andalites are herbivorous aliens and ostensibly the "good guys" in the war against the Yeerks, but as the series goes on and shifts into Black-and-Gray Morality we learn that their involvement is anything but altruistic, and they look down on "less advanced" species like humans.
  • The Jenkinsverse: Most sapient alien species are descended from herbivores. As a result, they tend to view any species that consumes meat with either suspicion or dread. This becomes a problem for humans trying to find proper nutrition after their release from abduction, and a bigger problem for humanity as a whole while trying to enter the galactic stage, as the established political powers find our binocular vision and canine teeth horrifying (meaning a human can't even smile without causing fear), and comparisons to the Always Chaotic Evil Hunters are always made even long after the Hunters themselves declare humanity their enemy.
  • Known Space: The Pierson's Puppeteers are grazers primarily motivated by fear and regard all other species with suspicion at best. The only ones who are willing to even leave their homeworld and speak with others are considered insane by their fellows. They're also responsible for a couple of genocides and eugenics experiments on humans and Kzinti.
  • The Lost Fleet: The bear-cows fit the bill perfectly. They are descended from herd animals and sincerely believe that everything else in the universe wants to kill and eat them. This fear led them to first ravage their homeworld's biosphere, wiping out all life-forms not absolutely essential to their continued survival. Then they looked at the stars, and saw a myriad planets, full of life-forms, just biding their time until they could sink their teeth into some roast bear-cow... and decided to do something about it.
  • The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign: This trope is one of the ways that Kyousuke's title of Rabbit is meaningful. Having been trained in an abusive household, his strategic brilliance is fueled wholly by his fear of/for everyone alive, including the girl who has saved his life twice and constantly reiterates that all she wants is to be with him. He can't even bear to watch the tense parts of movies.
    Shigara: It’s like how a kitten learns. When a kitten hops up onto the stove and gets burned, it will never approach the stove again.
  • Watership Down: The rabbits really don't trust any other lifeform, up to and including unfamiliar rabbits. They're not necessarily aggressive about it, much preferring to run and hide than fight, but that's mostly because they're not really equipped for combat — if they do run across something they can kill, and it's not easier to run, they'll kill it without too much thought. Their entire mythology as presented in the book centers around them being a kind of designated Hate Sink for the animal kingdom. (That isn't entirely unjustified, seeing as almost everything they come across does try to kill them.)

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller: The K'kree are a centaur-like species of grazers — some of the only sapient herbivores in the setting — who fear and hate flesh-eaters on principle. They wiped out all carnivores and omnivores on their homeworld (which damaged its ecosystem badly enough that it can no longer function without extensive artificial intervention), wiped out the first carnivorous sapient species they encountered (they in fact developed spaceflight specifically to reach them and kill them) and are determined to eradicate all carnivores and convert omnivores to vegetarianism (or else). Fortunately, their other neuroses such as claustrophobia, monophobia, and resistance to change have limited their expansion.note 

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: Weevils are very aggressive animalistic "lesser bugs" who will attack and bite anyone who will come too close to them. They are also herbivores, something that is reflected in the gameplay, as they will eat any other plant-based enemies present, such as Seedlings or Chompers, to restore their own health.
  • Lonely Wolf Treat: The rabbit village, led by Juju, definitely qualify as this, even going so far as to build a wall around the village to keep it rabbits-only.
  • Monster Hunter: Monoblos and Diablos are truck-sized wyverns known for their massive horns and even more massive tempers. They are among the most aggressive and territorial beasts you can fight. They are also herbivores. In Monster Hunter: World, you can sometimes find a Diablos happily munching on cactus.
    • The final boss of Monster Hunter: World Iceborne: Shara Ishvalda. It's got blunt teeth that suggest its herbivorous, but is also singlehandedly destroying an entire continent by creating cataclysmic earth quakes that reshape the entire land. For seemingly no reason besides just killing everything around it. From what's seen it attacks everything on sight, and even without it's behaviour taken into account the damn thing looks downright nightmarish.
  • Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth: The Villain Protagonists of the Junessic Land movie are a group of xenophobic herbivores. The conflict from their movie started when one of their own started disagreeing with them, which they considered heinous enough to turn against him.
  • Star Control: The Zoq-Fot-Pik are a triumvirate of non-carnivorous races who evolved on the same planet and joined together in perfect harmony. They also completely eradicated the Zebranky, a fourth race from the same planet which was carnivorous — specifically, targeting them. They also make it clear that they will annihilate anyone threatening their world, although it's mostly bravado as they're desperate for allies.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds: The sheepkin aren't bigoted, but they are so cautious that Pom is hailed as a genius hero just for suggesting they should do something about the oncoming apocalypse. Sheepkin who leave their native fields are so rare as to be historically notable — and this is in a Sugar Bowl world entirely devoid of predators!

    Web Comics 
  • In In Our Shadow, rats are so afraid of everything that they cannot tolerate the presence of other species that haven't been cowed into submission. In their empire's home territories this is accomplished by a "submission signal" while on the rest of the planet they use good old-fashioned military force enabled by their technological advantage. When the lemurs get access to human mechs that can fight their machines the rats literally wipe Madagascar off the map. However, it's later discovered that Emperor Schorl uses a "fear signal" to amplify rat xenophobia as a means of controlling them.
  • Kevin & Kell: The rabbits, especially the Rabbit Council, are sometimes portrayed as this. Kevin himself is an exception, who was teased as a kid for not being scared of everything.

    Web Original 
  • Serina: The woodcrafters are a species of deer-like herbivores that evolved sapience as a result of being hunted by the also sapient trap-making gravediggers. Their social nature allowed them to turn the tables on the gravediggers and drive them from their forest refugia, and their origin as prey resulted in a cultural loathing of predators that led them to kill or drive off any other carnivores living in the refugia. Because they targeted all carnivores, including the small ones that feed on pest animals, this had the side effect of causing these pests to explode in number and damage their tree homes and crops. After the carnivores were all driven out, they started becoming bolder and warriors began venturing out of their territories to slaughter predators for sport, including the gravediggers who explicitly avoided targeting them at that point. This practice was stopped when one young woodcrafter discovered the gravedigger's tree art and came to the realization that they were murdering fellow sapient beings and adopted a young gravedigger who was orphaned in one such hunt. They also drive away large herbivores, since these compete with them for and damage the trees they rely on for food and shelter, with the main exception being the mammoth trunko, which they view with spiritual reverence.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman: The Squeakivus Festival, celebrating the anniversary that a backwater Mouse Knight assassinated a tyrant Cat King. Sure, King Puss Puss was The Caligula (and possibly Vlad the Impaler, but worse) and had to be stopped, but Saint Squeaky's message of the underdog fighting to help others no matter the odds has been twisted into fighting all cats everywhere, even the ones who reject their carnivorous natures or are underdogs themselves. It's explicitly considered racist.
  • Season 3 of The Lion Guard introduces Mama Binturong's porcupine henchmen for the first villainous herbivores in the series.

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