Dialogue on Vegetarians, Dogs, and Non-veg Dog Food

veggie dogs:

Radha Dasi from Narrawallee, NSW Australia writes:

“Hi Kurma! It has long worried me that I have pets that require pet food. I had the pets before I became vegetarian and while I know there is some vegetarian food available for cats and dogs I don’t think my old hounds would be able to adjust to it.

I understand that animals eat each other in the wild, and that they are at a certain level of incarnation, however I have trouble getting my head around my involvement in the meat that my animals eat.

I have Hare Krishna friends who don’t seem to struggle with this at all because they say they’re not eating the meat themselves, but it still doesn’t sit quite right with me. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.”

My reply:

“Well I have never been a dog person, never had pets at all. But I know many many who do and are faced with this dilemma.

I know vegans who ‘have to’ open cans of meat for their dogs or fish for their cats. I also know vegans who have dogs that eat vegan animal food, but have cats who refuse it. I know Hare Krishna devotees who buy meaty dog food for their pets, and others who have, apparently, vegetarian dogs.

But I am not convinced of the flawed argument ‘we’re not eating it ourself, so it’s ok’. Those devotees don’t seem to ‘know their stuff’. That is not supported in Vedic Scripture.

The ancient and well-respected Lawbook Manu Samhita explains that 7 people are responsible for the karma of animal slaughter, not just the eater. It is a similar situation to mundane law wherein ‘aiding and abetting’ a crime holds with it a shared responsibility. Those responsible are:

1- The landowner/animal owner who explicitly or implicitly condones the slaughter
2- The person that slaughters the animal
3- The driver who transports the living/slaughtered animals
4- The person that sells the meat
5- The person who buys the meat
6- The person who cooks the meat
7- The person who eats the meat

Those who are vegetarians for anything other than ethical/spiritual reasons have little problem in buying dog food. They would argue ‘I’m not eating it’. But others, like yourself, are torn. What are you to do? The dogs are under your care, they are your dependants, like your children. And they are meat-eaters by nature.

My understanding of the situation is this: The animals accrue no karma for eating their meaty dog-food, but humans who involve themselves in the above 7-part chain of death, and buy the meaty dog food have to take a good portion of the karma for the death of the animals that died to produce it.

It is a big subject. There is tons of stuff out there on the internet about vegetarians with pets, loads of vegetarian dog food, and some talk of whether vegetarian animal food is a long-term sustainable affair for the dogs’ health. I would like to open up this discussion. Any comments please?”

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Posted by Kurma on 11/8/07; 7:14:28 AM

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