Sunday, February 12, 2012

Meat in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?

Ever since Pinkie Pie mentioned hot dog eating contests in Fall Weather Friends the debate over pony diet has raged(well maybe a year or so ago it did) . I thought I'd try to compile all of the evidence and arguments, for and against, the ponies being omnivorous and somewhat over think them. 

First a very brief mention of things brought up by people arguing for the idea that the little ponies eat meat
  1. The aforementioned hotdog eating contests(ketchup on the dogs makes them nice and slippery although Pinkie prefers mustard)
  2. Pigs being raised at Sweet Apple Acres as seen in during The Show Stoppers
  3.  This sandwich seen in  A Bird in the Hoof
  4.  Alot of the foods that have appeared in the show are traditionally made with lard from other animal parts
And some of the big points brought up for vegetarian ponies
  1. During Over a Barrel Pinkie Pie's You Gotta Share song, specifically says the Ponies are vegetarians
  2. Real ponies dont eat meat
  3. The entire idea of butcher my little ponies is messed up and completely out of character
Lets explore all of these ideas.

The first thing that stands out, to me, is that Pinkie Pie seems to contradict herself. This seems to be entirely within her character. On one hoof she says they eat hot dogs and on the other that they dont eat meat. This brings up the fact that we have no idea what the hotdogs are made of. Not to mention that we have no idea if 'hotdogs' are even the same thing to the ponies that they are to us. So does that mean that there is no contradiction and we've already managed to wrap things up? Not quite. Just because we dont know what they are made of dosent mean its not meat. Pinkie claims during her song that the ponies diet is 'completely vegetarian' during various other songs she also claims:
How about the pigs being raised on Sweet Apple Acres? Seems like good hot dog material and a source of lard. Here is what Lauren Faust said, when asked about the pigs on her Deviant art account:
Solved? Hardly. Even if that was the intention, rather then pigs just being there for a gag, it still isnt canon until it happens in the show. Faust has also had plenty of other ideas about the show be shot down. She didnt want trains, she wanted Celestia to be a queen, she didnt want Alicorns outside of Celestia and Luna. The response also avoids the meat question, nowhere does it say they couldnt be used for truffle and lard. Of course the converse is true absence of evidence isnt evidence of absence.

Next.

The sandwich. Again, it may look like meat, but could have been made of anything

Next.

Real ponies dont eat meat? False. A quick youtube search brings us http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnWULM4jpKI skip to the 3 mark. Not only will (some) real equines eat meat when they can get ahold of it, this argument wouldnt have held water anyway, because the ponies on the show, do a hell of alot of things that real ones cant/wont do. This is actually fairly damming for the vegetarian side, because it is the first argument that isnt speculative. Except, for the fact that real world ponies and our little ponies are pretty f'ing different.

Moving on

In the show we see lots of fried foods, baked good, marshmallows, and gelatin. In our human world gelatin is made from animal skin and bones, marshmallows too(not all). Fried food and baked good usually call for lard. This however doesnt mean the ponies do it the same way. Complete speculation.

Next

The idea of ponies being unable to do something as ghastly as slaughtering animals.
If Fluttershy, of all the ponies, is capable of doing that, to happy smiling, waving fish, then I believe that their are ponies willing to work as butchers. This was harder for me swallow earlier in the series, but over time we have seen a very wide variety of pony attitudes and ethics.
Although, maybe those fish died naturally.

Lets go try to bring this home.

At this point the only real facts we have are that Real ponies are willing to eat meat and that Fluttershy will give fish to ferrets. This doesnt prove anything so now we must move farther into the land of speculation

What the food being made of soy? Generically this argument is pretty strong, for all we know the ponies could have magic hot dog tress. However, it brings up 2 criticisms,
  1. We never see anything like this in the show. No soy fields no magic chefs. While on the opposite hand, we do see a fair amount of livestock animals. Although I do prefer explaining things via means that we have seen in the show this is still just 'maybe this and maybe that', nothing solid. However:
  2. If we are talking about veggie dogs you must ask yourself the following: "Why would the ponies want fake meat products?"
That is almost a slam dunk. If you say they eat soy hotdogs and Applejack's sandwich is tofu then the ponies must like the taste of meat, if they are trying to emulate it. If the ponies like the taste meat, and they are willing to see other animals as a food source (as seen above), then they must certainly be omnivorous.

But wait!
Even if that is true, then even as there are human vegetarians, there would certainly be pony vegetarians. AND perhaps the ponies do like the taste but have some other reason to not eat meat. While a real horse may eat meat if a human offers it, it certainly isnt good for them. AND this whole argument line is based on tofu/soy which is never seen in the show, its just a head cannon vegetarian possibility.

So who knows?
In the end there is no real evidence to solve this. Based on the Fluttershy using fish as meat and lard/gelatin I do lean towards FiM ponies being omnivorous, but I am pretty certain that nothing that definitively proves it, will ever appear in the show. It is also only based on real life, human cooking methods, which have no real barring on the show, and a single screen shot of Fluttershy feeding some animals.


I tried to consider this from every angle, but I also meant to write this out months ago, back during the hiatus between seasons, so there is a good chance that I have forgotten or completely missed some things. If you have an argument or point of logic to interject, or just regular comments or concerns please let me know, Thanks.
Also sorry about the rambling incoherent nature of this, and the horrible grammar(and typos and misspellings, etc). Its somewhat stream of consciousness with little proofreading/editing

10 comments:

  1. Lauren Faust also said that the hot dogs Pinkie Pie mentioned were tofu dogs.

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    1. Any link plz? I dont remember ever seeing this pop up.

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  2. Impressive analysis... I always personally believed the ponies in this show were omnivorous myself. Especially after Pinkie Pie's "hot dog eating contest" line in Fall Weather Friends.

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  3. "If we are talking about veggie dogs you must ask yourself the following: "Why would the ponies want fake meat products?"
    That is almost a slam dunk. If you say they eat soy hotdogs and Applejack's sandwich is tofu then the ponies must like the taste of meat, if they are trying to emulate it."

    Who's to say that they are considered "fake meat products" in-universe? They could simply be tofu (or any other vegetarian/vegan food) hotdogs developed without any relation to anything meat-based.

    "If the ponies like the taste meat, and they are willing to see other animals as a food source (as seen above), then they must certainly be omnivorous."
    Why?


    On a personal note, I would obviously prefer if the ponies were completely vegan, especially since the show gives kids a pretty distorted view of how milk and eggs are produced, but it is a show about magical unicorns and friendship lasers, so I guess social advocacy is a bit beyond it in that regard.

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    1. >whos to say they are fake meat in universe
      That would mean that when Pinkie says hotdog she is talking about something completely different then what we would call a hotdog. That is entirely possible, but based on all the other human words and items that we have seen in show, the pony versions of things are the same as our versions.

      >why
      Because just like humans different ponies will have different moral standards and if they like the taste of meat I have a hard time believing that none would eat it. If even Fluttershy will use animals as food, and you accept the premise that some ponies might like the taste of meat, then it follows that some of them would be willing to eat animals.

      >show about magical unicorns
      This whole thing needs updated and revised, and this is one point that needs addressed.

      If you are looking at the show from the point of view of it just being a fun childrens cartoon, then they are vegetarians.

      If you look at the show form the point of view of trying to reasonably explain things with occams razor in mind, then it becomes debatable.

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  4. Problem is, Tofu didn't start it's existence as Substitute Meat, but rather an inventive way to prepare Soy. Hunger, more then anything, is Humanities driving motivation but by the same token, familiarity breeds contempt. Eat the same thing the same way to often and you'll become sick of it.
    Tofu is just another soy product, one that largely seems to have been discovered by accident and is an extremely versatile one at that.
    Whilst it is widely used as a meat substitution, the notion of it being solely a substitute for meat is quite recent and by large, restrained to the western world.

    Why can't ponies take the long way around? That it isn't even thought of as not-meat and never has. Rather just a creative dish?

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  5. My theory RE:the marshmallows, at least, is that they're old-school marshmallows made from actual marsh mallow syrup.

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  6. That YouTube video doesn't really show them eating it, but the answer to http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1594766 did a lot of research. http://www.thehorse.com/articles/13362/carnivorous-horses seems to be a respectable source. Animals go through a lot of trouble to acquire sufficient salt, so i'm still not sure whether they weren't satisfied with their plant protein.

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  7. In Rarity takes Manehattan (S04E08) they show that hotdogs are carrots with bread, both with mustard and ketchup. And the "lamb" in the sandwich could be anything, it doesn't exactly look like lamb or ham.

    The fishes look like they were dead before. Although she gave live worms to some, but they are insects, and she spit after that.

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