Canine Cannibalism

Goldie

Goldie got a taste of her own medicine (courtesy of Humane Society of North Iowa)

It’s no secret that within every living creature–whether it be a dog, a cat, a human or even an insect–there is an inherent drive for self-preservation and survival.

Granted, the serial killer who “gets off” on pain and welcomes death would be an exception, but I’m confident that most of you know what I mean. And since I can’t speak for bugs, I offer only my limited human perspective.

When situations become extreme and their survival is threatened, especially when it involves their families, most humans will stop at nothing to prolong life just one more day.

If you’re homeless, freezing and need to find shelter, kicking in the door of a vacant house and bunking there is a no-brainer.

But what if you’re starving to death?

We’ve all heard the stories of people in extreme situations who are forced to do unthinkable things to survive. Starvation adds an especially taboo element because when a group of people run out of resources, they themselves become the resources.

In 1846, a group of 87 American pioneers known as the “Donner Party” set off in covered wagons from Missouri and headed for a new start in California. It was not to be once snow trapped the travelers in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Food was scarce, disease ran rampant and people started dropping like flies. To survive, many resorted to cannibalism. And of the original 87 members of the group, only 48 ever made it to the west coast.

Or think about it this way: roughly half of the Donner Party got to experience how delicious and satisfying the other half really were. Gross, isn’t it?

In 1874, American prospector Alferd Packer and five companions hiked into the Colorado mountains, but two months later only Packer returned. During questioning by local authorities, Packer claimed that he killed the other men in self-defense and had to eat their remains to survive the harsh elements. Yummy.

The 1972 crash in the Andes (courtesy of El Pais De Uruguay-coleccion caruso)

And in 1972, a plane carrying members of a Uruguayan rugby team crashed in the Andes Mountains on its way to Chile. If you’ve seen the film “Alive,” then you know they eventually had to eat their dead to survive. It’s nasty, to be sure, but these folks had no choice. I’m sure I would do the same thing in similar circumstances.

Humans eating one another for survival is shocking and appalling and horrible and nauseating. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s also rare so luckily, we don’t have to worry about cannibalism much.

Dogs, on the other hand, might want to brace themselves because now, cannibalism has come to the canines.

According to KIMT-TV in Iowa, Humane Society workers rescued a golden retriever named Goldie (go figure) from a kennel where she had been left alone for three weeks.

To survive, Goldie ate half of her own tail.

Self-cannibalism is still cannibalism, mind you. And even though Goldie had no choice–and I’m glad someone found her before she reached her own ass–this still proves that humans aren’t the only species capable of practicing this unspeakable and highly disturbing act.

No matter how you slice it, though, I’m sure in the end, it all tastes like chicken anyway. Nothing shocking about that.

Posted on January 27, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. That’s sad. Who would do that to their animals. All creatures have to learn how to survive. someway, somehow. Luckily the Humane Society got them, Her so called “owners” should be in trouble and charged with Animal Cruelty or Neglect. At least “Goldie” is okay.

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