When I was growing up, long before I ever heard the legend of the man-eating horses of Diomedes, I used to go for long horse-back rides with my Standardbred gelding Ranger. I'd pack lunches for both of us. A flake of hay for him and maybe some oats, and a sandwich for me. This seemed to be a perfectly suitable arrangement for both of us, until the day came he decided to trade lunches. I'd packed a roast beef sandwich that day (with extra cheese and mustard). And when he yanked the sandwich out of my hand and gobbled it down, I stared in anguish at the unappetizing-looking flake of hay and said, "What the hell am I supposed to do with that?"
I figured you might want to see some unnatural meat-eating in action, so here are a few articles and video clips about some well-known vegetarian critters: ponies and cows.
Watch as Patches eats a tasty burger.
Sometimes cows eat burger, too. This Time article comes from 1931:
Dairymen on the Didsbury Jersey farms at Didsbury, Alberta, last week argued that it was a meat diet which caused one of their cows, Waikiki Xenia's Fanny, to produce almost pure cream.- (from Meat-Eating Cow)
Cows of course are herbivorous animals. Their teeth, stomachs, and entire physiology are organized to get nutrition from grasses. As an experiment the dairymen mixed ground meat in Fanny's meals. After her calf was born (she is two years old), she yielded the unusually rich milk. The meat may be the cause; or Fanny may be an unusual builder of butterfat. At any rate, her milk churns into butter without the customary preliminary separation of cream.
Marvel as Lal the calf goes for a chicken dinner, instead of a burger.
And here's an article to go along with the Lal video:
WHEN dozens of chickens went missing from a remote West Bengal village, everyone blamed the neighbourhood dogs.(-- from Meat-loving Calf Eats Chickens).
But Ajit Ghosh, the owner of the missing chickens, eventually solved the puzzle when he caught his cow - a sacred animal for the Hindu family - gobbling up several of them at night.
"We were shocked to see our calf eating chickens alive," Mr Ghosh said by phone from Chandpur village, about 240km northwest of the capital Calcutta.
The family decided to stand guard on Tuesday at the cow shed which also served as a hen coop, after 48 chickens went missing in a month.
"Instead of the dogs, we watched in horror as the calf, whom we had fondly named Lal, sneak to the coop and grab the little ones with the precision of a jungle cat," Gour Ghosh, his brother, said.
Local television pictures showed the cow grabbing and eating a chicken in seconds and a vet confirmed the case.
"We think lack of vital minerals in the body is causing this behaviour. We have taken a look and have asked doctors to look into the case immediately," Mihir Satpathy, a district veterinary officer, said by phone.
"This strange behaviour is possible in some exceptional cases," Dr Satpathy said.
Hundreds of villagers flocked to Chandpur overnight to catch a glimpse of Lal, enjoying his bundle of green grass for a change.
"The local vets said the cow was probably suffering from a disease but others said Lal was a tiger in his previous birth," Ajit said.
Of course, Wesley Willis knew all about chicken cows, long before Lal was ever born. Maybe even long before Lal was a tiger!