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So, in within my setting, there are half-animal, half-human beings, as well as humans, whom they all share common divine creators.

Just a bit of elaboration concerning the creation of life in my setting. Once upon a time, there were a race of godly beings, who themselves looked half-animal, half human, who created the many life in the setting, which are lesser beings that look like themselves and the creatures which their half-animal portions resemble. These godly beings did not get along well, until one day they all got together and created the human, which resembled all of them. Shortly after, the godly beings ascended to a higher plane of existence, probably never to return.

So yeah, with that in mind, how would dynamics for someone who wants to eat meat be like?

I had two ideas, which were:

  • A taxing board, where people must pay tribute to whenever they kill an animal, and this board then uses the tax money to help improve living conditions of said animal-person society
  • A confession booth, which could be located in each town, within the chapel of it. Whenever a person kills an animal, they must then go and confess their killing, and then maybe make some sort of payment to the chapel to help better local society

EDIT 1: Right now, the overall: technology is about pre-industrial, society is about pre-industrial, government is entirely feudalism, there is a large central empire, with very low crown authority, that controls the many kingdoms and land

EDIT 2: To clarify, the half-animal people are completely sentient and intelligent, while the animals are still just like animals, not sentient.

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  • $\begingroup$ So are all the animals conscious, or are there simply some sapient beings with animal forms, and you're asking if the half-cow would mind us butchering a calf? $\endgroup$ – Serban Tanasa Jan 28 '15 at 1:47
  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure either what you are getting at. you mean there are (As Serban said) half cows that are intelligent and regular cows like normal and what would be the social implications be of eating the dumb cows? $\endgroup$ – bowlturner Jan 28 '15 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ @SerbanTanasa yeah, I wanted to know how the social implications of eating the dumb cows would be like if you had half-cow neighbours $\endgroup$ – grimmsdottir Jan 28 '15 at 6:09
  • $\begingroup$ One thing I keep being curious about whenever I see this is whether the half-animals actually have the same dietary restrictions as their full-animal counterparts. Mostly, half-felines--are they obligate carnivores like real-world felines are? Because if so, it would be absolutely necessary, social mores aside, for them to eat meat. Which might make for interesting tension with other half-creatures. $\endgroup$ – plagueheart Feb 21 '15 at 22:27
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    $\begingroup$ This reminds me of a scene in Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou. The mermaid girl is travelling through a human market, all the stallholders freak out like "QUICK HIDE THE FISH, WE DON'T WANT TO OFFEND HER" and she's just like, "Oooh, delicious fish!" $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jul 11 '17 at 9:24
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I think the way you phrase your question presupposes humans as the dominant species. There may be problems with that.

Just think about our current relationship with living creatures. Some people think of animals like humans, and refuse to eat them. Other people, especially pre-industrial people, thought of many humans as animals, and would have no qualms about enslaving/torturing/killing them, though eating them would be a bit odd. I think you'll have a bigger problem with racism than you will with what's on the menu, but even along that route it raises the question if people would eat the half-humans or not. Under dire circumstances, humans will eat other humans to survive; in times of famine, I'm sure the half-humans would be the first to go, so long as they weren't the majority. If the humans were in the minority, I'm sure they would be eaten instead. Even if established communities don't go down this road, there will be those fringe cases of 'cannibalistic' bandits.

This, of course, would lead to great enmity between your races as word spread of such horrible atrocities, with both sides blaming the other for being "inferior", "innately evil", and "delicious". The only real solution to this, based on our own human history, would be to enslave one of the two groups. Now, with this relatively pessimistic solution you have a spectrum of options: mostly anything between American slavery(bad) and Roman slavery(good). The main point is that if there are such demonstrable differences between races, it will be very difficult for them to believe they should work together peacefully and equally (for example, patriarchy).

As for your suggestions on how to fix the problem of eating meat, you're just making it worse by equating the half-animals to full-animals. Imagine if I was eating a hamburger and I turned to someone and said "Oh no, I'm so sorry, was this cow your mother?" It's an extreme example, but you can see it's insulting. Now imagine hitting on a half-cow by asking to milk her, or a half-bull by asking him to pull your cart (wink wink). The best way to cure racism, in my opinion, is to stop drawing so much attention to it. If you really want your races to get along, don't keep on reminding everyone how different they are.

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    $\begingroup$ "though eating them would be a bit odd." Except, of course, in those societies where long pig was a recognized variety of meat. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Apr 10 '15 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ Came here to say 'wouldn't be a problem based on our history with chimps, unless the eating of one intelligent species' closest unintelligent relatives is seen as a political statement, which is entirely about culture. $\endgroup$ – Ynneadwraith Feb 1 at 14:50
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There's a few classes of answers. My personal favorite is...

... they'd do exactly the same thing carnivore animals are expected to do.

Honestly, the idea that just making nature have a larger importance will devalue meat is a bit anthropomorphic. Open up any Discovery channel special on nature and you'll find nature is a brutal mistress. Lions, bears, and other predators kill all the time. A half-animal predator would probably think similar, unless the gods only made herbivore half-animals. How strange would it be for just one more species to eat meat?

On the other hand, assuming that for some reason all half-animals are herbivores...

... the societies would not mix completely.

There's nothing that says every city and village is 50% human 50% half-animal. There will be areas with more humans, and areas with more half-animals. In the human areas, meat eating would be more common. In the more mixed areas, it'd be frowned upon. In the more half-animal dominated areas, it could be scareligious.

Consider vegetarianism in our world. In America, vegetarians mix with meat eaters with little trouble (other than it can be tricky for hardcore vegetarians to go out to eat). Travel to a place where Buddhism is more popular, and you will start to see more and more vegetarians. In some places, you'll find it hard to find meat to eat.

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Several current human cultures eat monkey meat, and those are probably as related to humans as a cow would be to a cow/man. So there probably wouldn't be anything like you're suggesting where literally everyone who eats meat treats it like a sin with penance. Probably somewhat more common would be prohibitions on eating your "own" type as a social taboo.

You would likely run into specific villages where it's frowned upon, or that have the "tax board" requirement. You'd likely also run into general disgust, say if a deer/woman is watching you eat venison.

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  • $\begingroup$ I've always wondered what human tastes like. $\endgroup$ – Pyritie Jan 28 '15 at 12:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Pyritie I have bitten my own tongue more than once. It didn't taste good. $\endgroup$ – March Ho Jan 29 '15 at 23:32
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I think things would be (mostly) based on intelligence. The intelligent half-cow would not be considered edible by most of the other races, but the omnivores and carnivores generally wouldn't have any issue (at least not any more) than they do now. There will still be humans who are vegetarian etc. Of course herbivore species won't eat each other nor thing of it. The big one that could be a wild card might be actual Carnivore half breeds, say a tiger human. They might not have any qualms about eating anyone else, cows, half-breeds, humans. They would have to be careful or they could be wiped out as a race but that might not stop them if they are in a tight spot.

EDT: I thought I should add. The reason why I think most half breeds wouldn't care much about the dumber species is because they themselves are not, and might not really want to be so closely associated with them.

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I suppose it would depend on how the races identify, and on how human they look. If the half-animal races consider themselves to be above the standard animals, then they'd likely share humans' viewpoint on the matter, and not object to it. For example, a catgirl might be fine with someone having a pet cat, and might even have one of her own, while a bull man might enjoy his steaks.

If the half-animal races identify more closely with standard animals, then things could get messy. In this regards, it could go anywhere from how humans treat gorillas & chimpanzees, to viewing themselves as the same race as the standard animals, or anything in between. This is especially true if it's possible for a standard animal to become a member of a half-animal species, such as the nekomata from Japanese mythology. That bull man might think of eating a steak as cannibalism, but have no qualms with pork or chicken.

If the half-animal races look and act mostly human but with animal features, then people would have an easy time seeing them as basically human, just with more noticeable racial features. Conversely, if they look and act more animalistic, people would either see them as having a different culture, or as being closer to actual animals (it could go either way). Either way, there'll likely be racist individuals who treat them like standard animals even if the only difference is that they have animal ears, and there'll be better individuals who treat them the same as humans even if they're basically bipedal cats & dogs. For a small example, consider beastmen from fantasy worlds and kemonomimi from Japanese culture: beastmen are more often treated as having their own distinct society, while kemonomimi are usually just integrated into standard human culture wherever the work is set (but generally not considered to be the same species as humans, because that would imply bestiality). For another example, Goofy and Pluto are both dogs, but one is Mickey's friend and the other is his pet; the difference is in how anthropomorphic they are.

These are only a few possibilities; depending on how you want things to play out, the possibilities are effectively infinite.


As an aside, there are some other issues you might want to look into:

  • I'd be interested in how animal rights activists would act in your world, and how much support they'd get, seeing how similar some of the sentient species are to standard animals.
  • Considering how racist (or conversely, how unconcerned with race) people can be when the biggest differences are skin colour, facial features, and/or language and pronunciation, I'd be curious how they'd act with much more noticeable features. Would bigots try to treat catgirls & dogmen as pets, for example?
  • What would the half-animal races' stances be on eating meat, and how would global culture as a whole feel about it? Would people be more uncomfortable eating meat in mixed company, for example? Would half-animal individuals be fine with eating meat from animals similar to their animal half, or would that be too close for comfort? Would they be fine with eating meat from animals different than their animal half? Would, say, a bull man see eating beef as cannibalism, or would he be A-Ok with it?
  • How would political correctness interact with individuals that could be actually be seen as animals by some people?

I would suggest taking a look at TV Tropes; they go into detail on how many plot devices and concepts are used, along with providing examples of how other works implemented them. Since I don't have enough reputation to post more than 2 links, I'm just going to provide a couple here, then just give you their names for other tropes. [If you're unfamiliar with the site, then to use the names, just paste them after the "/Main/" part of the links.] Some links you may find useful, for looks at these things and how other works have handled them:

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Something to consider when thinking about disgust and discomfort is that people can get used to anything. A cow person who spent his childhood in an isolated field might be appalled when he learns that people eat beef, but a cow person who grew up in a city with a burger joint or two might not think of anything objectionable about it at all. Additionally, since each half-human race was individually created by an intelligent creator in its specific creator's image, you as the designer of this world can assign them all whatever behaviors suit your storytelling, since their minds are the results of a divine design rather than the evolutionary processes that created our world's humans--they could all be totally fine with any sort of meat, or they could all be horrified by it, or it could differ by race, or something in between. And alongside letting you be as arbitrary as you want, the origins of your species if known by them might even lead each race to believe that their particular god created their corresponding non-sentient animal for their benefit, to be exploited as they wish, and as such the meat-eating races might actually prefer to eat the flesh of the animals that look like them, viewing it as only right. The non-meat-eaters would of course not do that, but your chicken people might still raise chickens as livestock, and if their neighbors are cat people they may very well have no qualms about selling them some poultry. And your wolf people might not get all that much dog meat, but I'd say they'd consider wolves the best prey to hunt, if they've known their world's history for long enough.

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There are many species on Earth that have "human" characteristics, which humans have no problem eating. I assume that, apart from some humorous (or mean-spirited) situations, half-animals are never confused for full-animals.

  • For herbivores, eating meat wouldn't be a problem; half-animal or full-animal, they would both eat vegetarian, and mix with society just as well as human vegetarians.
  • No one would eat the half-animals, as they are obviously different from full-animals; it would likely be against the law almost everywhere.
  • On the other hand, there wouldn't be any laws against eating full-animals; a half-pig would feel no relation to a full-pig, and would probably enjoy bacon. There may be local taboos, but I would expect most societies to keep half-animals and full-animals distinct.
  • Since everyone would have grown up with fully-humans, half-humans, and fully-animals, the various creatures would be a part of life; just like centaurs and don't keep humans from riding horses or eating goats, other half-animal creatures wouldn't treat their fully-animal counterparts as anything terribly special.
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  • $\begingroup$ "a half-pig would feel no relation to a full-pig" -- maybe not, but if for some reason half-pigs thought of both pigs and chimpanzees the way humans often think of chimps (ooh, it's so similar to me) then some or all half-pigs might be quite strongly against anybody eating pigs: more so than they are against eating cows, anyway. Which is not to say there aren't humans happy to eat chimpanzees -- bushmeat is a thing. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Feb 13 '15 at 18:37
  • $\begingroup$ ... whereas for half-wolves to not eat full-deer would seem a bit odd biologically speaking, so if they refrained then presumably it would only be because of social/moral reasons (half-deer don't want them to). $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Feb 13 '15 at 18:41
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It depends on biology, organization, technological difference, specific culture and time.

Time and biology: If those who eat something get a disease from it, taboo will form. So if half pig/human causes prion infection in anything/human and humans and pigs, they will tend to eat it less (only on specific ocassions or not at all), but if their lifestyle does not allow problems to manifest (most people die to other disease or violently) it will look like eating that meat was ok.

organization and technology: better does what he wants (if gals were only half humans and did not cause observable problems when eated, romans would eat them (if they wanted))

culture - some culture would have irrational taboo not to eat something (eg blond half wolves), some would have irratioanal tradition of eating something. And there is aspect of domination. Eating someone and his side not able to prevent it is probubbly best form of showing dominance.

Monolithic slaver cultures would much more likely eat other inteligent species, mixed trader/diplomats would frown on it.

I guess this setting would lead to lot of total wars ending in genocide or total subjugation (its much easier to mistreat different species, and you does not even need religion)

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You could take a page out of real world history, instead of inventing something new like a "tax board". For example in the ancient world, animal sacrifice was common. In 1st century Greece, typically animals would be sacrificed at the temples and then the temple would sell the meat to fund itself. (I'm not sure if the person making the sacrifice also got to keep a portion or not.) St. Paul actually mentions this in the Bible; there was some debate among early Christians as to whether they should be vegetarians because most of the meat you could buy had been through a pagan sacrifice. (The verdict was no, you didn't have to be a vegetarian.) This whole economy of sacrificial meat served to separate the buying of meat from the act of slaughter, and to assuage everyone's guilt.

In the modern world, we no longer sacrifice meat at pagan temples, but we do still hide the act of slaughter behind closed doors for the most part. Hunters and fishermen will field-dress (clean) the game or fish they take in the field, and may do their own butchering, but for most of us that's pretty distasteful work and we leave it to the professionals. Even the farmer generally doesn't want to be present where the animal is being butchered. So... it's not like we really want to see the slaughter even in a world where the animals look very different from us. In your fantasy world, it'd probably be the same. The farmer, the butcher, the retailer, and the cook, would be four different people, in four different places, to keep the ugly details out of sight and out of mind.

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