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Thread: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

  1. #1

    Default Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    My father brought this up to me the other day. He is a big deer hunter and he heard from one of his hunting buddies that if he goes vegetarian for a month before deer hunting season starts, the deer will come closer to him because they can sense the difference between a meat eater and a non-meat eater.

    The statement made me curious to know it that is actually true. I tried looking up any research that may be out there about it but couldn't find anything. Not just deer but animals in general, can they sense the difference between a meat eater and a vegetarian/vegan??

    Any one have any thoughts or ideas?

  2. #2
    emoticonaddict Spud Addict's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I think they can, I've always had this feeling. I think they can also sense intent, whether malignant or benign. I have nothing to back this up with, only instinct.
    No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway.

  3. #3
    Qaxt
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I've heard that in multiple places and have always wondered if it's true or not. I like to think that it is, but I don't really know for sure. But I definitely agree with Spud Addict that I believe they can sense intent, at least to some extent.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    The deers' instincts would be defective though if they think this hunter isn't going to harm them just because he hasn't eaten meat for a month

    It seems quite likely though that someone who's been eating meat might smell different from someone who hasn't been. Apparently Japanese people think (most) westerners smell odd because of their consumption of dairy produce, although that could be an urban myth.

    ETA even humans can distinguish non meat eaters by smell according to this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16891352

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    ♥♥♥ Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Most dogs are obsessed with sniffing me. I've had dogs try turn around in their leash as I walking by, so they could sniff me. Haha. I hope it means I smell nice.
    Peace, love, and happiness.

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    ^ One of my cats loves to sniff me too. She'll sniff me for like five minutes straight.

    Quote harpy View Post
    The deers' instincts would be defective though if they think this hunter isn't going to harm them just because he hasn't eaten meat for a month
    That's what I was thinking.

    It sounds reasonable that animals would be able to sense that. I agree with Spud Addict though, I think they can sense intent.

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I know this doesn't answer the question, and maybe this is too much information, but when I ate meat, I smelled differently. I have a very sensitive nose, and nobody else smelled it (me), but I could tell. My husband eats meat (paleolithic diet) and I can tell - the smell is all over him. But that's me.

    I'm sure meat-eating humans smell differently from non-meat-eating humans, but I think that deer would be wary just because they (we) are human.

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    ^ I think I get what you mean. A veggie friend of mine and I were talking about that one time. It's like you can tell that someone eats meat by a certain smell (and not like breath or something). Hard to explain, but I think I get you.

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    Ready to rock vercimus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I've read a number of things about how what you eat can affect how you smell, but I can't imagine a deer, dog or cat actually distinguishing between vegetarians and omnivores on a broad basis. I'm sure that if you change your diet, a dog would be able to smell a difference in you, but I highly doubt they would really care or suddenly be afraid or not afraid of you based on that change.

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    emoticonaddict Spud Addict's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote harpy View Post
    The deers' instincts would be defective though if they think this hunter isn't going to harm them just because he hasn't eaten meat for a month
    Yes, I hadn't thought of that. Very sad
    I hope that they avoid them anyway, just through experience of humans.

    Based on documentaries I've seen, (which are hardly proof of anything), deer will scarper quickly when they sense that a predator is nearby, yet if they hear a noise that turns out to be say, a squirrel, do they stay where they are? Or do they move on anyway? They must be able to tell what sort of creature is around. Or perhaps it is based on weight of footfall, whether something sounds heavier etc. I don't know, just speculating now. They don't always wait for something to be chasing/attacking them before they run....
    No sense being pessimistic. It wouldn't work anyway.

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    AnneCE's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote harpy View Post
    ETA even humans can distinguish non meat eaters by smell according to this http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16891352
    Results of repeated measures analysis of variance showed that the odor of donors when on the nonmeat diet was judged as significantly more attractive, more pleasant, and less intense.
    The people on the nonmeat diet were only on it for 2 weeks, so imagine how gorgeous we get the longer we are vegan. I do think I smell less intense than I used to and I notice my omni partner smells stronger.

    Hope the deer aren't confused and continue to think human=danger.

  12. #12
    RubyDuby
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    As for meat eating animals (dogs/cats), i'm not sure they would judge us by whether we ate meat?? but I'm sure we do smell different to them. Dogs "see" with their nose, meaning it's their main sense like sight is for most humans, which is why they spend so much time sniffing.

    As for deer, one of my ex-coworkers is an avid hunter and he was bragging about 2 deer he and his friend had killed when they walked right up to them... (very happy to not be working there anymore.) Also, my omnivorous aunt has many deer friends she feeds and who let her get close to them. An omnivorous friend-of-a-friend in high school had a deer follow her into her house. She took pics.

    While hiking I've come across deer. They freeze, stare me down for a moment, then prance away.
    Each snowflake in an avalanche pleads not guilty.

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    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote vercimus View Post
    I'm sure that if you change your diet, a dog would be able to smell a difference in you, but I highly doubt they would really care or suddenly be afraid or not afraid of you based on that change.
    Not dogs, perhaps, but I suppose there could be some evolutionary benefit, if you're a "prey animal" such as a deer, to being able to sniff out if a carnivorous animal was in the vicinity? I would have guessed that they'd do this according to species, but maybe a general carnivorous/herbivorous distinction would work as well.

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    Ready to rock vercimus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Yeah I think if an animal like a deer did make a distinction in a hunter or predator, it would be important to smell the difference between what animal had been eaten. If a hunter just ate a bunch of shrimp, I don't think a deer would know to be a afraid. If he had just eaten a bunch of venison or related animal, I could see the deer being more wary. I honestly doubt that animals really do make a distinction, but it's possible I suppose. If anything, I think that deer probably sense humans and regard us as danger, regardless of a person's diet. Deer still run from me, after all

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    Fireweed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I really think it comes down to *mostly* intent. The energy one puts out is most certainly felt by the animal. I know that I can get extremely close to all sorts of animals, deer included, just by the *way* I go about it. As soon as some one else comes along the animals scamper away. Usually, other people are noisy, move too quickly, and they most likely give the animals confusing messages and probably don't put out an energy that says, "I come in peace." I don't mean to sound kooky, but I really think there's something to the energy you put out. Just like your cat or dog can sense when you are angry, sad, happy etc., I'm sure a deer can sense when you mean them harm or even when you don't exactly know what your message/energy is.

    I'm also thinking that there is *some* truth in the way meat-eaters smell to a deer. But from what I've witnessed around here, I'm guessing that the deer have come to know the look, actions, sounds, intentions, and smell of hunters. All this combined would make any deer fun off faster.

    Mostly, I think hunters are simply insensitive and that translates to sloppiness in the bush, which does not go over well with such a graceful being as a deer (or any animal, for that matter). Maybe the less meat a hunter eats makes him/her feel lighter, more graceful, a wee bit closer to understanding a deer so they can get even closer to them. Just a thought...
    ...and don't forget to boogie! -Hans Olson

  16. #16
    Pilaf
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Apparently not..animals hiss, cower and retreat in my presence much like with Damien the son of Satan from that movie series the Omen.

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    Ready to rock vercimus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Deer run from me and everyone I've ever met. I doubt the smell or the noise an ungraceful omnivore makes has much to do with that fact. Deer are hunted by large animals like people, wolves, even bears and cougars, but not by squirrels, so it wouldn't take much for a deer to distinguish between large footsteps or breathing or smell of these creatures and the smell or sound of a harmless squirrel.

    Also, in places where people go hunting, the deer will have learned to avoid humans. In deer safe havens, the deer are probably going to be generally wary, but not outright scared of humans. When I lived in colorado, deer would bed in our front and back yards all the time, and we'd see them from a fairly small distance, but there's no way you could just walk up and pet one.

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    Fireweed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    It's just interesting that I live in a hunting/trapping "mecca" and the deer (and every other animal including the bears, wolves, bison, squirrels, rabbits, gophers etc.) are definitely not safe here. Everyone else I know can't get close to any animal. I can. Not always so close I can reach out and pet them, but often extremely close. Why is that? There's got to be something to that besides luck. What is it?
    ...and don't forget to boogie! -Hans Olson

  19. #19
    Ready to rock vercimus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Maybe you're the Deer Whisperer

    Are you alone when you approach animals, or in groups? and when people you know are approaching animals, are they alone or in groups? Or do the animals come to you? Even hunters can "get close" to a deer just by sitting still and waiting.

  20. #20
    Fireweed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I'm usually with one other person or alone, but I alone approach the animals. I've had deer come up to me though while I was sitting at a creek and I wasn't hidden or being all that still---the two deer drank right next to me. I talked to them and moved around to see them better. They got a bit nervous, but I used my "deer talk" to them and they calmed down again and continued to drink. I've also had a deer follow me out of a forest into a prairie, walk behind me for a bit before she retreated back to the woods. And often, I've seen deer, approached them, waited, kept still, even talked to them, and had them approach me after a while. Then we just all hang out, they eat, and when they are ready, they leave. And I live on property surrounded on all sides by hunting/trapping land--land that has been and continues to be overhunted---so it can't be that the animals are used to people or that they feel safe around people.

    Sure, I know a lot of hunters who've had deer/moose or other animals come up to them because they were hiding in the bush and/or being very still. But I don't think that's the same thing. Hunters are usually wearing camouflauge, too. Hunters usually consider wind direction and things like that, also. And they usually don't hang around in some kind of communion with the animal, they usually take their shot as soon as they can get a good one. I don't know how often the deer have much of a chance to even sense the hunter, if the hunter is actually that close to one.

    I personally believe it's a combination of a number of things: How I move and when, how I sound, how I smell, how I look at them and when, what my intentions are, what my energy is at the time. Also, a person has to understand the animal and its cues. I think hunters understand any given animal only up to a point. No matter how "spiritual" a hunter might be (I'm thinking of Ted Nugent and all his talk about the spiritual aspect of being one with nature, blah, blah) how can a hunter truly relate to an animal if they want to kill it?

    Just throwing things out there, really. I don't know...
    ...and don't forget to boogie! -Hans Olson

  21. #21
    baffled harpy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Some people do apparently have a knack of attracting, or getting on with, animals but I'm not sure if it's necessarily to do with what they eat as opposed to body language or something.

    BTW my grandmother used to tell a story about a little boy who she was at school with who, when the class were looking at a picture of St Francis preaching to the birds, said "I can do that". The others were sceptical but then when they went outside he stuck his finger out and a bird hopped on to it. (I admit reading this over it looks like an urban myth though )

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I have an acquaintance who I sometimes run into, and whenever we see one another and hug she'll invariably exclaim, "You smell like Declan! How do you do it?". Maybe that's the answer (I always blamed it on my Lush addiction )

    I remember last year, visiting my then-girlfriend in central Europe, and her family cat licking my hands and sitting on my knee. Apparently this is an evil cat who only interacts with humans to scratch them, and I remember saying at the time, "oh, she likes me because I don't smell like dead animals". I meant it as a joke but maybe it's true

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote Fireweed View Post
    I really think it comes down to *mostly* intent.
    I think it was Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, "Even a dog knows the difference between being kicked and accidentally stumbled on."

    Or words to that effect.

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    ^ That's a good quote. Sums it up pretty well.

  25. #25
    exec
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Most zookeepers are not vegans but they seem to have a knack of handling and comforting the animals. I am not sure if there is or not a relationship between the two factors but as for me, I don't quite feel much differences.

  26. #26
    The Vegan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I don't know about sensing whether someone is veg*n or not, but they can sense whether someone has good intent, cares about them, etc. I know/believe this because of what I have been told and because of experience, and of course because it makes sense that they'd be able to.

  27. #27
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    A few people I know who are heavy Guinness drinkers have severe halitosis. I've no idea if there's a connection or merely coincidence but I'm sure you can see what I'm getting at.

    You are what you eat. If you eat strongly-flavoured food, it will come out from you. Many animals are much more sensitive to smell than humans so it would not surprise me if there was a difference between meat-eaters', vegetarians and vegans' odours.

    Of course, the way anyone treats individual animals will affect those animals' reaction but wouldn't it be interesting to do some kind of controlled study?
    "The trouble with quotes on the internet is that you can never tell if they're genuine" - Abraham Lincoln

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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Even many humans could probably tell, with the proper training. Aside from asking.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    I don't think that animals can tell. I don't think humans can tell.

    Perhaps if there is something to the smell thing, then there might be something, but tieing a "veggie" smell to "not being attacked" is quite a lot to tie together.

    In short, I don't think an animal can sense a meat eating human vs a vegan.
    context is everything

  30. #30
    leedsveg
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote xrodolfox View Post
    I don't think that animals can tell. I don't think humans can tell.

    Perhaps if there is something to the smell thing, then there might be something, but tieing a "veggie" smell to "not being attacked" is quite a lot to tie together.

    In short, I don't think an animal can sense a meat eating human vs a vegan.
    I tend to agree with this poster.

    lv

  31. #31
    veganvoo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    They know, i'm sure of that. I feel a connection with animals and communicate with them. My family call me Dr Dolittle.

  32. #32
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Animals can most definitely sense the presence of a meat eater, at least when they are being eaten by one; otherwise no, they can't.

  33. #33
    *live*&*let*live
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    Default Re: Can animals sense a meat eater vs a non?

    Quote Pilaf View Post
    Apparently not..animals hiss, cower and retreat in my presence much like with Damien the son of Satan from that movie series the Omen.
    Do you make small children cry too Pilaf? Or is that only when you nick their toffee apples?!

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