Plateful of pigeon?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
September 14, 2010, 6:09 PM GMT+0

There are few creatures great or small that man has not tried to roast, smoke, boil, sauté, or just plain eat raw. According to our recent survey 69% of Brits do not see themselves as fussy eaters, but when we gave the meat-eating public a list of 20 animals and asked whether they would eat them (if they were to be served to them in a restaurant) it appears the public is more squeamish than they may claim.

Man’s best friends

While just one percent of the public have tried dog and would do so again, a striking ten percent haven’t yet tried it but would do so if served it. The vast majority (84%), though, haven’t and wouldn’t eat a doggy dinner. And while one percent of Brits claim to have eaten cat in the past and nine percent would try it, an overwhelming 85% say they wouldn’t touch our furry feline friends.

Culinary adventure or bush tucker trial?

Of the many other weird and wonderful animals we asked about that people had enjoyed, rabbit was the most popular, with 39% saying they ‘have eaten this and would eat it again’, followed by pigeon at 22%, goat at 21%, ostrich at 19%, shark at 16%, hare at 15%, and reindeer and frogs jointly on 13%.

When it comes to animals the public has not eaten but would be willing to try should it be on their restaurant menu, buffalo comes top at 47% (perhaps sounding more enticing thanks to its more famous mozzarella cheese?), followed by ostrich and reindeer at 37%, hare at 35%, kangaroo at 33%, crocodile and zebra at 28%, shark at 25%, and the increasingly-popular pigeon at 24%. It seems that not even foxes are safe, as 13% of population would try the meat.

However, the public was clear about the least desired dishes. 86% haven’t tried spider and wouldn’t if offered it, while 84% feel the same about rats, mice and bat. Dolphin came in alongside Japanese favourite poisonous blowfish (fugu) at 83%, followed by badger and monkey (82%), jellyfish (81%) and crickets (78%). Just under two thirds (74%) wouldn’t eat whale or seal, while 75% feel the same about guinea pig.

Survey details and full results