by David Catchpoole

From 1946 to 1955, A female African lion, born and raised in America, lived her entire lifetime of nine years without ever eating meat.1 In fact, her owners, Georges and Margaret Westbeau,2 alarmed by scientists’ reports that carnivorous animals cannot live without meat, went to great lengths to try to coax their unusual pet (‘Little Tyke’) to develop a taste for it. They even advertised a cash reward for anyone who could devise a meat-containing formula that the lioness would like. The curator of a New York zoo advised the Westbeaus that putting a few drops of blood in Little Tyke’s milk bottle would help in weaning her, but the lioness cub refused to touch it—even when only a single drop of blood had been added.

The more knowledgeable animal experts among the many visitors to the Westbeaus’ 100 acre (40 hectare) ranch also proffered advice, but nothing worked. Meanwhile, Little Tyke continued to do extremely well on a daily diet of cooked grain, raw eggs and milk. By four years of age she was fully grown and weighed 352 pounds (160 kg).

As Georges Westbeau writes, it was ‘a young visitor’ to Hidden Valley ranch who finally put his mind at ease in response to the question of how Little Tyke could be persuaded to eat meat (thought to be essential for carnivores to survive):

‘He turned to look at me with serious eyes, then asked, “Don’t you read your Bible’? I admitted I didn’t read it as much as I probably should. He continued, “Read Genesis 1:30, and you will get your answer.’ At my first opportunity I got my Bible and turned to the passage he had indicated. To my astonishment, I read these words: “And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.’….

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