Most people are familiar with the sport of fox hunting, but it might leave you with some major questions. Can you eat fox meat? What does it taste like, and how is the texture? Is fox meat dangerous to consume? We’re going to look at all these things!
Can you eat fox meat? Yes, you can eat fox meat. Fox is not a popular meat, and there are some risks associated with eating it, but the meat is certainly edible and some people do choose to eat it. The meat is usually quite chewy and tough, and you will very rarely find raw fox meat for sale. It needs tenderizing before it is enjoyable to eat.
Can You Eat Fox Meat?
You can eat fox meat, but you will rarely find it for sale. Most people who eat fox meat are those who have killed a fox directly, often because it was on their farm, or because they enjoy fox hunting. Very few places farm foxes for meat, and the texture and taste is not considered pleasant by many people.
Often, people describe fox meat as game-y, and a lot of people who are used to traditionally farmed meats (e.g. beef, pork, chicken) will find it very challenging. It has a strong flavor and a fibrous texture, and it certainly isn’t similar to the other meats you might pick up in the store.
The texture is also difficult for many people, and if you wish to eat fox meat, you’ll have to do quite a lot of preparatory work to make it palatable.
It needs to be tenderized and marinated overnight, or at least soaked in salty water to remove some of the taste. Often, the raw meat smells fishy and unpleasant. The water (or vinegar if you have it) will help to break down the meat and make it a little tenderer.
You can marinate the meat in spices and vinegar to help with the flavor and the texture, and this does make fox meat more appetizing, but it is a lot of work for a meat that is generally considered unpopular anyway. On the whole, it’s easy to see why fox meat is not a good option and is rarely found in stores.
Few people would choose to eat fox meat that had not been tenderized at least overnight, because it smells bad and it’s very chewy!
What are the Risks of Eating Fox Meat?
The meat from any predator can carry risks, because the predator is likely to have eaten quite varied foods and may be carrying diseases or parasites. Even handling a dead fox puts you at risk of these things. Think about rabies and intestinal parasites.
It is possible to prepare fox meat to minimize these issues, but again, this involves work and it deters many people from eating the meat. If you are determined, it certainly can be done, but on the whole, fox meat isn’t the safest option.
By contrast, meat from herbivores (such as cows) is much less likely to be carrying harmful parasites, and it’s also less likely to have diseases in it. It still is not free from risks, but they are reduced.
There has been at least one scandal involving fox meat being in an unexpected product (donkey burgers) in recent years, but the meat does not pose any particular health risks as long as it is handled, prepared, and cooked properly. In general, you are safe to eat fox meat, provided proper precautions are taken.
Why Don’t Most People Eat Fox Meat?
Humans are quite inconsistent about the things that they are prepared to eat, so it’s hard to say exactly why many people object to the idea of fox meat. It may be because foxes are much beloved, or because they are too close to dogs for comfort!
Certainly, in some countries, nobody would think twice about eating fox meat, because meats are far more diverse. However, most western societies would balk at the idea of putting fox meat into a meal.
This may be because foxes are very popular animals, and have won the hearts of people all over the place. They are consistently one of the most popular animals in Britain, and even in other countries, they tend to be popular in spite of the tense relationship between them and the livestock that humans rear (e.g. chickens).
People therefore feel uncomfortable with eating fox meat because they like foxes, and would rather not think about them being killed, processed, and packaged.
This may also be connected to our relationship with dogs. Because so many people are fiercely protective of their dogs, they are much more likely to feel uncomfortable about the idea of consuming a doglike creature, a relative of the animal that they love so dearly.
This is not surprising. Foxes are very doglike (perhaps with a hint of cat in there) and therefore, it is a bit too close for comfort in many ways. We don’t consume any other canines by habit either, and most people would feel uneasy about eating wolf meat too.
There is also possibly an innate awareness that carnivore meat may be more dangerous than the meat of a herbivore. Most carnivores prey on herbivores rather than each other, so perhaps there is an evolutionary bias at work as well.
It’s hard to say exactly what it is about fox meat that puts many people off, but it likely ties in with these three factors, and it doesn’t seem probable that our views will change in the near future, especially with current trends toward vegetarian and vegan diets.
You can eat fox meat, and if you are into trying exotic and unusual meats, you may find that you enjoy it. However, it is not readily available and although some butchers sell it, you won’t find it in most stores. If you wish to try it, you will probably have to visit a specialty meat store.
Make sure you cook fox meat with care to avoid the potential dangers that it poses, and tenderize it well in advance!