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is peacock meat legal in CA/USA?

Lynndsey Rigberg Aug 25, 2011 07:10 PM


I recently ordered another peacock from Exoticmeats for a very special dinner party coming up (they need 14 days notice).

When I told my dinner guests that I was serving peacock, a couple of them freaked out. They said it was ILLEGAL???!!!

According to the Exoticmeats website, it says that it is legal...but dang it if I can't find anywhere else that can confirm the legality of peacock meat in CA...or the US!

Clearly, I've already purchased this peacock ($500!) so there's no way about that. I'm serving this bird.
However, I feel that if I can prove to my guest that the peacock is legal, they are sure to eat it.

Thank you! I would appreciate it if any of you have insight on this matter!

  1. t
    tzurriz Aug 25, 2011 07:47 PM

    It isn't endangered or a protected species, so there is absolutely no reason it would possibly be illegal.

    3 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz
      Lynndsey Rigberg Aug 25, 2011 09:34 PM

      Thank you, that's a good point!

      1. re: tzurriz
        ipsedixit Aug 25, 2011 10:17 PM

        It isn't endangered or a protected species, so there is absolutely no reason it would possibly be illegal.

        That's not necessarily true.

        FDA FSIS will often ban the imports of certain food items for safety (or regulatory) reasons that have nothing to with the particular animal being on the ESA list.

        1. re: ipsedixit
          tzurriz Aug 28, 2011 04:29 PM

          I wasn't talking import, just the legality of eating it.

      2. r
        ricepad Aug 25, 2011 10:57 PM

        Holy crap, they charge $500 for a peacock?? There are several cruising my neighborhood...for now, at least.

        Oh, and they're not illegal to have or to eat in CA.

        2 Replies
        1. re: ricepad
          Luna2372 Aug 25, 2011 11:49 PM

          We have a family here in BC that raises them for meat. No one seems to freak out. And I live on an island of very PC ppl. If they can raise a fuss they will.

          1. re: ricepad
            KaimukiMan Aug 26, 2011 12:59 PM

            and if you want Halal Slaughtering it is only $25 extra!

            In regard to the OP's question, I'm sure the exotic meat supplier would be happy to provide a statement about the legality and sustainability of peacock meat, or any of it's other products.

          2. mrbigshotno.1 Aug 26, 2011 05:36 AM

            I've got to start up one of these exotic meat outfits!

            1. m
              mpjmph Aug 26, 2011 07:39 AM

              I can't see any reason peacock in general would be illegal. As with any animal product, there may be restrictions on importing peacock meat, but that doesn't make it illegal. No reason it can't be raised domestically either, in fact the exoticmeatmarket website states their peacocks are raised in CA, and the meat passes state and federal inspections before sale. Honestly, it isn't much different than selling pheasant or any other non-chicken/turkey/duck foul... There are restrictions on selling game meat in some places - maybe that is what your guests were thinking of?

              6 Replies
              1. re: mpjmph
                egbluesuede Aug 26, 2011 07:41 AM

                Sorry to divert the discussion away from the issue of legality.....but I gotta ask. What does a $500 peacock taste like? Tell me it doesn't taste like chicken.

                1. re: egbluesuede
                  pj26 Aug 26, 2011 08:14 AM

                  I was wondering that too - have never thought of peacock as a meat.

                  1. re: pj26
                    Lynndsey Rigberg Aug 26, 2011 12:29 PM

                    I ordered peacock a couple months back but got peahen instead. Then I was at someone's house and they served peacock (and swore it was peacock) and it was "silky" tasting. They did a gorgeous sweet marinade and it was delicious. Does it taste like chicken - heck, most things seem to taste like chicken, but I would say the flavor was a little different. It had a silky, sort of milky taste.

                    its very much a novelty and I am planning to attempt an ancient recipe called a "Cockenthrice" that Heston Blumenthal made on his show - we'll see!

                    1. re: Lynndsey Rigberg
                      eclecticsynergy Aug 29, 2011 11:03 PM

                      Peacock and peahen are the same species- just male and female birds. Like ordering a rooster and getting a hen instead- if they're anything like chickens the peahen would be better eating.

                  2. re: egbluesuede
                    John E. Aug 27, 2011 07:03 AM

                    I've eaten peacock and it tastes less gamey than whooping crane and is more tender than bald eagle.

                    1. re: John E.
                      porker Aug 27, 2011 09:04 AM

                      ...so the judge says "OK, I see circumstance and duress made you eat the endangered spotted owl - NOT guilty." Then he leans over and whispers "Between you and me, what does a spotted owl actually taste like?"
                      The guy says "A cross between bald eagle and an Amazon Imperial Parrot."

                2. l
                  lcool Aug 26, 2011 01:05 PM

                  YES ,Pea fowl are USDA domestic/exotics.AND DELICIOUS They simply need to go through the certified for ?process.Meaning if I sell you one of my peafowl or guineafowl "live" you leave,no paper work.If I sell you a retired/dressed bird there is some certification/paper work.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: lcool
                    Samalicious Aug 26, 2011 02:26 PM

                    The first time you jump out of your skin because of one of those things screeching like a banshee you won't worry about whether killing it is legal or not. We used to keep a pair or two on the farm - I don't think anyone gave them much of a thought for eating.

                    1. re: Samalicious
                      rainey Aug 27, 2011 08:54 AM

                      That's what I was thinking! There are neighborhoods in my larger vicinity that have peacocks and peafowl wandering around uncontrolled. It's a wonder that they're not regularly having their little necks wrung and ending up on dining room tables. ;>

                      1. re: rainey
                        KaimukiMan Aug 27, 2011 07:57 PM

                        excerpt from the honolulu news:

                        HONOLULU -- A circuit court jury found the woman who beat a peacock to death not guilty of animal cruelty late Friday afternoon.

                        In court Thursday, 70-year-old Sandra Maloney admitted she beat the bird to death outside of her condo in Makaha in May of 2009, saying she "just lost it" and had plans to eat it. She told the jury she was losing sleep because of the bird's squawking, so she killed it out frustration.

                        Maloney was charged with misdemeanor second degree animal cruelty, which carried a potential sentence of up to a year in prison and a $2,000 fine.

                        Read more: http://www.kitv.com/news/26578430/det...

                        1. re: KaimukiMan
                          John E. Aug 27, 2011 08:34 PM

                          The story about the old lady and the peacock did not expressly say it was a wild peacock, but I assume it was and as I understand it, peacocks are an unpeotected species in Hawaii and so as long as the bird was dispatched quickly and without suffering, the old lady can kill as many of them as she wishes.

                          1. re: John E.
                            porker Aug 28, 2011 11:11 AM

                            I'm guessing KM related the story to show more the effects of the animal's squawking...
                            "the old lady can kill as many of them as she wishes"
                            perhaps true, but maybe she should electrocute or use lethal injection next time to avoid those pesky charges.

                            1. re: porker
                              John E. Aug 28, 2011 11:39 AM

                              I understood fully the annoying nature of the peacock's call. My point was that with the court judgement behind her defining cruelty, as long as she kills the peacock quickly and without suffering ( I thought I said that already) she can kill as many ferel peacocks as she wishes without worrying about any charges.

                          2. re: KaimukiMan
                            KaimukiMan Aug 29, 2011 11:08 AM

                            I shared the story as an example of the unintended consequences of impulsive acts, like killing peacocks in a parking lot. This was in direct response to rainey's comment:

                            "It's a wonder that they're not regularly having their little necks wrung and ending up on dining room tables."

                        2. re: Samalicious
                          Luna2372 Aug 29, 2011 10:29 PM

                          As I said in my early post a family raises them here. One of the things that attracted me to this island was being able to walk down a country road next to a male peacock in full feather! IN CANADA!

                          Only to realize several years later...their cry is horrifying, they poop every where, and they will trample over your garden.

                          I haven't caught one yet tho....too pretty.

                      2. r
                        ryback Aug 30, 2011 08:01 AM

                        My neighbor keeps peacock and they scream all the time. If they are legal to eat it is time to lock and load.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ryback
                          lcool Aug 30, 2011 08:47 AM

                          Ours are 1/4 mile from the neighbors so not a real problem,but still noticed.

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