Money Moral Dilemma: Is it OK to claim free food to feed my guinea pigs?



  • rwgray
    rwgray Posts: 554 Forumite
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    Great idea.  Very short shelf-life.  Even if other people collect the food it might go to waste still.
  • ProperOfficer
    yksi said:
    Oh my god, PLEASE do it. Salads nearly always go in the bin. I am a food waste hero for Olio and if you could watch the amount of food I am forced to waste you would not even hesitate.

    To anyone who tried to tell you not to, SHAME ON YOU. You're the reason people are embarrassed to take free food.
    Absolutely agree.  I am also an Olio FWH and the amount of green stuff that isn't even passed on to us to share by supermarkets because it has passed its Use by date is awful.  Don't ever feel guilty about using surplus food when offered whichever way you can. Better that pets eat it than it go into landfill.
  • [Deleted User]
    As a volunteer for Olio I collect food once or twice a week and I frequently end up with salad items, bags of carrots etc that don’t get requested. Once they are past their use by date (and therefore cannot be shared with people) I happily give the items out to pet owners or drop off at the local animal welfare centre, much better than it ending up in my compost bin!
  • Sandtree
    Sandtree Posts: 10,628 Forumite
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    Is it possible to get salad when it is too old for human consumption but still suitable for the guinea pigs?

    Exactly this. If the salad is passed it’s use by date it can’t be offered for human consumption but is ok for animal food. What’s the alternative, it gets thrown away!  It’s an app to prevent food waste, not a food bank!
    Other than the food sharing apps are for things that are still suitable for human consumption (at least in theory, some do offer beyond best by dates but comment as such).

    Subject to how the app works I think it would be courteous to say you want it for pets rather than yourself and let the donner make the decision... depending how they've got the food in the first place they may well have something different suitable for your pet or may be comfortable giving what they'd advertised depending on in their motivation is around waste or helping people etc.

    Personally wouldn't have an issue with it but the food we have donated has been grown on our balcony and inevitably there will have been some past their best items there that they could have if we knew
  • bumblebee_tuna
    There's definitely a lot of people on here who are confusing a "food sharing" app with a "food bank" - one is ensure food doesnt go to waste, the other is to help those who cannot afford food themselves.

    Crack on, I'd have no issue with my leftover salad being fed to guinea pigs. Better them than it go to waste!
  • bikaga
    bikaga Posts: 159 Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2022 at 6:35PM
    Practical advice first: I used to pick up food and distribute on Olio. The guidance was that if you couldn't get rid of stuff then it would be okay to feed it to animals rather than throwing it away, but human consumption should be prioritised. I often had salad that didn't get picked up. Having said that, I've also had days with hardly any food left over, and days where things were everything was collected, and fast at that.
    I would contact the person distributing the food directly and describe your situation. They'll be best placed to tell you whether they have five families on Universal Credit who regularly pick up everything they can get, or whether they often have to throw stuff out because it doesn't get collected. They'll probably also be happy to contact you when they have salad that doesn't get claimed if you're reliable with picking up.
    Morally I'd say that there's nothing wrong with it as long as it's actually a stretch for you to be able to afford it rather than just an inconvenience. If it's just an inconvenience I would recommend chatting to the person offering the food on the sharing app to make sure you're not standing between someone who *really* can't afford it and their vitamins.
  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 10,430 Forumite
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    Do what my dad did - he'd go to the back of the supermarket towards the end of the day and they would happily give him all the lettuce starting to go off, leafy stuff that wasn't going to get sold due to overstock etc.  Once they knew him and that he had 30 geese and what the geese liked they packed the leftovers accordingly!

    To do otherwise or to say that left over food shouldn't be fed to pets (or livestock) is to say that people on a tight budget shouldn't own animals.  Well, yes, costs of ownership should be considered in advance but the little fluffs can bring a lot of joy into people's lives and is no where near as an issue as people having flocks of children for which the state needs to provide.
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • primrose_penguin
    I don't see any problem in having some salad for your guinea pigs from a food bank if you are finding it hard to feed them. If you have a local greengrocer why don't you ask for some of their trimmings too, it is better than them throwing it away. I used to work in one a few years ago and we would often give some to people who had rabbits etc.
  • gwinnypiggy
    Of course it's  OK. Animals are as equally important as people . Pets are totally reliant on us to feed them.
  • kimwp
    kimwp Posts: 1,853 Forumite
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    edited 23 February 2022 at 11:45PM
    I'd say if there is any dilemma, it is not whether the food should be prioritised for people over animals, but whether to ask for the food for free when you can afford it. To which I say that food sharing apps are for avoiding waste so it's fine to request the food for your pets on those. Food banks have systems in place so those not in need cannot take advantage of them.

    If there's any concern that you are taking from the mouths of humans you can always state that it's for your guinea pigs and ask for any left over lettuce etc. Realistically though, it may be taken by someone who can easily afford to buy the food new from Ocado.

    Frankly, if you requested lettuce on olio and posted a photo of your guinea pigs eating it, you'd get ooohs and aahs and anyone who said it was being taken from humans in need would be reminded that waste reduction, not provision to those in need, (though a nice by-product if it happens), is the aim.
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