Pokemon fans explain the decades-old “unethical sourcing” dilemma of Slowpoke tails

Declan Mclaughlin
Slowpoke Pokemon

A Pokemon fan shared what seemed like an interesting contradiction they found in the mainline games regarding the ethics of eating Slowpoke Tails, and the community has theories to clear up the confusion.

The post on Reddit proposes that “regulations” around eating Pokemon must be different across the in-universe regions. The poster showcased a scene from HeartGold in which the player discovers the black market for Slowpoke tails and compares it to Sword and Shield, where players can openly cook Smoked-Tail Curry derived from the ‘mon.

But, the comments on the post explain the intricacies of the decades-old dilemma of eating Pokemon that fans have had to decipher while playing the mainline games.

“There is an explanation. Slowpoke’s tails fall off naturally after some time, but Team Rocket was cutting them off and hurting the slowpoke in the process,” explained one Reddit user.

This is also explained in Gold and Silver and the remake’s story when a Team Rocket grunt explains that they have been “hacking the tails off Slowpoke and selling them.”

Eating Slowpoke tails, or selling the appendage, appears as a storyline or is mentioned in almost every mainline generation game. Slowpoke’s Pokedex entry in Sun and Moon was the first to explain that its tail sometimes falls off painlessly and eventually grows back.

“The TR grunts probably have no clue how to take their tails without hurting them and are just hacking away without a care,” another user explained in the thread.

However, the different ways the Pokemon’s tail is referenced throughout the games are never really explained. In regions like Alola, Galar, and even Kalos, eating a Slowpoke tail isn’t considered weird, but in Johto, it is treated as a cultural transgression.

One Reddit user theorized that Johto, like other countries in the real world, has different laws or cultural norms toward eating Pokemon compared to regions like Galar.

“Considering Johto has a well that’s entirely dedicated to Slowpoke, on top of Johto being the region Slowking was first discovered (a very wise, oracle-like Pokemon that could easily lead to people believing Slowpoke as a species is sacred) I don’t find it too hard to believe this is why the consumption of Slowpoke tail was considered so taboo in Johto but not Galar,” they explained.

However, the answer might have more to do with the franchise’s longevity, forcing Game Freak to eventually answer the question of Pokemon consumption, especially as the newer entries have introduced more cooking mechanics.

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