I purchased a book, well more of an essay organized into chapters, on my kindle entitled Should We Eat Meat by Nick K. He started with the science of it all, mentioning Lucy and how long humans have been on the Earth. He discussed how we started off as foragers, moved along to scavenging from other kills, and eventually starting to kill our own pray – basically stating that we have been eating meat for millions of years. He also went into some discussion about how eating meat sped up our growth; therefore it sped up our evolution and the development of our brains. There was also the debate on whether our bodies are designed to eat meat. Some say no because we cannot run fast enough to catch animals. The opposite of that is that we developed large brains – we can use weapons and traps to get our pray. Some say we do not have the intestinal tract that carnivores are supposed to have. The counter argument to that is that our digestive system is more similar to omnivores than herbivores. We can digest meat, but not all plants. We also have the teeth for tearing at meat. Also, we need protein to be healthy.
So all that was in the science section of the author’s essay. It basically states that we are meant to be omnivores. That is all well and good, but we can get around the whole protein issue with appropriate meal planning and eating grains and vegetables that are high in protein. Science says we are omnivores, but we don’t HAVE to eat meat because of our developed brains and technology that allows us to derive proteins from other sources. In general the science does not persuade me so much either way, so its time to look at the ethics of eating meat which is the next section of the author’s essay.
Right off the bat I did not quite understand the author’s logic. He was basically comparing abusing and killing animals for food to hitting animals with your car. He made a comment about how if we apply certain principles to being vegetarian than we must apply the same principles to driving – basically stop driving to avoid killing animals. He is obviously pro-eating meat with his sarcastic analogy. I personally do not think the two are comparable at all. I don’t think you can compare killing animals for food to an accident on the road. It is true that we are encroaching on animal habitats and we should try to find ways to be more earth friendly and sustainable, but you have to make the best of the situation we are in. Being a vegetarian may be a way to do this, but maybe no longer driving is not as reasonable; although some people do walk or ride bikes to help the environment. I just think it was a ridiculous analogy that cannot be used as a valid reason to eat meat.
He then went on to say that the blood is still on our hands because many “invisible,” small animals get killed in farming and destruction of habitat so we might as well just eat meat. Again, a ridiculous argument. We can only do so much in the world we live in. If you were able to have your own little farms, just enough to sustain yourself and have a minimal effect on the earth and the animals, the government would hunt you down and stop you! They don’t want you doing that! They want us dependent on THEIR system and they will stop you, and probably fine you an obnoxious amount of money, if they discover what you are doing. Therefore, we have to make the best of the situation we are in, despite some of the drawbacks, I mean, you can’t win them all. None of that means we should just give up and eat meat.
He got into a couple un-relatable analogies along with a discussion on trading human lives for animals lives. I am not sure I would say an animal life is equal to a human life. I think that would depend on the situation. However, I would risk my life in an instant to save my dog – hell, I’ve done it! I would also expect someone to save my dog and cat in an emergency situation, like a fire or something. That is a tough one because I also don’t think I could pass any kind of judgment on animal or human without wondering about it. That is a whole different, situational conversation that I also think involves spirituality. It doesn’t surprise me that this guy didn’t have any take on that aspect of it, which I would be really interested in researching.
He also went into farming conditions for humans. The government puts people in these conditions and me not eating meat does not change that. Then I realized he was talking about if we ALL stopped eating meat. Well, I am not trying to impose vegetarianism on anyone. This is for my own personal reasons, my own life, my own body – that is why I am doing this research, it has nothing to do with convincing others; therefore I do not feel the need to talk about the rest of this section of the essay as it is not relevant to my reasoning for doing this.
He made a few more unrealistic comparisons through the rest of the essay, for example comparing death to hard work. At this point its not even worth getting in to. I felt like he was really grasping for reasons that we should eat meat – they just weren’t sound enough or logical enough to be convincing.
There were a few other points that I wrote down while reading this essay, but at this point I do not think it is relevant enough to include in this post. The author claimed that he felt this was an unbiased essay; however, I looked at his sources and all, but maybe one or two were pro-meat. How can he claim to be unbiased when he didn’t even look into the other side of the argument? He should have had an equal number of sources from the opposite side. And a couple of them were fitness sources. What does getting lean and not bulky have to do with this argument!? Of course a source talking about getting lean muscle is going to be pro-meat! I just thought that many of the sources were completely irrelevant and the essay was completely bias.
I was looking for something that had more of both sides of the argument. I am willing to listen to the pro-meat side as long as it makes sense. The comparisons need to be logical and realistic, not un-relatable, sarcastic, and obnoxiously radical. That doesn’t help me to make a decision. In fact, I found myself arguing vegetarianism because of the illogic in this essay.
My stance right now – there is no reason for me not to be a vegetarian. Scientifically, we may be omnivores, but as long as I eat the appropriate foods it will not harm me to not eat meat. Also, it makes me feel better to know that I am not benefiting from the abuse and killing of animals.
I purchased another book on my kindle on the subject and I hope it is better! This last one was not very helpful and I am pretty much at the same position I was when I decided to start eating vegetarian. I also want to look into the spiritual aspects of it. I think it all comes down to an ethical issue rather than a science issue. More research to come. 🙂