Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina

Via elephant journal
on Jul 14, 2010
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Hooray for meat!

It’s a Dog-eat-Cat World out There.

ed’s note: Jack is a great guy, and in good shape, and a nice guy. He’s one of our interns from the University of Vermont. I’m a pretentious idealist vegetarian. He’s not. So I asked him to explain himself, and why he loves meat so damned much. He was generous in agreeing to do so. Let’s return the flavor and be respectful in our comments, y’all! ~ ed.


I am so sick of hearing how bad meat is, both morally and in terms of one’s health. It seems like everywhere I look, people are nitpicking problems with it.

Nonetheless, I love to eat meat—and do so just about every meal of the day. My reasoning, other than its incredible taste, is quite simply the food chain.

A rabbit, essentially the bottom of the food chain, can eat lettuce or a carrot but could never eat meat due to the restrictions of its body.  I on the other hand, at the top of the food chain, can eat whatever I want. There’s no argument that meat, in all its forms, is far more delicious than any vegetable.  Humans have literally evolved to eat meat, from our teeth, to our bipedal movement, even our mental ability to make tools—everything has evolved in order to eat, catch, carry, and kill our prey, which we have done very successfully for thousands of years—it’s called survival of the fittest.

I know that vegetables are healthy for you, but that’s not to say meat isn’t, too. I am 21 years old and have barely eaten vegetables my entire life (other than the few my mom forced down my throat at a young age) and consider myself to be quite healthy; I’m around six foot three, weigh 175 pounds, and have had very few health problems in my young life.

If anything, I think it is healthier and more natural to eat meat, providing tons of essential nutrients that many vegetarians then have to take in pill form or some other weird supplement.  Along that same line, many of the vegetarians I know speak of all the unnatural hormones pumped into the animals and their cruel treatment. While I don’t support the nasty nature of the meat industry these days, vegetables are just as unnaturally filled with pesticides and other chemicals to make them big, colorful, and ready for supermarkets.  All I’m saying is that you can still be just as healthy, if not more, than any vegetarian by eating meat.

So why deprive yourself?


On to the moral subject, I too am an animal lover.  My dog McKinley is just about my best buddy on the planet, and seeing the beauty and elegance of a deer or elk in their natural environment evokes the same awe-inspiring feeling as it does for most people.

However, a cow, a pig, or a chicken is in its natural environment on a ranch. They are so f-ing stupid they have no idea what is going on. Mentally it’s basically equivalent to a living plant; as long as it has food and water they’re content. Let’s be honest: these farm animals were raised, and are kept alive, for one purpose—me to eat. Don’t tell me any of those animals could survive in the wild by themselves.  If they didn’t get eaten, killed if you will, by some other large predator before winter, they would surely not make it though the cold months of the year when food is sparse. They are completely dependent on us now after hundreds upon hundreds years of being domesticated. I remember in elementary school my teachers—and I would guess many vegetarians today—would never rag on the Native Americans for hunting buffalo, and would remind us that the Indians used every part of the buffalo, wasting nothing.  Well guess what, we use every part of the damn cow as well.

We are just smart enough to domesticate them, providing a constant food source.

If you are a vegetarian, that’s great, just please don’t preach, or be one of those pretentious vegetarians (like Waylon ~ed.).  I am an extremely idealistic person, but at some point you must be practical and realize that eating meat is, and has always been a vital part of human life.

John Spina currently attends the University of Vermont in Burlington where he will graduate with a double major in history and political science in 2011.  He writes sports for the school paper, the Vermont Cynic, as well as publishes weekly articles in the Mountain Ear, a local Nederland paper, and works as an Intern for the Elephant Journal. He loves spending time outdoors with his dog, McKinley, and being home in Colorado working for the summer. PS, sorry I forgot to put my bio in posting


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71 Responses to “Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Wow a lot to reply to in this one. First of all, to Stephanie the ignorance thing is exactly what i was talking about when i wrote pretentious vegetarians, though someone corrected me in saying I should have said self-righteous. As I mentioned in a comment above, animals have no capacity for introspective thought, they do not understand their situation or their surroundings. Because my opinion differs from yours does not make me ignorant, I have traveled the world, including community development in small rural villages in the Apolobamba mountain range and Mandidi rain forest in Bolivia, which helped define this strong meat eating opinion of mine, as well as study Buddhist art and philosophy in the Kashmir region of northern India which also helped cement my decision to eat meat. Not to mention next year I will have a double major in history and political science from the university of Vermont. – John Spina

  2. elephantjournal says:

    to Gina, if you would like to buy a subscription to EJ along with all of your friends, then yes Im sure they will pay someone to do heavy research, but while its a blog its mostly opinion, Im an unpaid who is not afraid to voice my opinion and was actually very excited to post this op-ed piece purely to remind everyone in the EJ community that there is a wide range of values and ideas, Im not saying I am right I merely putting it out there that there is another side to the argument other than the hundreds of articles on EJ ripping meat and meat eaters. – John Spina

  3. lisa says:

    My problem with this immature post is the total lack of education and information regarding human evolution. To think that the ONLY reason humans are bipedal is to eat meat is pretty far fetched. I do realize that historically humans would hunt and/or scavange. But, the WERE NOT eating meat every day. They were probably lucky to get meat a few times per month. For you to be gluttonous over your meat choices on a daily basis and attempt to attribute that to natural selection certainly shows your age… and talk about "dumb"!! AHHHHHeM! There might be someone else a little dumb in this chat room. Humans are frugivorous you ninny. Fruits, vegetables, nuts and SOMETIMES meat. Carnivorous have very sharp teeth made for ripping meat apart with their jaws. Not humans. Sounds like you need to take an anthropolgy class or two before you write your next article. Good luck staying healthy little one. This post is laughable. p.s. i eat meat a couple times per month, consciouslly and feel that my body does need a little here and there. Certainly not every day.

  4. ARCreated says:

    why? because he's young? He sounds like he can handle it…if you aren't willing to take the heat don't start the fire 🙂
    I'm not being that hard on him at all…

  5. ARCreated says:

    why??? because they don't think like US that makes US better? this is exactly the thought process that bothers me. I suggest you watch "EARTHLINGS" …. at one point in our horrible history Africans and native americans were treated no better than animals simply because the high and mighty egotists that ran into them didn't understand them or their ways. (I might argue some people still don't think that certain races are capable of thought the same way as they are…) so just because someone or some animal doesn't think like we do they don't have feelings? If you follow that logic to it's natural conclusion then educated, artistic people COULD argue that they are BETTER than "stupid" people and they are nothing more than meat.
    To use the "stupid" as an argument, for me, is irrelevant. Just because an animal (this includes humans) doesn't understand their situation does not give the person in charge the right to kill or harm them…in my opinion it actually makes the person with a greater intellectual capacity responsible for caring for and protecting the "weaker" individual.

  6. ARCreated says:

    Killing, Raping, Lying, Cheating all these things too have been a part of the human experience basically forever does that mean they are OK? that we just keep doing them because someone else has always done them?
    I feel that humans have the CHOICE….and as we continue to choose what does the LEAST harm the happier we will be…(I also enjoyed http://www.worldpeacediet.com/course.html which further explains why CHOOSING to obstain from meat can help us all)
    I am married to a meat eater. I love him and think he is a wonderful human being…and he understands why I don't eat meat…and honors that and respects that…and works to lessen his impact on the meat industry…I don't think eating meat makes any wrong or bad anymore than not eating meat makes anyone automatically a good person…it's respect and awareness that do…
    This is what I tell my carnivorous friends…if everyone just lessened their meet consumption a little…if everyone ate one meal a day that was vegan we could lessen the demand and begin to see changes in the industry…letters and protests are pointless we have to hit them in the wallet.

  7. ARCreated says:

    For ME…I will continue to be vegan no matter what the source as it is purely a spiritual discipline no different than a monk that shaves his head or sitting in meditation. It is a conscious choice to practice ahimsa the best possible way I can. And if some jerk Veggies are puffed up and annoying you don't play or pander to that mind set by returning the self righteousness…Rise above…do things conciously, ,lovingly and for the best of all.

  8. Blake says:

    What she said.

  9. Ryan Oelke says:

    Waylon, brother, I love you and want you to succeed at all you do, and EJ has SO much potential. I'm not in the least charged by this post emotionally, AND I think there is objective helpful feedback you and the crew need to hear and consider, not simply right it off, though I understand completely that some folks have not given this feedback in the cleanest manner, so that makes it a little harder to read.

    1. What are your standards right now? Not what will they be if you had money, but what are they. Clearly communicate that to your audience. And this will not be done well in a simple reply in a comment. You need something more substantial. If when you do this, it shows that this post meets those standards, then great. If it does not, you need to make changes. And even if it does and a lot of your audience turns away, you should consider that in your current strategy. Simply telling them/us to accept it won't fly.

    2. You don't need money to have editorial standards. I agree that a sustainable model is crucial and you should totally ask for the support of your audience. BUT, you have an intimate relationship with them and it behooves you to listen to what they expect from you right NOW lest you lose them. While I'm no longer an official member of Buddhist Geeks, they do NOT pay anyone to write, yet they have high quality articles with clear standards and constant submissions. You do need money to run your business, but to say you won't have editorial standards until you have money is a sure way to not get the money you need. If people don't like what they are reading they won't pay you on the hypothetical possibility that you'll improve your standards later. Everything you do must be good now and if you can't do something good, don't do it until you can.

    Believe me, you know that I understand more than most folks here what it takes to build a business and to struggle with the pains of sustaining yourself. I know this emotionally to my core. I say all this because I think you can totally succeed, but there are real points of consideration for you to ponder here.

    Again, if this post 100% meets your site's standards and vision both now and for the future, then totally ignore my comments:) However, my sense is that is not 100% the case based on the feedback of others and the comments coming from EJ, which I assume are yours mainly, which indicate that you yourself would like different standards. My main point more than anything is just to open the door to you about how to do what you're doing, that it's not a simple open/close discussion. The specifics that I shared can be tossed to the side in the end, though I think they are worth considering.

    So, take this for what you want. Lots of love to you and the EJ crew.

  10. Nathan Gates says:

    Word. This is good feedback.

  11. Wendy says:

    Elaine I agree with you. I am Vegan but my family are not, they eat meat that is raised ethcially, organically and without any nasty drugs, etc. I also have my own chickens again fed organically and no medicines my family enjoy the eggs. Factory farming is barbaric and that is my argument too.

  12. christopher says:

    Glad you are engaged in your food. That's awesome.

    "I think we can absolutely make steps towards making the industry more humane, but considering the influence the industry hold in our country it will be incredibly difficult and "self-righteous" vegetarians need stop trying to force their views upon the rest of the public eating meat when the problem is big business."

    Big business changes when dollars move.
    People's dollars move when their tastes change.
    Their tastes change, most of the time, due to advertising.

    Vegetarians have a right to advertise their point of view just as much as big business or meat lovers do.

    Going around calling them names is kind of pointless, unless you aim to hurt them.

  13. terry says:

    Here's a good video on meat: http://meat.org

  14. DJW says:

    As a UVM Political Science alum, I would like to distance myself as far as possible from both John's views and his ridiculous lack of ability to reason. Do yourself a favor and take Prof Wertheimer's class on Public Policy and Ethics, learn to form a coherent argument and rewrite this piece. A pro-meat eating article would be welcome on this forum, I think, if it were done in a thoughtful way.

  15. Daniel says:

    Wow! A lot of emotion coming out here. Also, a lot of shouting down. Perhaps talking about meat here is akin to yelling fire in a theater. Maybe it was just wrong. I am a sometimes reader of Elephant having seen some interesting articles but I get tired of the same refrains.

    The Elephant, what is it. A religious site, a yoga site, a go along to get along site. Heck, we have those in all flavors. Why not one more just for this particular point of view. We can all get together and agree to agree on everything. That does not do much to inspire outsiders to look inside. From my vantage point Elephant sometimes looks like a scrape-book collection gathered hither and fro. A little Daily Report, a column from Huffington Post, some carping on commercialism, denial of our sexual nature and some talk of the ephemeral plane.

    Is that change? Well, good luck Waylon. Our world needs to change and change is difficult. It usually ends up in compromise that leaves everybody equally upset.

    PS: what does this comment have to do with eating meat? Nothing.

  16. Lindsey says:

    Meat doesn't taste as good as saving the environment feels. 🙂

  17. Dylan says:

    While different points of view should be welcomed to important discussions such as these, I am disappointed with the quality of this argument. I am a vegetarian and don't disagree that it is natural to eat meat, but the problem is, I am sure everyone here is aware, sustainability. Corporate agriculture (whether mono-culture potato fields or pig farms with nearly one million sows) is not natural. What makes humans unique (or what should) is our ability to reason and from this our ability to make responsible decisions that effect not only us individually, but the planet as a whole. Unless you are certain that the beef on your plate came from a nearby ranch that raises animals humanely, or that tofu came from soybeans other than Roundup Ready strains, you probably should not have it there. That we are at the (near) top of the food chain should have much less an impact on our decisions of what to ingest than what the overall impact on the planet will be as a result of these decisions. The inadequacy of this pseudo-argument can be summed up with the statement: "Mentally it’s basically equivalent to a living plant…" As we all know, plants ARE living.

  18. […] by the Elephant Journal started a somewhat of a controversy on facebook that even I had to respond. Why: Practically all I Eat is Meat. ~ John Spina {via Elephant […]

  19. Kara N says:

    Except that the human body is actually NOT well suited for eating much meat. Also, the fact that you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD do it. This is not a highly cognitive statement. Do you also rape, because it makes so much biological sense and you CAN do it?

    You should also probably go back and reread Darwin. HTH.

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