December 6, 2011

“But it’s Natural to Eat Meat!”

“Look at our canine teeth; we’re made to eat meat!”

Many omnivores love to make this argument. Vegetarianism and veganism must not be natural. Biologically, we are designed to eat meat. Right? Otherwise we wouldn’t need vitamin B12, wouldn’t have teeth designed to rip flesh, etc.

Here are a few other things we are biologically programmed to do:

1. Mate with everyone who looks appealing. If I was to just do what was natural, monogamy would be out. Every time I saw a man I found attractive, it would be time for some lovin’. Hmm…physically fit? Appear to be virile? My genes say it’s time to get you out of those jeans.

2. Punch people who make us angry. We all feel that visceral reaction at times when we believe we’ve been wronged. Perhaps I should start giving people who disagree with me a good old fashioned bitch slap? After all, it’s what comes naturally.

3. Pee in the yard. What’s natural about a bathroom? Sure sanitation is nice, but really, when you have to go you have to go. It’s biology. Privacy’s overrated too. Peeing is part of the biological process––why go behind closed doors?

4. Take whatever we want. I see something. I want it. I go get it. Survival of the fittest, right? If you have something, and I like the look of it, I should be able to come fight you for it. The hunter-gatherer in me says it’s so.

5. Hang out barefoot and nude. See, if I was going to do what came naturally, I’d probably just start putting clothes on now that it’s getting chilly. All summer, I would be naked. Got a problem with that? Clothes aren’t natural. (I am generally barefoot, by the way. It just feels right.)

We are more than our genetic programming. We make choices based on ethics, convention, morality, and social mores. For some of us, our ethics include abstaining from meat or other animal products. For other, they don’t. Either way, most of us make a rational choice about what to eat rather than just succumbing to our physical drives. Let’s stop beating each other up about our food choices. It may not come naturally, but the most ethical choice we can make is to be compassionate to each other. We all make choices that defy our biological drives. It’s part of what makes us human.


Bonus food for thought:



(Photo: Just Chaos)



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