Veganism: Against the Facts
Meat Causes Cancer: But not really.
First I want to address the prevarication that eating meat causes colon cancer. No it does not. Eating meat does not cause colon cancer. Eating an unbalanced diet, heavy in red and processed meat, puts you at risk for colon cancer. This is like saying drinking wine will give you cirrhosis. Anyone who speaks the English language can recognize how those two statements are different.
The American Cancer Society recommends that your meals be largely plant based. They do not recommend the complete abnegation of meat. They also state specifically that it is processed meat and red-meat that are ‘linked’ to colon cancer. Nowhere does it state that animal products in general lead to colon cancer.
I also want to point out that some studies linking high-protein diets to cancer susceptibility and early mortality are observational. This means that there is no way for a causal link to be established because the lifestyles of the people observed are unknown and dubious. Many of these people could have been smokers, genetically pre-disposed, or swimming in mercury.
Human Beings Are Naturally Herbivorous: Nope, that is also not true.
The next point I will make pertains to human biology. Human beings are listed as an omnivorous species which means we naturally eat meat as well as plant products and organisms. To say anything less is to expose an immense ignorance about human evolutionary biology and to invite questions about the appendix.
If We Grew Only Vegetables We Could Solve World Hunger: Yeah…wrong again.
Actually, the real problem has nothing to do with the simpering nonsense of idiots who have never visited a Wegman’s or Costco. If you have frequented these establishments of insane and mind-blowing bounty then it isn’t difficult to conclude that space isn’t the issue. The incessant and fallacious claim that we need to stop raising beef and chicken and turn to maize is bosh. We really just need to create new and accessible infrastructure and make nutrition affordable. Roads and bridges are the real issue. It may also help if we ate less…America.
Human Beings Have the Technology to Avoid Meat: Sometimes, and why should I avoid ALL meat?
I already addressed human starvation and distribution issues. It goes without saying that not everyone has a farmer’s market with fortified foods and vitamins down the street to assist in their non-animal diet initiative. I might also add that the vegan diet is not without its deficiencies. Any poorly balanced diet is problematic. I also question why we should. If not all nervous systems are equal, then why? I will follow up with this argument in the next paragraph.
Eating Animals Results in Needless Suffering: I don’t mean to be facetious but, what about the plants?
There is no magical line between the animal and plant cell that justifies the destruction of one and the preservation of the other. This is the case if we are irrational enough to group all animal species together and subsume them under the same capacity to suffer.
Plants can react to stimuli, communicate, and defend themselves against the threat of destruction. How is this not also worthy of our regard? In this documentary some trees are seen actively defending themselves against vicious herbivores who threaten to kill them. They produce a toxin to kill the leaf-eaters and then omit a gas to warn nearby trees of the impending danger.
You may be able to justify drawing a line between some species of animals and others, but it is impossible to draw a line between Animalia as a kingdom and Plantae.
Animals Cannot Give Consent: Okay, so what?
Again, why is it we are assuming an ant is the equivalent of a wild boar? Or that the wild boar’s desire to live is somehow greater and more worthy of our consideration than a maple that is two hundred years old? If you lack the authority to abrogate consent from a minnow then how exactly can you remove it from an organism that may be older than Jesus? It is obvious…you need to eat.
It is reasonable to discuss the dignified and respectful treatment of animals on many fronts ranging from animal testing to our food and textile industry. But it is not reasonable to group all animals and their nervous systems together. There is also no justification for assuming that a plant’s right to live is diminished when compared to an animal’s. We need to accept that consumption is an ugly business that requires the death of something. Now let’s be rational about who and what realistically experiences true suffering and fear at the hands of human appetites instead of grouping all animal organisms into one pot. And let us also recognize human biology, dietary needs, and the reality that meat is not inherently bad for us.