One of the most common arguments against plant based diet is that animals are supposed to be consumed by humans to follow the rules of nature. On how meat is natural, normal and necessary for humans. Let’s see what we have here:
When we started eating meat?
Archeologists have discovered that our early ancestors were herbivores. They lived on a diet based on leaves, grass, and fruits. But most people ignore these part completely and take hunting as our beginning. As like other primates, humans don’t have any physical benefits for hunting; We needed tools. Creating weapons is a complicated and we won’t be able to invent them unless it was a must for us. (Unless aliens introduced them, but that’s fiction).
So, what forced us to invent weapons?
During the last ice age is was hard for our nomad ancestors to find enough plants to feed the clans. About 2 million years ago we were weak, slow, cold, and out in the plain. The only way out was to eat flesh and the way was to be scavengers. We were prey and our survival instincts made us better runners. We became more complicated thinkers and invented weapons to prevent getting killed by hunters like African big cats. And the lack of certainty and food we started hunting for survival.
That’s the past now.
Ice ended 11 thousand years ago and we were already planting grains. We are more intelligent* now and hunting is not a necessity for us. The harsh environment forced us to be hunters because that was the only option to survive. We have choices and killing is just part of rules, traditions, and entertainment today.
*Some do claim that choosing to eat meat made us intelligent, I’ll save this for another post (I don’t want this article to be too long).
Something never changes.
The best benefit of having primate ancestors was having hands. Hands are the reason we made this much change of our environment. Our surroundings have evolved more than ourselves.
If we look at the modern hunters who are thriving with hunting we must recognize the vast differences and stop comparing their habit with them. Here’s why we are not same as the modern day hunters:
A brief answer to “Lions eat meat in the wild”
- Though we have binocular vision like most hunters, it does not make us hunters. Evolution or eye happens based on 1. locomotion, 2. environmental adaptation, 3. eating habits, and 4. natural habits. Vision is not directly based on hunting habits because many predators have monocular vision.
- One can claim that we have canine teeth but cows and horses also have it. The names of the teeth are based on the locations, not actions. Elephants have huge molars and the name is completely based on the location, not by how it looks. If you have noticed, humans use incisors to cut meat, not the canines.
- If you look at your jaw, it looks nothing like a cat. Eating meat is for biting and swallowing. But when a human eats, chewing comes naturally like herbivores.
- When drinking a human automatically sucks water (whether it’s sipping or using straws) like cows and goats. Cats, on the other hand, they lick water. That’s a sign of a meat eater.
- The human tongue is far smoother than carnivores. Cats have spiky taste buds for scrubbing tissues from bones. We can’t even detect tastes of protein (just carbs and minerals) that’s why meat is needed to cook with plant materials. How come then we call meat our primary food?
- We have large saliva glands wich produce enzyme containing salivas. The saliva is alkaline and is able to digest carbohydrates (that’s why we chew). Meat eaters, on the other hand, they have small saliva amount which is also acidic kill germs in the meat.
- The human digestion process is long and slow. Same like herbivores out digestive track is 9-12 times longer than our trunk and tends to be alkaline. Our body needs a high amount of fiber to complete the process correctly. Unlike herbivores, the meat-eating animals, have much shorter intestines because it needs to get rid of the rotting meat faster.
- The carnivore digestion contains a significant amount of acidic substance to dissolve meat faster. It also helps to prevent bacteria. The human digestion tends to be alkaline like herbivore (High acidic stomach is actually a problem for human body)
- The humans like other herbivores have sweat glands all over their body to cool it down. Carnivores have to breathe out the heat from their body. Ever noticed a tired dog?
- Having slower digestion system herbivore needs less sleep. Many of the plant eater on the wild is always on the move while the predators need more rest. It’s because digestion of meat is a heavy duty task for the body and that is the same reason for humans feeling tired after consuming meat.
- Having slow metabolic rate humans can run for a longer time than in higher speed. Same like herbivores. Carnivores may have higher speed but they get exhausted after a short time.
Now one can say that humans are omnivores but that’s just the choice. One can swallow whatever they want but that does not prove our body is designed to digest anything. Save with cats and dogs, even if they can swallow herbs that do not make them omnivores they are 100% carnivores. Even if we force our body to eat meat, our body is so poorly designed for it that it ends up with unwanted side effects.
It seems that after eating meat for 2 million years our body still isn’t used to it. Let’s see how our mind has changed.
- If you want to know if eating animals is our natural instincts try this experiment: Put a human baby (toddler) in a closed area with a piglet and a fruit. Babies are the purest form of natural human because the society has not conditioned its brain yet. What will be your reaction if the baby starts to chew the piglet alive? Horrific right? Luckily 99.99% of human babies will never act such. Try the same experiment with a pup (4 months at least) and a baby bunny. See what their first choice is.
- Our brain makes our mouth salivate when we see/smell something delicious. Try it with raw meat/dead animal body. That’s why we need to change its appearance. Ever felt the same with raw apple?
- Following the previous point, we need additional items to make meat edible. All of the ingredients that make the meat tasty for our tongue comes from PLANTS. We need to modify the natural thing to mentally be able to swallow it. Makes a lot of sense.
- “If slaughterhouses had glass walls…” We human beings have developed a feeling called sympathy to weak and helpless ones. That is the reason why we can’t see animal slaughter. If we were psychologically evolved to kill animals we wouldn’t have any feelings against it. Slicing off a hen’s head and an apple both will feel same to us. Processing food is nor something to hide from the customers, neither a customer feel disgusted, sad or angry while watching the process.
We are not adopted psychologically to eat meat either. Eating meat was just an emergency choice that has been followed traditionally without judging. No human kid wants to see an animal getting harmed but the society forcefully conditions it to support and do the same. We need to learn how to act like humans from our children.
We were hunters, there’s no doubt in that. But meat-eating humans are scavengers now. They eat that is already been killed by someone else (not even is fresh). We ate meat out of necessity, we needed to survive. But today we are too much comfortable now and killing is not a part of necessity anymore. It has become luxury and entertainment. That’s sad.
I also agree that some species of chimpanzees hunt for entertainment. They are the closest cousin of humans (we share 98% same gene). But the point is we are not them. We are not big cats. We are not wolves. We are humans; the only self-claimed leader of all species (Chips don’t claim that). And we are wise enough to distinguish right and wrong, predict future, and mostly have alternative options. We should not misuse that power.