The constant debate – were we ‘designed’ as meat eaters or not?
If I have to present my non-scientific, subjective opinion – the answer would definitely be a ‘no’, we were not ‘created’ carnivores. However, it would stem from a combination of some anatomy knowledge and a set of beliefs and moral values, which would not be convincing enough for the majority of my audience.
People are prone to believe in scientists, studies, and people, who have a certain label attached to their name, such as ‘Dr. ‘, ‘Phd’, etc. This is why, rather than focusing the content on my own opinions and research, I prefer to present studies and findings of someone people are more likely to pay attention to.
Vegetarian animals ranging from gorillas to water deer, she reports, have bigger, sharper canines than we do; our canines aren’t specially meant for processing meat. What we lack dentally is more important, in fact, than what we have. Gently open a (calm) dog’s jaw, and there at the back will be the carnassial teeth, “blade-like and sharp and perfect for slicing meat.” Lions and tigers, racoons and house cats — all carnivores — have them too. We don’t. All the high-quality amino acid proteins we require are readily available in plants, Zaraska says, listing soy, buckwheat, quinoa and potatoes as examples.
Zaraska wrote Meathooked primarily to discover why humans across the world crave meat. Factors of biology, including certain genetic predispositions and culture, ranging from family habits and cultural traditions to the sexual politics of meat as explained by Carol J. Adams, all play a role, she says.
A cross-cultural perspective (including an understanding of food and poverty) is going to be important here. Yet any worries that we’re universally stuck with a meat-laden future may well be just another myth.
“We come together to share our love for each other, and in that spirit animals would be guests at the table, not on our plates. While this notion may seem absurd in a society where eating meat is perceived as normal or even a status symbol, we need only shift our point of view as Shel Silverstein did in his poem of the same name (‘Point of View’) to elicit our inherent empathy for all beings:
” ‘Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless/Christmas dinner’s dark and blue/When you stop and try to see it/From the turkey’s point of view.’
“Fortunately today, we can celebrate with faux meats like Tofurky Vegetarian Feast, Field Roast’s Celebration Roast, and Beyond Meat’s Beastburger. No one gets hurt, and we can still have a pretty awesome time.”
That’s no myth: We can eat well — maintaining our health and enjoying delicious flavor — without meat.
Polls show that as people start dropping foods from their diets, they tend to continue: ” … first goes red meat, then chicken, then fish, then milk and eggs,” Zaraska writes. The full linear progression won’t happen for everyone, for a variety of reasons, but the trend offers another reason for optimism.
“Giving more kudos” to folks who take any steps to consume less meat, Zaraska suggests, may be the best way to go.
A conclusion I have to agree with and a good reason not to rule carnivores out of my circle of friends – the best way to influence someone is to be around them, lead by example, and encourage them in the small daily steps they take!
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