To Meat Or Not To Meat

meat

Let’s Talk Meat

There is a new heightened awareness among millennials with respect to what we put into our bodies. The food production process has come under intense fire and scrutiny in the full spectrum ranging from agriculture’s GMOs to the ethics of consuming meat. I would like to broadly explore the matter of ethics, morality and the sustainability issue.

Medium Rare Please

Its beyond dispute that we’ve got the machinery required for the consumption of meat. Interestingly, we always view the domestication of animals for meat as the ultimate downfall of the Cow. But from a Darwinian perspective it’s actually a “great success”. This phenomenon is observed in all domesticated organisms. In naturally occurring grasses the ears fall to the ground when ripe, however in the domesticated variety they remain intact until harvested. The dropping ears are no longer needed for the procreation of wheat, in the same way that domesticated goat horns are vastly different to wild goat horns used for defense and acquiring mates. The domesticated species have found a new way of perpetuating their species by establishing a mutually rewarding relationship with another species (humans). This is a very fascinating and recurring theme in nature. It however says nothing about the ethics & sustainability with respect to how we procure our meat, which is a subject entirely open to debate. What I’m trying to demonstrate is that the consumption of meat, and the relationships we’ve established to aquire it is not as unnatural as most would assume.

Morality

There is a branch of herbivore hominids that have a moral aversion to the consumption of meat. Some go as far as to view the eating of meat as entirely foreign to human beings. Asked and answered in the previous paragraph, our bipedal ancestors have been using their opposable thumbs to chow down meat & marrow for over a million years. This has been a key factor in the evolution of the modern human, including the development of our empathic ability which rivals that of any other animal on the planet. We so good at this that we can extend our empathy well beyond the boundaries of our species. This is probably why the more hardened veggie boys & girls cringe at the thought of people eating meat “for fun”. It’s entirely reasonable to not want to beat that meat because it makes you feel bad. But it does admittedly border on the mildly insane when you forsake your shoes and skinny jeans for bare feet & white robes to advocate on the corner of Long & Orange for the moral perversion of eating that beef burger. There seem to be a never-ending stream of Food Hypes these days, the angle that some approach the situation from at the best of times appear to be just that, unsubstantiated moral hype.

Going  Green

I don’t know if there is an ecologically sustainable way of feeding 7+ billion people. Ultimately, I would like to think that the question of whether eating meat is wrong/natural is irrelevant. It’s been a key part of our diet for a million years and remains a very good source of calories. Most of us probably eat ways to much of it, moderation would go a long way to easing the pressure. Perhaps Cultured meat will infiltrate our plates as seamlessly has genetically modified crops have. Until then as overbearing as it may be, the Veggie Choir tune is and remains a necessary evil in spreading much needed social awareness about where your medium rare steak comes from. Fundamentally there isn’t anything morally wrong with eating meat, but I absolutely agree that we need to take 2 steps back and seriously address the sustainability issues around food production.

 

 

2 thoughts on “To Meat Or Not To Meat

  1. Dear Skeptic

    “The human digestive system is omnivorous, capable of consuming a wide variety of plant and animal material. Some nutritional experts believe that early hominids evolved into eating meat as a result of huge climatic changes that took place three to four million years ago, when forests and jungles dried up and became open grasslands and opened hunting and scavenging opportunities”. This is inline with Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Complex creatures evolve from more simplistic ancestors naturally over time. In a nutshell, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism’s genetic code, the beneficial mutations are preserved because they aid survival.

    Reversal of our survival gene

    If the above is true, then the act of abstaining from eating meat can be seen as a reversal of this genetic mutation. With climate change and its looming threat of a cataclysmic apocalypse being on the lips of the world and more applicably overpopulation, causing deforestation, soil degradation and loss of biodiversity are very real threats.
    It may take many centuries to reverse a gene, however if we do and we will, run out out of key natural resources that are non-renewable, meaning their natural stocks cannot be regenerated after exploitation – or they are only replenished by very slow natural cycles. What will become of the man that does not consume meat? Should we be aspiring to go backward in the evolutionary chain?

    What kind of Vegetarian are you ?

    Currently there are 12 variations if not more excluding macrobiotic diets , of this dietary health phenomenon. Which is a good indication that people are trying in some way or another to assist in the the sustainability effort regardless of the way in which they wish to contribute.
    However, with health foods and non meat products gaining much popularity among millennials I can’t help but wonder if it simply done for status.

    Regardless of what others opinions are on the matter I think that “Fish can be both Friend & a source of Food” 🙂

    The_Collector

    1. This article has slightly change since you last responded… But its seems we can all agree, that eating meat is perfectly natural. Even our closest relative the Chimpanzee regularly partakes in the consumption of animal meat.

      I’ve never really considered gene reversal, I would imagine that not being picky eaters is one of our Key advantages in being adaptable in the range of environments we humans inhabit. As you eluded to, a hypothetical catastrophe could almost certainly reduce our numbers to the point where the re-engineering of our diet or genes may take place. At this point it looks like such an event could likely be of our own doing, but then I don’t know if it would be possible to re-emerge as human like beings without a diverse diet. Abstaining from meat could not as a behavior, even if sustained over long periods of time, result in losing the ability to eat meat any more than the Exercise hype would result in a genetic disposition towards being muscular, which is simply not the case. I don’t think that aspiring to go” backwards” in terms of the evolutionary chain is a viable option for solving the meat crisis. I reckon the answer will come in supplementing our current meat stocks through engineering.

      Speaking about Hype or status… I get the feeling that this is what it is, a lot of vegans & vegetarians I’ve encountered by and large abstain from meat due to emotional attachments. “I don’t eat anything with a face” is my favourite argument. This kind of emotional reasoning in my opinion just doesn’t form a good basis for an argument when discussing how we should go about eating meat.

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