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.
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.
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.