By Kendall GibsonColumnist
The next time you meet a vegetarian on campus, ask him or her to bite your arm. The impression their bite makes will clearly show that humans have evolved to eat meat. So why do they refuse?
Vegetarians believe that it is unethical and unsustainable to eat meat. Their problem with meat production, specifically, is that it is mean to animals and harmful to the planet. Vegetarians believe that by not eating meat themselves, they save the world from their demand for meat, therefore driving down meat production overall.
Vegetarians are wrong, but I do respect their agenda. I like animals and hate to see them harmed, and I like the planet and hate to see that harmed, too. I just don’t agree with the math. To become a vegetarian and think you’re solving the problem is like dipping a glass into the ocean and thinking you’re draining it.
With this many people on the planet, the personal decision whether or not to buy meat has no effect on the industry. The hubris of people to say otherwise is a reflection of their ego, not of data or common sense.
Sure, you can say that by being a vegetarian yourself, you are creating a ripple effect. People will admire and join your cause, and a cycle will unfold. But word of mouth is slow and irrelevant in a population as large and as diverse as ours. Plus, for every meat-eater you convert, another will take his or her place.
The only course for change in today’s world is concentrated effort. For meat eating to stop or slow down, some organization would need to pass anti-meat legislation, and those laws would have to be implemented on a global scale. Such action would be far more impactful than writing a tofu recipe.
But the bigger question I have for vegetarians, regardless of whether they think they’re making a difference, is why they think that it is wrong to kill animals. Life eats itself. Just look at the animal kingdom. What distinction is there between hawks eating mice and humans eating beef?
Do you believe that ethics make a distinction? Ethics are unique to mankind. We made them up. No other animal has an equally sophisticated moral system. Dolphins are demonstrably intelligent creatures, yet they rape their females and hunt with a brutish disdain for other creatures.
So since it is for us to decide what ethics are and where they apply, it is possible for us to do away with our apprehension for killing animals. Human suffering is undeniably distinct from animal suffering, because we have the ability to conceptualize what pain means and what death is.
Until there is evidence that farm animals experience fear and emotion the same way humans do, I see no difference in the slaughtering of animals and the tilling of wheat.