Skip to content

Humans are Omnivores, Therefore . . .

You wouldn’t think Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s 10 Survival Tips & Tactics for Eating Veg in a Non-Veg World would have been in any way controversial. But it certainly has generated some interesting discussion. Perhaps my favorite comment so far was by "ValkRaider," listing about two dozen examples of animals who are omnivores (including humans) and over three dozen examples of animals who are carnivores. Then he writes:

Get over yourselves. Animals get eaten. Perhaps focus on making farm conditions better, more humane, and safer. But meat is a natural part of many diets.

Kenneth Cassar of Animal Rights Malta then writes what we’re all thinking after reading the lists:

So some animals are omnivores, some are carnivores, and some are vegan. So what? What matters is that we can be vegan.

Many animals rape the females of their species. Should we do likewise? And should we get over it if some of us do?

That’s awesome! I laughed out loud when I read "So what?" Naturally, the laughter was eclipsed upon reaching the word "rape," but Kenneth certainly made his point effectively and efficiently and dispensed with our list-making friend in record time.

ValkRaider misses the entire point by injecting the irrelevant lists into the discussion. We have made a decision–a choice–because we can. We have the ability–and I have no idea if any other animal has this ability–to consider the elements of a situation and decide to do what we think is morally right (is that redundant?). When people say to me: "Animals eat other animals in the wild all the time," I always respond, "So what? How on earth does that affect me or my decision-making process?" I’m not in "the wild" (I don’t think) anyway. There is no parallel there at all.

There are people who argue that humans are naturally herbivores. And even to that, I say, "Pfft. So what?" The point of veganism FOR ME is that I don’t think animals are mine to use at all. ValkRaider is correct that animals get eaten. But they don’t have to "get eaten" by me. I can opt out of that scenario. And as for making farm conditions better, more humane, and safer, I’m not even sure what that means, as I believe "humane farming" is an oxymoron. Once you have bred or purchased someone, assumed control over their reproductive system, fed them what you want to feed them and decided when and how much they would eat, allowed them to exist in a space of your creation, and killed them when and in a manner convenient to you, I fail to see anything humane about those realities.

I’ve already commented a couple of times on that post of Colleen’s. But if you haven’t, and you’ve got an interesting veg in a non-veg world anecdote or a response to the people who are vegan unfriendly (and then of course there are wonderful, well-meaning people who are just beginning to understand why we are vegans), say hi and toss in your two cents.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. I'm glad you liked my short reply. And like you say, we've all heard that (non) argument before, so yes, I can only imagine that that particular blog entry maybe was also a record breaker. That particular reply from ValkRaider was perhaps the reply that made the most people utter the same exclamation (so what?).

    Incidentally, ValkRaider brought to me some childhood memories, of when I wished to do something that my parents wouldn't let me do, and I used to say "but all my friends do that!".

    I also particularly liked the part when you said: "There are people who argue that humans are naturally herbivores. And even to that, I say, "Pfft. So what?"". Very true.

    September 12, 2007
  2. emily #

    Any positive ethic followed through fully might have positive effects. If a person wants to be natural, go for it–no antibiotic/AI/steel crate supported meat for you.

    September 12, 2007
  3. Ellie #

    When people think they can base morals on what's natural, that's the naturalistic fallacy, which was disproven long ago. Besides, there's nothing natural about domestication, and in nature eating animals is almost always done for survival. So ValkRaider was wrong on two counts.

    September 12, 2007

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS