Optimistic Vegan

A Change of Opinion: Is it Unnatural to Eat Animals?
February 3, 2011, 9:28 pm
Filed under: Animal Rights, Lifestyle, Personal | Tags: , , ,

After some recent conversations about whether or not it is “natural” to eat meat, I have revised my stance on this topic. In passing one day, one of my friends said that one of the things that bothered them being vegan is that it is “unnatural.” We decided to postpone the rest of our conversation, which gave me a chance to think about it. I then talked to my dad about it (also vegan) and told him how easy I thought it was to dispute that. How could factory farming and drinking milk intended for baby cows be considered more natural than fruits and vegetables?

The conclusion I’ve come to is that, as much as I hate to admit it, there is nothing wrong with consuming animals for food. However, the way that we are currently consuming them is wrong. Like my dad pointed out, humans have been eating animals as soon as we could catch them. He used the term of opportunistic carnivore, and I think this is accurate. We would rely on plants and things we could gather, but when an animal came around, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity of an energy-rich meal. We didn’t used to subject animals to the cruel practices of factory farming and industrial slaughterhouses, we put them to their death as natural as another animal consumes another.

That being said, the way that we are eating animals today is nothing like that. The way we get our meat now is about as unnatural as you can get: treating animals like machines, hooking them up to machines, caring more about the end product than the animals’ dignity, and putting them through unnecessary pain.

This is a big change in the way I look at things. Instead of advocating for a world where no animals are eaten, I will instead advocate to limit our intake to avoid excessiveness and go towards a more sophisticated, more dignified, and more conscious food system.

Even though I have modified this way of looking at things, I think the best way to achieve the ideal food system where animals are spared suffering and a loss of dignity is to speak with our wallets. I will not support any food industry (factory farms, industrial slaughterhouses, etc.) by giving them my dollars.

So there you go! (For the record, I’m still a vegan and probably always will be.)


This is a Duiker. Isn’t he adorable?


2 Comments so far
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Reading over this the thought occurred to me that one of the things that make us human is our ability to choose (to some extent) what is natural for us. We’ve always been creatures that have consciously adapted to our environments. For people who live in less developed or wilderness areas then food is whatever you can get your hands on while those of us living in developed places can make it perfectly feasible and natural to abstain from meat. While in my daily life I can easily pick my foods but if I were to suddenly find myself in the wilderness you can bet I’d be setting up a few animal traps.

Of course, along the same line of thinking, we could also say that animals do not have a choice in what is natural for them. Certainly they adapt to their surroundings but in a much slower and less conscious way than humans do. What is natural for them is either preset by instinct or slowly breed into them by human beings (pets, work animals, cattle, etc.). As such it is the burden of responsibility for those with the chose (human beings) to maintain, as much as possible, the natural lives of those without the chose (animals). A similar argument can be made for responsible environmentalism. Human beings posses the ability to choose and therefore posses the duty to choose what is right.

Comment by Tylor

That’s an interesting point. I think that the scary part is that most people aren’t consciously choosing. They have this illusion that their meat comes from family farms and this image contributes to their choice to continue to eat it. I think that the divide between producing meat and consumption is what is allowing it to stay in this unnatural, unwholesome state.

Comment by krazykaitie

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