Is it natural for humans to eat meat?
Humans are far from the natural animal that they once were. We are way beyond ‘natural’ and getting more ‘unnatural’ all the time. It’s very obvious that humans are very different from all other animals. We know that we live on a spherical planet as part of a solar system. We know where that solar system is within a spiral galaxy. We know the evolutionary history of our planet and how we are genetically related to all other life on Earth; we are more related to some things than others, but at the end of the day we are all ‘Family Earth.’ Our technological sophistication allows us to do incredible things; things that would have been unimaginable just a few decades ago.
So if what we are like today was unimaginable 50 years ago, how unimaginable will we be in another 50 years?
Humans are a very unnatural animal.
So the question shouldn’t be ‘is it natural to eat meat’ but simply ‘should we eat meat?’ Or ‘is it right to eat meat?’
My book sets out the process of our transition from animal to… whatever it is we are transforming in to. It’s actually quite hard to see and predict where we are going.
As we become increasingly free from our biological and psychological constraints we have more room to choose. It’s about choice! We can, to a certain extent, do whatever we want to do and be whoever we want to be.
We can choose not to eat meat. It’s an easy, ethical choice. Whether or not it’s natural is irrelevant.
People say ‘but we have these canine teeth for meat’ but biology is full of examples of vegetarian animals with enlarged canine teeth. My favorite example is the Muntjac deer. Canine tooth size is not necessarily an indicator of meat-eating.
We can make choices about our own emotions, go in search of new ideas, new feelings, invent new technologies and decide to change the shape and structure of human society and relationships.
Once we have chosen to give up meat, there are enormous advantages for the biodiversity of Earth. No food animals means more space for nature.
Quite simply, not eating meat is better for me, it’s better for animals and it’s better for the planet. And all I have to do is to decide, to choose, to commit to this ethical choice.
Whether what we do is thought of as either historically natural or unnatural is no longer relevant. It’s all about what we choose to be now and in the future. And choosing a better moral position, giving up eating meat, seems like an easy choice. We can choose that as our new ‘natural.’
I need to mention that we might never get to an unimaginable super-advanced human condition. Our current global economic system is pushing us towards planetary disaster via climate change, habitat loss, mass extinction and a collapse of the biosphere that supports us. Giving up eating meat goes a long way towards stopping this catastrophe.