Vegans know better than to eat like chimps

Kim Bonsteel's recent letter [Nov. 25] contains several errors.

Natural does not equal good. Foods made with natural ingredients may not be good tasting or good for you. Things found in nature are not necessarily good. Nonconsensual sex, the keeping of harems, theft by force and cannibalism are all found in nature and in some primitive societies. That doesn't make them good.

Vegans know better than to eat like chimpanzees, and so does Kim. Humans must carefully prepare and cook a bush baby if we want to eat its flesh, using tools not readily found in nature. Eating an uncooked bush baby will likely make us violently ill. Our physiology is not that similar to a chimpanzee's.

The premise that meat-eating helped evolutionarily make us what we are is probably true. It in no way justifies continuing the practice. Regarding the future evolution of humans: Habitual disregard for animal suffering and the needless killing of animals seem questionable behaviors to encourage.

It does not follow logically that because primitive or ancient cultures ate meat we should. Traditional, like natural, is not synonymous with good.

The author misleadingly says, "If you choose a vegan diet you need three cups of cooked beans" to get your daily protein. You don't. Using an unnatural and nontraditional computer, a quick Google search shows there is protein in vegetables, nuts, grains, even fruit. Vegans can easily get more than enough protein. What Google searches won't show is evidence of widespread dietary kwashiorkor (protein deficiency) or B-12 deficiency in the United States today, even among vegans. If you live in an industrialized nation and "feel spacy and crave sweets," protein deficiency is almost certainly not the cause.

We all rationalize behaviors we aren't proud of. Meat-eaters are free to rationalize paying people to confine and kill innocent animals for food. It may be too painful for some to accept that they value personal taste preferences more than the suffering of animals. If rationalizing makes it easier, though, couldn't they at least find rational rationalizations?

— Mark Noble
Asheville

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10 thoughts on “Vegans know better than to eat like chimps

  1. Jason

    The crux of the problem lies in the fact that eating meat is a personal moral decision. No amount of fact spewing, finger shaking, or name-calling is going to convince someone to change their belief system. In fact it only makes them more affirmed in their beliefs. Have you ever tried to argue a racist out of hating different races, or a homophobe out of hating gays? It’s not going to happen. Personal interaction and increasing exposure to what they fear is the only way to change someone’s beliefs. Honestly spare us the “I’m more advanced than you because I don’t eat meat” rhetoric and invite some omnivore acquaintances over sometime for a nice Indian dinner or a carnivorous co-worker out to lunch at Rosetta’s. You might have better luck than blindly berating us in the MountainX Op-Ed section.

  2. Piffy!

    Vegan does not equal good. Foods made with vegan ingredients may not be good tasting or good for you. Just because something is vegan does not mean it is necessarily good. Nonconsensual sex, the keeping of harems, theft by force and cannibalism are all found in nature and have nothing to do with what someone chooses to eat.

  3. Mark Noble

    Good point, Jason.I agree that generally arguing isn’t a very effective way to change another’s view, unless that person is intelligent and open-minded enough to change his opinions when he hears a good argument. I don’t always succeed in being open-minded, but I try very hard. Certainly my beliefs today are very different from those I held as a young man. And at least some of the change has come from hearing good arguments.
    To be fair, do you really see my letter as spewing facts? And when did I resort to name-calling? Where is the rhetoric?
    My letter, which may have offended you, was meant not as a berating but as a response to Kim Bonsteel’s arguments the week before, arguments that struck me as specious or at best naive. If, to use your analogy, a racist writes to the paper explaining how natural and positive racism is, should we who disagree remain silent? Should we just set a good example, knowing that eventually we will win them over? I haven’t met you, but from what you wrote here and elsewhere you don’t seem like someone who keeps quiet when he disagrees with a person. Why is it you want me to behave differently from you? Should we just let you tell us how to do things, Jason?
    If you did know me, you would know that I do quite a lot of the very things you recommend and more. Knowing the other three vegan authors in this week’s letter section, I can tell you they do better than I to set a kind and patient example for meat-eating friends. Why do you assume that we don’t?
    I probably should have expected responses like yours, but somehow they surprised me. I will continue to take friends to dinner at Rosetta’s and all that. And I will work on being more tactful when people say incorrect or careless things.
    If you feel that I “blindly” berated you, please know that was not my intent.

  4. mtndow

    Why does Stewart David seem to have pre-emptive access to opinion/letters columns of the MX? He and his pack of PETA-pals are clogging the arteries of mountain expression. Last week I had to switch off 88.1FM as he started bleeding onto the airways. I can understand his fear of animals. I’ve been kicked by a horse, stepped on by by cattle and pecked by poultry. Frigg’n plants just stand there before the slaughter/harvest. I like food that can fight back. Back to the point. Let’s give Dave “meatless” Stew-art his very own MX PETA page every week. Then, we that choose to can, skip his manure and read about our neighbors other concerns.

  5. Mark Noble

    I’m new to blogging. I don’t think I’ll continue.
    At work I occasionally have a difficult or abusive customer. On the advice of an older associate, I now approach the problem customer with a handshake and introduction. I give my name and get his or her name right away. The advice I took was good. Providing his or her name almost always gets a person to behave better. If you don’t believe me, try it and see! The blogosphere, though, is quite anonymous. It has the air of a field of cowards crouching behind bushes and inaccurately flinging rocks at people who stand up. One anonymous blogger either did not read or did not understand my letter, which nowhere claims a vegan diet is natural (It isn’t. The letter is said that we ought not to eat or behave based solely on what is natural or customary. Read it sometime.). Another provokes by name-calling and by boasting how he/she bravely sustains injuries subduing domesticated animals, creatures that have been bred, among other things, for docility. The courageous carnivore, however, is not about to say his or her name. To those of you who do give your names, I respect you for it, and this is meant not for you but for the rest. I have better things to do than to debate people who hide behind curtains. Anyway, you don’t need me here in order to have fun, do you? You haven’t shut me up, but you have shown me that blogging isn’t the way to go if you have something important to say and are willing to stand up and put your name on it. Press on with the sniping and heckling, folks. It’s a game I prefer not to play.

  6. Mark Noble

    I apologize to the blogger I incorrectly said accused me of stating veganism is natural. That is not what he or she wrote. Rather, he or she (Your picture is too small for me to see clearly.)alleged that I equated veganism or vegan food with good. While I don’t think I made such an assertion, it was careless and wrong to mistake what you said. It turns out I’m the one who needs to read before shooting from the hip. I am sorry for the error. So, on a less haughty note, I end my very short journey into Mountain Express blogging.

  7. Stewart David

    mtndow,

    I was on WNCW, 88.7, not WCQS, 88.1. If you know anyone who has an open mind and would like to hear why environmentalists don’t eat meat, here’s a link to the show, which aired on 11-22:

    http://www.oursoutherncommunity.org/showarchives.htm

    You need to calm down and quit making silly assumptions. I’ve been around animals all of my adult life, and have rescued and cared for goats, horses, cows, chickens, pigs, and turkeys. I’m not fearful of them, I just belive in compassion. You seem to be filled with fear…of change.

  8. Peacewarrior

    “We all rationalize behaviors we aren’t proud of. Meat-eaters are free to rationalize paying people to confine and kill innocent animals for food. It may be too painful for some to accept that they value personal taste preferences more than the suffering of animals. If rationalizing makes it easier, though, couldn’t they at least find rational rationalizations?”

    Right on Mark. And may I add that humans are not simply animals. We are gods living in the bodies of animals. We can and should aspire to a higher calling than the killing, dissection, and consumption of “food” animals, as if we were carnavores like wolves, alligators and lions.

    I’ve got a test for those who think it’s fine to eat “meat”. Visit a slaughterhouse. Or go out to a county farm when they are having a “hog killin”. See first hand how your choice of “food” gets to the supermarket, then your plate. The slaughter of warm blooded mammals for “food” is a disgusting and cruel process. And completely unnecessary for a human’s nutrition. In fact, the over consumption of “meat” in this country is the primary cause of many types of cancer.

    Try vegetarianism. You just may find you like it. You’ll definitely like feeling better physically, mentally, and spiritually.

  9. Buck

    I’ve tried vegetarian foods. Some were good and some were yucky. Ever try scrambled eggs and monkey brains? mmm good!
    Most of the medical problems you mention are not related to meat eating but to lack of exercise and overeating.
    Try a diet of starchy sugary foods see how long it takes before you get put on insulin.
    By the way, what do you do with the livestock breed for 1,000s of years to eat and to reproduce in unnatural numbers? Cut them loose and sing “Born Free”? Sorry but they’d have to be killed because they would be a threat to public health.
    If you have to kill them anyway, why not BBQ?

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