The most boring phrase you can hear in response to the fact that you are a vegetarian is: “But people need to eat meat!” Let’s get this straight away, people don’t have to eat meat. Humans are not carnivores like cats, nor are they omnivores like bears or pigs.
If you really think we need to eat meat, go out into the field, jump on the cow’s back and bite her. You will not be able to injure an animal with your teeth or fingers. Or take a dead chicken and try to chew on it; our teeth are simply not adapted to eating raw, uncooked meat. We’re actually herbivores, but that doesn’t mean we have to be like cows, with huge stomachs that spend all day chewing on grass. Cows are ruminants, herbivores, and eat all plant foods such as nuts, seeds, roots, green shoots, fruits, and berries.
How do I know all this? There has been a lot of research into what monkeys eat. Gorillas are absolute vegetarians. David Reid, an eminent doctor and former adviser to the British Olympic Association, once did a little experiment. At a medical exhibition, he presented two images, one showing the intestines of a human and the other showing the intestines of a gorilla. He asked his colleagues to look at these pictures and comment. All the doctors present there thought that the pictures were of the internal organs of people and no one could determine where the intestines of the gorilla were.
Over 98% of our genes are the same as those of chimpanzees, and any alien from outer space trying to find out what type of animal we are will immediately determine our resemblance to chimpanzees. They are our closest relatives, but what terrible things we do to them in the labs. To find out what our natural food would be, you need to look at what primates eat, they are almost absolute vegans. Some eat some meat in the form of termites and grubs, but this is only a tiny fraction of their diet.
Jane Goodall, scientist, she lived in the jungle with chimpanzees and did research for ten years. She tracked what they eat and how much food they need. However, a group of people who believe that “people need to eat meat” were overjoyed when they saw a film made by naturalist David Atenboer, in which a group of gorillas hunted lesser apes. They said that this proves that we are naturally carnivorous.
There is no explanation for the behavior of this group of chimpanzees, but they are likely the exception. Basically chimpanzees are not looking for meat, they never eat frogs or lizards or other small animals. But termites and chimpanzee larvae are eaten for their sweetish taste. What an animal should eat can be said by looking at the constitution of its body. Monkey teeth, like ours, are adapted for biting and chewing. Our jaws move from side to side to facilitate this process. All these characteristics indicate that our mouth is adapted for chewing hard, vegetable, fibrous foods.
Since such food is difficult to digest, the process of digestion begins as soon as the food enters the mouth and mixes with saliva. Then the chewed mass slowly passes through the esophagus so that all the nutrients are absorbed. The jaws of carnivores, such as cats, are arranged differently. The cat has claws for catching its prey, as well as sharp teeth, without flat surfaces. The jaws can only move up and down, and the animal swallows food in large chunks. Such animals do not need a cookbook in order to digest and assimilate food.
Imagine what will happen to a piece of meat if you leave it lying on the windowsill on a sunny day. Very soon it will begin to rot and produce poisonous toxins. The same process takes place inside the body, so carnivores get rid of waste as quickly as possible. Humans digest food much more slowly because our intestines are 12 times our body length. This is considered one of the reasons why meat-eaters are more at risk of colon cancer than vegetarians.
Humans started eating meat at some point in history, but for most people in the world up until the last century, meat was a fairly rare meal and most people only ate meat three or four times a year, usually at large religious celebrations. And it was after the outbreak of World War II that people began to eat meat in such large quantities – which in turn explains why heart disease and cancer became the most common of all known deadly diseases. One by one, all the excuses the meat-eaters made up to justify their diet were refuted.
And the most unconvincing argument that “we need to eat meat”, too.