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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

The Top-of-the-Food-Chain Argument

(Here’s another little chapter from Can-Do Vegan.)

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“It’s normal and natural to eat animals. We’re at the top of the food chain.”

Let’s look at the logical inconsistencies of the “food chain” argument.

We consider ourselves “above” the animals when it suits us—chickens can’t perform calculus, cows can’t speak in a human language, therefore we do what we like with these creatures—yet we are animals when it suits our various other purposes, as with the actual consumption of animals, sexual infidelity, letting young boys get away with aggressive and even violent behavior, and so on.

The “food chain” is a human construct. You are not a part of the wildlife cycle that involves the pursuit, capture, and consumption of another animal, as a lion or tiger will do. Look in the mirror and you will see you do not have the teeth of a carnivore, made for piercing the neck of a gazelle and masticating her thick muscle tissue. You have herbivore’s teeth, intended for grinding down nuts, seeds, and vegetation.

This is the sad paradox of the human omnivorous diet: we are predators who do not capture our own food. Instead we rely on heinously maltreated and underpaid slaughterhouse workers to kill our dinner for us.

You may argue that you are a hunter, that you shoot deer in the woods and that this places you within that “food chain” after all. You may say that by hunting your own meat you are not a part of the cycle of cruelty and corruption that is the American factory farm.

But answer me this: is venison the only sort of meat you eat? Do you ever consume anything you haven’t killed yourself? (Not to mention that you’re still being cruel by taking an animal’s life when you don’t need to eat it to survive.)

Let’s be real here. If you’re driving down a lonely highway with a rumbling stomach, and McDonald’s is the only “restaurant” for miles, you are going to stop and order a hamburger. Flesh eating is just too slippery a slope to stand on.

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(And in case you missed it, here’s a little thought experiment on this subject by way of the Twilight Zone.)


1 Comment to The Top-of-the-Food-Chain Argument

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    October 28, 2015 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    You put a lions and humans in a room, and I’m not sure we’d feel like we’re top of the food chain.

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.