A newspaper columnist, Liz Jones, believes vegans should be afforded the same considerations as a religion. If someone wants to live a vegan lifestyle then please feel free to do so, that is your freedom of choice. Do not, however interfere with others freedom of choice to eat meat.
We are lucky that due to the sacrifices made by previous generations we do not live in a dictatorship here in the UK. You cannot tell me what to eat just because of your beliefs, anymore than I can tell you to eat meat.
Humans are Omnivores
Human beings are Omnivores, we are able to extract the nutrients and energy to sustain life from a mixed diet of meat, plants, algae and fungi. It is the word mixed that is important. There are certain elements essential to good health which are best sourced from a varied diet.
Amongst these are B12 which is only available from meat sources or certain bacteria. Vitamin C is another element that must be provided by our diet, the best source of which is the organ meats, with other sources such as citrus fruits available.
Then there are our teeth. We have canine and incisor teeth like the carnivores, used for biting and tearing plus molars like herbivores for grinding/chewing.
Humans are not Herbivores
The humans digestive system bears no resemblance to the herbivore. Herbivores digestive systems are specialised to digest the cellulose found in the plants cell walls, generally through microbe fermentation. Humans digestive systems are unable to do this, we have a basic enzyme based digestive system that breaks down our foods into simple compounds. These enzymes are unable to break down cellulose.
What our digestive systems can do that a herbivores can’t, is digest starches and store the energy extracted from them. So whereas the cow for example may graze for upto 11 hours a day to consume it’s dietary requirements (not including the time spent digesting the feed) we can eat a mixed diet, store the energy and go about our daily lives until the next meal is required.
As omnivores we are in the lucky position to be able to eat pretty much what we want, with the exception of grasses and various other plants. We can make a choice to eat a balanced diet including meat, vegetables, fruit etc. A reduced meat diet, vegetarian or vegan diet. This does not make us herbivores though, whatever we eat, we are still omnivores.
I am not against veganism but to class veganism as a religion smacks of idolatry and indoctrination. Will followers worship all animals? Does this include non sentient animals? Will there need to be special measures put in place to allow worship in the workplace? There are so many questions which I am sure Liz Jones would be happy to answer.
Any group of people with similar beliefs brought together tend to start behaving the same, look at fashions, music, peer pressure etc. This is in effect how cults manage to survive, individuals wanting to comply with the majority, a dependance on a leader, not wanting to be singled out for going against the group and devaluing the beliefs of others outside of the cult.
If people want to include their choice to eat a vegan diet with religion then why not join a religion that includes the vegan lifestyle rather than the other way round? Jainism for example which believes it is wrong to kill or harm any living being, respecting non-violence, non-acquisition, respect for others rights and truth.
Then there is the livestock, what do people think would happen if nobody ate meat? Do they think there would be fields of lovely cows and sheep grazing our beautiful land? The reality is that our domesticated livestock would suffer and die. All livestock would be set loose so that land could be turned over to vegetable production, our domestic livestock relies on man to provide all of their basic husbandry requirements, set loose they would succumb to diseases, malnutrition, preyed on by predators and die.
Meanwhile, the nation would be waging war on all pests and diseases of vegetables, the insect population, including the beneficial ones, would be decimated, rabbits and deer would be hunted to extinction, the whole ecosystem would collapse, the food chain would be broken and many related species would become extinct.
The British eco-system is finely balanced, the farmers role in maintaining this balance is severely under appreciated.
What do you think?
Please share your thoughts on this. I would love to hear from you.
Thanks for reading