The Descent of Man’s Diet

I was reading Mark Oppenheimer’s “Daddy Eats Dead Cows” on Slate, and he’s right about one thing. Teaching children to be vegetarian on ethical grounds just gives them a distorted view of ethics that may come back to haunt you. I’m sorry, animals are not people and I am evolved to eat them and, while I’d like the process to be as humane as practical, I’m just not going to lose any sleep over whether livestock finds its time on this earth fulfilling.

Nor is health a very good reason to eschew the beef, for although we eat way, way, way more meat than is good for us in the West, we need some meat and have a hard time getting a balanced diet without it. Do some research and find out how many kidney beans you need to replace the digestible iron you get from a single ground beef taco.

But there are very good reasons to be vegetarian, or at least to curtail meat consumption to a healthy level. Factory farms are major polluters, disease incubators, and energy hogs. Meat takes a dozen times the energy to produce, harvest, and store than the equivalent veg, and that’s the only reason I need. Besides, I never had a steak that could compare with a nice red curry with tofu.

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