Vegetarianism in a Nutshell

By Bruce Friedrich (of PETA)

There are very few choices in our day-to-day lives that make a significant impact on the world around us, but what we choose to eat does. Eating meat supports global poverty and worker abuse, harms the environment, supports cruelty to animals, and is bad for our health. Socrates said that “[t]he unexamined life is not worth living.” Basically, veganism and vegetarianism are about leading an examined life—really considering the health, environmental, human, and animal consequences of our food choices, and then opting to make choices
that are in keeping with our basic values.

So vegetarianism is the self-empowerment diet; at every meal, we have the opportunity to live our values—to cast our vote against cruelty to animals, environmental degradation, and global poverty—and we do this all while eating a diet that is better for us than one that includes meat.


Meat, eggs, and dairy products contain absolutely no fiber or complex carbohydrates, and they are packed with saturated fat and cholesterol. In the short term, eating meat, dairy products, and eggs is likely to make a person fat and lethargic. In the long term, eating these products can cause heart disease, high blood pressure, several types of cancer, and an array of other problems. I’d like to make a couple of points about human physiology, and then I’ll talk about the link between animal products and a few of the worst health scourges
plaguing North Americans.

It’s amazing how many seemingly intelligent people, to justify their meat-eating, open their mouths, point at their teeth, and say something about “canines” as a means of defending a habit that is ecologically devastating, cruel to animals, and likely to kill them. Putting aside how different human “canines” are from the canine teeth of carnivores (I really wonder if these people have ever even looked at the long, dagger-like canines of a dog or a tiger), every natural carnivore has an array of other physiological properties that do not mirror ours. For example, unlike humans, all natural meat-eaters manufacture their own vitamin C, whereas we need to consume vitamin C in fruits and vegetables. True carnivores perspire through their tongues rather than through their skin. Natural meat-eaters have sharp, pointy front teeth, sharp and jagged molars, and a toothbone density that’s many times greater than that of humans, which enables them to crunch through the bones of their prey. Carnivores have no digestive enzymes in their saliva at all, and their digestive acids are many times more acidic than those of humans, so the bacteria from rotting flesh won’t kill them. Natural meat-eaters have jaws that move only vertically, instead of in a grinding motion as ours do, and they don’t chew their food—they just rip and swallow. Carnivores have claws to rip their prey apart instead of sensitive fingers for plucking.

They have intestinal tracts that are only three times their body length, which enables them to eject rotting flesh quickly. No matter how much saturated fat and cholesterol they consume, natural meat-eaters never develop atherosclerosis, the heart disease that consistently kills more human beings in the industrialized world than any other cause of death. And the list of physiological differences between humans and natural meat-eaters goes on and on. And let’s also think about this intuitively. How many of us salivate at the idea of chasing small animals, ripping them limb from limb, and then devouring them, blood and all? I hope that no one listening has that reaction, but every carnivore does. How many of us, if we’re walking down the street and see a recently run-over animal carcass on the road, think, “Mmmmmm … I’d like to eat that”? No. We think, “Oh, how sad” or “Blech.” A real carnivore, if hungry, digs in.

Yes, human beings learned, “Hey, if we kill all the bacteria and viruses with fire, this stuff probably won’t kill us.” And a long time ago, at times when there was little vegetation for us, we started eating meat. But it’s still not good for us, and in fact, it’s so bad for us that it kills many of us.

Go Veg for more

(Submitted by reader)

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