My first question would be.....
Is the vegan perspective "Man no longer needs to eat meat" or "Man should never have started eating meat in the first place."? What is the belief on why man started eating meat in the first place?
Posted by ahimsa32fa at 05/03/15 08:07:45Look around this website for answers to most any questions you may have and lots of vegan philosophy.
There are hundreds of books available, and literally thousands of websites.
You can also see many documentaries, such as the very well done "Vegucation".
Posted by happycowgirl at 05/03/15 16:15:49Hi StinkySullivan,
Thanks for your question. I love philosophical questions like this. : )
First, let me point out that there is no official vegan perspective on that question. Each vegan on this website would simply be giving their own perspective. I'm sure our answers would vary in many different ways.
Next, note that vegetarianism has existed probably since the beginning of human kind. People such as Pythagoras and Leonardo da Vinci rejected meat eating and espoused a vegetarian ideal. George Bernard Shaw was a vegetarian. Similarly, Tolstoy as committed to such a cause in his later years. Hinduism - an ancient religion - made the cow sacred and created delicious vegetarian cuisine known throughout the world today. Buddhism had as it's first precept not to kill or injure any human,animal, bird, fish or insect. Likewise, do a quick google search on the history of the Jain religion and you will see how far back human's concern of non-violence toward other living creatures goes.
The issues which agitate so many today - a hatred of unnecessary slaughter, the concept of animal welfare, issues concerning the earth's environment - these would have been perfectly understood in the ancient world as early as 600 B.C.
This is all simply to point out that the vegetarian/vegan movement is not a contemporary phenomena. It is simply gaining extensive ground during our generation.
As for a direct answer to your question, my personal opinion is that humans do not need to eat meat and humans should never have started eating meat. I have no idea why humans started eating meat in the first place. My guess would be as good as yours. The few times I've let my mind wander to think about it I've thought it might have been a survival situation where food was scarce and we had to behave like scavengers. Perhaps an ancient human was starving, saw a dead animal lying there and said, "What the hell, I'll give this a try." Then maybe they developed a taste for animal flesh. There was no more dead animals flesh (carrion) around, so they thought, "Well, how bad would it be for me to hunt down and kill one of the older animals in this pack?". One thing led to another and humans became regular hunters. Who knows? Just the wandering thoughts of an everyday vegan..... : )
Posted by happycowgirl at 05/03/15 16:36:41Here's a fascinating article from Scientific American entitled, "Human Ancestors Were Nearly All Vegetarians":
Posted by StinkySullivan at 05/03/15 21:49:39I watch a lot of Discovery Channel and stuff like that. The origin of man is a common topic. It makes sense that man would eat what ever food was easiest to get. It was easier to eat a plant than to track and kill an animal. In some cases, it was dangerous to hunt so hunting was a necessity and not just a preference. Domestication of animals for food was just easier. Science is full of unsupported speculation. Assume you believe in evolution to begin with, there is little evidence of what life was like for early man. We have evidence of the tools they used which suggest they were hunters. No need to use a spear on a melon. Plants would obviously have been a significant part of their diet because so many nutrients come only from plants. As you pointed out, eating meat was a necessity for survival. When push comes to shove, I think even vegans today would choose to eat meat over starving to death. Anyone that says they wouldn't has obviously never had to make that decision.
Many cultures developed in such a way that meat became a primary staple. Areas of extreme climate are not suitable growing food. How well do you think carrots would grow in permafrost? Eskimo's hunted because they had to or die. Even in the warmer areas, growing seasons were short. It would not have been possible to gather enough food to last the entire year.
Nomadic cultures like the Plains Indians did not stay in one place long enough to propagate crops. They ate what was around them. They moved with the game because that was the only adequate source of food. I'm sure even they would have preferred to pick themselves a salad than risk their lives going up against a Bison but it was necessary for survival.
From an evolutionary standpoint, if meat consumption was necessary for survival, how can anyone advocate against the survival of man as a species? I understand we can thrive today without eating meat but for the entire planet to make that change, it's going to take time if it actually happens at all.