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Agenda for a New America
The Politics of Vegetarianism
Chapter 5 - Physiology
Humans differ completely from the naturally carnivorous species such as wolves or tigers. Carnivores have a very short digestive tract--three times the length of their bodies--to rapidly consume and excrete decaying flesh. Their urine is highly acidic and they possess hydrochloric stomach acid strong enough to dissolve muscle tissues and bones. Because they are night hunters who sleep during the day, carnivores don't sweat. They perspire through the tongue. Their jaws can only move up and down and their teeth are long and pointed, in order to cut through tendons and bones.
The carnivores are quadrupeds with keen eyesight and sense of smell. They possess not only the necessary speed to overtake their prey but they also have sharp, retractable claws which enables them to pull their victims to the ground and hold them fast. The anatomy of natural omnivores, such as the bear or raccoon, is almost identical, except they possess a set of molars to chew the plant foods that they eat.
Herbivorous creatures such as sheep and cattle have a digestive tract 30 times the length of their bodies; they have several stomachs, which allows them to break down cellulose--something humans are unable to do. This is why we can't graze or live on grass. The urine and saliva of the herbivores are alkaline, and their saliva contains ptyalin for the predigestion of starches. The frugivores (gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates) have intestinal tracts twelve times the length of the body, clawless hands and alkaline urine and saliva. Their diet is mostly vegetarian, occassionally supplemented with carrion, insects, etc...
Flesh-eating animals lap water with their tongues, whereas vegetarian animals imbibe liquids by a suction process. Humans are classifies as primates and are thus frusivores possessing a set of completely herbivorous teeth. Proponents of the theory that humans should be classified as omnivores note that human beings do, in fact, possess a modified form of canine teeth. However, these so-called "canine teeth" are even more prominent in animals that traditionally never eat flesh, such as apes, camels, and the male musk deer. It must a so be noted that the shape, length and hardness of these so-called "canine teeth" can hardly be compared to those of true carnivorous animals. A principle factor in determining the hardness of teeth is the phosphate of magnesia content. Human teeth usually contain 1.5 percent phosphate of magnesia, whereas the teeth of carnivores are composed of really 5 percent of these substance. It is for this reason they are able to break through the bones of their prey, enabling them to reach the nutritious marrow.
Linnaeus, who introduced binomial nomenclature (naming plants and animals according to their physical structure) wrote: "Man's structure, external and internal, compared with that of other animals shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food."
The myth that humans are naturally a predator species remains popular. "The beast of prey is the highest form of active life," wrote Nazi philosopher Oswald Spengler in 1931. "It represents a mode of living which requires the extreme degree of the necessity of fighting, conquering, annihilating, and self-assertion. The human race ranks highly because it belongs to the class of beasts of prey. Therefore we find in man the tactics of life proper to a bold, cunning beast of prey. He lives engaged in aggression, killing, and annihilation. He wants to be master in as much as he exists."
The fact that predators exist in the wild does not imply man must automatically imitate them. Cannibalism and rape also occur in nature. Robert Louis Stevenson. in his book In the South Seas, noted that there was little difference between the "civilized" Europeans and the "savages" of the Cannibal Islands. "We consume the carcasses of creatures with like appetites, passions, and organs as our own. We feed on babes, though not our own, and fill the slaughter-houses daily with screams of pain and fear."
Moreover, the popular argument that it is "natural" for us to utilize murdered animals as a source of food does not (ecologically) justify factory farming and raising livestock as we know it today. It justifies hunting. The Native Americans, the Eskimo and other hurter-gatherer tribes have traditionally lived more in harmony with their environment than does modern man in urban civilization.
Studies indicate flesh-eaters have less endurance than do vegetarians, while vegetarians have two to three times more stamina and recover five times more quickly from exhaustion. Most major forms of cancer, as well as heart disease, osteoporosis, kidney disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, arthritis, obesity, gallstones and gallbladder disease are all preventable and treatable or a vegetarian diet.
Go on to Chapter 6 - Temperament
Return to The Politics of Vegetarianism Table of Contents
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