Eating Meat Is Not Primarily about Food
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Eating Meat Is Not Primarily about Food

from: Carmen Dell’Aversano, “Analyzing Categories: Harvey Sacks and Critical Animal Studies” Journal for Critical Animal Studies, Vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 5-20

Eating meat normalizes the murderous oppression of other animals to the point of making it imperceptible. Because everyone participates in it directly and on a daily basis, and because the link between extreme violence against animals and thoughtless human enjoyment of its results is unmistakable and straightforward, meat-eating powerfully reiterates human identity by joining all humans in a common front against animals. Meat-eating is the fundamental act which restates, with incontrovertible clarity and absolute generality, the most basic tenet of the shared worldview which holds our species together: its unconditional and undisputed superiority to all others, and consequently its right to life and death on them. Eating meat is indeed important, not for our health but for our identity.

I think there is much truth in this passage. It accords with the insights of René Girard (who died about two weeks ago at age 92) that cultural identities are grounded in the scapegoating process. What brings groups together is their collective expulsion (which is often violent) of those they regard as “different” and therefore “inferior.”

Girard held that the tendency to participate in the scapegoating process is universal. Can we transcend this proclivity, or is humanity (and humanity’s countless victims) doomed to suffer the consequences of this tragic flaw in human nature for as long as humans walk the earth? In the next essays, I will attempt to address this question.

Go on to: Can Humans Transcend Evil?
Return to: Reflections on the Lectionary, Table of Contents

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