The presence of canine teeth in a critter's mouth does not necessarily make said critter a carnivore. Humans, (and dogs, by the way) are omnivores, meaning that though they can eat meat, they also eat everything else, including grains, vegetables, etc. Cats, otoh, are carnivores. Most of the teeth in a cat's mouth are pointy-ish and cone shaped, the perfect design for ripping and tearing flesh and muscle.

Humans differ from most of the other members of the beloved food chain because they are able to exercise an (also beloved) option known as free will. Humans, unlike cats and slugs and fleas, have the capacity to decide whether they want to eat meat or not. Generally speaking, you're not likely to run into a cat who's thinking to himself, "you know, that little mole over there looks succulent and tasty, but is it really right for me to end someone else's life just so I can have a hearty meal?" Or, for that matter -- "hmmm, I'd really like to eat that there injured baby 'possum, but oh, me oh my...the fat and the calories!"

For a human to choose not to eat meat is not a refusal of that particular human to accept his or her rightful position in the ecosystem or on the food chain. It is usually a decision based on nutrition, environmental concerns, and morals. It is an exercise of one of the things that truly separates us from our non-human counterparts -- the ability to choose behaviors based on factors other than instinct. And, in my everso humble opinion, it's relatively crappy for those of us who do eat meat to behave as though those of us who don't must simply be silly, bleeding-heart, anthropomorphist animal worshippers.

According to Frances Moore Lappe's Diet For A Small Planet, "cattle are the most wasteful converters of grain to meat, (and) They are responsible for releasing enormous quantities of methane into the atmosphere, which has made a documented contribution to global warming. Moreover, commercial invasion of the South and Central American rainforests now implicates cattle ranching in the one-and-a-half acre per second (!) destruction of the remaining rainforests worldwide."

Besides. Cows are cute. ;)
I'm a vegetarian, and I don't understand them either.
Here are my reasons for being a vegetarian:
  1. By cutting out meat from my diet completely, I feel I can eat anything else that strikes my fancy without worrying about calories, cholesterol, etc. I don't like worrying about the little details.
  2. Money-- meat is expensive.
  3. I'm not the tidiest person in the world, and if I accidently eat some veggies that have gone nasty, chances are I'll gag a little. Maybe suffer some indigestion. If I were to eat meat at an equivalent level of nastiness, I'd end up hospitalized.
  4. It makes logical sense to me that eating low on the food chain is more efficient.
  5. Half-jokingly: as the Earth becomes overcrowded due to us breeding like rabbits and ignoring the screamingly important task of settling nearby planets, sheer population pressure will force us all to become vegetarians. I'm a vegetarian because I like being just a little bit ahead of my time.

So, with all that being said, I still don't understand the shrill, self-righteous, Puritanical attitude so many vegetarians have. Some of them are in denial about our evolutionary heritage. Some of them like to mix it in with a fascist or luddite political agenda-- "we need to regulate everything in sight in order to protect the Earth from us evil humans". I'm embarassed to share a lifestyle with these people, and if anything ever makes me feel like sinking my pointy canines into a juicy slab of steak, it's hearing sermons from the Unabomber-wannabes of the world.

In closing, I'd like to officially go on record as urging everyone to eat cheeseburgers. Eat lard. Eat steel belted radials for all I care. I'd like for everyone to be healthy, but I'd like even more for everyone to make their own, independent choices.
Humans do not have full canine teeth.
We have the remnants of canine teeth, but they are not full. They are remnants of our evolutionary past and they are worn down. All you need to do is look at a wild dog's or a tiger's mouth to see what real canine teeth look like. Our teeth actually look closer to those of cows. We have plenty of molar like teeth, indicating that we are "supposed" to eat more plants.

Humans also possess a lonnnng, thinnnn small intestine. Now I'm not sure if i remember this correctly and IANAEB (I am not an evolutionary biologist) but i remember from biology class that shows that we should eat primarily vegetables as well.

One of the difficulties with holding a strict vegetarian standpoint from moral and environmental grounds is the failure to see beyond just the purely dietary restrictions that have been placed upon one's self.

Many of the products that are used in every day life are animal products. Leather, an essential part of many types of clothes from backpacks, to shoes, to fetish wear comes from the skin of animals. To proclaim the awfulness of the treatment of animals followed by the wearing of their skin strikes me as either hypocritical or willful blindness. Also, do not forget about those who have a latex allergy and have to use an organic condom that is frequently some form of leather or intestines (its called Lamb Skin for marketing - see sheep gut condoms for more on this).

Continuing this thread, there are people who change their minds about the treatment of animals when their own life is at steak err... stake. Pig parts are often used as temporary replacements for human organs until a real human organ can be found.

Invoking ecological vegetarianism can place some reasonable restrictions upon diet, it is not sensible to rule out all meats. Yes, cows have been farting for millions of years now. However, to protest eating some pork, chicken, or beef when you know that they came from the farm down the road does not make sense. It is trivial to show that the meat on your plate is not contributing to the deforestation of tropical rainforests, and that the farm has taken measures above and beyond what is necessary to prevent fertilizer runoff from reaching watershed areas.

While it is true that many vegetarians do have good reasons at heart, it is necessary to put the beliefs to action for more things than what goes through the digestive tract of the individual. Vegetarian practices should affect the clothes worn, choices upon life support, birth control, and the entire consumer mentality. To make an action based upon one a belief only later to make another action that runs contrary to that belief shows that this belief is not thought out or taken to heart.

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