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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 58)...

    I want to inflict as little harm as possible during my life on this planet. To me, this means being a vegetarian (among other things), but I understand that you yourself are not an advocate of vegetarianism. Would you explain why?

    ...and the response:

    First, you'll never see what I'm saying till you rid yourself of the idea that eating is harming. This is biological and ecological nonsense. If eating were harmful, it (or the community of life on this planet) would have disappeared long ago.

    Second, I can't subscribe to the idea that animal life has some sort of higher right to life than plant life. For me, to make eating a carrot more virtuous than eating a trout is just a form of ethnocentrism. It suggests that creatures that resemble us are more precious than creatures that don't.

    Third, while I'm perfectly open to being persuaded of the health benefits of vegetarianism, the idea that all other dietary regimens are unhealthy or unnatural is refuted by the fact that no Leaver people has ever been found that is exclusively vegetarian. Almost without exception, Leaver peoples are omnivores---and the exceptions are not vegetarians but rather carnivores, as in the case of those living in polar regions, where no vegetation is available as food.

    Fourth, you should realize that many who support vegetarianism do so because vegetarianism will allow our population explosion to continue longer than nonvegetarianism will. They are pointing out that the earth will support more humans as vegetarians than otherwise (which is absolutely true), so humans should become vegetarians. To put it another way, vegetarianism will enable us to convert more of this planet's biomass into human flesh than nonvegetarianism does---which they seem to think is wonderful but which is the direct opposite of what I'm saying.


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