Meat & Morality

One feature of the hit & run vegans (who sometimes comment here) is that they always eagerly provide a link to photos of feedlots, slaughterhouses, and so on. That's their lazy way. Of course, it's effective.

1 in 200 Children are vegetarian

Nichole Nightingale, 14, was exposed to a YouTube video that showed the graphic details of how chickens are slaughtered for meat. The letter ended with an invitation to visit the Web site of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for more information.

This information prompted Nightingale to become a vegan – meaning she consumes no animal meat or animal products such as eggs or milk.

In complete defiance of human evolutionary biology, the "wise & experienced" 14-year-old decides to eat the diet of long-extinct pea-brained hominids and chimpanzees. Just wonderful.

Not to drag on, because frequent commenter Monica Hughes, PhD biology, has a pretty wide ranging post on the issue. Go read it. As far as the photos go, at the end of her post she quotes Garrett Hardin.

In passing, it is worth noting that the morality of an act cannot be determined from a photograph. One does not know whether a man killing an elephant or setting fire to the grassland is harming others until one knows the total system in which his act appears. "One picture is worth a thousand words," said an ancient Chinese; but it may take ten thousand words to validate it. It is as tempting to ecologists as it is to reformers in general to try to persuade others by way of the photographic shortcut. But the essence of an argument cannot be photographed: it must be presented rationally — in words.

In today's increasingly graphic world, this is an identification worth burning into your consciousness. Words can be weasely and manipulative enough. Photographs lacking all context are a recipe for a snake pit. Don't allow yourselves to be anyone's fool.

While I have always regarded the treating of animals humanely and with respect a great value, and thus regard feedlots and other similar operations as shameful, I regard the use of photographs and hyperbole as means to manipulate people into ignoring their own biological imperatives for the sake of propaganda to be despicable.

But what can you expect from people who eat the diet of long extinct pea-brained hominids?

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Rob on January 13, 2009 at 22:00

    Chimpanzees eat meat regularly and hunt in organized packs. Evolutionary biologists theorize that early hominids may have done the same. Links below to an article and a video (uses infrared to track the hunters and prey) below.

  2. Christian on January 14, 2009 at 00:26

    In my opinions photographs are necessary to document what's going on. I can't see how "killing an elefant or burning off grassland" can be compared to the systematic mistreatment of animals that is going on, only because it's possible for people to avoid the sight/thought of it. To most people, meat is something you buy in the supermarket. It's too easy for them to avoid the fact that the animals they eat are mistreated. I became a vegetarian for that very reason, I'd rather not eat meat and risk malnutrition than be responsible for the mistreatment of animals (which you are if you buy that shit). I've since returned to eating wild game (I hunt myself), wild caught fish and freerange organic meats. These are healthier in terms of fatty acid composition anyway, so you're doing yourself as well as the animal a favor.
    I think the alienation to food is a huge problem for our society. Most people couldn't kill a chicken themself, but they'll gladly eat one that has been raised in a cage where it can hardly move and has been forcefed grain.

  3. MNUltra on January 13, 2009 at 18:37

    Richard, great blog. I linked your Part III post to my blog, hope you don't mind. If you do, let me know and I'll remove it. I'm a Paleo eater and call my fitness regimen Primal Fitness. Also have my family on a Vitamin D regimen thanks to your blog!

  4. Richard Nikoley on January 13, 2009 at 18:43

    Mind? I love links and thank linkers profusely. Link away, man. And thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. Rachel on January 14, 2009 at 06:08

    🙂 I was so hoping you'd pick up the 1/200 kids are vegetarian story. I actually am more concerned with vegetarian and vegan parents who feed their very young children animal free, processed soy heavy diets. It's one thing for a fully informed adult to make those kinds of choices about their diets. But 5 year olds can't defend themselves!

  6. Dr Dan on January 14, 2009 at 03:10

    Maybe we should go and take photographs of all the dead mammals that have been killed and their homes destroyed after a whole crop of grain has been cut and send it to her. Then what will she eat.

    No one argues that animals kept under inhumane conditions is bad. But to take their life after having a good one? They rely on us to eat them otherwise their species wouldn't exist. Its mutually beneficial for both of our species. I would prefer to have the death of an animal on my conscience rather than a whole species.

    Nice post. Nice and provocative.

  7. Ryon Day on January 14, 2009 at 10:39

    I believe that we all should recognize the difference between the utilization of other animals for their resources, and the exploitation of those same animals. It is certainly possible to have operations that treat their animals with as much dignity and respect as possible before they are killed. Indeed, I find bowhunting, for example a rather disgusting practice, but have no problem with hunting in general.

    Unfortunately, our efforts to increase the carrying capacity of the earth and the sustain our hedonistic and wasteful lifestyles have resulted in animals being treated no differently than oil fields and coal mines. This too I find disgusting.

    I make a concerted effort to buy foods that my own moral standards, and as another poster pointed out, grains and other plants are often more destructive to animal life than more natural alternatives!

  8. BEE on January 14, 2009 at 14:00

    For someone that was vegetarian for years and am now adopting a primal lifestyle (and liking the health benefits more) I can relate to having the inhumane conditions of animals on my conscious. So I try to make the meat I eat the best, if they had a good life, so should I.

  9. J on January 14, 2009 at 22:30

    As Art Devany and Loren Cordain say, as brain size increased humans became meat eaters(it was MUCH better that way). Maybe if we lived in a perfect world, we wouldnt have to kill animals for our food, but the fact of life is that in order to obtain and use energy we need it from sources that create energy themselves. In order to live and survive and get a "bang for our buck" nutritiously animal sources are essential.

    What pisses me off is that these vegans condemn meat and such and will create recipes for vegan cookies and brownies. By eating a lot of meat and fat, dropping the carb junk, I dropped from well over 20% body fat to 8% today, and HDLs that improved 17 points in 3 months and triglycerides are at 40. Richard has bravely helped people like overcome the fear of eating animal fat and instead to embrace it as essential for optimal health. The stats dont lie……..

  10. Jan on January 14, 2009 at 17:01

    Have you seen this PETA "Sea Kittens" page?

    On the strength of it, I went out and bought a nice salmon fillet for dinner.

    [And speaking as a photographer, one should never trust a photograph or video. Contrary to the myth that "photographs don't lie," all photographs DO lie; photographs are a) necessarily limited because they cannot show everything, and b) are edited by the photographer who chooses what you are to be allowed to see as well as what you're not allowed to see.]


  11. billy-jay on January 15, 2009 at 03:39

    I kind of wonder if that poor girl saw a video of kids working in a sweatshop, would she stop wearing shoes?

  12. Richard Nikoley on January 15, 2009 at 10:03

    Well Christian, I can't argue with your values, there, cause they're yours and your business. That said, I would not risk malnutrition, for myself or any loved ones, as a tradeoff because, very simply: my life and health are a higher value to me than even the torture and suffering of animals — any animals.

    Yes, there's no denying it: if you purchase supermarket meat, you are part of that problem. On the other hand, it is precisely because we have a centralized, top-down Soviet-style agricultural system with market perversions galore — most politicized — that we end up with things the way they are. That, and people don't want to take responsibility for their own food anymore — not even to the extent of knowing a little about it.

    I suppose that in the end, those of us who can afford it ought to support the local producers as much as possible. But I think trying to force these valid values on others is simply a recipe for even worse problems (not that I took any such intention from your comment).

  13. Broggly on January 1, 2010 at 05:48

    “the diet of long-extinct pea-brained hominids and chimpanzees”
    Eh? Chimps aren’t vegetarian, they hunt monkeys and other small animals.

    • Richard Nikoley on January 1, 2010 at 10:43

      I’ve linked to Utube videos to that effect many, many times. It’s a rhetorical statement, not literal.

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