Opinionator vs. opinionated: swing and a miss, Jeff McMahan »
The New York Times Opinionator blog asks: Why should we have carnivorous animals? Your Vegansaurus considered the question, and, of course, had something to say about it.
Certainly we shouldn’t have carnivorous people; our big evolved brains learned ethics, and we’re past thinking of animals of commodity or property. We want to do as little harm to animals as possible, including preserving their lives and their land. But how how can we say that and then say that we want to genetically modify carnivores to evolve into herbivores? A strong argument against eating animals is that it takes away the animals’ choice to live or die—genetic modification of carnivores would deny them a choice as well.
I understand the concept of wanting to protect herbivorous animals, to create a peaceful world, to eliminate violence. But it makes me uncomfortable to meddle with animals’ genetic makeup. You can give your dog exclusively vegan food, but your dog will still want to eat basically everything, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s much more disgusting to feed chickens grain and cow brains. It’s much more offensive to pump cows full of rBST. Even simpler, it’s fucking disgusting to have bred eating-animals to obscenely large sizes, sometimes, like turkeys, so big that they can’t even walk. That’s genetic meddling, and it’s gross.
Favoring one species over another is another one of our pro-vegan arguments—specifically, up with humans, down with every other animal. It’s still speciesism to actively work to create herbivores out of carnivores. We’re not “better” than other animals; we’re better able to reason, and act against our instincts, so we choose to live cruelty-free. We have to maintain perspective, though. We’re oughtn’t go all Margaret Sanger on the animals. No, nature isn’t fair or kind, but hasn’t humanity already done enough to mess with the Earth?
We appreciate Jeff McMahan’s messages of anti-violence and veganism. That’s about it, though.