Religious view

Religious views regarding an abstinence of meat is the right of any American, including Herbaugh and Foresburg. They even have the right to proselytize, as many “animal rights” advocates are fond of doing.

And I would never dream of forcing anyone to eat a Big Mac, no matter how much I believe they are missing a good thing. However, as any subscriber to the Skeptical Inquirer will tell you, unsubstantiated claims like the kind these activists make should be viewed with a healthy skepticism.

Like most people, I have been guilty of anthropomorphizing animals at one time or another. I am quite certain, however, that I have managed to go beyond nursery rhymes to recognize that animals, while sharing certain physiological similarities with humans, are not thinking, feeling creatures in the same way we are.

I have seen no evidence that animals love, hate, romanticize, politicize, or proselytize. A rat is not a pig is not a dog is not a boy. We have all evolved from the same primordial soup, but we are not the same. It is certain biological mechanisms, as well as some very rudimentary brain processes, that humans share with animals that provide the rationale for animal experimentation.

Nor is there evidence that meat, in and of itself, is bad for humans. Our very dentition speaks of an evolution on a generalized, omnivorous diet. We very likely would not be the species we are were it not for hunting and eating meat.

It is the excessive consumption of meat, not meat itself, that is detrimental to human health. That is an extremely important distinction to keep in mind.

As for the caricature of meat-eating as cannibalism, it is both ridiculous and offensive. While the animal rights religion may hold meat-eating to be a mortal sin, most people do not.

Whether in the scientist’s lab or a farmer’s barn, I would hope that animals are not treated cruelly. Certain practices such as raising calves for veal or mink for coats, and useless animal experiments such as those conducted by some cosmetic firms are worth protesting.

But the extreme view that animals are no different than humans in any significant way is a religious principle. I respect that position, but I have no plans to convert to it. And I will fight any effort to force me to do so.

Richard Casey

Graduate Student

Instructional Technology