Every so often on my way to work, as I enter Philly via Cheltenham I come across a red Prius – a Hybrid no doubt – sporting a red bumper sticker that states
Usually I just get a chuckle out of it; shake my head; and move along. That’s just my first reaction however. I might also ponder what reason or purpose these creatures would serve, if not those so clearly expressed on the back of my favorite red Toyota Prius hybrid. How might I classify such purposeless creatures? And I resist the temptation to say “Democrat”!
(Sorry … My post-election resistance is still low.)
But since the last time I saw the aforementioned bumper sticker, it has been tugging at my brain like a persistent 3-year-old. I simply can’t shake the nagging question of what exactly such Tasty Animals were intended for, if not Exploitation by Man. With another Thanksgiving approaching, a holiday when many a stately bird is sacrificed in the name of the National Family Holiday, it seems to be an appropriate time to consider this problem.
It’s an interesting conundrum, with many little twists and turns that really make you think about the ecosystem Man inhabits and his effects on said system. But in the interest of Full Disclosure, I have to be honest in admitting I really, really, really love a good ribeye! Especially one done on a very hot barbie, where the fat cracks and sizzles as it melts and adds that unmistakable flavor to moist, tender beef …
Geez, I’m sweating …
Anyways, I’m always struck by the compassion and sensitivity of the Meat is Murder (MIM) crowd. They are passionate. They are committed. They are plainly speaking from the heart for those species that cannot speak for themselves, that cannot lobby their rights, that are truly at the mercy of Man.
But let’s think about that one … Would it be any different if Man wasn’t the dominate species?
In researching the subject of Meat is Murder, I ran across the following argument, “Suppose a species larger and smarter than man existed on Earth.”
What if the Pomegranates were perched at the top of the food chain?
(I know … pomegranates?!? Bare with me.)
My guess is that a lot of us would be lying low in the weeks running up to Thanksgiving, should our sweet human meat enjoy the status as the National Foodstuff of Master Pomegranate’s Black Friday Eve. But if that were the case, it would – most likely – be a condition that developed over the course of Nature’s millennia.
Unless of course, we speak of an alien Pomegranate species from another galaxy, roaming the star systems in search of good fertilizer and moderate growing temps; pillaging this Big Blue Marble; and feasting on local populations.
In either case, the Pecking Order would have been established – as it always is – based entirely on which species was stronger, more adaptive, of greater intelligence, and possessing the more highly developed kitchen cutlery. The Stronger hunt and kill; they domesticate the Weaker species; some they would eat; some they would ride; some they would use for clothing or entertainment.
Of course, from our point of view this situation would suck. It would especially suck if it happened at the hands of alien Pomegranates that supplant us at the peak of the Big Blue Marble food chain. All of us turkeys-in-waiting would be cursed with the KNOWLEDGE what was at steak.
Sorry … Couldn’t help myself.
But let’s not kid ourselves, if Pomegranates took a page from the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, they would do what they wanted with us. This is until we stopped them. No touch-y feel-y existentialism would likely alter the end result – Cranky Giblets! (Just in case, here’s how to avenge Humankind.) This is – not surprisingly – what our REAL, current carnivore competitors do TO US when we wander into their oh-sh*t-where-the-hell’s-the-truck/boat territory.
Survival of the strongest …
Now the MIM crowd would argue that Man - as the more intelligent species - should be much more sensitive to the plight of the lesser animals. Perhaps we were back when Man was still living in caves and limited to eating nuts and berries.
I tend to believe that the definition of Animal Husbandry changed dramatically and irreversibly when that first caveman found out what fire roasted meat tasted like. From then on, the over-riding quest became finding the best way to roast, grill, bake, or broil the perfect piece of meat.
And as anyone who has tried to go back to the Nut ‘n Berry route after years of steaks and breast meat can tell you, it ain’t all that easy trying to put THAT genie back in the bottle!
And while we’re at it, why would The Line be drawn at Animal/Vegetable by the MIM crowd? What about the feelings and sensitivities of our plentiful Plant life?!? Nope, the MIMs don’t want to go there! How could they possibly push BOTH concepts of “Meat is Murder” and “Salad is Murder”???
Yet there are numerous studies on the intelligence, reactive capabilities, and even communication behavior of plants. But the MIM crowd doesn’t want us marching down that road … Recoiling at the screams of the Chick Peas as they are conveyed in the millions towards the HummusMasher 8000!
No … No … Picking among species we are “allowed” to eat would defeat the purpose, because no truly sensitive, well-adjusted, in-tune with Nature being should be able to do that! So, we are left to our own devices in determining the whys and hows of an Animal/Plant line of demarcation.
But here’s the Key Point …
You can be certain that if the Pomegranates truly ruled The Planet, and along the way developed a taste for Human spareribs; we’d all be hiding right next to the turkeys in the weeks leading up to Black Friday Eve!