I Didn’t Climb to the Top of the Food Chain to Eat Lettuce

I didn’t climb to the top of the food chain to eat lettuce. You eat dry tofu and I’ll eat a juicy steak.

Actually you didn’t climb any food chain. Since you were born, your local grocery store most likely provided food for you that was bred in captivity. You didn’t invent tools and scavenge the remains from animals killed by lions with Homo Erectus two million years ago or make bows and arrows with Native Americans in the New World. Eating never required you demonstrate ingenuity, mental acuity, or strength — only a fork and knife.

homo erectus

If you’re alone in the Amazon in Brazil, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the Adirondack Mountains in the United States, or the Sahara Desert in Africa, which wild animal can you kill with your bare hands? The gorilla, shark, bear, or tiger? None of the above. Regardless, your ability to kill doesn’t give you the right to kill.

Man-attacked-by-shark-and-s

The idea that humans belong atop the “food chain” is a long promoted fallacy used to justify the senseless and cruel exploiting, abusing, confining, killing, and eating of animals. Your power is derived from Smith & Wesson, not intellectual or physical superiority. There was never any “climbing” involved — only a few inventions long before your time such as the arrow, gun, trap, cage, and factory machinery.

My food choices extend well beyond vegetables and tofu and include countless options including delicious recipes with beans, nuts, fruits, and other foods that don’t require me to claim superiority over the most defenseless among us. Here are some photos of plant-based foods I eat. You may also consider plant-based meats if your palate craves them.

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The food I eat now tastes much better and healthier than the food I ate when I consumed the remains of animals. I hope you’ll consider trying some recipes or at least reducing your negative impact on your health, the environment, and animals. Here are some more suggestions to help you begin. Thank you for keeping an open mind.

Andrew Kirschner, Ed.D., is a volunteer grassroots animal rights advocate and the organizer of the 2013 Florida March Against Cruelty to Animals. He writes a zero-profit blog, Kirschner’s Korner, to help raise awareness about issues affecting the global community to make the world a more humane place. To receive Dr. Kirschner’s new articles via email, enter your email in the “Follow Blog Via Email” link at the top right of the blog.

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30 Responses to I Didn’t Climb to the Top of the Food Chain to Eat Lettuce

  1. Leah Jacobson says:

    Bravo!

  2. sierrasue123 says:

    Isnt it funny how people think that vegans only eat lettuce?? So much variety of food that meat eaters never bother to try. I agree vegan food is much tastier !!

  3. Jill Fletcher says:

    Excellent Post!!! I think most of us vegans get a little tired of people who find it easier to throw out ignorant crap than to educate themselves on the truth.

  4. Dhona says:

    I love this one……and the food looks scrumptious!

  5. Provoked says:

    Spot on! Hooray for rational compassion!

  6. Pingback: I Didn’t Climb to the Top of the Food Chain to Eat Lettuce | Hearts Wide Open

  7. Michaelb says:

    Must have skipped that whole agriculture thing happening 15,000 years ago. Took some brain power to do that. Guess he stopped evolving

  8. Great article. We are sharing a link to this post on our facebook page at: http://www.facebook.com/TheAnimalSpirits

  9. stevolution says:

    I had a similar conversation the other day.
    ..I didn’t fight me way to the top of the food chain to eat bloody grass..
    Actually you didn’t, you were just born, unless you were created in a lab.
    ..fuck off dickhead..
    Dickhead? Really, wow. Thanks for thinking of me.

    • Sydney says:

      A question for my education: It seems like so much of the protein requirement comes from soy. I’ve been reading very bad things about soy because it is almost completely GMO & controlled by Monsanto. I also read that fermented soy is the safe way to go. What can you tell me? Thanks.

      • Thank you for your question Sydney. I hope you find this information helpful.

        http://pcrm.org/health/health-topics/soy-and-your-health

      • Gary says:

        Hi Sydney. In addition to Andrew’s excellent link … it’s usually easy to find non-GMO soy products. Most of the GMO soy is used for animal agriculture feedcrops. Here is another useful link that hopefully will allay your fears: http://www.vegetarian.org.uk/factsheets/safetyofsoyafactsheet.pdf (Note that the intensely-studied Okinawan elders, possibly the healthiest, longest-lived people on the planet, got 12% of their calories from soy. But I think it’s great to mix it up. Legumes have plenty of protein, as do a surprisingly wide variety of vegetables.)

      • ben says:

        Hi Sydney, have you read The China Study yet? It is a must read, it is the most comprehensive nutritional study ever conducted on humans. It has concluded along with many other related studies that we need far less protein than “promoted” especially from the meat and dairy industries. Or you could watch “Forks Over Knives” also, this helps explain alot. But in a nutshell, we can easily get more than enough protein from our vegetables, grains and pulses,without ever eating soy, it’s not an issue., it’s a myth :)

      • Eva Ries says:

        The “need” for so much protein is also overrated, and based upon pseudo science, i.e., a lab study conducted on juvenile rats (who have 100x the protein requirement of an adult human) and then generalized onto the human population. This was done in the early 1930s and then revisited in the 1970s. Junk science abounds, and it’s harder to show people the truth when they’ve been misinformed from the start.

        Humans don’t need that much protein at all, a mere few ounces a day is more than enough, actually, and there’s plenty of non-GMO sources available. Legumes and nuts are wonderful.

  10. laurabs1 says:

    Dr. Rudolph Tanzi, a Harvard Neuro Scientist, gave a youtube talk on meat and Alzheimers. Dr. Neal Barnard also has done research for his new book on brain foods on the topic of preventing this disease and most others. Seems herbivores do NOT get the brain disease. Since we DO have a choice, and many thankfully so many are going vegan, the future generations that will thrive healthfully, will be herbivores. The carnivore humans will die off as each generation that eats dead food ridden with cholesterol , chemicals and residues from the many poisons fed to “farmed” animals, gets sicker ad weaker.

  11. Fabulous ! – shared

  12. Susanne says:

    Thanks! Liked this one a lot. And the food does look yummy! :) Bookmarked.

  13. Mammoth says:

    I will eat meat, without guilt, when it a matter of LIFE or DEATH.
    Our ancestors ate what they could get to survive. I am not in that position now so there is no excuse to enslave, torture and murder animals when I can survive and thrive on alternatives.
    I happen to love tofu and for that matter, I love lettuce too.
    Eating meat, especially factory farmed meat, leads people to hold animal life in callous disregard and it isn’t a huge step for them to regard each other as disposable commodities undeserving of compassion.
    We are not ‘top of the food chain’, bacteria is and we are still evolving, so maybe it’s time we out-grew barbarity and a hunger for still-bleeding flesh.

  14. David says:

    One cannot eat without killing, it is impossible, any adult knows this. I completely agree that inhumane killing and factory farming is abhorrent and should be outlawed, however to refuse to eat humanely killed meat on purely moral grounds is simply hypocrisy, plants are alive and you kill them to eat them, pests are fatally eradicated from your crops, the fields your crops are grown in are created by clearing forested areas, destroying ecosystems, damaging the water tables and salinising the soil….if you are fine with this death because tree’s, ecosystems and ‘pests’ don’t have a face, then you have decided that only beings that are similar to humans are worthy of a humane death. Death is part of the cycle of life and in perfect harmony with nature, it is the way that death is delivered that is important.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts David. It is true that we all have some negative impact on the environment and animals; however, you can significantly reduce your impact if you stop eating animals and their byproducts. Natural death is part of the cycle of life; a premature death for human consumption, greed, and exploitation is not. While you can compare the death of spinach to the confinement, abuse, and slaughter of a pig, I don’t think many people will find it a convincing argument.

      Please consider reading this informative article by Bruce Friedrich.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/resolved-eating-animals-i_b_671322.html

      • David says:

        Try Reading “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Keith – this is a well researched and infomative book that I feel every vegetarian should read, if you chose a certain lifestyle, you should know what impact your choice has on your body and the world we live in..

      • vanessa says:

        I do think David is making a valid point, I was a vegetarian for 9 years , now I eat fish and chicken along with plants and was raise in a family that raised animals and plants to eat.I believe that vegan’s are taking it to a different extreme.Don’t assume people that eat meat don’t care about the treatment of animals, it’s not always the case. Also nature is not a man made experience, so in the natural order animals are food,so let’s be more aware of how we live and treat all of mother earth’s living things and eat with respect as my ancestors did. Aho Vanessa

    • Eva Ries says:

      Yes, death is a part of life.

      On that note, you’re conveniently ignoring the part about “let nature take its course” with regard to humans, however.

      There are too many of us, and we are consuming based upon “want,” not upon need. Millions and millions of vegetarians in southern India aren’t wrong about excluding animals from their diet.

      Animal consumption is a product of social prestige, power, and ultimately, conspicuous consumption. In earlier eras of human history, the people in MOST societies ate little or no meat as it was considered a sign of wealth, and therefore out of reach for most people. Only the wealthy could afford to consume it – not the average folk. Meat was reserved as a sign of dominance and used for “feasting” during festivals – special occasions. And that’s been anthropologically documented.

      The occurrence of daily flesh consumption is extremely rare and very limited to societies such as the Inuit of Alaska, for example, who have historically very notoriously short life spans, too. That’s not merely because of the climactic conditions, either.

      The truth is that humans aren’t that different from our closest primate counsins, the Chimpanzee. And, when a troupe of rival chimps OR another species of primates turns up uninvited in a troupe’s space (“territory”), the males band together and hunt down the offender and commit murder by capturing the intruder or a young or weak member of a rival troupe (because that’s what they are able to catch). Then, they kill that member in front of his/her troupe and eat the body – in front of them. It’s a shock and awe campaign, designed to scare the other primates. In other words, they do this not because it’s nutritionally necessary, but because it’s a very nasty scare tactic. Chimps don’t catch and eat other animals (except ants and termites) – just other primates and only for this purpose. This, too, was documented by Goodall and de Waal.

      By contrast, Gorillas will not resort to this. They resolve their conflicts by merely fighting. They, too eat some insects, but are herbivores otherwise.

      Human behaviour in killing in eating other animals isn’t about “need,” it’s about dominance and conspicuous consumption and it’s why we MUST cook these animals to even consume them, let alone do it safely. It’s why those who eat flesh have shorter lifespans and die of many more diseases, too: BSE, diabetes, coronary complications, obesity, gout, arthritis, cystic fibrosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and the list goes on.

  15. With no fangs, no claws, no speed and no strength we evolved a brain and were not designed to eat each other for flags and stone gods.

  16. Drew says:

    i hate this. Meat is the way to go. who cares about animals

    • laurabs1 says:

      Those who think, feel, reason, and understand that everything we do to them, is done to us. Eating corpses is just way uncool. If I put a hunk of cat food, meat, outside, maggots! Vegetables just rot. Meat is rotting flesh that has been sprayed, doused,processed and comes from sick animals who’d be dead sooner were they not filled with drugs. It’s a sick and dying industry. LEARN SOMETHING NEW!

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