Sunday, November 4, 2012

Canine Teeth: A justification for eating meat?

Originally posted on The Vegan Times as part of their "Speciesists Say The Darndest Things" section, here is my answer to the objection that our canine teeth or ability to make tools justifies eating other animals:

“So what if human beings don’t have sharp teeth, like most carnivores? We can make tools (such as spears) instead. Perhaps our canines started shrinking once they were no longer as useful, but the fact that we have them shows that they were useful.”
Even if humans once had sharp teeth, big claws, and bodies that could actually digest meat easily, does that justify eating meat now? In this day and age, humans can be perfectly healthy without consuming animal products, so unless we’re lost and starving on a desert island where there’s nothing but animals (who somehow survive despite the lack of vegetation), we have no reason to.

Our puny little canines – which, by the way, some herbivores also have, and are more like ours than the teeth of carnivores – aren’t a good justification for continuing to participate in violence towards other animals, just like owning a sharp knife in your kitchen drawer doesn’t justify murdering humans.

The animals we use have no say as to whether they live or die. But we do have a choice. We can choose between violence or non-violence. These are sentient, feeling beings with an interest in continued life. They don’t care about what sort of teeth we have or about our ability to make tools. They care about their lives.


  1. I loved every word of this post! Used it in an argument on my own blog. :D