www.whyville.net Nov 27, 2003 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

An Open Letter to the Times Editor

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This is a sequel to my article, Vegetarianism. I am choosing to write this article because... well, the Times Editor basically slaughtered me in the Editor's Note. Ouch! So here is my reply.

Dear Times Editor,

When you say "big brains" do you mean fat?? Or smart??

What animals have been snacked to extinction? Why, the dodo, silly! They were fat, fleshy, tasty, and easy to catch because they could not fly!!

Did I pick these out of "Teen"? No! Teen is not exactly promoting vegetarianism, with a leather clad Christina on the cover and "Like, Ten ways to look like awesome in a carcass!" as an article.

And as to where I got my facts:

The American Dietetic Association says that "most of mankind for most of human history has lived on vegetarian or near-vegetarian diets."

Or, take cardiologist William C. Roberts's way of putting it- "I think the evidence is pretty clear. If you look at various characteristics of carnivores versus herbivores, it doesn't take a genius to see where humans line up,"

Or, Dr. Neal D. Barnard! "We are not quick, like cats, hawks or other predators," he says. "It was not until the advent of arrowheads, hatchets and other implements that killing and capturing prey became possible."

Oh, and by the way, I am not 20, so I would have trouble doing a 20-year study.

Editor's Note: My apologies if my Note in your previous article hurt you -- that was not my intention, I promise! :-) I was just not convinced that scientists in the general sense believe that humans were made to be vegetarians. I should have been more precise in my language. From what I've been taught, humans were built to be omnivorous. That is, we were built to eat everything we can get our hands on, from fruits and veggies to a slab of steak. I've also heard that humans used to be scavengers, before we figured out how to control fire and fashion weapons. In any case, I wasn't comfortable with the general statement you made, so I made a few suggestions. Didn't mean for it to make anybody uncomfortable!

Your quotes are pretty darn persuasive. I agree that you wouldn't be able to run a 20-year study... that was meant to be a wry joke. ;-) As for animals driven to extinction by being eaten by humans, while I admit it may have happened, your example of the dodo doesn't totally work. Bagheera.com and the American Museum of Natural History say what primarily drove the animals to extinction was destruction of the forest... a distinctly human-caused problem, but not the same thing as having a burger for lunch.

I'm not saying you should eat meat. There are plenty of reasons to pass on the beef. But you haven't yet convinced me that this is one of those reasons. Keep working on it!


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