If you give a baby an apple and a chick, the baby’s instinct is to play with the cute chick and eat the apple. Most people, especially in the US, wouldn’t be willing to take a butcher’s knife and kill a living animal as the sight of blood and raw flesh is innately revolting. This bloody reality is repulsive to us, unlike carnivores such as lions or hyenas.
Many argue that the diets of cavemen consisted of mainly meat and if our ancestors consumed meat, then the diet must be natural to our species, irrespective of our natural animal instincts. Firstly, during most of our evolutionary history, we were largely vegetarian. More meat consumption in the early human diet came with the discovery of fire, which reduced the risk of death due to bacteria in meat. This allowed our ancestors to survive during times when plant foods were either unavailable or scarce. If crops were plentiful, then animals were not killed for meat, but for rawhide and fur for insulation, for example.
Now, however, especially in industrialized nations, people don’t have to worry about where they get their food, not considering money restrictions. Our ancestors didn’t have a Whole Foods down the street, they ate meat out of necessity. And only until fairly recently, the wealthy could afford meat. Because of widespread factory farming, US meat consumption has doubled in the last 100 years and is therefore becoming cheaper and readily available. The amount of meat we are currently consuming is incomparable to the cavemen diet that many meat eaters justify their diet by. In fact, our physiology itself proves that the humans aren’t adapted to chew and digest meat.
Humans have soft fingernails and dull teeth. Carnivores and omnivores have sharp claws and large canine teeth that are capable of tearing flesh. A lion doesn’t need a fork and knife to eat a lamb. Dr. Richard Leakey, a renowned anthropologist, says, “You can’t tear flesh by hand, you can’t tear hide by hand. Our anterior teeth are not suited for tearing flesh or hide.
We don’t … have large canine teeth, and we wouldn’t have been able to deal with food sources that required those large canines.” Meat is difficult for humans to digest as we don’ have short intestinal tracts like carnivores that allow meat to pass quickly through. Our intestines are much longer, giving the body more time to absorb nutrients from plant-based foods instead (“Are Humans Supposed to Eat Meat?”).