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Vegan Myths: Canine Teeth = Meat Eater

I recently read the post, 9 Reasons Your Canine Teeth Don’t Make You a Meat-Eater on Free From Harm by Ashley Capps and felt that it was definitely worth sharing.  I have personally heard this argument from many people in just the past year that I have been vegan.

The most compelling part of the following post, for me, was the moral argument.  The idea that we have a right to do harm just because we are capable of it.

What are your feelings on the subject?  People will inevitably feel that your choice to be vegan is a personal attack on their choices and whip out this argument.  How do you respond to them?

One of the most common defenses of meat-eating that vegans encounter is, “If I wasn’t meant to eat meat, then I wouldn’t have these canine teeth!” It’s a comment that’s often tossed out after a meat-eater has been confronted with information about animal farming cruelty, or with the fact that humans have no biological need for meat, milk or eggs. But there are several serious problems with the “canine teeth” argument, the most glaring one being the premise that “the presence of canine teeth = meant to eat meat.” In truth, with the exception of rodents, rabbits, and pikas, nearly all mammals have canine teeth. In fact, several herbivores have ferocious canine teeth, and, as you’ll see in the gallery below, the largest canine teeth of any land animal belong to a true herbivore.

Another problem with the “canine teeth” argument is the idea that, just because we have a physical attribute that enables us to do something harmful, we are morally entitled to perform that activity whenever we want. Humans are physically capable of inflicting all kinds of violence, but our capacity to harm others has nothing to do with whether or not we are right to harm others. Indeed, most people would say it is wrong to cause harm when you can just as easily avoid doing so. And we can drastically reduce the harm and death we cause other animals simply by making different choices at the grocery store.

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About mrsnikkiv

I blog to document my experience transitioning to a vegan lifestyle.

4 responses »

  1. That is a well written point. I will have to remember that about the gorilla and the canines. That pretty much blows the whole “canine teeth” argument out of the water!

    Reply
    • Exactly! I’m seeking out these posts and articles because I feel I should know intelligent and emotion-free responses to the common arguments.

      Reply
      • Yes, because the naysayers usually come at ya with the same “arguments”. And “bunnies are cute” just doesn’t cut it for some.

        Another great resource that has really clear, intelligent and logical arguments pro-veganism is “An Introduction to Animal Rights” by Gary Francione. My copy is all bookmarked and highlighted and I like to re-read sections of it. I’m not affiliated with this dude, I just really think his logical arguments are really persuasive. It’s hard to argue with logic.

        Oh and there’s also that youtube video of Gary Yourofsky (Best Speech You Will Ever Hear). Pretty powerful stuff with more logical arguments.

      • Thanks! I’ll check those out.

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