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.