Top of the Food Chain, Ma!


The folks over at VeganFreaks take on Newsweek and their coverage of the battle over foie gras.

Animal cruelty is reduced to a “huge misunderstanding,” making animal rights activists look like sub-intellectual fools. And of course, the authors couldn’t resist mentioning our “struggle to the top of the food chain” (another anti-vegan/AR quip that I hear pretty often). Let’s chuck the authors in a cage with some hungry lions, and then we can talk about million year struggles to the “top” of the food chain….

This is one of the arguments from non-vegetarians that really gets me… the whole “top of the food chain” or “if we don’t eat them, they’d eat us” argument. My first question for them is: what animals do you eat?

Chicken. Ah, an herbivore.

Cow. Another herbivore.

Pig. Omnivore, but the ones you’re eating certainly aren’t out there eating snakes and worms.

Duck, deer, sheep, etc… all of the meat we eat comes from animals that are primarily plant-eating animals (though there are some exceptions). When was the last time you saw someone snacking on a tiger leg or lion foot?

The way I see it is that the reason we eat the calm, gentle animals that generally don’t eat other animals is because they’re the only ones we can physically dominate and force into factory farm situations. How quickly most of us would become vegetarian if we had a choice between attacking a bear and eating a potato.

So, yeah… “top of the food chain” my arse. (For further commentary on the “food chain” argument, see comment #16 on this post.)

16 Responses to “Top of the Food Chain, Ma!”

  1. Sara

    I’ve had two very positive experiences with nonvegans recently that might cheer you up. One of my coworkers is a very big fan of the “food chain” argument. Well, he recently realized that for the past few weeks he’s eaten nothing but fruit, nuts, and the occasional vegetable. He just kept eating foods he enjoyed that required no effort to prepare, and they just happened to all be vegan. Once he realized it he just kind of shrugged and said, “Well, why stop now?”

    Once he confessed this to another carnivorous friend, his friend in turn confessed that he gave up eating meat for lent and just never went back to it. He had secretly been living as a vegetarian since. There was just no point to eating meat, since it’s absolutely unneccesary.

    So now my coworkers no longer laugh at me when I bring in soy nuts and fruit salad for lunch. There’s always something to be positive about. :)

  2. Suebob

    I think that eating domesticated animals is probably more common because they are easier to keep and kill.

    Eating carnivores on the other hand, isn’t done much because I don’t think they taste very good. They probably also tend to be tough and sinewy.

  3. Ryan

    Interesting… that’s an angle I hadn’t thought of (the texture angle).

  4. Christopher Jones

    There is a good quote that relates to this:

    “The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger after sweet and gentle creatures who harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service.”
    -John Jacques Rousseau

  5. vegenaise

    “They probably also tend to be tough and sinewy.”

    Isn’t that what one of the guys said in the movie _alive_?

    (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  6. Hoss

    Putting aside the various “might makes right” flaws with the “food chain” argument, it’s worth noting that the basic premise itself doesn’t make any sense. After all, vegetarians and vegans are on top of the food chain, too!

  7. animal_friend

    Interestingly enough, Food chain believers do not believe in food chain when animals attack humans!

  8. Sean Morse-Barry

    I’m twelve years old and I’ve been a vegetarian for one year so why should I start eating meat now just because meat tast good doesn’t mean I should start eating it again but it would be helpful to have more tasty not meat food

  9. Sean Morse-Barry

    I’m twelve years old and I’ve been a vegetarian for one year so why should I start eating meat now just because meat tast good doesn’t mean I should start eating it again but it would be helpful to have more tasty non meat food.

  10. Ryan Mercer

    Well put!

    The very fact that slaughterhouses exist and that people continue to eat meat, knowing full well how much agony, suffering and pain is involved in getting their “food” to their plates is a reflection on the ignorance and dull mindedness of the majority of this so called “modern world’s” population.

    The food chain argument is often the only one that meat eaters have left in using against us to somehow justify their funding of the barbarism and cruelty that is the meat industry.

    Let me dispel the “humans are at the top of the food chain” myth here:

    Remember: If animal slaughter is distasteful for humans to think about, what must it be like for the animals to experience it?

  11. Charles Edelman.

    Man is better off without any foods of animal origin in his diet. He is neither an omnivore or a carnivore and does not need animal protein. The meat industry is a nightmare for the animals raised and slaughtered in it for human consumption. Animals raised in intensive farming are sick and diseased, pumped up with antibiotics and growth promoting hormones, fed garbage, cardboard, roadkill, discarded restaurant grease, animal waste and dead cats and dogs from our animal shelters. They are a primary cause of cancer, heart and other degenerative diseases in humans, contribute to environmental devastation and global hunger. The meat industry is one of single greatest evils in the modern world and should be totally eliminated ASAP.

  12. Ashley

    if that were true… if that were true… then we’d be eating bears, tigers, lions, and any animal that’s bigger than us/can kill us if we are unarmed.

    But chickens and fish…is questionable, LOL!

  13. GC

    Humans are at the top simply because we have the power to kill all other species.

    A Lion couldnt kill a great white shark as it would be pulled down and drowned, we haul a shark onto the deck of a boat it suffocates, same with everything else.

  14. Titanium

    We are at the Top of the food chain because we have the ability to Domesticate Lower beings to our will. We are at the top of the food chain because we control nature with tools that we invented. We are at the top of the food chain because we live in societies much, much larger than any existing. We are the top of the predatory chain because we have had, for a while, the Ability to sharpen our senses and metal, destroy things we don’t like and because we have tools.

    As much as I lament this statement, because most people are idiots, like the OP.

  15. ryan

    Being the top of the food chain also means we have the opportunity to not be assholes about it.

  16. Emily

    Hmmm, I don’t think it’s a matter of being an asshole. I think it’s just a natural process of evolution – why on earth would we, as humans, go for animals that are more likely to kill us first?
    Sure, lions target certain animals that could put up a decent fight but that doesn’t mean they don’t also pick on the little guys. I guess us humans are no longer as bold to hunt the big animals, but I don’t think it’s because we’re bullies.

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