The Unvegan

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Jeff McMahan: Unvegan Villain

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The face of death.

Is this the face of death? In a word, yes. Behind the eyes of this simple-looking old man is a brain filled with hatred. And hatred for whom? Carnivores. But he does not simply hate human carnivores, but carnivores of all types.

In fact, his desire is to plot the extinction of every carnivores in the world. In an article published in the New York Times, this dangerous man attempts to explain that the world would be a better place without carnivores. Say what you will about unvegans, but we certainly do not wish for the extinction of animals. If anything, our support of the meat industry ensures that certain bovine and foul species continue to live and breed.

Yet this man who desires the extinction of all carnivores claims to hate suffering. He says, “If I had been in a position to design and create a world, I would have tried to arrange for all conscious individuals to be able to survive without tormenting and killing other conscious individuals.” Well, sure, that does sound great. While we’re at it, let’s design plants that don’t require the death of other species to survive. In fact, let’s design plants that aren’t actually alive so we can eat them without causing them any pain. And most importantly, can we design these plants to actually taste good? Like meat?

He actually says, “Suppose that we could arrange the gradual extinction of carnivorous species, replacing them with new herbivorous ones.” Yes, let’s kill off all of these animals, that sounds humane. Let’s intervene with evolution more than we have already done so. And in doing so, we can also kiss the ecosystem of the entire planet goodbye. Because with no carnivores to keep populations in check, the world would soon become a desert wasteland. Already, there are food shortages around the planet. If every species on the planet was left to continually populate, every bit of food on the planet would be converted to dung shortly, leaving one big poopy and decimated planet.

Something so easy to forget is the fact that although carnivores cause pain to individuals, they actually improve the herd by weaning out the weak. Herbivores left unchecked would devolve into lazy grass-eating freaks. Well, until they die of starvation.

He does, in fact, bring up these very points, stating the harsh truth that, “Instead of being killed quickly by predators, the members of species that once were prey would die slowly, painfully, and in greater numbers from starvation and disease.” Fortunately, as he makes these counterpoints, he proves he is not a complete madman. A madman, yes, but at least one who thinks.

Of course, we all think it would be great to end suffering. Actually I have an idea. Let’s introduce a drug into the diets of all herbivores that prevents them from feeling pain. They’ll still need fear, to know that they have to run away from predators and continue evolution, but at least they won’t feel pain. That sounds like a good utopia to me.

And although McMahan’s plan might sound good in theory to him, let’s remember that Communism sounded great in theory to a lot of people once. Unfortunately, in practice it is simply unfeasible. And really just doesn’t taste good.

(via New York Times)