So, as you’ve probably read by now, earlier this week the world’s first “meat” to not come directly from an animal, was served and was declared “close to meat”.

The coverage that I saw was on the CBC and of course there had to be a quote from a representative of PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He applauded the move as a kind of “methadone” for meat eaters while we get off of meat.

I got news for him, it ain’t happening. For a few reasons.

Firstly, humans are omnivores. That means we eat plants and animals, not just plants. In fact, without being very careful most people who try to go vegan do find that their omnivore body doesn’t cooperate and that they need meat to feel healthy. This is not to say that one cannot eat a vegan diet and be healthy, but it is a much more difficult road to go down than incorporating a small amount of meat protein into one’s diet.

That perhaps brings us to the problem with society today. It’s not that we shouldn’t eat meat, it’s more likely that we should eat less of it. We eat way too much of everything, including meat, and we should probably change our ways. A serving of meat is something  like the palm of your hand in size, and we eat a whole damn plate… it’s just not right.

But of course, no one can suggest we find a solution somewhere in the middle. Nope, humans should just stop eating meat. If PETA had their way, we would all stop eating meat tomorrow because it would be banned. I wonder how they will feel about the mass cow genocide and resulting extinction of the animal that would result from such a stupid move. Would the elimination of an entire species be the “ethical” thing to do? They probably do not realize that that is what would happen. Without humans to look after them, cows would cease to exist.

But this is one of the problems of religious-like movements like PETA. They get a set of “facts” as they see them and then try to shape the world around them. Here’s the problem. The modern cow has evolved to live on a farm. Yes, humans helped that cow evolve through artificial selection as opposed to natural selection, but nonetheless she exists. From an evolutionary standpoint, the cow has been an extraordinary success. In exchange for milk and meat, the cow has multiplied to all corners of the globe, expanding her territory much more than she could have done herself. Being a farm animal has been extremely successful for the cow.

Now, that does not mean that the current factory farming practices employed in some parts of the world are anywhere close to acceptable, and we have to reel these companies in. They are damaging the land, the water, the livestock; and they respect none of the three. They are a blight on our society.

But that doesn’t mean we throw out farming altogether. Farming, when done right, respects the land and the animals and works with it not against it, often resulting in more plentiful and more healthy results.

When it comes to this petri-dish meat… sorry, I’m just going to say no. My body has evolved over millions of years to consume meat, from animals, and while this edible food-like substance might seem like meat, it is not meat; just like margarine is not butter and like aspartame is not sugar. My body knows what to do with meat, who knows about this stuff?

As for PETA, I would like them to just shut up. They spout off about things they know nothing about. We would be much better served by a Family Farmers for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (FFETA?) if it was to exist; at least they know and care for the animals they would be looking to protect.

I will instead get my advice from someone like the author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food Rules, Cooked) and follow his simple rule.

Eat food*, not too much, mostly plants.

*not edible food-like substances.