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Urban Druid: Eating Ethically

Updated on June 2, 2010

As the old adage says, we are what we eat. Eating ethically has become more and more of a key issue for many earth aware people, and also more of a challenge for those living in urban areas separated from their food sources by great distances. Many of these people have become accustomed to eating heavily processed foods with little to no thought about what their food actually contains, let alone where it comes from. For a great proportion of the population, eating has become little more than a mindless shoveling of artificial additives, colorants and fats into their bodies on an almost continual basis.

This sort of behavior is almost indistinguishable from a slow suicide, with food scientists claiming that many high fat foodstuffs actually contain so many calories that it is not possible for the average person to burn them off during their daily activities. What are sold as tasty snacks therefore become little more than toxic poison, clogging arteries, slowing the metabolism, affecting the brain and therefore the mental health of those that consume them.

We face mental health issues now at greater levels than ever before in recorded human history. When one considers that many of us spend 22 hours or more per day inside leading largely sedentary lives, pumping our bodies with nutrient poor stimulant rich foodstuffs is it any wonder we're feeling a little depressed? If other animals were to be treated in the same way we treat ourselves, we would be shocked and horrified. PETA would organize protests, action groups and lobbies would be formed. Ironically, as a race, we are probably more cruel to ourselves than any other life form on the planet, routinely choosing to deprive our bodies and minds of the basics of what they need.

Paying attention to eating ethically, and eating well isn't therefore simply yippy skippy tree hugger talk, it has positive impacts on the health, and yes, even the budget of those who make it a priority.

Please note that I am not speaking of being a vegetarian when I speak of ethical eating. Some people believe that vegetarianism is the only ethical way to eat, others believe that veganism is more ethical, then there are those who will only eat fruit which has already dropped from the trees. Each level of denial is followed by another, more extreme one until eventually we come to those who believe that one can live entirely on light and air. Interestingly enough, taking things to their illogical conclusion, as the Breathatarians do highlights the problem with some of the theories behind vegetarianism and veganism, the problem being that they deny, at least in part, who and what we are as human animals.

The Urban Druid philosophy regards the human animal as being no different to any other animal on the planet. Though we do have the benefit of ostensibly higher thought, we are still flesh and blood, designed by nature to fit into the ecological chain. Our settlements and cities may be the largest and even most destructive on earth, but they are essentially no different to ant hills or termite mounds.

We are animals, and as animals, we are omnivorous, that is to say, we are designed to eat meat, poultry, fish vegetables, and fruits. This is fact. Our teeth, our digestive systems, our bodies are are designed to eat a wide range of foods, and though we can certainly chose to survive as vegetarians, even as vegans, the great ruler and creator of us all, nature, has dictated that it is both healthy and right for us to consume meat as part of our diet if we should so choose.

Now we come to the hard part, obtaining that food.

Vegetarian Ethics

Eating Meat Ethically


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      10 years ago

      To be fair, I resist the use of the word "designed" in talking about human evolution. That word implies a lot of the stuff I spend a great deal of time fighting against: you know, the folks who think Adam and Eve rode to Mass on a dinosaur and God created the Remington bolt-action rifle so Adam could hunt the T-Rex and the Homos.

      Apart from that small caveat, however, I must say that you're nailing a lot of stuff to the wall. Among other things, while I love meat, I often feel like I'm being driven away from it by corporatization, commercialization and the utter lack of ethics involved with its production. It's rather hard to enjoy a big slab of ribeye when one contemplates that the cow it came from probably spent its last days standing on a feedlot in Nebraska up to its knees (do cattle have knees?) in its own waste. Takes a lot of the "yum" out of "yummy."

      Thanks for the wit and the talent you bring to bear on the topics you address. I've really enjoyed spending the day wandering around your writings. It's been a nice break from the routine.


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