Diana Gitig holds a Ph.D. in cell biology and genetics from Cornell University’s Graduate School of Medical Sciences. She’s obviously well-educated and savvy enough about the issues where science and ethics intersect that Scientific American, one of the premier journals of its kind, provided her with a guest blog post on its website.
What she wrote was lucid, thoughtful and totally depressing—not to mention what a downer it is that someone with her credentials, according to her author ID, has the lofty title of “free-lance writer living in New York City.”
Her essay was titled, “Having Your Meat and Eating It, Too?” and the reason for the punctuation is that Ms. Gitig questions not whether we as humans should consume meat, but the production methods that allow most of us to put animal foods on our tables.
“I do not have a problem recognizing that we are at the top of the food chain—I think that it is no more wrong for us to eat meat than it is for lions or wolves to do so,” she wrote. “Of course, lions and wolves do not have consciences or ethics that tell them eating meat is wrong, like we do; but perhaps it is not so simple, or even so ideal, for us to deny our animalistic carnivorous natures.”
So far, so good.
She goes on to assess the validity of so-called “paleo diets,” subtly hinting that all the ravings of ex-carnivores-turned-vegan ought to be greeted with healthy skepticism.
Likewise, the veggie proponents who insist that soy-based processed foods can substitute for meat.
“Soy can provide us with all of the essential amino acids, but some think that its high phytoestrogen content mitigates its nutritional value,” she noted, the “some” in question being most of the scientific community, by the way.
And while fish is a terrific source of protein—one recommended blindly by well-meaning but ecologically clueless nutritionists as a “healthier” choice than red meat, Gitig properly reminds her audience that, “Our current appetite for it has brought the world’s fisheries to the brink of collapse.”
Which, one would have to concede, rules out a wholesale switch from meat to seafood on the center of humanity’s dinner plates.
Same old song
Having outlined a strong argument for the proper place of meat and poultry nutritionally and ecologically, Gitig then slides right down the rat hole of anti-meat industry activism, echoing (with far better diction and grammar) the same arguments that vegetarian advocates offer to justify their demands that the whole world go veggie.