Comment on The Utility of Categories by A. Nelson

This is an interesting question. My sense is that because meat eating is so central to American culture we exaggerate its importance in human diets globally. There are societies that are even more dependent on meat protein than we are (the Penan in Borneo and various reindeer herding groups come to mind), but in many other cuisines meat makes an occasional appearance and is rarely featured as a main course. I know people who feel they need to eat meat to stay healthy (and there’s a whole debate about the paleo diet and old blood types that supports this perspective), but there’s lots of research to suggest that people live longer and are generally more healthy if they follow Michael Collin’s advice to eat a wide variety of whole foods, mostly plants.
The whole issue of omnivory is intriguing as well — I’m thinking about the research from a couple of weeks ago that links the ability to digest cereal grains to the domestication of the dog — and remembering that most domesticated species are herbivores. Wolves, of course, are predators, and cats are also obligate carnivores….

Comment on The Utility of Categories by Camilla

This post is interesting to me, not only because it describes your life story, but also because a similar thing happened to me and to my mother. I stopped eating meat, as I said in my previous post, when I was about 12. At that time I was a vegetarian entirely for ethical reasons. However, since that time, I have lost my taste for meat entirely and really do not miss eating it. My mother became a vegetarian because my family ate less meat when I became a vegetarian and she, too, gradually lost her taste for meat.

It is very interesting to me that we, as evolutionary omnivores, can lose out taste for it so completely and and function so easily and so well without meat. I wonder if our species is evolving onto a one that can eat a less omnivorous diet.

Comment on The Utility of Categories by erica

As I dive into the readings this week and after read this post, utilizing Bulliet’s categories for understanding our individual and collective relationships to animals is becoming a particularly interesting understanding with ever-growing flaws. The unintentional decisions and following logical ethical deductions that led to the adoption of your vegetarian diet (both with support for and against Bulliet’s post-domestic paradigm of influence by guilt) are different from my ethical reasons to discontinue eating (most…) industrially processed meat.

Our relative decisions of how often, what kind, and for what reasons meat is or is not individually consumed can gain some validly from Bulliet’s categories, as we essentially agreed upon in class. What is maybe a more useful framework in our meat-eating habits, however, comes perhaps from understanding these environmental relations, as described in “From trust to domination” as manifestations not only of human relationships to animals but also in those relationships that position individuals in society. Bulliet discussed cultural paradigms for understanding human-animal relationships but fails to acknowledge the apparent importance of our social relationships and experiences that contribute to individual transformation of environmental-relations. Or in this case – the rationale for a reduction or increase in personal meat consumption.

For the moment let’s not consider important reactions to the changing human-animal relationships as indicators of our behavior to meat eating. Instead let’s think about the influence of social relationships. Do our meat eating habits reinforce our personal spiritual and moral standings? Or are our habits based more on collective social norms? Or if it is from the duel influence of both ideas (and also human-animal relationships) what factors play the most important role in determining our meat eating habits today and for humans throughout time?

From what I have read of this week’s readings the way we eat is dependent on how we relate to our environment and that relation is, for the sake of space, contingent on many cultural and individual beliefs that have and will continue to change throughout time.