Eat the beef—yummm

Jake Hopkins, Opinion Editor

The animal kingdom is a cutthroat environment where only the strongest survive—and humans rose to the top of the food chain. The food chain itself is simple: those higher up eat those below them, right on down to the plants “eating” the soil. It is not only justified for humans to eat animals, but natural.
If a cow could eat you, she would without a second thought. If she had the hunger and the means to do it then there would not be a moment’s hesitation before she was chomping down on you.
At a basic level, eating meat provides humans with a massive amount of nutrients. While it is true that these nutrients can be obtained from other sources, such as dairy and nuts, meat is simply an easier source. Many people don’t have the time or the means to put the effort into making sure they are receiving all the nutrients that would otherwise be provided by meat. Furthermore, many meat substitutes for nutrition are not as effective as people percieve.
For example, spinach, often cited as a great source of iron, contains 2.71mg of iron for every 100g you consume, whereas beef only has around 2.6mg of iron for every 100g consumed. At a glance, this would make it seem that spinach can easily substitute your daily need for iron; however this is not the case. The type of iron in spinach is less than one percent as effective at being absorbed into your body as the iron provided by beef and other meats. This is the case with many vegetables that people are trying to use to supplement the meat in their diets.
That being said, it is entirely possible to live a healthy life without eating meat, and many people do so. It is just harder, and that is a difficulty we cannot ask everyone to take on.
Now, many people will choose not to eat meat in response to modern day factory farming processes. They will cite images of cows being herded by the thousands into close quarters and kept cramped, unable to move. They will describe to you the foot of muck they are forced to stand in and the pounds of antibiotic mixed grain they are forced to eat. These peoples’ protest, however, should not be against eating meat, but against the factory farming processes. Homestead farmers and ranchers should be united with vegetarians against those practices.
At the end of the day, humans are higher on the food chain. The animals we eat are not on our level intellectually or emotionally. We evolved with canines and incisors—we evolved as omnivores. That means we eat plants AND animals.