Why do we consume meat & dairy?

Why do we consume meat & dairy?

“Mum, I’ve decided to become vegan.” “Don’t be so stupid!”

This is the first thing my mother said to me. What did I expect? I had opposed views to the matter previously, eating meat, fish and dairy is all I’ve ever known. On deciding to be vegan, I needed a deeper understanding into why people are so against it, because my mother’s not the only one.

We are fed milk from the moment we stop breast-feeding. We need it for calcium to make our bones strong. How do we know this? It is advertised everywhere from billboards and television adverts, to food technology at school and from the moment we open our mouths to that very first choo choo train. Why? Because it is necessary, so we all believe. Come to think about it, doesn’t it sound a bit odd that we drink the mother’s milk of another species?

When did humans start consuming milk?

The Milkmaid, by Johannes Vermeer, 1660

Around 7,500 years ago in Central/Northern Europe. The links are mapped to the first dairy farmers who grew a persistence to milk due to its source of Vitamin D, which we get from direct sunlight.
Due to their lack of direct sunlight, natural selection saw these communities grow a genetic persistence to the lactose enzyme. The rest of the world with direct sunlight didn’t need lactose and thrived without it. Milk first made people sick, which is why many people in the world today are lactose intolerant. It’s suggested that families descending from generations with a lower consumption don’t have a genetic resistance, hence, it makes them sick. The enzyme is also addictive. Interesting right?

When did humans start farming animals for meat?

Over 2.5 million years ago. We can see from archaeological findings that certain weapons and tools were shaped specifically for hunting and preparing meat for food. These are linked to early humans.
What’s the difference between then and now?
1804 World Population: 1,000,000,000
1927 World Population: 2,000,000,000
1969 World Population: 3,616,108,749
^The year my father was born & the year man landed on the moon
1993 World Population: 5,578,865,109
^The year I was born
2016 World Population: 7,404,976,783
2026 World Population: 8,153,677,369
2036 World Population: 8,804,405,816
2046 World Population: 9,359,139,840
You can see the drastic increase in population over the years; more importantly, it is growing faster than ever before. Feeding the world is a struggle we face today but unless you are living in poverty, chances are you won’t feel it. An increase in income and wealth over the years means our demand for meat has sky-rocketed, as has supply. Meat used to be a luxury, only affordable to the richest. Yet now, apart from those famished, we all have access to meat. As demand grows, so does supply. This is basic economics. The more people, the more animals farmed, tortured, and killed for the meat and dairy industry. In reverse, as less people eat meat, the demand decreases, as does supply.
Looking at this information, it seems clear that we no longer need to put on a horror show for the sake of a piece of protein on our plate, especially in today’s world with science, knowledge, and alternatives. Yet, it’s not as easy as that, it requires a difficult lifestyle change which comes with consequences. We are a society built on diverse opinions. Regardless, I remain positive and take everything my mother says with a pinch of salt, because it’s all we have all ever known, and she, nor my grandma or my friends understand it just yet, but I assure you, they are starting to. There was no such thing as ‘vegan’ when my mum was growing up, or not publicised like it is now. Nor, was the information accessible to fuel budding curiosity. There was no www until 1989, and our ideals are built upon what we are taught.
Today, it takes educating yourself and being curious to fully discover the full implications of what man is doing to our planet, our animals, and ourselves. Meanwhile, stay positive, be happy and inspire gently, respecting that not everyone has the same understanding as you.

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