Many people believe that it is natural for humans to kill and eat other animals, based on the observation that other animals do this in nature. One of the great differences between humans and other animals living in nature is that we have an extraordinary ability to exercise conscious choice in how we live our lives. This choice gives us the power to make decisions based on our conceptions of justice as well as on factors such as the primal drive to survive. For example, in nature, it can be observed in some species that only a single dominant male mates with the females in a group. While some people might use this as a justification for the same behavior amongst humans, most of us would reject this as an injustice.
An additional point to consider is whether it is "natural" for us to eat other animals because of our physiology and nutritional needs. Interestingly, while humans can be healthy eating some meat, there is a great deal of scientific evidence demonstrating that consumption of animal products at a level considered normal to many of the world's wealthier countries is correlated with numerous chronic, life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis. In turn, there is scientific consensus on the fact that humans can be perfectly healthy eating an animal-free diet. In fact, the potential benefits of this diet are so great that many elite athletes have chosen it in order to maximize their performance. Comparative anatomy also offers compelling evidence. Our long digestive tract, for example, is much more similar to that of animals who live on plant foods than to the very short digestive tract of true carnivores. Likewise, our flat molars in the back of our mouths are similar to those of herbivores, that use these teeth to extract the maximum nutrients from their fibrous plant foods. The teeth of true carnivores, on the other hand, are characterized by fangs and pointy back teeth, which assist in tearing the flesh that they must consume in order to get their nutrients.
Consider the habit of consuming dairy products, often marketed as part of a "natural" lifestyle. Yet, in all of nature, can we find another animal that routinely consumes mammary secretions (milk) past infancy, or that consumes the mammary secretions of a species other than their own?
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