Eating Animals

Authored by: Chris Otter

The Routledge Companion to Animal–Human History

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138193260
eBook ISBN: 9780429468933
Adobe ISBN:


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Eating animals is integral to the deep history of humanity. Human bodies have evolved to eat animals as well as plants: we are heterotrophic omnivores. We produce stomach acids which break down elastin; we need vitamin B12 to live; and our intestinal morphology strongly suggests an adaptation to a higher-energy-density diet. 1 Although it is perfectly possible (and arguably ethically and ecologically desirable) to be a vegetarian, the majority of people economically able to access meat choose to eat it. Globally, well over 50 billion animals are slaughtered annually for human consumption. 2

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