Hey Ally! If we're not meant to eat meat then why do we have Canines? BTW this is not meant as hate, I am genuinely curious!
Hey anon! No problem at all, I definitely encourage curiosity :)
The teeth excuse is a very common knee-jerk defence from people who eat animals and want to justify doing so, so it can be helpful to properly understand why that reasoning holds no weight.
Firstly, the canines we possess are very different to animal canines, in sheer size alone.
Human teeth (note canines)
Meat eaters argue that we have canine teeth and therefore are designed to eat meat. Well, honestly I would love to see them TRY to eat meat the way these beasts in nature do. To chase an animal, catch it, bite into it’s flesh while it’s still alive and struggling, tear off chunks of flesh (fur and all), swallow it and have the digestive acid to process that internally. Nope, instead, we pick up a slice of deli ham that has already been pre-killed, skinned, cleaned, cooked, processed, packaged and preserved. We don’t use our canines for anything like they do, and we couldn’t.
Let’s look at the next main point, canine teeth do not even indicate the necessity or ability for that animal to eat meat.
Let’s look at a few of our fellow herbivorous friends who also have canine teeth:
Hippos! Hippopotamus’s have the largest canine teeth of any land mammal, yet their diet consists of grass, on which it grazes at dusk.
One of my personal favourite animals, Gorillas are also almost exclusively herbivorous. Mountain gorillas prefer a diet of foliage — leaves, stems, and shoots — and a small amount of fruit. Lowland gorillas also eat leaves and pith, but they eat more fruits, and, occasionally, tiny ants or termites. Gorillas’ giant canines also have nothing to do with eating meat.
The saber-toothed deer! This guy has full on fangs, but what do they feast on? Leaves, flowers, grasses and mosses.
Another cutie herbivore; camels, eat foliage, dry grasses and desert vegetation - mostly thorny plants. They have sharp canine teeth in both the upper and lower jaws enable them to crush woody plants for food.
Another problem with the “canine teeth” argument is that essentially the rest of our physical anatomy is entirely different to that of a carnivore or even omnivore.
Lastly, just because we have a physical attribute that enables us to do something harmful, does not mean that we are morally justified to perform that activity whenever we want. Humans are physically capable of inflicting all kinds of violence, but our capacity to harm others has nothing to do with whether or not we are right to harm others. Indeed, most people would say it is wrong to cause harm when you can just as easily avoid doing so. And we can easily (and drastically) reduce the harm and death we cause to other animals simply by making different choices at the grocery store.