Can we make a new rule? Before I get down to it let me make clear that there are lots of legitimate arguments for not eating wheat or dairy, for natural childbirth, for natural all sorts of things. There are also plenty of great lessons to be learned by observing the animal kingdom. But can we ban the Argument From Animal Behaviour? Please?! As more and more people cut whole groups of foods out of their diet I run across this argument frequently. “Humans are the only animal that drinks the milk designed for another animal’s young”. So? Your point? You know why. Because cows aren’t smart enough to milk people. OK ok so that’s a bit facetious but seriously, just because we do it and animals don’t doesn’t make it wrong. It makes it the result, for better or worse, of human ingenuity. We’re the only animal that does trigonometry. I’d love to prove that’s unhealthy. Animals don’t cook their food either. Eeeeew how unnatural of us. Talk about what cow milk is designed for, you do realize what chicken eggs are for right? You want to argue from the make up of cow’s milk? Alright I’ll listen. Doesn’t match my digestive system and my body’s needs? You have an interesting argument there. And if going without milk improves your quality of life, whatever the reason, more power to you. Personally I’d have to see nothing short of miraculous health benefits to counteract the quality of life hit I’d take giving up cream sauces and butter. But I’m certainly not giving it up simply because only humans do it.
Oh and we also don’t have to do anything just because animals do. Ingesting placenta in some form is very trendy right now in natural childbirth circles. “Animals eat their placentas”. I’ve had pets my whole life. People, they ingest all sorts of things I have no intention of eating. Thanks but no thanks. Animals kill and eat their own young too. They engage in all sorts of violent activity or aggressive sexual behaviour that’s quite “natural”. Again, you can make a similar argument, about the possibility of gaining valuable natural nutrients from placentophagy. I get that that’s the basic point being made by the animals do it folks there, but it’s just sloppy logic. Be clear. Because there are probably things some people want to say are ok because they happen in nature that you are against. Polygamy anyone? The great thing about being human is, I can overcome pure nature. I can rise above basic instinct and choose to act differently. Now there is a trade off here. We do lose touch with nature, even with healthy instinct. So sure, look at what the animals do, find out why, and if it makes sense to emulate that behaviour then do so. But when you tell me about it, give me the reasons, not some form of mammalian peer pressure.