Will We Still Eat Meat, Drink Milk, and Fry Eggs in 2109?
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[At this point, most of the students are staring blankly, in total shock.]
I'm sorry -- I know this is hard to hear. But it's important that we understand our history, and it's important that...
A student interrupts: But ma'am, how could this be? Wouldn't people get sick if they were eating animals' corpses? I mean, they were eating dead bodies!
Teacher: Why yes, they got sick. Millions of people got sick from eating contaminated animal flesh every year, and thousands died. And even more shocking, more than half of Americans died from heart disease and cancer (those were big diseases back then), and two-thirds of Americans were overweight from eating this unhealthy diet. Although some doctors and nutritionists tried to tell everyone else that the human body is not designed to consume animals, much as people smoked cigarettes and denied the harm for so long, people also ate animals and denied the harm.
I know this all sounds quite fantastical to you, but it's true.
Another student chimes in: But why, why did they eat animals? It seems so ... gross.
Teacher: Well, perhaps they liked the taste of animal flesh [ students groan collectively]. I'm really not sure. In 2008, a movie came out about a rugby team that experienced a plane crash, and the members ended up eating their team members as they froze to death. I suspect that the realization that humans are also made of flesh might have shocked some people.
At that time, it's important to remember that the very idea of green businesses was brand new and some businesses thrived as people clung to tradition. There were massive corporations dedicated to profiting from war, coal mining, oil and killing billions of animals. You may not believe this, but people would actually call Thanksgiving "turkey day" because about 50 million turkeys were killed for that day alone.
First student blurts out in frustration: How could this be? My great-grandmother was alive 100 years ago -- surely she didn't eat animals!?
Teacher: Well remember, humans held other humans as slaves not very long before that, and the Holocaust was a mere 60 years before Obama came to office. Think of things like the witch burnings, the Crusades, the fact that women couldn't even vote 100 years before the first black presidency. Thankfully, human beings evolve ethically, not just physically!
Anyway, about 100 years ago, a campaign began, spearheaded by a coalition of health, environmental, poverty and animal-protection groups, and supported by President Obama and his animal-loving family. Suddenly, shirts and bumper stickers were everywhere, "Vegetarian is our HOPE!" And of course it had many layers to it -- the environment, global poverty, our health.
It started becoming popular to eat a more plant-based diet, and sure enough, a momentum was started, and within a few years, humans phased out eating animals.
It was, perhaps, the inevitable tide of history. In this case, scientific understanding met ecological crisis met the strong urge for self-preservation. We're learning from our mistakes and learning from science. We can, at least, be thankful for that, class. Don't you agree that learning from our mistakes is worth celebrating?
A young girl, silent until then, says quietly: I'm glad I wasn't alive then. I don't think I could have stomached eating an animal.