AR-News: (US) On The Edge Of Common Sense: Cows are vegetarian by
design -- humans are not
info at animalconcerns.org
Sat Aug 2 12:02:18 EDT 2003
[opinion from Amarillo Globe News]
A little lesson in ruminant physiology: Ruminants, animals like cattle,
sheep, deer, elk, goats and llamas are able to digest plant fiber. They
are vegetarian by design.
This ability is because of a four-compartment stomach that includes a
large fermentation vat called the rumen. Rumination involves swallowing
grass, soaking and mixing it in the fluid rumen contents, regurgitating a
cud, rechewing it, reswallowing it and belching off huge quantities of
carbon dioxide and methane over and over and over.
We, as humans, are not able to digest similar fibrous vegetation, like
lettuce, for example. That is why people on diets eat lettuce. Other than
a vitamin or two, it has no nutritional value. Which is somehow deemed
eating healthy. Eating healthy, in this case, is the nutritional
equivalent of not eating, or eating cardboard, tree bark or styrofoam
peanuts, which we would do if we had to, to avoid not eating.
Gary, a reliable scientist, has said that people crave 3 things: salt,
chocolate and fat. Lettuce, collard greens and celery finished further on
down the list, I assume. Which just shows you the masochistic
determination required to be a dieting vegetarian. To eat a hubcap full of
lettuce with no Thousand Island, no croutons, no grated cheese, no bacon
bits, no seasoned salt and no hot fudge would demand a real commitment to
A cow, the natural vegetarian, is much less discriminating but, of course,
it seldom is able to select from a menu of the five basic food groups.
Baxter Black is a veterinarian and cowboy poet. His column appears weekly
and airs each Monday at 6:20 a.m. on KGNC Talk Radio 71. He can be reached
at baxterblack.com or (800)654-2550.
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