Today In Fact, 17 September

In my youth I encountered a few people who expressed what may be called ethical vegetarianism.

I once spent a painful weekend with a group of nutterians in Scotland who would only eat nuts and fruit that had already fallen from trees. I also spent some time in the company of Indian Jains who have interesting views about eating meat and causing harm.

I am sure that there are many compelling arguments for vegetarianism but I must confess that I have never been convinced by the moral arguments against eating meat. I have Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the father of microbiology to thank.

Ant’ as I like to call him, was a scientist in the prosperous town of Seventeenth Century Delft who made lenses and microscopes. Today in 1683, Ant’ wrote a letter to the Royal Society in London describing some of the “animalcules” he had seen through his microscope. What Ant’ had discovered was a whole world of protozoa, microscopic beings of many different sorts that inhabit everything.

It makes it an absurdity to insist on only eating vegetables in the belief that you are not consuming animals. Protozoa live in and on vegetables by the billion.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (

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