John Cole. (jrc@TEI.UMASS.EDU)
Thu, 23 May 1996 23:16:08 -0400

As an anthropologist, I think that "vegetarian societies" tends to be a term
for "societies without enough meat." Modern vegetarianism is proably an
ideological luxury in some ways. It can be healthy, but it assumes a real and
rare economic choice.

Some low-cast Hindus, for example, were shown
by Marvin Harris to routinely eat rats while denying it and claiming this was
extreme behavior, etc.. Humans have always been omnivores, but
access to meat has usually been limited--typically a luxury, at least outside
strange situations such as that of Eskimos (sic) or fisher-folk. I would argue
that REPUDIATION of a food source tends to mean a cultural "covering" for
desire for it and/or disadvantages to pursuing it (eg, kosher laws).

--John R. Cole