Arguing for a vegan economy, this book explains how we can and should alter our eating habits away from meat and dairy through sociocultural evolution.
Using the latest research and ideas about the cultural ecology of food, this book makes the case that through biological and, especially, cultural evolution, the human diet can gravitate away from farmed meat and dairy products. The thrust of the writing demonstrates that because humans are a cultural species, and since we are evolving more culturally than biologically, it stands to reason for health and environmental reasons that we develop a vegan economy. The book shows that for many good reasons we don’t need a diet of meat and dairy and a call is made to legislative leaders, policy makers, and educators to shift away from animal farming and inform people about the advantages of a vegan culture. The bottom line is that we have to start thinking collectively about smarter ways of growing and processing plant foods, not farming animals as food, to generate good consequences for health, the environment, and, therefore, animals. This is an attainable and worthy goal given the mental and physical plasticity of humans through cooperative cultural evolution.
This book is essential reading for all interested in veganism, whether for ethical, environmental, or health reasons, and those studying the human diet from a range of disciplines, including cultural evolution, food ecology, animal ethics, food and nutrition, and evolutionary studies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Eating Animals Is Bad for Health and the Environment
1. Preliminaries and Objections
2. Biological Theory
3. Great Apes and Other Primates
4. Early Humans
5. Modern Humans and Cultural Theory
Conclusion and Summary: Crossing Over to Adopt a Vegan Culture
Gregory F. Tague is a Professor in the Departments of Literature, Writing and Publishing and Interdisciplinary Studies and founder and senior developer of The Evolutionary Studies Collaborative at St. Francis College, New York, USA. He is also the founder and organizer of a number of Darwin-inspired Moral Sense Colloquia and has written numerous books, including most recently An Ape Ethic and the Question of Personhood (2020), Art and Adaptability: Consciousness and Cognitive Culture (2018), Evolution and Human Culture (2016), and Making Mind: Moral Sense and Consciousness (2014).
"The Vegan Evolution makes a spirited case for abandoning the waste and risks associated with consuming animals and their products. Author Gregory F. Tague shows how insight can be gained through a new way of understanding human evolution – gene culture coevolution. The meat-eating behavior of many members of our species isn’t the result of the evolution of our genes. It’s due to evolution of our cultures. Tague then explains how populations might culturally evolve adaptive strategies that will make our descendants fit for the environments we will be part of."
Lesley Newson, Research Associate, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, and co-author with Peter J. Richerson of A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution (2021).
"What type of tomorrow do we want? asks Gregory F. Tague in The Vegan Evolution, a well-documented, carefully researched book that challenges our thinking—more importantly—our behaviors. I was fascinated by the wide-encompassing, holistic perspective Tague presents to the reader: while veganism is the core, he explores the multiple and complex connections of our food choices with our spirituality, what makes us human, and how we want to live on this earth. The Vegan Evolution is a book that helps us notice our contradictions and see alternatives for being who we really want to be."
Isabel Rimanoczy, author of The Sustainability Mindset Principles (2021), Convener PRME Working Group on the Sustainability Mindset.
"The Vegan Evolution: Transforming Diets and Agriculture is must read. Delving deeply into the biological and cultural evolutionary history of our species, Gregory F. Tague makes a compelling case for a rapid, collective move to vegan diets. He shows that widespread adoption of such would be both healthful for us and salvation for our planetary ecosphere."
David Steele, Executive Director, EarthSave Canada.
"The moral imperative of The Vegan Evolution supplants an assumed need to consume animals that itself rests on a vaguely evolutionary imperative that Tague wants to demolish. I admire his pluck, his interest in aggregating the range of sources he uses, and for practicing evolution without a license (so to speak). A pretty compelling look at how we think about what we eat."
Thomas Hertweck, University of Massachusetts, USA.