- - Monday, January 16, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Contrary to the national and local debates we have about securing the border, anchor babies and sanctuary cities, the Swiss have a different system to determine who stays and who goes. Your neighbors get to vote on your citizenship. It’s a policy that at a minimum should promote politeness.

But one Dutch woman seeking Swiss citizenship recently got voted down. The reason? She was too annoying. Her town was fed up with her harangues against Swiss traditions, such as claiming that cow bells — yes, cow bells — were inhumane. They finally registered their displeasure with their loudmouthed transplant.

If you’ve ever met a PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) member, you too have probably thought of the phrase “there goes the neighborhood.” In the past, PETA’s vegan activists threw blood on people with fur coats. More recently, vegans have invaded restaurants and grocery stores to yell and harass the public who want to enjoy a BLT or buy some pork loin. They’re an anti-meat version of the Westboro Baptist Church.

These veganistas are involved in a kind of twisted morality — the Humane Society of the United States’ food policy director has compared farms to Nazi concentration camps — and the rest of us who eat burgers will supposedly be part of a revised history aligned with slave traders and barbarians.

Meanwhile, vegans’ special affinity for animals also opens the mind to sick possibilities. Princeton University professor Peter Singer, who authored “Animal Liberation” four decades ago, has argued that bestiality may be acceptable if the animal is into it. “Sex with animals does not always involve cruelty,” he writes. “Who has not been at a social occasion disrupted by the household dog gripping the legs of a visitor and vigorously rubbing its penis against them? The host usually discourages such activities, but in private not everyone objects to being used by her or his dog in this way, and occasionally mutually satisfying activities may develop.” And you thought you missed out by not getting accepted to Princeton.

Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population is vegan. While many people try it out, most go back to eating animal products. But the religiously committed seem to inevitably wind up preachy, angry or silly.

What exactly might explain this bizarre behavior?

Consider one theory: Our bodies require Vitamin B12 for proper brain function. Vitamin B12 is only found naturally in animal products. It’s possible to get it through supplements, but as many as 92 percent of vegans are deficient in B12, according to the Daily Mail. (Vegans are also at risk of deficiencies in iron, calcium and omega-3s.)

And as one nutritionist recently explained to the paper, Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to “fatigue, megaloblastic anemia, early dementia, increased risk of heart disease, nerve dysfunction, forgetfulness, lack of coordination, and psychiatric disorders.”

Well, that explains a lot.

The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” suggests, “A mental disorder is a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.” Could veganism fit the bill?

When people rebel against humans’ fundamental nature, problems can arise. Just as we have circadian rhythms and need oxygen, perhaps it’s simply in our nature to eat animal protein.

Humans have eyes that face forward, like a predator, not to the side like an herbivore. Scientists believe that a meat-based diet contributed to brain growth in humans over time. Herbivorous food wasn’t calorie-dense, and so large stomachs were required (think of a cow) to plow through roughage. Meat, on the other hand, provided plenty of energy to grow our brain.

Meat made us smarter. And given that researchers have pointed to a B12 deficiency as leading to a higher risk of brain shrinkage later in life, it’s only smart to accept ourselves for what we are.

Veganism could be summed up as the idea of “live and let live.” It would be nice if the folks at PETA extended that to their fellow humans. Otherwise, they should seek help.

Richard Berman is the president of Berman and Company, a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C.

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