Why Can Certain Animals Eat Raw Meat, But Humans Cannot?
Why can certain animals eat raw meat, but humans cannot? This is a great question, one that many have pondered. Animals are all inherently different from each other, that is why they have different looks, genotypical order, and species. Have you ever noticed that most animals that eat meat, can do so as it is raw. Obviously, and more comedically, animals don’t cook. They eat their meat raw. Have you seen nature documentaries where a vulture feasts on a carcass, a snake swallowing a mouse whole, or a lion biting straight into a gazelle? We are wondering why can animals eat raw meat, but humans, with the exception of some fish, need to have their meat cooked? Continue reading to discover why!
Why Can’t Humans Eat Raw Meat?
Of course science plays a large role. Every animal has a different structure to their body. Animals can eat raw meat because they have have stronger stomach acid that helps digest their food. From an evolutionary standpoint, the acid has needed to be much stronger to kill parasites and different bacteria. Why else can’t we eat raw meat?It’s because that we don’t eat our meat right away. We need to package and ship to grocery stores. The longer the meat takes to be eaten, the more of a risk it has to go bad. You may have seen on menus that most restaurants write that it is not advised to consume raw or undercooked meat. Read on to explore why restaurants write this as a liability.
Trichinosis – Trichinellosis
Trichinosis is a roundworm infection found in the muscles of animals. People can come into contact with this when they eat undercooked pork or game containing the larvae of these roundworms. This parasite will invade your digestive tract and release its larvae into your small intestine.
Signs and Symptoms of Trichinosis
According to the Mayo Clinic, you will feel abdominal pain, diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and vomiting. Advanced stages happen when the larvae invades the bloodstream. Symptoms of this include weakness, headache, swelling of the faces, pink eye, and muscle pain. See a doctor if you think this may apply to you or someone you know.
Some meats are contaminated with E. coli. E. coli is a bacteria that is actually found found in the intestines, but some types of strains outside of our bodies are pathogenic and dangerous. This means that it can cause illness like diarrhea or illness outside of the intestinal tract.
Signs and Symptoms of C. Coli
The Mayo Clinic notes that within 4 days symptoms will appear. These include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Unfortunately summer time is when the most E. coli cases happen! Call your doctor if you think this is happening to you.
Mad Cow Disease – BSE – Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy
The problem with consuming meat, is most of it is slaughtered and packaged in a factory with a high chance of contamination from the disease of one bad animal affecting the rest. If you remember 10 years ago, and appearing every so often is Mad Cow Disease. Mad Cow Disease is a neurologic disease found in cows. People cannot actually contract mad cow disease, in some rare cases humans can contract the variant form of mad cow disease known as vCJD or Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease. Scientists still today do not know the cause of BSE or vCJD, but the leading theory revolves around infectious proteins called prions. Cows affected with BSE have these prions in their brain, spinal cord, and small intestine. There is no proof that prions exist in muscle meat or milk of the cow.
What are the Signs of BSE?
There is no reliable way to test for BSE in living cows. A common sign of BSE in cows in lack of coordination or be act nervous or violent. This is where the name Mad Cow Disease get’s its name. A cow can have BSE for up to 6 years before it starts showing any symptoms of the disease. It’s a progressive neurology disease, which means that it continuously gets worse over time.
How Does a Cow Get BSE and How Do Humans Get vCJD?
A cow can contract BSE or Mad Cow Disease by eating contaminated food that came from another cow with the disease. The parts of the cow that are not eaten by people are dried and ground into powder and used for a variety of things including an ingredient in animal feed. It’s thought that humans can contract the variant of the disease in the same manner, by eating nerve tissue from an infected cow like the brain or spinal cord.
To prevent any of these complications from foods, always thouroughly cook your meats. You can even make a pledge to eat local meat from farms instead of factories. Have you ever eaten raw meat? How do you like your steak cooked? Do you enjoy sushi? Do you have any horror stories from undercooked food? Comment below!