A common rebuttal to the suggestion that animals should not be eaten is that human life is more important than animal life. But how does it follow that you should eat something because it is less important than something else? Should you eat fifty pence pieces because they are less important than pound coins? Should you eat dimes because they are less important than dollars? Should people eat their hands because they are less important than their heads?
I confess I've never heard that rebuttal. In fact, I would question anyone stating that an animal is less "important" than any other animal as all must fit together in the tapestry of life on earth.
A far better rebuttal is that within the ethics and morality of nature (if there is such a thing) some animals eat others. This is a result of evolution and is the way life is built - we evolved to eat both animal and plant matter.
The issue of whether or not it is moral to eat meat is an interesting one to me mainly because of how heated the arguments can become on the subject.
Some argue that a cows life is less important than a human beings life and I would say that, as far as our morality is concerned, this is generally true as we tend to care more about our fellow human beings that we do about animals of other species. This is entirely natural as we are a social species that thrives in groups. Paradoxically however we also care very much about the well being of animals we eat. Healthy livestock is important to have healthy people. The species we consume the most tend to be the best looked after. Now this isn't always the case of course, the meat industry is capable of and engages in some of the most appalling and heartless behavior.
The thing is that if we can say all animals are equally important, as far as their lives are concerned, than why do we draw the line there? What, exactly, makes an animal's life worth more than that of a plant? Is it the fact that the animal can be in pain, can suffer, that makes it different? If the animal's death were painless would that make it okay? Or is it LIFE itself, all life, that is wrong to take? One way or another other living things need to die for us to live, that's just nature. The question of where we draw the line, and what lifeforms are too complex or too closely related to humans to be used as food remains to be answered. Do we draw the line at mammals? At Vertebrates? Are insects okay to eat? Etc
Where is the line and why is the line where it is? The answer is not an easy one to arrive at which is why I think its silly that so many people get angry or self-righteous about this topic on either side of the subject.
Human beings evolved to get nutrients from a vast array of food sources and while I agree we should do what we can to reduce suffering of these animals I don't think it is feasible, or moral, to suggest that everyone give up meat. It may be easy for those of us with disposable incomes but in many parts of the world for many people it just isn't feasible.
Where is the line? It seems obvious that if a person is unwilling to accept the line that nature provides ("Might makes right") then each individual person must make their own line.
Of course it then becomes just as you say; people become quite angry and insistent that "their" line is more "right" than anyone elses...
Titen-Sxull, I can go into Sainsbury's (not Britain's cheapest supermarket) and buy a kilo of rice (3490 calories) for 40 pence. Half a kilo of pasta (1790 calories) for 30 pence. Bananas (100 calories) for 12 pence. Half kilos of lentils (1765 calories) for £1.
The average adult male needs 3000 calories a day and the average adult female 2500.
The vegan diet is the cheapest in the world assuming you're not using huge amounts of convenience foods.
Tofu is expensive but then tofu is to meat what methadone is to heroine. You don't need it and you don't need a replacement.
Are your beliefs based on morality or taste?
The Bible has a lot to say concerning this matter.
This story in Acts 10 deals with what was clean and unclean, however it clearly gives man permission for man to eat meat.
"10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,
11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:
12 Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.
13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.
14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.
15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common."
In addition is this verse in Rom 14:3 that instructs us not to judge one another whether we should choose to eat meat or be vegetarian because both are a provision from God.
"The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them."
Anyway, just one perspective.
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