Meaty Ethics

“ Is it right to kill animals for food? And if it’s wrong, how wrong is it?” — http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-34541077

Right or wrong is irrelevant, they’re subjective qualifiers. Is it natural to eat meat? Yes. It is good for us? Yes, we wouldn’t have evolved with the ability to process meat if it was not beneficial to our survival as a species. The real question is: does our consumption of meat cause unnecessary suffering to the animals we eat? And at present, unfortunately, the answer is yes. That does not, however, mean we should stop eating meat. Dead things don’t suffer, it is our treatment of live animals that needs to change, and the methods we use for farming that is a detriment to the welfare of our livestock.

Lets not kid ourselves, ultimately the argument against eating meat is not about the welfare of animals, it is about appeasing our own conscience. If the entire human race became vegan today, it would not make the slightest change to the suffering that is prevalent in nature, because it would not change the nature of other animals. Does that mean we shouldn’t do anything? Of course not, we should by all means strive to do everything we do to a high degree of ethical standards. We should look at ways of minimising the suffering of our livestock, and we should drive forward the research that will one day enable us to produce meat without any livestock at all.

Abstinence from meat is an individual’s choice, it is not a reasonable expectation or the answer for our entire civilization.