Monday, June 6, 2011

A few objections to Vegetarianism

What follows is a modified excerpt from one of my papers on vegetarianism:

"...Some people are convinced that it is natural to eat meat and therefore it is morally acceptable to eat meat. But this obviously does not follow, simply because something is natural doesn’t change it’s moral status. It is not even clear how to interpret the word natural, since it seems like everything is in a sense natural, but certainly not everything is morally acceptable. Perhaps the word natural is being used to say that humans to have evolved to be omnivores, but again simply because we have the ability to eat meat doesn’t mean that it is acceptable, for we have the ability to do many bad and naughty things. Others believe that vegetarianism leads to absurd consequences these thoughts go like this: “suppose that we are obligated to reduce animal suffering then shouldn’t we interfere with the predation of other animals eating animals? But that would be absurd!” However this objection includes its own refutation, if it is absurd to meddle with predation then clearly we aren’t obligated to do so. This has no relevance whatsoever as to whether we should be vegetarians or not. Further if our technology and scientific knowledge continues to advance at it’s current rate then perhaps someday it will not be absurd to interfere with nature and then we can and should take steps to reduce suffering in the wild. Until then we should reduce animal suffering through vegetarianism. Some people think that animals are completely devoid of animal rights for a variety of reasons, but I am not sure how this affects my arguments. These arguments had nothing to do with what species an organism is or how rational they are, these principles extend to all sentient beings. Although I am quite skeptical of rights based approaches to morality, it seems that if infants and the mentally disabled have any rights animals should have at least some rights as well. Another objection also has to do with animal rights, it is said “since the farmer gave the animal life the farmer has the right to kill it.” However this is generally not how we think about rights, for example when parents give life to a child they certainly do not have the right to kill it once the child has ripened. If animals have a moral status, their good and bad experiences should be considered morally relevant, and this cannot be superseded by some vague version of rights. Some people examining the gargantuan and deplorable number of animals slaughtered return hopeless thinking that becoming a vegetarian won’t change anything. But this is false, it is estimated by that the average vegetarian saves 35-50 animals from being slaughtered a year. Finally people insinuate that a vegetarian diet is not healthy. Not surprisingly this is also false, simply read the statement by American Dietetic Association that mentions vegetarian diets “are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.” Although there are many other objections to vegetarianism I am led to conclude that they are all failures in the same fashion of the objections just discarded."

Clearly some of these objections could have been considered in more detail and there may be more which demand attention. There will probably be more posts analyzing objections in more detail in the future.

No comments:

Post a Comment