Vegetarianism in Nature’s Context

A lot of people I’ve talked to about vegetarianism disagree with the idea because they think that eating meat is natural; there is even evolutionary evidence like the shape of our teeth that proves we are meant to eat flesh. Personally, I don’t disagree with the idea of humans eating meat, I just don’t support what is done to our meat nowadays. I know that for humans and animals to survive, we must naturally kill and eat other living things. For me, however, the motive does not justify the very cruel, unnatural means. It is not natural to continually impregnate a cow to keep up her milk production or to milk her with a painful machine. Many people say that nothing is morally wrong with milking cows because the cows enjoy being milked. This is fundamentally true; I think that the cow is more than happy giving milk, provided that it goes to her calf, just like a mother nursing her baby. What would you think if human mothers were repeatedly impregnated to continue producing milk? A cow’s babies will either follow the same path as her, or if male, be sold to other farmers as veal calves. They will be kept in a crate on an anemic diet, never to see the light of day until they are shipped off to slaughter. That life is not natural, nor moral if we consider a similar fate for humans. What about genetically modifying a chicken so that its breast is so large it will have leg problems and pain? Many die starved, unable to make their way to food or water with legs broken under their weight. Farmers keep the lights on for 17 hours or more a day to trick their laying hens to continue producing eggs; they often live only a month and a half. Piglets must be castrated and their tails and ears clipped, often without any sort of painkiller. To me, this treatment seems both unnatural and immoral. I used to disregard vegetarians as ignorant fanatics who don’t understand the evolutionary truth, but now I see that most are just people who exercise self restrain for the sake of morality and sustainability. Somehow we have come to the sad and pathetic point where it is better for the earth not to take on our natural diet.

2 responses to “Vegetarianism in Nature’s Context

  1. I was thinking about what you wrote here and I wondered if you have ever heard of Temple Grandin or seen the movie about her. She has a strong empathy toward animals, and has used that to design humane slaughter facilities. I know that might seem morbid for a vegan- or, actually I don’t know. In any case, its another perspective in the discussion about how we treat animals. Thanks for an interesting post Simon!

  2. She is mentioned a few times in “Eating Animals” and I read an article by her and then an essay just now. What she said about an animal’s capability for pain or fear is really interesting. I think I’d really enjoy the movie. What’s it called?

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