The Moral Case For Vegetarianism, Explained By A Meat-Eater
Start writing a post
Vegetarian Vegan

I'm A Meat-Eater Who Thinks That Vegetarianism Is The Way Forward

The philosophy of vegetarianism is not about animals, it's about humans.

198
I'm A Meat-Eater Who Thinks That Vegetarianism Is The Way Forward

I'm a bad person, and I love my steak, and yes, I hate PETA, too.

Let me tell you that PETA kills animals and not for their own justified humane reasons. According to one man, they've kidnapped a dog. And their brand of promoting vegetarianism simply isn't the right way to go about it, for reasons I feel are unnecessary to explain.

But, they do have a point. I think they just do a terrible job of explaining those points. Arguments for vegetarianism are really not just "eating meat is evil," or "think about the mothers of the cows you're eating." No, going vegan or vegetarian is really a conversation about our deeply held social norms and the inconsistencies of the answers regarding the treatment of animals, humans included.

Back in 2014, an Indiana man murdered his ex-girlfriend and proceeded to cook her brain, heart, and lung. While the man was held in police custody, PETA sent acting Clark County Sheriff Meyer, a peculiar letter: provide him exclusively vegan meals. For some, this would be a punishment, "don't you dare take away my meat." But for others like the Sheriff, the letter "[was] an insult" — as if to equate animal meat-eating with human meat eating — and this is exactly the point that PETA makes. Eating human-meat is equivalent to eating non-human-animal-meat.

One instinctively would think that is a crazy proposal. Why? Well, it is just wrong to eat humans, no doubt about it. Why is it wrong to eat humans, though? I'm just as good as a source of protein and nutrients as you are. If we remove all constructed norms aside, you are fair game, like the cows on the fields are.

A little sidetrack: humans have eaten other humans in the past—and there was nothing wrong about it. Humans throughout society would eat other prisoners of war and the Aztecs systematically slaughtered humans to be sacrificed to the gods and eaten. What changed? Well, we developed a system where we could grow an abundance of food, a system where humans would be significantly less valuable as food and significantly more valuable as producers of food.

Agriculture gave us a choice other than eating humans, and we chose the better option, not eating humans. Still, that doesn't tell us why it's wrong to eat humans. It's wrong to eat other humans because you are my equal. All humans are equal. Whether you're a male or female, gay or straight, immigrant or citizen, tall or short, old or young, and the list goes on. There's no difference, no one is more superior or less inferior.

But, let me make a distinction here. Equality doesn't mean everyone should be treated the same way, that would be absurd. Have you ever heard about a movement campaigning for the right of a man to get an abortion? No, but maybe you would want to campaign for a man's right to additional paternity leave. Equality means equal consideration, meaning that women should have the right to choose what they want to do with their bodies, as this gives consideration to the fact that women have a womb, while men don't.

So, why shouldn't I eat you? Because eating you means that I think that you have some feature that allows me to slaughter, cook, and consume you. This certain feature means that you are less deserving of not being eaten and cooked and consumed. This feature might be your skin color, or hair texture, or your accent. And if you think that no rational human would consider those features as contenders of being eaten and cooked and consumed, think again.

White slaveholder Americans never ate their slaves, not on a widespread reported basis at least. But the white slaveholder did think the slaves had a certain feature that justified their enslavement and brutal punishment. Here are the features to be a slave: you must have dark skin, curly hair, and a non-settler accent. These features are the qualifications to be a slave, and the definition of being a slave means that I do not have to treat you like a human. And when it did come to life-or-death situations, these features did lead white slaveholders to eat their slaves, first.

The Civil Rights and Feminist movements showed the world why being an African-American or an American woman why they are just as human as the white American male. You cannot pick features x, y, and z and have those features explain why those disqualify one from being treated equally.

Why don't we choose intelligence as a feature for superiority? That means the world would be enslaved to Neil deGrasse Tyson. But why Neil deGrasse Tyson as a standard, specifically? Couldn't we choose another standard of intelligence, say the IQ of Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking? We cannot decisively draw a line to say, "this is superior" and "this is not". When the white slaveholder was trying to decide what made a slave, it was rather difficult to draw the line saying "you must be this dark to qualify as a slave." Indeed, "colored" and "not-colored" proved to be a difficult distinction. Some states passed one-drop of African blood laws... meaning of course, that every single living human on earth qualifies to be a slave.

Which is why it is questionable when we tell ourselves that we are "superior" to non-human animals. The reason we can eat non-human animals is apparently because we have features x, y, and z which non-human animals do not. We tell ourselves that we're more intelligent and that we can think rationally. Well, dolphins got echolocation, and we don't. I think they're more superior since we've only developed sonar technologies in the last century, while they've had that for 40 million years. Bats aren't blind, but they can see better in the dark, and some species can even detect ultraviolet light — while we can't. For whatever single feature we try to come up with to make the argument why we are superior, there will be another feature telling us we aren't.

If we can't find any feature that makes us objectively more superior, then non-human animals are equal to human animals, a case made by Australian philosopher Peter Singer's "All Animals Are Equal." What is that uniting factor, that all animals share, that can render all animals (including humans) equal? All animals feel pain. It doesn't matter to what degree they feel pain, but all animals feel pain, and would not want to feel pain. If we have a duty to spare an African-American from the brutality of slavery, then we have a duty to spare the chicken from a life of incarceration and torture.

I still eat meat, and yes, I have tried to stop eating meat. But it is so hard. We have the option to abandon meat because we have the 21st-century resources to abandon meat unlike the days of Aztec cannibalism. That is why I say, "I'm a bad person," and it is alright to say that. And I mean that, not in the sinister "I ate my mom for breakfast" kind of way, but rather as a type of acknowledgment. It is an acknowledgment that I eat meat because culture and norms say that meat tastes good, just like the culture and norms of the past said that slavery was alright because they are not humans, or that women can't vote because their place is in the kitchen.

We probably won't stop eating meat in this century. But the conversations about vegetarianism are conversations about the way our society treats its animals — as where George Orwell's pigs modify the features, "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

161307

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers

1623547

Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

1016012
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series

925713
Netflix

Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

604240
Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

387982
Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?

501538

Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments