Is Eating Meat Ethical?

A Question at Thanksgiving and Through the Year

Photo Credit: Britannica

Sarah Windus, Contributing Writer

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Humans are thought of as omnivores. Our bodies are designed to handle both plant matter and meat. With that being said, our bodies have digestive organs most suited to our diet. Since we evolved from primates who have similar digestive systems to us, means we can compare diets. The diet of primates consists of nuts, fruits, leaves, insects, and occasionally meat. By simply comparing the eating behaviors of animals to humans, some come to the blanket conclusion that people do not have to be vegetarians.

However, how ethical is eating meat? Is there any ethical aspects to killing an animal and eating its meat? The simple answer is no. Yes, our bodies were made to handle that animal matter, but that does not mean that it is the right thing to do. In many cases, animals are ruthlessly slaughtered and given nothing to ease the pain. In others, the animals are either electrically stunned or bolted so that they do not feel anything while being slaughtered. Although stunning and bolting to ease the pain is better than nothing, they are still unbelievably unethical methods. Animals think, feel, and have emotions just like humans. This treatment is extremely unethical. It is not fair to make any species on Earth live in fear. 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food are to be living free from cruelty and harm. Yet billions of animals farmed for food each year are living in unacceptable conditions that do not align with the stated values of those 94% of Americans.

Both humans and animals feel fear, pain, and suffering. However, humans are capable of choosing between brutality and kindness. We should never inflict pain on a helpless animal who does not have this same choice for itself.

On the other hand, I do recognize that raising animals on a farm is a key component in agriculture. For example, manure is nature’s fertilizer and is necessary for soil and the healthy growth of crops. Although not necessary, having an animal component has made these crops thrive. Some may say that this is unavoidable due to sustainability.

It does not have to be this way. There are alternative farming systems and ways to treat these animals with respect and compassion.

 

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