Conversation Class 7/14/11
Is it unethical to eat meat?
Argument 1: It is not unethical to eat meat
Eating meat is ethical because it is part of the natural food chain and cycle of life. Many people live in cultures where meat is needed to survive such as Tibetan Nomads. Factory farms, which cram thousands of cows, pigs or chickens into rows of cages in warehouses, feed them drugs to plump up their meat and fight off the illnesses caused by these inhumane conditions, and produce innumerable tons of environmentally destructive animal waste. However, there is an ethical and healthy alternative: independent, small-scale food producers who raise pasture-fed livestock in a sustainable and ethical manner. Eating meat can also provide more energy and necessary vitamins such as iron which people may not get enough of otherwise.
Argument 2: It is unethical to eat meat
In modern times, we are able to live fully sustainable and healthy lives without eating meat. Therefore, it is unnecessary to kill or harm a living animal. Living without meat is generally healthier and you can avoid many diseases carried by animals and passed through eating meat. If you accept that animals have rights, raising and killing animals for food is morally wrong. An animal raised for food is being used by others rather than being respected for itself. In philosopher's terms it is being treated as a means to human ends and not as an end in itself. This is a clear violation of the animal's rights. No matter how humanely an animal is treated in the process, raising and killing it for food remains morally wrong.