Vegetarianism and why it is ok to eat meat
by Colonel Humanity, in December of 2005
Humans and Animals have a long history of interaction and interdependence. Throughout this history there have been many periods and transformations of the food pyramid but at the end our species turned out to be on top of the food pyramid. So everything below us has been subordinate by us and there is no problem with domesticating them and using them to feed our population. We are just a predator that has managed to achieve some control over nature and used it to progress even more. To this Singer would object that it is immoral to kill animals to eat them and satisfy our cravings. To this I would immediately reply that we should look out of our prospective and a little bit more globally. In the fauna animals eat and kill each other even when they are not hungry (white sharks, Tasmanian devils and a lot more). Does not that say that may be in their world this is not cruel but its how life goes. Animals do not change their lifestyles for someone else. We are not any different from animals, except that we are on top of the food system, so why should we act differently.
Evolution works for everyone and affects everyone. It has proven that some species manage to develop more while other just could not survive with the changes. We as Homo sapiens are part of the fauna and will always be. I believe every animal that has survived for long enough means that they have some ability that is better then in others. Like horse are big and run fest, lions are fast and strong, monkeys are agile and smarter then most other animals. Most animals have something to rely on when they are in trouble. It happened that humans were given a big brain and the ability to use it properly. Slowly our ancestors started putting this ability in power and steadily going up the food pyramid. Our species started as gathering fruits and eating small animals which puts us in the not at the bottom but definitely under much bigger predators. This means humans were being hunted and killed by predators above us and predators never though its immoral because they need to eat to survive. Well it happened that those animals could not evolve as fast as Homo sapiens did. It happened that we got to be on top of the food system and because we also have the need to survive we stated eating them too. It is not a ravage but a necessity.
Also because we are smarter and on top of the food pyramid do not say we are almighty powerful. There is only one sapiens species in our modern world, but there are many more that never made it to our times. The same is animals some make it some do not, which makes us close to them. That means that we are part of the whole world and we do not have the power to change it. This is because as we can destroy nature with our weapons, nature could destroy us if we do not follow its rules. On its way to the top of the food system and its increase in population we have eliminated some other predators or just severely decreased their numbers. This is because the world is built on a very thin line of balancing the number of different animals. The more we need to feed our increasing population the less there is for other predators. This brings the question what is going to happen if we follow the vegetarians' idea of stop eating meat. This would totally misbalance the complicated ecological system we leave in. First there would a lot of animals for the predators to feed on, but they would not be there in big enough numbers to be able to bring back equilibrium. What would happen is that the animals we used to fed on would increase in numbers so rapidly that they would become a threat to the whole bio system. One example of a problem with excess in numbers of only one animal could be a given with rabbits. The number of rabbits drastically increases witch bring more food for wolves. Wolfs get bigger and more numerous due to the abundance in food. They start eating more rabbits and reduce their numbers until they are finally left with not enough to feed themselves and they start preying on other animals and even attacking humans and thus destroying the whole system. That is why in the past there were many hunts of wolves just to bring equilibrium to nature. At least I do not want that to happen again but in much greater scale.
Peter Singer would immediately object to does arguments by saying that eating meat in our well-developed world is morally wrong because we have other means of satisfying or needs of food to survive. Grains, vegetables and fruits could be enough to fulfill the needs of humanity of food to continue its survival. Singer would also say that meat recently have became a luxury then a necessity and this totally makes it morally wrong to kill animals to fulfill our craving. A hamburger cost the life of cow which is its the most important interest and definitely it is no one's most interest to have a hamburger. Singer argues that this should stop because we are no one to satisfy our small needs while taking the lives of other species. Also development could only help this because it makes people not dependable on meat to survive and because of that we should exchange meat with something that does not sacrifices anyone's most important interests. Singer might also say then since we are on top of the food pyramid that does not compel us to abuse it or even use it unless it is of grave need.
Another objection vegetarians might have is that in the farms where we breed animals there is too much cruelty and the animals there are treated in an inhumane ways. I am sure that Singer is definitely opposing those kinds of farms no matter if they become less cruel because they still would be killing animals for less important interests. A lot vegetarians say that if we are going to have those farms at least what we can do is to use our advanced technologies to make the animals suffer less and the process of killing them should not be as cruel as it is right know. There are more ways to make animals to feel pain.
Those objections sound nice and very moral but I do have something to object on my own. I will agree that eating a hamburger is no one's most important interest while being alive is a cow's most important interest. To answer to this accusation of moral injustice we need to look out of our world, from the side of someone sitting on the side and being neutral. The most obvious think we can observe is that animals kill each other. Of coarse here Singer would say that they do that out of necessity to survive. But it is a scientifically proven fact that a lot of animals kill just for the sake of killing even when they are not hungry. For example foxes have been found to kill all the hens in a hen house, while they eat only one of them. Tasmanian devils are considered to be one of the most vicious and nasty animals and they attack everything in their reach. And since we are part of the fauna and animals find it natural to kill just to satisfy their craving or whatever they have to do that how is it morally wrong to live by their rules. Since animals do it maybe they do not think that is cruel but rather it is normal. So I do not see anything wrong with it.
When humankind was not on the top of the food system the predators above us did not think that it is cruel to kill us. First of all they need to eat food to survive as all creature do. But vegetarians want humankind to change to eating only plants. Well predators also could change their lifestyles to not eat us but rather go and eat vegetables or anything else that does not have an interest (which also brings the question why people think plants do not have interests, but it is going to make the paper too big). But animals never bothered to change to herbivorous and it is not because they would starve to death, there are plenty of plants to eat, but the simple truth is that they did not want to because they so at as it is normal. That is why I think people should not try to twits reality and try to change it. Animals kill each other and are ok with dying, why we should not be.
Another answer to this question could be the fact that animals conduct more senseless violence then humans; we at least use them to satisfy our needs and interests. Animals kill people all over the world for no reason. For example each ear there are annually 75 sharks attacks on humans and 10 of them have ended up with mortality. And I am sure it is not sharks biggest interest to attack and kill people since the ocean is abundant of food and sharks rarely if ever actually eat the human being they have attacked. But the most obvious example is with hippos. They are herbivorous but are responsible for more deaths in Africa then lions and crocodiles put together. Hippos definitely do not kill to survive and excuses of the sort that the hippo is just protecting is territory are ridiculous, because how could a one ton animal could be intimidated by a 80 pound child. It is obvious that it is not hippos' best interest to kill people but they do it anyway and I think by their standards it makes it morally right to kill to satisfy some other lesser needs. Since they think like that this means they accept violence for the fulfilling lesser need, which makes it morally right.
To the second objection I would answer that people that claim that should take a better look around them. If we stop having those farms and eat meat at all then we will have to replace it with other foods. This means that more land would be needed. But where we can get more land by clearing more forests and other obstacles to agriculture. But this will destroy animals' natural habitats and I am sure that vegetarians and supporters of animals would not want that to happen. About the cruelty in farms I agree is bad but killing animals in a more painless way would not definitely work. The method used nowadays to for painless killing is a poisonous injection that quietly and painlessly kills the animal. Yes this could be implied in farms and at least ease the pain of animals, but would you go and get a hamburger knowing that the meat comes from a cow that was poisoned to death, I would not.
At the end I would say that we share a world with animals and since they find it morally right to kill us and other species I do not see why we should have a problem with that.