Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Moral Argument for Eating Meat

I promised that I would stop eating meat, the year I turned 35.

I failed.

The main arguments for going vegetarian are convincing:
  • the greenest thing that an average person could do; nothing else comes close
  • the cruelty and inhumanity of factory farming
  • something screwed up about raising sentient life for food
I've scoured for arguments that counter the last point. Even if there was a carbon-neutral, perfectly humane way to raise animals, and slaughter them painlessly, would we be justified in raising and killing animals?

So far, none of the arguments seem compelling. The only narrow exception is when the survival of the individual is at stake.

For now, the story I tell to rationalize my choices is that most of my meals are vegetarian. One can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Abstinence is hard, so moderation will have to do.

In a hundred years, our great-great-grandkids might look at our food choices with disgust. They might view us with the same odd combination of outrage and pity that with which we view historical moral crimes (slavery?).

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