Ethics of Eating Meat

Do you know ethics of eating meat?

Since the last few decades, the question of the morality of slaughtering animals for human needs has remained an essential part of the Animal Rights Movement.

However, the application of inhuman scientific, psychological, and physical conditions on any species is neither ethically righteous not morally acceptable. This discussion is about Peter Singer’s argument about eating meat is morally right or not.

It will explore the objection of Michael Pollan to the initial discussion given by Singer. In the end, the response about criticism by Pollan will be presented by the Singer point of view.

Eating meat is moral, natural, and appropriate in a system where animals are raised in a natural environment, treated well and slaughtered in a proper manner without causing them preventable sufferings. Thus, ethics of eating meat exists.

This argument is sound, elaborates about ethics of eating meat but it is not essential that everyone will be agreed to it.

 Initial Argument:                                                                  

The scholarly community has been debating the question of the morality of eating meat since last few decades. A famous American author and activist Michael Pollan has advanced the debate in a very influential manner.

Being a patron of the Animal Rights Movement, he contends against the unnecessary sufferings of animals that are caused by human experiments.

However, he believes that consuming the meat of animals that are raised in well-cared farms is fine. He believes in animal rights, but he does not consider animals to have an equal quantity of reasons as of humans.

He argues that it is not logical to compare a monkey with a human. By providing an example of the Christmas celebrations, a situation, when on the one hand; some pets receive gifts and love, others smarter animals such as pigs are sacrificed for the family dinner of Christmas celebrations. He questions the amount of equality that could be given to animals when compared with human beings.

Objection:

The father of modern Animal Rights Movement “Peter Singer” raises rational objections on claims made by Michael Pollan. He argues that it is not essential to know that animals cannot speak or reason, but it is, in fact, necessary to know that they can feel.

Although not having an intellectual comparison with humans, animals possess an equal sense of pain. Therefore, there sufferings and interests should be considered equally. He takes practical examples of animal maltreatment by human beings and asks for the equal rights of animals and humans.

The large part of his disapproval arguments revolves around the mistreatment of animals and hypocrisy of social behaviors when it comes to animals.

He argues that the ethics of eating meat on moral grounds in indefensible and the only realistic approach that humans can adapt to decrease the animal sufferings is to halt eating meat products.

The central claims that he makes are following:

1) Animals’ nature should be respected and they must be given rights according to their life

2) Principle of equality extends to all sentient beings of the earth

3) The human and animal interests of “not to suffer” are identical

4) The experimentation on animals is not justifiable.

He says that animals should be brought in the moral concerns of humans and their harmful treatment, for what so ever trivial human purposes should be stopped and banned. 

On page 251 of ‘The Ethics of What We Eat,’ he objects that “each animal kill other animal and animals eat other animals in the natural order, but there are choices for humans.” Humans can survive without eating meat.

Response to the Objection (Ethics of Eating Meat)

Michael Pollan counters the objections raised by Peter Singer, as “how can we treat animals more ethically than their own treatment with one another”.

He gives an example of his domesticated cat and says that she sometimes kills other smaller species for mere pleasure, he argues that humans have intense engagement with the natural world. He admits that animal maltreatment is a legit problem, but he argues that animals are not moral beings.

As Immanuel Kant puts it that “only moral animals are “humans” and the concept of righteous deeds is also entertained by them.” He questions what would be acceptable and virtuous to experiment a new medicine on a human child instead of a monkey.

The human sufferings are different due to the attachment of consciousness and human emotions and can extend from pain to various emotional traumas such as regret, loss, shame, dread, and humiliation.

Bottom line

The Pollen’s response to the objections raised by Peter does make sense. It would be an absolutist stance to believe that eating meat is unethical and immoral in a natural order of life.

Human beings should show mercy on animals and let them live in a natural environment. Animal sufferings should be considered but to a rational extent. In the contemporary era, the fast-food industry is flourishing, and people prefer to eat such food which encourages the practices of forced- mating, fast-breeding, and merciless slaughtering.

Ethics of eating meat is a controversial argument. These practices are disturbing the natural order and life cycle of all species, including humans who are developing many diseases.

Cutting the meat from human diet is also unnatural. From a spiritual point of view, some faiths allow humans to sacrifice animals on specific occasions. Hence, the point is clear that taking a balanced diet, which often includes the meat of farm-raised animals, is right and ethical. Ethics of eating meat works well in civilized societies.

Leave a Reply