I'd like to start saying something about the way vegetarians and vegetarianism are perceived and treated in Western societies. So far in this thread, the only vegetarian who posted declared to respect whatever decision anybody else takes and whatever they decide to eat.
Interestingly, even before she made these remarks, in the first six posts of the thread, vegetarians had already been defined as stupid, thinking they are superior, purer and more moral than meat eaters, unhealthy, an anomaly and weak, while vegetarianism was defined as a machination.
I rest my case.
As to the matter at hand: there are many definitions of morality, but whatever definition of morality you choose, it has to do with maximising well-being and minimising suffering. It is obvious that, just as homo sapiens
can experience pain and suffering, other animal species can too. If we admit it is wrong to cause a human being to suffer, there is no reason not to admit that it is wrong to cause another conscious living being to suffer as well. Limiting our moral duties to those within our own species is a form of discrimination, no different than litiming our moral duties to those within our own race or to those within our own religion.
And we all know that, really. Anyone who says there is nothing wrong with torturing a small kitten to death will be qualified as a sociopath. And yet, every day millions of animals live and die in the most abhorrent conditions, going through unspeakable pains and not knowing what it is to see the light of the sun until the moment they are taken to the slaughterhouse.
We do not need meat to survive. A vegetarian diet has long been proved to be at least as healthy as a low-meat diet, and healthier than the standard Western diet, rich in red meat.
None of us can fulfill all their moral duties, but we can do what we can.
As opposed to you, the epitome of class and eloquence.
Based on the evidence contained in dozens of scientific articles, he World Health Organisation has long included the vegetarian diet in their list of healthy, recommendable diets.
Being healthy without eating meat is actually not that hard. Even vegans, those who refrain from all animal products completely, can do things like becoming the first person to win six World Championships of the hardest physical test in the world.
As a matter of fact, most of the world vegetarians live in third world countries.
Meat-eating is a luxury of the first world. Meat is a costly, inefficient way of producing nutrients. Meat itself is rich in protein, but the loss of calories that result from feeding grains to animals instead of directly to humans represents the annual calory needs of more than 3.5 billion people (source: UN Environmental Program).
This is the "because we can" argument. It has been used before, many times. It was used, for instance, by the conquistadors who looted, murdered and plundered all over the Americas, wiping out entire civilisations and killing tens of millions of people, "because they could".
I'm not sure you'll pay attention to this, but cattle are far from being brainless. In fact, we are discovering they are more intelligent and sensitive than we previously thought