There are many reasons people go vegan; their health, the environmental impacts, social concerns, but one reason most people tend to go and stay vegan is the ethical and moral concerns. As the numbers of moral and ethical vegans and vegetarians continues to rise, so does the moral and ethical debate on both sides of the spectrum. So, I want to examine the debate, if it is morally permissible to kill animals for food, in a philosophical way. In my opinion, it is morally impressable to kill animals for food you do not need to eat. I am not talking about a situation where you are stranded alone on a dessert island and are starving to death. I am referring to the situation most of us are in right now where we do not have to kill animals to eat. We could all eat kale sandwiches day in and day about, but instead most of us choose to eat meat and other animal based products out of preference, tradition and nutrition.
A majority of the nearly ten billion farmed raised animals in the U.S. each year suffer in conditions that consumers would not accept if they could see them. In polling done by The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 94% of Americans agree that animals raised for food deserve to live free from abuse or cruelty. When it comes to adapting this ethical mindset it seems that, “seeing is believing,” and most people turn their backs to, or are just not aware of the conditions factory farm raised animals are living in. There is a separation from reality when we see pleasant images displayed on our food packages of animals grazing in the open lands, but this is far from what is actually happening. I would advise you yourself to look at the conditions and upbringings that animals we use for the food we eat are being brought up in.
To be sure, most consumers of meat and other animal’s products argue that we are at the top of the food chain therefor it is morally correct to eat animals. However, just because we are in the position to, doesn’t mean we always should. There is an expression, “might makes right,” that can be applied to the ethical argument of adapting a vegan lifestyle. Just because we can exploit and raise animals for food in factor farm conditions doesn’t mean that it is ethical.
To be sure, non-vegans argue that the genetic make-up of animals we eat for food such as; fish, pigs, cows and poultry are at such difference than our own that it makes consuming those animals and other products that come from them ethical. However, it can be assumed that some individuals on this earth that are near and dear to our own hearts may not have the intelligence that exceeds a cows. So, does that mean its ethically okay to eat individuals with special needs just because they are not as smart as we are? This may seem silly, but it goes back to the idea that a difference in genetics doesn’t make it morally correct.
Most humans consider themselves to be of animal moral value. I am sure that most of us own our own pets that we consider to have said deem of value. However, there is no trait absent in animals we keep for pets that are not in animals we use for food. This separation comes from an inadequate expression of respect for animal moral value as a whole. Anything short of non-exploitation (veganism) of animals can be considered morally impressable.