Using Animals For Food Is Wrong Essay

Eating animals

Potential wrongs

Eating animals poses two moral problems.

  • Is it wrong in principle to raise and kill animals so that human beings can eat meat and fish?
  • Does it stop being wrong if the processes involved are carried out humanely?

Eating animals is also criticised on health and ecological grounds, but this article only deals with wrongs to the animals involved.

Violated rights

If you accept that animals have rights, raising and killing animals for food is morally wrong.

An animal raised for food is being used by others rather than being respected for itself. In philosopher's terms it is being treated as a means to human ends and not as an end in itself.

This is a clear violation of the animal's rights.

No matter how humanely an animal is treated in the process, raising and killing it for food remains morally wrong.

But: This is using 'rights' in a rather technical philosophical sense. When people talk about animal rights colloquially, they are usually talking about animal interests.

Violated interests

Even the most humane forms of rearing and killing animals for food always violates the animal's most basic interest - to continue living.

Modern agriculture often violates other key animal interests as well - for example:

  • to live in natural (or at least, decent) conditions
  • to make free choices
  • to be free from fear and pain
  • to live healthy lives without needing medical intervention
  • to eat a natural diet
  • to enjoy the normal social/family/community life of its species

Human interests versus animal interests

Many human beings don't believe animals have rights, but do think that animals have important interests that should not be violated.

But some of these people enjoy eating meat and fish, and so face a conflict between animal and human interests: the trivial human interest in eating meat versus the basic animal interest in staying alive.

The human interest is classed as trivial because human beings don't need to eat meat in order to live.

The animal interest in staying alive is classed as basic, because if the animal is killed then all its other interests are frustrated as well.

  • Ethical question: Should the trivial human interest in eating meat be satisfied at the expense of the animal interest in staying alive?

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Problems with the consequentialist argument

Problems with the consequentialist argument

If it is true that the world would be a better place if everyone was a vegetarian, does it follow that any particular individual should be a vegetarian?

Some philosophers say it doesn't. They say:

Other philosophers disagree, and say:

The first philosopher might reply:

The virtue argument

Virtue ethics regard the motivation and character of a person as crucial to whether an act is good or bad.

A morally good act is one that a virtuous person would carry out, and a morally bad act is one that they wouldn't.

Virtuous people live lives that demonstrate virtue. They are generous, kind and compassionate.

People who participate in a system that treats animals cruelly, and that kills animals to provide trivial pleasures to human beings, are behaving selfishly, and not as a virtuous person would.

Since their behaviour is not virtuous, their behaviour is morally wrong, whether or not it has any effect on whether people continue to raise and kill animals for food.

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Should We Eat Animals? Essay

519 Words3 Pages

The question if humans should eat meat from animals has been argued over many years. Many people believe that it is wrong and many people believe that it is right. Two out of one hundred Americans are vegetarians (Langley 5). The number is even higher in other places, including India, where thirty-three out of one hundred people are vegetarians (Langley 5). All humans on the Earth should be consuming meat from animals. People who do not eat meat at all can miss out on important nutrients, such as crucial vitamins and minerals (Langley 50). The first people to walk the Earth ate only plants (Langley 9). Then, about two point five million years ago, they began to consume meat (Langley 9). The first meat-eaters depended on meat…show more content…

The question if humans should eat meat from animals has been argued over many years. Many people believe that it is wrong and many people believe that it is right. Two out of one hundred Americans are vegetarians (Langley 5). The number is even higher in other places, including India, where thirty-three out of one hundred people are vegetarians (Langley 5). All humans on the Earth should be consuming meat from animals. People who do not eat meat at all can miss out on important nutrients, such as crucial vitamins and minerals (Langley 50). The first people to walk the Earth ate only plants (Langley 9). Then, about two point five million years ago, they began to consume meat (Langley 9). The first meat-eaters depended on meat to survive (Langley 31). Meat is an excellent source of vitamins, proteins, and fats. A vegetarian on a vegetarian diet may need to take supplements of certain vitamins such as vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, and riboflavin (Being a Vegetarian). A Bogalusa study shows that a strict vegetarian diet may lack several important ingredients that help children to grow and develop (Langley 35). A vegetarian diet is not the best thing for a human’s life. Different religions have different inputs on whether eating meat is good or bad. Hindus say that all animals have souls and that eating meat makes us more aggressive (Langley 22). Christianity, however, has almost no rules. The Bible actually encourages Christians to eat

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