The Ethics Of Meat Consumption Essay

1097 words - 5 pages

There is violence inherent to human survival, for to survive means to kill and consume another organism in order to absorb its energy and keep your heart beating. The necessity of this act is what makes it acceptable in the minds of human beings, for to abstain from eating would be suicide. However, questions regarding the necessity of consumption arise, when humans approach the decision of what to eat, particularly with regard to the decision of whether or not to eat meat. The practice of meat eating is demonstrably unnecessary, as many people have survived on vegan or vegetarian diets for centuries. Furthermore, it has been revealed that meat consumption can have negative repercussions for human health, paradoxically impeding survival, even while its ingestion sustains you in the short-term. The spread of awareness of both the needlessness and the health risks of omnivorism has proliferated of late, nonetheless meat remains a staple in North American diets; “on average, Americans [will] eat the equivalent of 21,000 entire animals in a lifetime” (Safran-Foer 122). The choices associated with meat consumption become increasingly complicated when individuals consider what psychologist Melanie Joy refers to as the human-animal connection. There exists between animals a form of kinship that is not often found between humans and other organisms; certain more developed connections cause us to favor the eating of some forms of animal flesh over others. This connection has provoked a wealth of scientific research on the cognitive and emotional capacities of nonhumans, which has been used as evidence for the discontinuation of factory farming. Still, there remains a gap in consciousness, where a forgetting occurs, so that we may consume the slab of meat on our plate, without thinking about who it once belonged to, and what that individual had to go through, so that we could have the choice of eating it. Within a society where individuals are, or should be aware of nonhuman sentience, it seems logical to put an end to the practice of factory farming. Although “for each food species, animal agriculture [continues to be] dominated by the factory farm,” in response to the recognition of nonhuman sentience and the human-animal connection, a growing number of alternative or “humane” farming systems have been developed, which hold promise for the future of animal agriculture (109). These farms claim to allow their animals to participate to in “natural” behaviors, with an increased capability to roam. While humane animal farming techniques hold promise for the future of animal welfare, even in this new forum, animal farming returns to the same violence of survival, wherein the animal dies prematurely for humans to survive. Due to the lethal consequences of modern animal farming practices, and in the context of society that acknowledges nonhuman sentience and the needlessness of and harms associated with meat consumption, the continued practice of eating meat...

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