The following is a brief essay that I wrote 14 months ago. I’m posting this because I’ve been extremely busy this week (yes, too busy to come up with anything original) and I really think it fits the theme of this blog. In the future I won’t rehash old material unless of course I’m really busy (like now). P.S, I’m still a vegetarian…
After reading various animal ethics expositions in a college ethics class last semester it became apparent, at least to me, that eating meat was morally condemnable. Still, for the love of meat (and pure laziness) I kept up with my past eating habits. Finally, my ego got the best of me and I began to feel guilty for continuing to practice something that I now felt was wrong. Three months ago I quit cold turkey. I’m still alive and well.
Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not one of those whiney and domineering vegetarians (by this, I mean that I won’t scorn you for eating meat). However, I do tend to get pissed when people criticize my lifestyle. These are people that have not once questioned the decency of their actions.
“It’s the food chain, man.”
They tell me.
I try to explain that as rationally thinking omnivores, we are at liberty to pick and choose what we feast upon, be it blueberries or cow hide. We’re no longer fighting for survival as man’s “intelligence” has made the so-called food chain obsolete. I then begin to talk about the capacity for animals to suffer and so forth. Still the argument always shifts to:
“But they aren’t human, who cares.”
To me, that statement is pure bigotry. Remember the civil rights movement? Before this racial paradigm shift, the average white layman had no problem treating a black man like shit. It was after all, a common practice. Philosopher and animal ethicist Peter Singer uses the term “Speciesism” to describe neglecting to consider other species as morally considerable.
I don’t believe the area of animal ethics is black and white. However, if you’re going to criticize my lifestyle at least present me with a thoughtful argument. The sad thing is most folks who argue with me only do so because not eating meat it so foreign to them that they’ve never actually thought about questioning the ethical integrity of it. It hurts to think and ignorance is bliss…right?