I recently had a conversation with my best friend around the topic of Veganism. We often have small chats, but tend to keep them short to make sure we don’t damage our friendship as well. They are great at arguing (ahem… debating) in general.
Like most animal flesh eaters (Including my former self), they asked all the usual questions. Where will you get your protein? What do you want to see happen, billions of animals just set free? How do you plan to feed the people on earth without killing animals?
And like most, they don’t want to hear the answers. They let you say the answer, but don’t listen to it so that they can get to the next bullet point.
Anyway, on this day, I made the comment.
And then realize that we (humans) have the ability to avoid inflicting that unnecessary pain. There is no reason to kill and animal that has been proven to be as smart as a 3 year old child. So we can’t use intelligence to say they are inferior, otherwise we’d be ok killing infants. We know they are sentient and realize they are alive. We know that they avoid pain. We purposely end their lives while they themselves are very young.
We can also realize the damage we are doing to the environment because of it.
We have the ability to say it’s wrong to harm others people. As moral agents, we know right from wrong. We can come together as a society and say that mistreating any group (black, gay, female, mentally handicapped, animal, etc…) is wrong.
With all of that said. I will let you respond, but think we should end after that for now.
The response was again, what it typically comes down to.
If there were a 3 year old child and a cow in a field, and a pack of wolves eat both of them, you would mourn the loss of that cow of the same and equal level as you would the lost of that child?
This is interesting logic. When stated this way, it assumes that I either have to mourn only one of them, or both of them equally. For me, one of the easiest ways to look at these scenarios is to replace the non-human animal with a human animal. If the scenario were my kid and a stranger, I’d care about my kid WAY more. Doesn’t mean I feel no sadness for the stranger, but I would be overwhelmed with the loss of my child. A random 3 year old and a random adult, I’d probably mourn the 3 year old more when thinking about the loss of their potential future.
Back to the 3 year old human and the cow. I’d of course mourn the loss of the child more, but would also feel sad for the death of the cow.
Can you not tell me that when watching a lion chase down a gazelle on animal planet, you don’t feel a little sad for the gazelle. Yes, in the animal kingdom, that’s what happens and I accept that. Lions are not moral agents, and aren’t built to live life differently. Humans are… We don’t have to kill… In fact, most flesh eaters don’t feel like they are killing because they are so far removed from the reality. But their dollars are paying for the slaughter. Sure you pay the grocery store, who pays the butcher, who pays the slaughterhouse, but end of day, they are paying for an animal to die.