Is it unethical to eat meat 2
Meat Consumption - About Its Ethics and Necessity
With this article, we deliberately want to "go over the top" and focus on the topic of meat consumption. Nutrition, and especially the different views of meat eaters and meat refusers, is discussed very emotionally not only at the kitchen table at home, but also in the media. With our article we don't want to point the finger at anyone and show how “wrong” he or she is doing something. But we do want to turn this raised index finger away from us meat-eaters. The question we are asked again and again is whether meat consumption is still ethically justifiable and necessary today. Our clear answer to that is yes - and these are our main arguments.
Meat consumption and the question of our "nature"
The issue of whether people are now naturally geared towards meat consumption are or not is something that for us and many scientists does not (any longer) arise. The human digestive tract is designed for mixed food, even if some do not want to admit it.
In addition, our ancestors and many indigenous peoples confirm this fact. Man ate and eats mixed foods by nature. We have a very well-founded contribution on the physiological "evidence" of this fact at Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, the "Paleo Mom", found.
Shouldn't we know better?
One argument that is kept on the table is that we, as humans, should "know better". Even if we're naturally omnivores, we have it no longer necessary to consume meat today. We have "outgrown" this stage of evolution. Today we could easily live without animal products. We could counteract the few deficits with dietary supplements.
This attitude seems to us partly arrogant and partly naive. Does that mean that we now know better what is good for us than nature itselfthat has millions of years of evolutionary experience? After all, we as humans have got to this point today because nature has made a chain of right decisions and selections, hasn't it?
This “know-it-all” view does not only run through the food sector within our society. In other sciences, too, the competence of nature is called into question in one form or another. Man tries desperately to "optimize" what is possible. Here we are thinking, for example, of genetic manipulation or the use of pesticides, without actually being able to assess the far-reaching scope of these actions.
No, we are really not opposed to development, but we believe that we are Developing against nature will only harm ourselves in the long term. And we believe that our knowledge of relationships and causalities on earth is not yet sufficient to really bring about qualitative improvements.
Is meat consumption ethically correct?
The problem with this question is not its answer, but that Type of question itself. Correct (he) would have to read as follows: Is the way we do business in the food industry ethically correct?
Death is part of life. This is a fundamental principle of nature, nothing lives forever. The cheetah that catches and kills the ostrich in order to keep itself alive does not raise the ethical question - just like many other carnivores. But there is also life in every plant. So shouldn't herbivores be asking themselves the same question?
Let's take a very pragmatic look at the fact: In the plant and animal world, nobody is indifferent to death, which is why there are fights here and protection mechanisms against predators there. In our opinion, the question of ethics is therefore obsolete at this point. It is the way it is: eat and be eaten.
The situation is very different when it comes to the today's food industry goes. Factory farming and the mostly disrespectful and undignified treatment of animals and their meat ethically unjustifiable. The same applies, however, to the cultivation of plants and the production of non-animal foods. Well-known critical examples are the production of palm oil, in which many orangutans lose their livelihood, or the use of pesticides, which (partly) cause massive bee deaths.
In addition, the Question of ethics also with regard to the human being: Starting with child labor, through inhuman and dangerous working conditions to forced relocation and similar practices. Unfortunately, we find all of this (also) in the plant-based food industry. Who is asking the question of ethics here?
Isn't a vegetarian / vegan diet better for the environment?
The (statistical) opinions are also divided on this question. There are one and the other studies. They all want to show that their point of view (for or against meat production and consumption) is the only correct one. As is so often the case, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. The fact is, nature is there and suitable for both carnivores and herbivores. Vegetable foods cannot be grown everywhere; some areas are ideal for grazing. In the interests of sustainability, there should be no black and white painting, as this study by Tufts University shows.
"There is another recent study from Tufts University explaining how a vegan diet is not the most sustainable from a land use perspective. Cropping all of the usable land in order to produce vegetables is simply not an efficient use of space. The study looked at land usage, and again, when we consider that much of the earth’s land surface is not suitable for vegetable production, it's clear that including animal protein in the human diet is efficient from a land use perspective. "(Source)
This infographic puts some statistics (US based, but still) in a different context. (You can find the original here.)
Also the Consumption of raw materials (e.g. water) and staple foods in the meat industry and livestock farming are often denounced. The problem, in addition to the factory farming already mentioned above and a generally excessive consumption of meat in some societies, is that you compares the cost of producing one kilo of meat to one kilo of grain, but completely ignores the nutrient density of these foods leaves. How nutritious is each kilo of food for humans? Which offers more nutrients? What keeps you full longer? What gives more energy? One of the best contributions we could find on this is this one, again from Dr. Sarah Ballentyne.
In addition, plant-based foods are much more closely linked to the annual natural cycles and seasons and are therefore subject to greater fluctuations in their availability. This can be especially true in Developing countries pose a massive problem.
"The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says‘ animals can offer several advantages over crops in developing parts of the world ’and goes on to note:
- Meat and milk can be produced year-round, being less seasonal than cereals, fruit, and vegetables.
- Animals, particularly small ones, can be slaughtered as the need arises, for food or income.
- Both milk and meat can be preserved - milk as clarified butter, curd, or cheese; meat by drying, curing, smoking, and salting. "(source)
With a view to our environment - and humans are definitely a part of it - the consumption of meat and animal products cannot be rejected. The environmental problem lies in the way we do business and not in the source of our nutrients.
One question, many answers
We hope we were able to show you that the answer to the question of whether meat consumption is “right or wrong” is firstly a very complex one and, secondly, is usually wrong. The factors that decide whether something is ethically correct, sustainable, harmful to the environment or healthy are so diverse that they do not fit into a blog post. The topic fills whole book SHELVES!
But if you are more interested in the topic, here is a list of articles to start with:
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