1 PETA. (2017). Animal Issues. online Available at: https://www.peta.org/issues/ Accessed 17 Dec. 2017. PETA. (2017).
2 PETA. (2017). Meat and the Environment. online Available at: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-environment/ Accessed 20 Dec. 2017.
3 Singer P., All Animals are Equal, in Tom Regan and Peter Singer(eds.), Animal Rights and Human Obligations. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1989, pp. 148-162.
4 Regan T., The case for animal rights, in Singer P. (ed.), In Defence of Animals, 1985, p.13-26.
5 Nhlbi.nih.gov. (2017). Anemia | NHLBI, NIH. online Available at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/anemia Accessed 18 Dec. 2017.
6 Rayner, J. (2011). Religion and food: Lord knows, they don’t mix. online the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/16/food-and-drink-religion Accessed 18 Dec. 2017.
7 McKie, R. (2017). All change in the aisles to entice us to eat more veg. online the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jan/22/all-change-supermarket-aisles-more-veg-sainsburys-cut-meat-consumption Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
To conclude, I believe that it is wrong to eat meat, as this is a clear violation of animal rights. As well as this, it can impact the individual’s health because there can be many health risks associated with eating meat such as cancer, and diabetes. Furthermore, it can negatively impact the environment, for example damaging climate change, oceans and pollution just to keep and maintain the production of animals and their farms. This view is supported by chief philosophers such as Singer and Regan, who believe that it is wrong to eat meat because it is not justifiable, as this causes unnecessary harm to animals, just to satisfy human pleasure. And also, because it is possible to survive without eating meat. This can be supported in some religions who believe it is unmoral to eat meat because this causes unnecessary harm and violence towards animals.
Although, some people may argue that it is more convenient to eat meat because, as there are more meat options available to customers than vegetarian products. This is because, in supermarkets there are more meat meal deal choices than there are for people who are vegetarian. This may seem acceptable to eat meat in some cases, if there is no option to eat vegetarian foods, because it is essential for human survival.
Additionally, people may not choose to eat meat because of the health risks associated with eating meat. For example, it is said that the consumption of meat is linked to conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. There have been recent innovations to help reduce the consumption of meat. For example, nutritionists, political economists and epidemiologists at Oxford University will investigate how animal foods can affect the environment and health, which will then work with supermarkets such as Sainsburys to help people understand the damages. This is being done because, research shows that the food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. This change will be done by giving vouchers and loyalty points to customers who choose vegetarian products over meat products. As well as this, they will be providing recipes and leaflets that will help customers choose a healthier lifestyle.7 This movement aims to reduce the eating of meat as well as helping people make healthier life choices which can benefit their health and the environment. This is a good programme in order to make people understand the consequences of eating meat and the risks associated with it. This is eventually, make people understand that it is wrong to eat meat as there are many consequences associated with eating it.
Religious traditions can have a massive impact on eating meat. For example, in Hinduism, it is forbidden to eat meat because they have a principle of nonviolence towards humans and animals. Also, they have the intention to only eat only pure food as this is beneficial for spiritual development as well as developing a healthy mind and body. In Hinduism, they worship the animals, because they believe that animals provide them the necessities such as milk hence, it is morally wrong to hurt animals. Buddhists, also share similar views because they consider it is wrong to hurt animals and humans. However, according to Islamic Law meat may be consumed as long it is halal, and slaughtered using religious halal methods6. This suggests, that in some religions it is not acceptable to et meat and this is against their morals and principles. However, in other religions, they believe that you should eat meat as long as it meets the requirements of the teachings.
Individuals eat meat, as this can satisfy their nutritional needs for example, satisfying their need for protein and other nutrients such as iron. For health conditions such as anaemia, the doctor may recommend individuals to have meats such as white and red meat. This is important for people with anaemia because your body needs iron in order to make haemoglobin and it is proven that your body can easily absorb iron from meat than from vegetables or other foods.5
Tom Regan presents the rights of animals in his philosophical work, called The Case for Animal Rights. Regan clarifies that animals are owed just treatment. In his work, Regan talks about any beings with a complex mental life, and he states that any beings with perception, desire, belief, memory, intention and a sense of future is a member of life. Hence, animals are members of a life and therefore Regan uses this principle to base his case for the basic rights of animals. Regan mentioned that it is fundamentally wrong to view animals as human resources for example, to be eaten or surgically manipulated4. Regan held a view human behaviour towards animals is fine, but as long we aren’t cruel towards them. One of his approaches was the utilitarian approach, and this describes that animal interests and human interests should be the same. Throughout, his work he makes it clear that it is wrong to treat anyone including animals with value as a resource or to exploit them. He then talks, about the rights act, which suggests that all individuals must be treated with respect and not use them. Hence, in his view it is wrong to eat meat or use them in anyway as a resource to benefit humans.
Peter Singer an innovator of the animal liberation movement believes it is wrong to eat meat. Singer believes that it is possible to survive and be healthy without eating meat, eggs, and dairy. In the animal liberation movement, it argues that as animals are consciousness of their behaviour and can feel, therefore they ought to be treated according to the utilitarian ethics (utilitarianism is an ethical theory which determines right from wrong by focusing on outcomes).3 Singer discusses that allowance for mistreatment of animals is a prejudice and this is similar to issues such as sexism and racism, because it does not have a basis and it fails to consider animal suffering which is also guilty of speciesism. Another argument stated, was that human being and other non-human animals have an interest in avoiding suffering, hence it is important to end the cruelty of non-humans. The main argument of Singer’s work is that he believes that an increase of the utilitarian idea is the only measure of good and ethical behaviour. Therefore, he argues that there is no valid reason, of not applying this principle to other animals. Although, Singer believes that animal rights are important, he does consider that animals rights are not the same as human rights because he articulates that there are important differences between animals and humans and these differences can occur in the rights that they have. Singer holds a belief that all beings that are capable of suffering should be deserving of equal consideration and should not be given lesser consideration based on other species. He compared this to discrimination based on skin colour. He argued that animal rights should be built on their capacity to feel more pain than their intelligence.
Raising animals for food involves enormous amount of land, food, water and energy as well as this it can cause vast animal suffering. According to a report published by the Worldwatch Institute, it can have an impact on climate change, as 51% or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are triggered by animal agriculture. It can also have a damaging impact on water use, since it takes massive amounts of water to clean factory farms, and give animals water to drink and food to eat. It is shown that a single cow used for milk can drink up to 50 gallons a day just to produce 1 gallon on milk, likewise to produce beef it can take more than 2,400 gallons of water. Using land to grow crops for animals is ineffective, this is because it takes nearly 20 times less land to feed someone on a vegan diet (plant based) than it does to feed a meat-eater. As stated by the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, to make 1 pound of meat, it can approximately take around 10 pounds of grain. also impacts the oceans, as fishing methods sometimes clears the ocean floor which leads to destroying coral reefs. Not only does this destroy the ocean floor, but this also kills many sea animals which include sea turtles, dolphins, sharks and other sea animals.2 This shows that by eating animals, it can massively impact our environment in an undesirable way.
Animals are fighting for their lives daily. They are imprisoned, held captive for human use and compressed. They are restricted to live in small cages so that humans can kill them and then eat them. Others will argue, that animals are kept reasonably in factories, however it doesn’t matter how the animal is treated in the process, because raising and killing the animal for food still remains morally wrong. Many vegetarians believe, that hurting or killing animals is comparable to killing humans, because a killing of a human is only defensible in extreme circumstances. However, killing an animal just for its taste, and convenience is not reasonable.1 There is a debate as to whether non-human animals have rights such as the right to live free from exploitation and abuse. I believe that animals should have rights and hence, it is morally wrong to mistreat animals for human use as this is a clear violation of animal rights. This essay will discuss, if it wrong to eat meat.