Ignorance is bliss.

Especially is the case with the current state of our animal agriculture industry. Which is probably the reason why I haven’t bothered investigating into it. Cuz frankly, I’m scared what I’m going to uncover. Drawing the line on moral decisions is not always easy. And just because the truth is ugly, it doesn’t justify turning a blind eye.

So enjoy my podcast below as I delve into the ethical stance of eating meat.

30 Days Vegan: The Ethical Concern

Listen to Podcast on iTunes

When I was 12, I got a Red Ryder BB gun. As manhood points soared through the roof, I embodied my inner Bond and started shooting up random objects around the yard (sorry Dad). Soon after, I had created a muti-stage marksman courses. I took my training seriously.

Amidst my training, the perfect challenge to test my shooting skills landed on a branch, not too far away. Eyes fixed on the target, I began pumping the Red Ryder.

… eight … nine … ten …

Steady Matt, just like you trained. Slow breathe, steady hand, and with the target in scope, pulled the trigger!!

!POP!

Feathers burst and I saw the robin bird drop like a rock. Then, to my horror, began flopping and twitching around on the ground.

As my heart ached, I knew the job was not finished. So I guilt-fully walked over to the robin. Tears began to swell as I pumped the Red Ryder and shot the bird three more times before it stopped twitching. I took life. And I felt awful.

Where do I draw the line?

For me, I’ll be continuing to challenge myself to remain open to experiment with a lifestyle free from meat. I feel continuing to eat meat after what I’ve learned during this vegan challenge goes too strongly against two key values of mine – Compassion and Health.

Health

My lifelong value for optimal health does not align with the sickness correlated with meat consumption. When we eat meat, we’re also consuming what that animal consumed and consists of—antibiotics, hormones, processed foods and other toxins that are carcinogenic to the human body. More on that in last week’s podcast with Dr. Garth Davis.

To summarize: meat is not a necessity, it’s a luxury, and one that’s making us sick.

Without health life is not life; it is only a state of langour and suffering – an image of death. – Buddha

Compassion

I believe all people, at their core, want to behave in a humane and conscientious way. From our pure, untainted infancy, we want to bond with and take care of our animal friends, it’s innate. To see this in action, watch little Luiz Antonio in the video below work through whether or not he should eat an octopus on his plate.

Personally, I’m naturally more compassionate for those I understand and relate to more. Humans have a 96% genetic similarity to chimpanzees. We have an 82% similarity with dogs. And an 80% similarity with cows (source).

Factory farming is responsible for over 90% of meat production, where 3000 animals die every second. I would never treat an animal like this myself, yet everytime I eat meat, I’m supporting factory farming and the suffering that’s involved with it.

Fortunately, the power for change is dependant on what I allow on my fork. I’m grateful to have the money to buy anything I want to eat. Meat won’t be missed, It will be eagerly replaced with the endless array of nature’s bounty.

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. – Dalai Lama

Where do you draw the line?

Strict values are required to make this decision. So if you’re reading this, I challenge you to not take the easy route and turn a blind eye.

This is a major life-altering decision. Yet it’s my intention to continue experimenting and remain open to information to deepening my understanding on this topic. So if there is something you’ve come to understand that I haven’t mentioned, I invite you to mention it in comment below. Thanks!

  • dsprindle

    When an animal is breed for the sole purpose of feeding humans, there is nothing unethical about properly killing it. Humans are not animals. Animals are not humans. It’s kind of ironic that people say we should treat animals humanely. No, we need to treat humans humanely. We should never be intentionally cruel to animals (like shooting a bird just for fun) and we need to treat the animals we are responsible for with proper care. When certain groups want to impose their will on others because they don’t want to see any animal killed for food, they might cross over the line into tyranny. However, when the improper care and cruel treatment of animals is exposed, that’s when we can say, “Hey, change they way you treat animals.” Vegans are free to be Vegans. There is also nothing unethical about eating animals that are meant for food. You can make the same argument with plants. They are living things. When we harvest some plants we are killing them. So can you only eat plants you’re not killing? Like fruits & grains? Common sense is needed or we’ll keep dividing ourselves into antagonistic groups of people instead of accepting the fact that we have different opinions and convictions about things that are OK.

    • I agree! However, though I have the same convictions, history is full of “OK” norms that become largely immoral in time. In our recent history, it was OK to enslave ‘different’ people, homosexuals were scared to admit their disposition, and I presume, in the next 100 years, animal food will largely become impractical as well as immoral. Not because it is. But because humans progressively grow their empathetic to other people, environments, and species.
      Matthew and I have engaged in discourse for more than 3 hours on this subject. And while I am still okay eating meat, I find myself preferring alternative options. Still, I find veganism is a bit extreme, finding vegetarian tendencies more realistic and rational.

      • Spot on. Even just a decade ago it was OK to smoke cigarettes, even doctors endorsed it. It’s difficult to look at what’s collectively normal and believe we should be doing things differently. So props for challenge the status quo and experiement with it yourself!

    • Great points!

      From a faith-based perspective, I see how by calling a human an animal is calling God an animal, as man was made from God’s image. Though whether humans should be considered animals depends on your definition.

      Animal (noun): a living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli.

      Plants are indeed living! I believe they show altruism and experience kinship much like animals. And I’d assume plants want to thrive and survive just as much as animals. Though the difference between plants and animals is often chalked up to sentience. Plant-based foods do not have an innate emotional inclination to avoid death, animals do. Plants don’t have a nervous system are not naturally designed to process the sensation of pain. So based on the reality of nature and the current state of our ag industry, choosing to avoid eating animals brings a greater sense of love and compassion into my life.

      I totally agree we all have different opinions. Accepting that fact is liberating and frees us from a condescending or judgemental mindset.