It’s wrong for you or for anyone?

My brother asked me the above question re: eating meat. I’m a vegetarian and he’s not. We both grew up in a food-centric and meat-eating French household. Here’s my response.

I think it’s pretty much demonstrably *wrong*. It’s clear enough that it’s not worth arguing about.

Eating animals causes immense, unimaginable suffering to loving, empathetic, feeling individuals, and we can live easily and well without doing so. Also, it is enormously bad for the environment, and has spurred the evolution of diseases resistant to antibacterials. To me, the first thing is enough.

In a nutshell, that’s it. That’s all you should need to know to make your decision on the morality of the practice.

Yes, these arguments are mostly actually against factory farming, and you can eat meat that only comes from well-treated animals who are killed humanely. In practice, though, that isn’t what meat eating is. Meat eating is factory farming.

But if you’re asking whether I judge people for eating meat, I sincerely don’t. The reasoning for this is more difficult for me to unpack so I won’t do it here. I think it has to do with the difference between making judgement on people versus their actions versus a cultural practice. It also has to do with forgiveness and faith, and involves a fair amount of doublethink to keep myself sane.

I want to live well. I want to do good things. That means not eating animals, because it is wrong to do so and easy to not do so.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “It’s wrong for you or for anyone?

  1. Polly Fragrant

    It’s tricky to get into the business of judging other people. Sure, it’s easy to be tolerant about the things that are trivial (whether you should use bicarb or baking powder in scones) and it’s probably generally acceptable to feel judgey about child murderers. The problems lie the intersection of what one really cares about and that which is socially acceptable. Eating animals, for example. And of course, all of us live in glass houses to some degree. Someone wise recently said to me that just the fact that we express tolerance of something shows that we have already made a value judgment. So, I guess, hate the sin, love the sinner.

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