This page condenses some of the arguments found on the main page http://animalvegfaq.tripod.com
It may be useful for students writing essays or just as a summary of major arguments found on this page.
1) Meat eating for humans is unnecessary. Humans lack the natural born equipment to hunt anything beyond insects and slow rodents. They require tools and instruments to do it. Real predators do not use claws and fangs to grow gardens or routinely kill other members of their species (unlike humans). A vegan diet is easy and healthy. Meat eating is therefore unnecessary cruelty and killing. If one believes we should try to be kind and compassionate and just, and not cause suffering when we dont have to, then meat eating cannot be justified as a diet for humans.
2) Meat eating is destructive. Health wise, meat needs to be irradiated to fight off diseases and bacteria. Urine and excrement spilled from the bowels of slaughtered animals gets sprayed onto the corpse.
3) Meat eating is destructive. Wildlife is killed for the sake of ranchers. Forests are cut down to grow soy to feet livestock. Rivers are polluted by ranching and factory farms. Livestock significantly contributes to greenhouse gases and global warming (according the UN).
4) Meat eating is wasteful. The water and grain/crops etc that go to feed livestock could be eaten directly by humans. Meat recalls, disease outbreaks that lead to killing of the animals--all waste.
5)Meat eating violates notions of human rights. If you believe humans should be fed--then we shouldnt be wasting resources on meat-based diets that deprive people of water and crops (or causes the prices or food to go up due to the extra demands on crops for livestock). Meat is sold that is full of disease. E coli, BSE, etc. The companies cover it up. Children are forced to eat meat even if they are compassionate to animals. This and the health effects makes it a form of child abuse.
6) Meat eating is cruel. Animals are raised, separated from their family groups, forced pregnancy, forced abortion, forced starvation(to cause moulting of egg laying chickens to get extra eggs out of them) , forced to stand even when sick so they can be approved for slaughter. Frustrated slaughterhouse workers torture animals--gouge their eyes out for fun, shock them, beat them, kick them, castrate them without anesthetic (all documented on video). Even if everyone ate from small "organic" ranches, you still have castration, branding, dehorning, and animals are sent to the same slaughterhouses.
7)Fruit and vegetables are the colours of the rainbow--when it rots it can still be digested(raisins etc). Meat is the colour of excrement and when it rots it is even more lethal. If there was a deity, fruit and vegetables have been given a good PR image, meat has not.
8) Meat eating can lead to epidemics of new contagious diseases--i.e. Sars, bird flu and influenza (which spread from pigs to humans).
9) Meat eating is unethical. Anti- Supremacy Ethical Argument for Nonhuman Rights
Those who believe in a moral code of universal human rights but deny extending rights to nonhumans have two problems. The criteria(s) they use to justify this discrimination (faculty of reason, a soul, divine or evolutionary favor, moral reciprocity, survival of the fittest, individual selfishness, a bundle of characteristics or vaguely defined ones etc.) cannot be proven to be possessed by all humans or lacking in all nonhumans. i.e. some humans are more intelligent than others, some nonhumans are more rational than some humans, humans can and do willfully break laws and yet the most hated of criminals are regarded as more deserving of care and respect than the most innocent of beings.
Secondly, the importance of such criteria can be doubted-- shown not to be objective absolute truth, but subjective arbitrary criteria conveniently determined by those who stand to benefit from the discrimination they wish to justify. Nature(or invisible deities), through environmental phenomenon, weather, earthquakes, and the actions of other human beings, cannot be shown to care or favor humans over other lifeforms as an absolute objective fact. This subjectivity means that someone who may discriminate against other humans (which happens despite the laws and philosophy designed to curb such incidents) using criteria that is just as subjective (skin colour, gender, class, religion, survival of the fittest, individual selfishness, etc) cannot be effectively condemned by a human rights advocate who denies rights to nonhumans, since both are discriminating according to subjective criteria of value they deem to be important. Pragmatic appeals to self-interest and the Golden Rule are also dubious, since a dictator or criminal may exploit and kill and never need to care about the rights of others or face prosecution, and a man living on one side of the globe does not necessarily have a practical reason to care what happens to humans in another far away country.
The only way for a human rights advocate to consistently argue that one ought to have systemic universal human rights and an ethical code based upon this idea is to extend the concept of fairness and justice to nonhumans as much as possible. Because humans develop ethical codes to govern human behavior, and nonhumans do not appear to employ or require such codes in their social interactions, they benefit from the consistency requirement in human concepts of fairness and justice without needing to reciprocate. To expect them to adhere to human moral contracts in order to be eligible for moral regard is like expecting a blind man to be able to read and then punishing him for not doing so. That moral regard may not be possible or practical in all situations due to particular factors (such as scale or absentmindedness or the inability to be perfect), but since the same is true of human relations with other humans, it does not invalidate the merits of the argument or provide a loophole to justify systemic exploitation of nonhuman lifeforms (since one could then justify the same for humans).
Every argument put forth to defend exploitation assumes human superiority as a given, and conveniently ignores the reality of human predation upon other human beings. This approach applies equally to theists and secularists, and any human society that can articulate a belief in supremacy and uses it to systematically discriminate(against humans or nonhumans)
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