A strictly vegetarian diet is best suited to the human body's needs, mankind's ability of survival on earth, and our inherent compassion. Switching to such a diet is fairly simple and creates the opportunity to lead a healthier, happier, and gentler life (Marcus, xi).
For numerous reasons, humanity has been increasingly taking to veganism since the last few years. Some vegan supporters assert their participation in a dietary regimen wherein consuming or utilizing animal products is unethical, according to their religious beliefs or values. Meanwhile, others put forward the argument of animal consciousness's ethicality and the industrial farming process. Those who claim to be vegans most probably do so owing to environmental, animal rights, or personal health concerns, which can alter with time. Several vegans begin as vegetarians, gradually ceasing consumption of milk, eggs and other animal by-products. Meanwhile, others turn purely vegan right from the outset. In Maurer's (2002) view, numerous vegan and vegetarian leaders are in agreement that vegetarianism isn't any static state. Rather, it represents a developing process characterized by individual motivational change and increase in commitment. (11) Donald Watson, who is credited with coining the word 'veganism' in 2005, stated that veganism represents the ultimate stage in a vegetarian's journey (as cited in Steele 11).
I. (Ethics) Veganism advocates maintain that industrial livestock production is absolutely intolerable, atrocious, and outdated.
In Immanuel Kant's (1997) opinion, cruel treatment of animals is unethical and demeans humanity. According to another view, cruel treatment of animals is intolerable as it will likely make one insensitive and spiteful towards fellow human beings (as cited in McPherson 3). A key reason for the adoption of veganism is usually a person's discomfort with consuming a being that breathes and feels. Barbara McDonald's 2000 study on turning vegan reveals that most non-vegan-turned-vegan individuals claim they already possessed compassionate feelings for animals prior to turning vegan. They confessed to "compartmentalizing" animals; that is, they maintained compassionate feelings towards cats, dogs and other pet animals, but attempted to ignore similar feelings for the farm animals they consumed (Steele 11).
The term "ethical vegan" has been utilized for describing those who turn vegan with an ethical motive in mind. Their main concern deals with exploitation of fellow humanity and animals. Their belief is that utilizing animal parts as food, or in household items and clothing, is unethical. They oppose the act of torturing and taking the lives of animals, to make products, or for medical research or entertainment. They are worried about the effects of the torture and violence witnessed in animal processing factories, by human beings. The controversies surrounding ethical vegan individuals are more complex. They take into account issues surrounding utilization of products originating from animals (e.g., wool, which doesn't claim the sheep's life). However, ethical vegans assert that shearing is a damaging and occasionally painful activity for the animal. They refrain from wearing leather as it clearly involves killing and skinning an animal. They ruminate on how far they must take their beliefs. For instance, they might consider not consuming processed white sugar, which is usually filtered using animal bones. But completely avoiding animal exploitation in product processing is very hard. Even 'organic' crops are fertilized using animal manure (Steele 11).
The activity of intensive animal farming was introduced during the latter part of the previous century, in industrialized nations. That half-century witnessed maximum production of cheaply-priced milk, meat, and eggs. By the century's end, this system began to spread far and wide, with most agricultural policymakers perceiving industrial production of animals to be an ordinary component of economic growth and an undisputed necessity (Jacqui 5). Ever since the start of this activity, an unprecedented worldwide growth has ensued, in the proportion of farm animals utilized for producing eggs, milk, meat, and, more recently, fish, as well as in the quantity of produce yielded from individual animals (Jacqui 10).
The colossal growth in industrial animal farming which would be essential for doubling the present livestock production level threatens farmed animals' genetic diversity on a global scale. High-yielding breeds of cattle were typically developed for utilization in comparatively high-input agricultural systems and temperate climates, while developing nations' native breeds were adapted for coping with poor-quality feed and local environmental conditions (drought, heat, parasites (e.g.,...
The above conditions can intensify chances of production-related failures and bring about intense suffering to ill-adapted animal breeds. Animal scientists are of the view that it is imperative that we keep on farming indigenous and less commercial breeds, since these might carry important genes linked to disease resistance or resilience in the face of changing environment (Jacqui 11).
Factory farming-related knowledge is generally the catalyst for individuals embarking on a journey to veganism. Concentrated Animal Feeding Lots or factory farms have emerged as the leading approach to animal rearing as food, across the globe. Factory farms house chickens, cows, goats, sheep, pigs, turkeys, etc. together in heavily packed facilities in which they are dosed constantly with antibiotics. Through hormones and breeding, the animals become so large that they are hardly able to bear their weight and usually end up breaking their legs. Their breeders treat them as commodities, frequently meting out extremely brutal treatment to them (e.g., bashing their heads to the walls, poking them with red-hot sticks, slitting their throats open, etc. all when the animals are still conscious). Calves, chicks and other animals' babies are separated right from birth, from their mother. Calves, in particular, are deprived of their mother's milk, with the males typically put into small, dark crates to make them anemic -- this gives rise to the white veal preferred by consumers. Some individuals turn vegan as they are guilt-ridden and saddened by the idea of consuming anything that is a product of torture. This guilt and sadness typically results from the knowledge of how the food processing industry and farms treat animals (Steele 12).
A. Mankind is the sole species having moral consciousness of its actions and decisions, and hence, has a choice to behave unethically or ethically.
One among the many ethical explanations for adopting veganism contends that such a lifestyle represents the sole coherent awareness of the ethical truth that killing animals is wrong (Gelderloos 4). Although animal science is able to account for the close resemblance between human and animal physiology, and whether or not animals experience suffering and pain the way humans do, science alone is not able to reveal whether animals and humans possess an equal moral status. This issue is more philosophical in nature, hinging on whether an animal is a "moral person," akin to man. We come under this category of 'moral persons' as we possess moral rights, a moral position, and moral worth. We have moral obligations towards each other and are required to treat one another in a way that is morally responsible. This moral personhood enables mankind to conclude, for instance, that attacking, abducting, torturing, or killing fellow human beings is wrong. Science informs us that considerable differences exist between humans' and animals' cognitive skills. In fact, even among animals, cognitive skill levels differ. Therefore, the claim that animals and man possess equal moral value appears to be an unsound one. Increased self-awareness and ability of sentience will increase moral worth. However, the challenge lies in modifying business practices and animal laws such that animals' varying moral worth levels are considered (Fieser, 2008).
Ultimately, the choice rests with us, since cattle is probably the sole capital asset for a large number of poverty-ridden individuals, and is crucial in providing food, draught power, fuel and fertilizer. Rich nations, however, are in an entirely different situation, as they overproduce as well as over-consume animal products. Uncontrolled animal product manufacture and utilization in developed nations, accompanied by tremendous wastage of food grains in the form of animal feed, constitutes a key driver of the worldwide rise in food prices, which negatively affects poor people. Lowered animal product consumption (especially meat) would bring about a significant decrease in resources required for feeding the earth's swiftly climbing human population. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) remarked in the year 2001 that, a move from meat-to-plant products as food, wherever feasible, would be able to decrease emission of greenhouse gases and boost energy efficiency (Jacqui 5).
B. Research performed on animal consciousness and trans-marginal inhibition confirms that animals indeed experience suffering, pain, and premature death (in some instances).
Sensitive persons feel the vibes emanating from one who is close to them. They are able to feel the agony experienced from the cows and chickens slaughtered for their food. The issue is not about the cessation of cattle grazing, but about them being injected with antibiotics and hormones that make them extremely sick -- we ultimately eat these 'sick animals' (Harper 122-123).
The above explanation from the 2000 book, Sacred Women briefly, but clearly, portrays animal suffering and pain. The aim of intensive livestock production is creation of a "high-input, high-output" production system. The system treats…
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