The issue of animal rights for slaughtered animals has been gathering heated debates for nearly two decades now. The public has been divided into two lines, with vegetarians on one hand and meat lovers on the other. However, many people are critical about vegetarians since their cause demonstrates unclear and emotional arguments rather than providing logical and progressive solutions on the matter. It is not fair that even the advocates of animal rights should wage a war against meat lovers. Facts should be tabled, a clear way forward defined and everyone’s opinion respected without the need to force people to stop eating meat.
One of the major arguments against slaughtering animals for meat is that animals have feelings. In addition, animal rights activists have filed suits against the intolerable housing conditions animals are subjected to before eventual slaughter. In A Vegetarian Philosophy by Peter Singer (1998), the author’s utilitarian argument is that animals also have feelings such as people, and as such, should not be held in cruel conditions or tortured. Peter Singer appeals to the human reason on simple economics that becoming a vegetarian will lower the demand on meat from animals, thereby reducing the number of animals slaughtered for meat. It would be appropriate to fuse Peter’s stand on the matter with Jonathan Foer’s argument in You are What You Eat (2011). Foer grows emotionally attached to his new-found dog, George, and even begs the question if he would eat his dog. The contrast and hypocrisy in both cases is that animals should not be slaughtered because emotional attachment arises between people and animals.
If someone chooses to keep an animal, which could be potentially slaughtered for meat, as a pet, he or she should take it as an individual decision. His or her emotional attachment should not be passed on to the masses that breed some animals for meat. Alice Walker in Am I Blue also provides a weak argument why animals should not be slaughtered. She ‘realized’ that her horse had feelings and transmuted her new-found knowledge to having mercy on other animals, such as cows and chickens. If she were to make her argument really compelling, why wouldn’t she show a great relationship existing between her and cows or hens she was fighting for?
It is difficult to believe that human pleasure dominates the majority of meat eaters. Many people love meat and educated people understand that meat should be taken in little quantities. Even if many people love meat, only a few overindulge in taking meat and it can be declared with certainty that no one eats meat for the love of suffering the animals went through during torture. Laura Fraser in Why I Stopped being a Vegetarian (2000) provides an unlikable satirical and sarcastic explanation against being a vegetarian. She shows a case of eating meat for indirect pleasure in form of not wanting to be apart from the crowd in her early years. She also avoided giving friends the trouble of providing her with a special diet at parties since she was a vegetarian. A story of meal with a Buddhist philosopher in Peter Singer’s A Vegetarian Philosophy (2008) proves that even conscious people eat meat for reasons far from human pleasure. When questioned that eating meat was not right since the animal died to provide meat, the philosopher argued that meat would have died anyway (Singer, 2008).
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Anyone who eats meat due to his or her uncontrollable pleasure should blame themselves and not the meat. Jeffrey Moussaieff Massonin The Pig Who Sang to the Moon (2004) is in denial of his responsibility for his appetite for cheese. It is not fair for him to ask if his pleasure should overtake the suffering of others. His very own action of substituting cheese for pizza should be the proof that any form of extremeness is an individual’s fault.
If vegetarians and animal rights activists are convicted that eating meat of animals that are slaughtered is not right, they should provide a proper alternative or alternatives. Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson (47)provides a good example by substituting his love for cheese from slaughtered pigs for pizza. This is unlike Alice Walker, who opts for extremeness that no meat products should be consumed, since for her even consuming eggs is not right. Foer’s example of an alternative to eating slaughtered animals is not justifiable. His hypocrisy is clearly evident when he says that the previous night sushi felt right. This is because earlier on in You Are What You Eat (2011), he seems concerned if animals, such as fish, cows and chicken have a consciousness that may be similar to his dog’s. Carl Cohen in The case for The Use of Animals in Biomedical Research (1986) provides rather awkward but practical alternative to the eating of slaughtered meat when he suggests that animals have no rights. This fact coupled with his argument that animals cannot respond to moral claims should be reason enough to create a non-guilty feeling when consuming meat of slaughtered animals (Cohen, 870).
The Buddhist story told in Peter Singer’s case adds to Carl Cohen’s argument. The suggestion from Buddhist philosopher was rather strong. His suggestion was that there existed no alternative to eating meat since the animal would eventually die, even if the whole city was populated by strict vegetarians. This simple and satirical reasoning should be understood by all vegetarians (Masson, 77).
Most of the scholars presented in the arguments above provide individual suggestions and arguments about eating meat slaughtered animals. It is clear that the matter is personal and that the public should not suffer at the expense of a few. If vegetarians do not want to eat meat of slaughtered animals, they should not enforce their ideas on others. It would be utterly unfair to target complete elimination of slaughtering animals, since majority of the population depends on slaughtered animals for food.
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