Lately I’ve been considering the proposed justifications for eating meat. To my dismay they seem to be dwindling more and more. I’ve always loved meat, but I feel that it’s an issue of morality that cannot simply be scoffed at.
When debating as to whether or not you should eat meat from your local fast-food restaurant, the goal of helping animals/reducing suffering appears futile. I don’t believe that if you stop eating McDonalds they will order 99 pounds of beef instead of their usual 100. Even if you stop eating meat there, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t giving them money. You may still order fries, a cookie, or dare I say a McDonalds salad. So, is there a point at all to this veggie-madness?
I say yes. We need only look to other instances in which we would refrain from being associated with products even when it’s obviously in vain.
I am not suggesting that everyone put down their chicken tender and pick up a carrot. This would be hypocritical of me.
There is no doubt someone at this very moment who believes that refraining from eating at fast food restaurants is not enough (if anything). That if I truly cared about the suffering of animals I would start petitions, picket outside factories, or even sell all of my recreational possessions to save shelter animals.
So no, I am not necessarily suggesting a change of diet/habit. Instead, I am suggesting a recognition of the cognitive dissonance present when buying from a place that doesn’t hold up to your ideals/beliefs. This recognition alone is in my eyes our first step.
Imagine you became aware that your favorite American made wallet or purse was assembled by way of torturing a cow for ten days, starving it for five, and finally slaughtering the animal; all in order to obtain the finest hide. If you care at all about the suffering of conscious creatures, then your first instinct would be to disassociate yourself with such a company. Whether your disassociation makes an actual difference should be irrelevant in this case. This is an ethical question that concerns itself with the authenticity of a belief. This belief being, that there is no reason to inflict unnecessary suffering upon conscious creatures.
It seems that a separation between producer and consumer has evolved, in which the consumer feels no association with the manner in which the producer produces. The failure to recognize an obvious association between the two is a moral failure, which is not without consequence in my opinion.