Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Human ethics and their problems

As I've been watching a discussion about a completely different topic (weight), there also was a vegan who argued that all animals were almost as intelligent as humans and thus we should not eat them.

The problem I have with vegans and vegetarians as such, is one of morale and ethics. The way I see it we, the humans that is, are just animals as well. We are intelligent, that is true, but intelligence is our means of survival, nothing more. Other animals are not as intelligent as we are - at least the way we define it. I seriously doubt that - and not because of what the scientists say, but because the way I see it, only intelligent beings survive on the globe we call earth (and yes, I know our planet is rather an egg than a globe, but usually people call it a globe).

Vegetarians declare it wrong to eat meat - and usually not because of health, but because of morals. Vegans even go one step further, they declare it wrong to use any kind of animal product, including milk, eggs, honey or even leather - because of morals, too. If I could ask any predator on earth (and biologically speaking we are predators, too, we eat meat, we have 'fangs' - though not very strong ones - and we originally had a lifestyle based on hunting animals … and eat fruits, vegetables, roots and so on in addition), they would only say "so what" when faced with the fact of their prey being intelligent and able to feel pain or joy as well. They don't lack intelligence, they only lack morale. And I don't think they're unhappy because of it.

A vegan - like the one on the show - may claim he/she doesn't "want to force people to adopt the same lifestyle, but just to make them aware of the facts" (about animals), but the truth is: if they could 'force' (or maybe rather 'enlighten') people immediately that their lifestyle is the right one, they would do it. They do illegal things to "make people aware" and even though I'm not a fan of those "chicken farms" were the poor animals are kept under circumstances that aren't just a bit off from treating them well, but rather completely breaking all moralistic and ethic rules of treating any living being, I don't think break into these farms and take the animals out is the right way. The farmer usually has an insurance and will just buy new chickens. If the vegans just had adopted that lifestyle out of their own ethics, they wouldn't talk about it - except perhaps when they invite people for dinner for the first time and say "you know, I don't use any animal products, so we'll have a wonderful meal made out of vegetables and other plants and it will taste just great because I've been cooking that way for quite a while now".

And I sometimes thing: "Why don't go the way completely?" If I don't want any living thing to die so I can live, than I can't eat any living being, that includes plants. Of course, that surely would be a problem, because humans are not able to use photosynthesis or can filter their food from the soil.

Again: I'm not a fan of industrialized farming, but I see the point in it ... there's too many people on this planet to feed them the traditional way. So either we decimate ourselves until 'traditional' farming with free-roaming animals can sustain us (and given the fact the industrialized countries seem to be loosing populace, that could happen) or we have to accept the fact that we need to 'produce' food in industrial ways. In that case we should work out ways to keep the animals at least in a humane way (meaning giving them the chance to live quite well).

1 comment:

Aldo Rey said...

I've always suspected that "morality" or "ethics" are merely justifications used by some people to feel superior over others. People like those who like to justify their sides according to "morals" or "ethics" are not really interested in enlightening people, they only want to feel better than everyone else. It's like a secular version of "holier than thou" attitude, or something. But then again, I've fallen too deep into cynicism and relativism to make a rational judgement on those people...

I do agree, though, that it is laughable for people to claim that our intelligence somehow promotes us into "guardians" over every other creature. Intelligence is to humans the same way sharp claws are to lions, tools for hunting down prey...