It is clear to all of us today where meat comes from. It is clear that animals have to die for meat. It is also clear that animals raised for meat suffer such and other torments during breeding, before and after death. The torture of animals as a necessary component of meat is therefore beyond doubt. On the other hand, our society strongly condemns the torture of animals. Let’s remember the reactions of people when the news about high school students torturing cats or someone who brutally killed a dog resonated with the public. It is also clear today to what extent meat production and related livestock farming pollute and destroy the environment. On the one hand, most people are aware of the problem of environmental pollution, some even condemn the US for not signing the Kyoto agreement. However, on the other hand, meat-eating individuals together cause a similar amount of environmental damage (18% of total CO2 emissions) as the implementation of the Kyoto Agreement would reduce.
On the one hand, we condemn the torture of animals, and on the other, we torture them – directly on an industrial level. On the one hand, we condemn the destruction and pollution of the environment, and on the other, meat is one of the world’s greatest sources of pollution. So how do most people cope with this dichotomy?
The answer is simple: with excuses.
First, something general about excuses. What is this excuse? An excuse is a reason or statement that gives us ethical immunity in the case of certain ethically unacceptable acts. An act that would otherwise be ethically unacceptable makes an excuse ethically acceptable. Just as, for example, someone who would rob a company would claim that the company made this money by cheating and exploiting small people and therefore this money (as a small person) belongs to him. Or let’s say he stole a DVD from the store because the store has so many that one is less familiar to them at all.
In some cases, the reasons are justified, for example in the case of silobran, where the threat to one’s own life may be an excuse for ethically otherwise unacceptable acts. Therefore, events over which we have no influence or where we do not have the possibility of free choice are not subject to ethical judgments. Only acts in which we have a choice can be ethical or unethical, but we consciously decide on a less ethical act.
So how do you separate legitimate reasons (such as silobran) from excuses? Excuses are based on untrue facts and / or incorrect logical conclusions. Excuses are also characterized by being based on conclusions whose application would lead to further ethically unacceptable acts.
Today, in the West, meat is eaten only for pleasure, tradition or habit. Eating meat is a matter of decision and not a matter of necessity, so these actions are certainly subject to ethical judgment. However, since torturing and killing animals and destroying nature for the sake of pleasure and tradition would be ethically difficult for most people, they are trying to find reasons that would make doing so more acceptable, more vital. Virtually all of these reasons, however, are based on erroneous data and logic, which in turn qualifies them as excuses rather than legitimate reasons.
Excuses can be divided into several groups. In the first group are those who try to show meat consumption as vital. These excuses work in the direction of proving that meat is not possible, that meat contains some necessary ingredients that we cannot get anywhere else. These excuses are supposed to show that eating meat is a kind of saving our own lives, health, so we are forced to eat meat, because otherwise we would get sick. Such excuses make the torture of animals a necessary evil, as they try to prove that we do not have the possibility of free choice, because we simply have to eat meat. In this way, an attempt is made to place meat consumption in the same group of events as silobran, ie among events that cannot be ethically judged.
The thesis that there are some substances in meat that we cannot get other than in meat has long been scientifically refuted, because there is nothing in meat that could not be easily obtained from other sources. Therefore, the position of the world’s largest dietary organizations is that the exclusion of meat from the menu is not only possible, but even healthy. It is hard to doubt such credible institutions, thousands of nutritionists, all of whom argue that meat should not be eaten by adults, children, infants, nursing mothers, pregnant women, manual workers or athletes. However, there are people – not only lay people, but also people from the profession – who oppose these organizations.