I do not eat animal flesh because I see the clear case that doing so comes at the cost of killing another being that was definitely alive. The other day I was offered a breakfast sandwich that had both egg and turkey bacon on it. I decided to throw away the turkey and only eat the egg (and bread). Also, to add more background to the situation this was a sandwich that would have been eaten by someone else (turkey in all) if I declined. This then led me to think that maybe my actions of throwing away the turkey is actually more morally wrong than eating the turkey. So, my question is if throwing away meat is morally correct for vegetarians (or vegan) who base their diet on the ethical stance of not doing harm to animals.
I became a vegan two years ago, mainly motivated by emotional distress at the thought of the pain and suffering that animals go through to be killed/farmed. Now I justify this decision to others for health/social reasons, because I don't know how to justify it morally. I instinctively feel that to eat an egg, whether or not the hen was free-range, or even if I just found it outside, would be inherently wrong, but I can't quite articulate why logically. I suppose if pressed I'd say that all sentient beings possess rights, or at the right not to be treated as property, and farming violates this right. Does this stand up to scrutiny?
I have two questions about hunting and fishing: First, is it is ethical to use powerful machinery and high-technology to find and harvest fish and game? Second, is "professional" fishing ethical?
It is unlikely that the human race would have survived without the dietary protein derived from hunting and fishing. At some point, hunters and fishers became "sportsmen" as well as providers, but still universally accepted the ethical principle that one must kill or catch only what would be used as food for the family.
For my 70 years thus far on this earth, I have sought and caught fish to cook, and eat; and I have hunted and killed game birds and animals to cook and eat. Any excess has always been given to others for consumption or preserved for future meals. I regard this practice as ethical and in a proud human tradition dating from as far back as ancestry can be imagined. My hunting has always been on foot or horseback, sometime accompanied by a dog, and my fishing from the bank or in a small boat...
Given that that most people would agree with 1 and 2 that:
1. Causing great suffering is wickedness if done in the absence of qualifying conditions.
For example bombing a city is generally wrong since it causes suffering but if bombing that city ends a war then that is a qualifying condition which may absolve the wrongness of that act.
2. Eating animals causes great suffering.
How can meat eaters see themselves as anything other than wicked people?
Certainly eating meat causes great suffering so the only thing that would keep it from being wicked would be the presence of a qualifying condition.
What is the qualifying condition in the case of meat eating? That is tastes SO YUMMY?
I am firm believer that life human or animal should be preserved whenever possible. I would also like to believe that had I lived in Nazi Germany I would have stood up for the persecuted. So how can I reconcile my strong moral convictions with my inaction regarding the mass murder of animals everyday. Ironically enough I feel guilty for letting the law and the disappointment of my family stand in the way of stopping the massacre. This guilt is causing me great pain. Please enlighten me on what I should do.