Animal Rights

Why It's Basically Impossible to Be an 'Ethical' Meat Eater

No matter how animals are raised, they are all killed the same way.

Photo Credit: Kandinskiy Dmitriy/Shutterstock

By now, most of us know that factory farming is terrible for animals, our planet and our health. But what about people who call themselves ethical meat-eaters?

Doing something ethical by definition means that you’re doing something right or good. And while a lot of companies sell animal products using labels such as “humane” or “free-range” to ease the minds of consumers and increase business, the truth is that cruelty is inherent in these products. This is especially true of meat, which requires the violent slaughter of the animals.

No matter how animals are raised (and let’s be real, more than 95 percent of all animals bred for meat are raised on factory farms), they are all killed the same merciless way: They are hung upside down, often while still conscious, and their throats are slit.

A self-proclaimed "ethical" meat-eater must assume the unnecessary killing of an animal is ethical. That’s quite an assumption considering no animal wants to die. Think they do? Just take a look at the heap of news reports of slaughterhouse escapees running for their lives or animals jumping from transport vehicles.

As philosopher Jeremy Bentham wrote in his Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation, “The question is not, can they reason? nor, can they talk? but, can they suffer?”

Pigs, cows, chickens, and other farmed animals are just as sensitive and intelligent as the dogs and cats who share our homes. Yet the meat industry is allowed to abuse billions of them in ways that would warrant felony-level animal cruelty charges if the victim were just one dog or cat.

By buying and consuming meat, you’re directly supporting this industry.

If none of this sits well with you, it’s time you joined the millions of people who have said enough and switched to a compassionate vegan diet. Click here to order your free Vegetarian Starter Guide.

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Joe Loria is the communications and content manager at Mercy For Animals.