Thoughts on Vegetarian and Killing

I have just came back to the states from a 2 week vacation in the Iberia. I spent one of the two weeks at a Yoga and Meditation retreat in a national park in Lisbon. It was an interesting experience. The hosts were both vegetarian therefore all the food they prepared for me was all vegetarian. We also discussed this subject a bit, and today I want to write about my opinion, from a purely moral perspective.

For those who spend lots of time meditating on life, death and love, it is more natural for them to say “I refuse to eat other beings that were killed as food”. Most people with a more or less mainstream moral compass will also think that killing animals or the act of killing is immoral. Which I agree to some extent. However, from a survival/food chain perspective, I don’t think moderately eating other animals is completely immoral.

I have seen quite a few episodes of the BBC series “Planet Earth” and “The Hunt”. The recurring theme is that one predator tries to hunt down a prey. In some cases, only one will survive, either the prey is outran and got eaten or the predator dies of hunger. In such a scenario, there does not seem to be an obvious moral option.

Of course, the scenario for human is different, as we can live on vegetables. However, we are also somewhere on the food chain, and our position of the food chain is determined by our ability to both eat meat and vegetables. what happens when all of humanity decides to go vegetarian? in an extreme case, we would consume a whole lot more of veggie and greens, and I am not sure if we have enough farming lands to keep up with the need. Also, there will be a surplus of pigs, cows and chickens. Since they also eat greens, we will need to share our food resources with them. I have yet done any rigorous research, and I am not sure if we have sufficient resource to supply to everyone. Since these animals tend to have offspring very rapidly, I am not sure if there are enough other predators (tigers, lions, etc) to keep them at a reasonable amount. If their population increase a lot faster than the rate of predators hunting them down, then there will be more and more of them, needing more and more greens. Will we be able to keep sharing our food? If not, they will still die eventually.

I do believe the important thing to follow here is not about killing, but to maintain the food chain balance. Killing animals for food come from our ancestors, so it is something that we naturally want. It is not necessary to suppress this urge. In the special case of endangered animals, of course we should not kill them for any reasons. However, for the species we still have with an abundant amount, I do not think it is immoral to kill and eat them. We are a part of a food chain and we should make our contributions. from my analysis in the previous paragraph we can see that a sudden change of diet can drastically impact the food chain, and put everything out of balance. Maybe humans will someday evolve into vegetarians, and the food chain will reach a new equilibrium. just maybe. But I think we are far from that yet.

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