I am thoroughly confused by the ethics of vegetarianism, which to my mind seems more of a religious objection towards eating meat than a scientific point of view.
Recently I attended a lecture by Peter Singer ( Animal Liberation ) on the ethics of eating meat. One thing he did not address was differentiating between the 'killing' of the (sentient) animal and the 'eating' of it.
OK- so here is my question: is it ethical to eat roadkill, or animals that have died of "natural" causes or of "old age"? Further to this, is being killed by a human primate not a "natural" cause of death of a cow?
If humans shouldn't kill cows to eat (because we know better), perhaps we could let lions kill the cows, then we can eat them afterwards?
Isn't it unethical to tell people in the developing world they shouldn't eat meat? - especially when a huge percentage of women in the developing world are iron deficient?
The most compelling reason not to eat meat is not because it involves killing animals but because it so often involves causing animals to suffer, especially in factory farming. From this point of view there might be nothing wrong with eating free range chicken (because their lives are not miserable) or shrimp (if they are incapable of feeling pain). But as Peter Singer argues, causing unecessary suffering seems wrong. If some factory farming were the only way for some people to get enough iron, then it might be a tough call. But I doubt it is, and if I am wrong about this the argument still applies to many of us who do have easy alternatives. And causing unecessary suffering seems wrong even if the perpetrators are acting perfectly naturally.