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?
There are at least three different kinds of argument in favor of vegetarianism, and each of the arguments have slightly different implications for what is OK. One argument is concerned with human health (so is more prudential than moral). The idea is that eating dead animals is not healthy for humans, or at least a balanced vegetarian diet is more healthy. This view is not really compatible with eating roadkill, but would be compatible with eating meat if there was insufficient vegetarian food to keep one healthy. Another argument is concerned with the environment. The idea is that factory farming wastes precious resources (like water) and is inefficient in producing the nutrients humans need. (For details, see "Environmental vegetarianism" in Wikipedia.) This argument also doesn't preclude killing or eating animals where the practices used to raise them are environmentally sound (but it can be developed into a case for a qualified veganism, given the parallel concerns about the...