Much fodder is made about how humans treat animals. You’ll hear arguments about how we humans are animals (agreed) as if that means that we should be treating them as friends. I would argue that because we are animals, we should be treating them better than they would treat us. Considering many animals in the wild
would simply kill us, use what they want, then leave the carcass behind for the next creature, our use of animals is far more ethical than their use of us.That being, we are living up to a higher standard.
Vegans don’t want to use any animal products for any purpose as they believe that it’s
not ethical. Milk, eggs, leather, fur, all the obvious targets. But what would
it really take to be a true Vegan, and what would that mean for modern society
and the environment? Like most topics in the world, it’s not as black and white
and as simple as saying Meat is Murder since 1985.
When I think about Chickens, I think of eggs and meat. I eat both. This morning I had
scrambled eggs, Sausage Patties made out of Textured Vegetable Protien (Morning
Star) and Hash Browns. It was a vegetarian meal as a matter of fact. But it’s
shallow and narrow to picture chickens as just food sources. Chicken eggs are
used to incubate pharmaceuticals. The Flu Vaccine is incubated in eggs which
would be a violation of Vegan ethics even though it may arguably prevent the
deaths of 187,500 to 375,000 (250,000 to 500,000 deaths per year with a 75%
effective rate) people a year. Link Sounds like a good argument to me. It’s so
wrong to use a chicken egg that up to 375,000 people a year should die. This is
not unlike the embryonic stem cell argument at all, is it?
More over in Chickens, their billions of pounds of feathers are being used to create
new clothes. The feathers trap air better than regular cotton and make them
particularly warm. This will save billions of gallons of water in cotton
production as well as tens of thousands of gallons in cotton production from
the farm to the factory with a renewable product. Potentially the feathers can
be made into plastics as well which will again lower oil production
requirements. I suppose this is the height of immorality.
How about Pigs? I’m going to give an entirely too short synopsis of this great 8
minute TED Talk about the many uses of pigs. There are 189 commercial uses for
pigs. Many of them are not even food related. Ever heard of a pig heart valve?
How many lives have been saved by pig heart valves being installed since 1975?
How many people are alive due to pig derived insulin for Diabetics? Train
brakes, Bullets, paint, sandpaper, paint brushes, soaps, shampoo, toothpaste,
breads, cellular concrete in roads, beer, wine, juice, etc. The fact is, you use pigs daily. It doesn’t matter if you are vegan or Muslim, you are surrounded by them. Would a Vegan suggest killing this pig for the valve and not eating or using it in any other way? Video
Cows have 81 uses that also surround you. Sheetrock, adhesives, glass, imitation eggs, etc. Imitation Eggs. That’s awesome. You try to actually become a vegan
only to find that you are eating cow products. You couldn’t even escape using
cows if you wanted to.
Animal use in and of itself is not an immoral thing. We are animals and many chose to
ignore this for reasons that I do not understand. By this fact alone, we are
not held to a higher standard that other animals. Nevertheless, we do act with the
intent of using the entirety of the animal that we slaughter. If you were
killed by a tiger, he isn’t going to turn your bones into glue, he’s going to
leave your bones behind with no intention of using them and the use of those
bones by others is incidental.
What would be immoral is to not eat the meat or eggs of the animal but need to
slaughter them simply for soap, or the sheen found in paint, or the sheet rock
it sits upon. When you suggest that it’s immoral to use animals for heart
valves, diabetic insulin, or the other 300 (made up number) uses, you are
frankly suggesting that either we change our way of life or potentially that
people should be dying in support of an opinion. The person making the claim
that animal users are immoral need to come up with solutions for each and every
one of the other problems. You are welcome to a vegan diet if you choose. You
are welcome to advocate it for health reasons. But it’s disingenuous to say no
meat, no leather and pat yourself on the back because you only have 298 more
problems to go or you’ve only made the animal less valuable and more susceptible
to maltreatment. The problem requires much more than a simple heart string tug solution,
that is, if you actually care about animals.