Free «Moderate Consumption vs. Vegetarianism » Essay

Moderate Consumption vs. Vegetarianism

Owing to the heated debates concerning the animals’ feelings in particular, the issue of vegetarianism arises as a powerful method to stave off the danger of harming the animals and violating their rights for a life free from suffering. However, even nowadays vegetarianism seems to be a far cry from a preventive method due to the evident fact that not all people that abandon meat are aware of its true objectives. As an increasing amount of interest has been attached to the ‘we-are-what-we-eat’ problem, people should ask themselves about the costs of excessive eating habits that bear tangible relations to the animal problem. The paper will support the argument that dilemma of animal suffering can be tackled by addressing the issues of consumption where vegetarianism does not necessarily implicate the solution.

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What is the main reason of animal suffering? Does everyone see it in the light of wisdom and sympathy? To provide the answers to these questions, it is worth redefining the mission of vegetarianism and its main peculiarities. Animal defenders, such as Peter Singer and Alice Walker that stand for their basic rights, suggest that people should stick to vegetarianism as it seems to be the solution to prevent animal suffering in general. They tend to believe that a person’s refusal to consume meat may positively contribute to this particular matter. Although Singer claims that the consumption of meat is unwarrantable as meat industry only leads to animal stress in different ways, he should bear in mind that all people on the planet cannot become vegetarians. His point of view is too blurred to be true as it does not coincide with what reality actually brings into focus. Due to this, in defense of Laura Fraser’s statement that “the problem really isn’t meat, but too much meat,” it is reasonable to admit that animal defenders should seek for solutions that would generally reduce the levels of animal suffering. In this context, first and most importantly, Fraser realistically puts forward the claim that “over-grazing, over-fishing, and over-consumption” foster animal adversities. Singer himself concurs with this particular point of view, suggesting that “it is a fallacy to argue that a person can do wrong only by making a perceptible harm.”

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Even though the notion of vegetarianism is very popular nowadays, its popularity was not really induced by the general understanding of animal suffering. Foer admits that there are different reasons for becoming a vegetarian, thus complying with Fraser’s speculations over the matter. Both of the authors name the peculiar reasons why people actually become vegetarians, putting an emphasis on the phenomenon of “on-and-off vegetarianism” that relates meat abandonment to the mood of a person. Among the reasons for not consuming meat, one may find the insufficient income to afford to buy meat and the cheap prices for lentils. Surprisingly, even the love for one’s own dog may serve as a trigger for not consuming meat. Some people tend to abstain from meat at the same time feeding their animals with it. In this case, it is worth mentioning Tom Regan’s position concerning the equality of animal rights. The author’s point of view is rather straightforward as he does not hesitate to affirm that all the animals are equal in their rights. Nevertheless, it happens that people care about some of the species while they do not take into account the sufferings of the other ones. It is necessary to make an evident conclusion that the nature of vegetarianism is too vague to put it in light of the solutions to animal suffering. Singer calls the reader’s attention to the role of meat resistance in the context of religion. The author mentions that Buddhists do not eat meat if an animal is not killed specifically for them, and sheds light upon the absurdity of this tradition. As to the Christian traditions, animals were created in order to provide people with food. In this particular context, the question arises: Why be a vegetarian without an ethical reason if the insufficient amount of proteins may affect one’s health?

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Excessive consumption is believed to be an issue of tremendous significance because it contributes to the level of meat demand. Singer, enlarging upon the vegetarian philosophy, takes into account the meat industry: “[…] but the fact that I take the chicken from the freezer […] has something to do with the number of chickens the supermarket will order next week.” Although the author makes implications for vegetarianism, he does not see the solution that may reduce animal suffering. Radically oriented, Alice Walker dedicates her poem “Mother’s Day” to Mr. Novak, imagining that he becomes a chicken in his future life, and comes up with the idea that the introduction to his life will be marked with ‘indiscernible pain.’ As she dwells upon the future of poor chickens that are fed inappropriately and designed to become meat, the author does not even assume that the reduction of excessive consumption may prevent factories from raising a huge amount of chickens. Such a reduction may lessen animal suffering and the stress that occurs due to transporting, thus challenging the ethics of meat industry.

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Nevertheless, there are people who care for animal rights and stick to vegetarianism with pure consciousness. Nowadays, this particular care even manifests itself in the literary works of Alice Walker and Jeffrey Moussiaeff Masson. The former author deeply criticizes the negative attitude to animals by imagining animal sufferings in the process of their life. The latter one is famous for his thought-provoking and captivating book The Pig Who Sang to the Moon that supplements the idea that human beings should respect animal rights by providing a thorough look at the feelings of animals. Although the two authors have a similar direction of thoughts, there works manifest themselves in different genres - poetry and prose. The underlying matter is preserved in accordance with the thought that human beings are carnivores. The ethical dilemma consists in the fact that the authors who are in favor of the animal rights entirely object to eating meat, claiming that if it is possible to dispense with such food, people should not take advantage of it. However, this is an American perspective of treating the matter of vegetarianism. In the context of European traditions, people mostly address the problem of over-eating as the trigger for animal suffering.

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