Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving

The ethics of eating animals

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The New York Times came out with a recent contest asking readers to tell them why eating meat is ethical. Not sure how I missed this when the contest came out (submissions were due in early April and apparently the winner has been announced although I haven’t seen any of the entries). My first reaction was “How could anyone argue that it’s ethical to eat meat?” As a sporadic meat eater I have no problem with eating meat but I didn’t see how it could possibly be construed as ethical. I decided to revisit the meaning of ethics. After reviewing a little Aristotle and checking out the definition of ethics I can now see how eating meat could be argued to be an ethical practice. If something is ethical because it serves to better mankind or increase happiness then certainly, for those who enjoy partaking, eating meat could be argued to be ethical. Eating meat betters me because it provides me with essential nutrients. Eating meat makes me happy because it tastes delicious. Of course, I think that vegetarians and vegans hold the higher moral ground here. But, as long as your morals don’t preclude killing other creatures then eating meat is not unethical.

After writing the above, I managed to find the winning entry here.

Author: Diana

I'm a registered dietitian from Nova Scotia, living and working in Ontario, Canada. My goal is to help people see food and nutrition from a different perspective and understand that nutrition and health are not necessarily a result of personal choice.

One thought on “The ethics of eating animals

  1. It does seem that raising and consuming animals is part of healthy sustainable agriculture. Modern problem of course is that, as usual, we manage to overdo things and forget that animals are sentient beings and we should be grateful to them.


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