Lecture shows meat diets are immoral


By Jeanette Fritz

If my philosophy of ethics class has taught me anything this semester, it’s that eating meat is wrong. Plain and simple.

Completely cutting out the basis of all meals is hard work, so to learn more I went to Fishy Reasoning, a Wednesday lecture about vegetarianism. The lecture was hosted by Mylan Engel, philosophy professor and adviser for the Vegetarian Education Group. Engel said he gives informative lectures each semester about animal ethics and has been the adviser for the club since 1996.

The lecture Engel gave was structured around whether fish should be treated by vegetarians and vegans the same way farm animals are. I learned I don’t need any form of animals in my diet to be healthy.

“You can get all the necessary nutrients you need from whole grains, fruit, vegetables and legumes,” Engel said. “You only need to take a B12 supplement once a week.”

On a handout he gave me, titled “Fishy Reasoning: Rethinking the Ethics of Eating Fish,” I read the USDA and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have stated vegetarians, compared to non-vegetarians, have been “associated with improved health outcomes  — lower levels of obesity, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and lower total morality.”

So, if not eating meat means I’m healthier, and animals can live without suffering, why aren’t more people taking up meat-less lifestyles? In the lecture, Engel said he asked one of his classes if harming animals “for no good reason” was wrong.

“One hundred percent of the 51 students agreed,” Engel said.

The “Fishy Reasoning” handout defined having a “good reason” for harming animals as being “morally weighty enough to override the most significant interests of the animal in question.”

With all the information you need right at your fingertips, you can easily find meals to eat that won’t make you miss meat in the slightest way.

I think most people would agree — at least once they learn the truth about factory farming and animal slaughter — that meat production companies are not treating their animals humanely. Forced impregnation, intensive confinement, removing beaks from chickens, castration and animals being fully conscious at the time of slaughter are five excellent reasons for me to believe meat should be taken off the shelves at grocery stores.

If meat companies put warning labels with facts about what goes on at their business, similar to cigarettes having warning labels about the risks of smoking, I think less people would be willing to hand over money for ground beef haunted by the ghost of a cow who was dismembered while fully conscious and bleeding out of its throat.

Leading a vegetarian lifestyle is a tiny sacrifice that makes a huge difference, both for you and the animals you care for.