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May 29, 2013: The consequences of eating meat revisited

Originally posted on this blog.

I sometimes get asked how we can be so sure that there are negative consequences to eating meat, and what these consequences are exactly.

We Effaists do believe that there are negative consequences to abusing and killing other animals, and, by extension, to eating the meat of the dead animals. This belief is based on our view that the killing of any sentient being, whether itís another human, a cow, pig, fish, etc. is unethical. We believe this to be the case because we see all sentient life as important, and the unnecessary taking of life as amoral. The same person that asked the question above would possibly not have asked the same question about the consequences of killing other humans. Why? Because most of us already know that the killing of other humans is wrong. Religious individuals would most likely see this action as a "sin" for which there are negative consequences. This stems from the fact that most religions regard the murder of other humans as such. Even (most) non-religious individuals would agree that the killing of other human beings is not ethical. In most developed parts of the world, there is a respect for the life of other individuals. Even if we don't think of the exact consequences of killing someone, we kind of inherently know and feel that this is the wrong thing to do. For most of us, the simple consequence of "a lost life at our hands" is reason enough not to kill another person.

We believe that this same level of respect for life should be extended to include as many other animals as possible. When one develops compassion and empathy for other animals, one begins to see that their suffering is as unacceptable as ours. One begins to respect all life, not just human life. There are ways in which we differ from other animals, especially in our intelligence, and our ability to make decisions. There are also ways in which we are very much alike: Our desire to live, our ability to feel pain, our emotions, including but not limited to happiness, sadness, depression, fear. We should use to the things that set us apart (our intelligence and ability to make good decisions) to ensure that we remind ourselves and others around us that we should be the caretakers of other animals, not their executioners or abusers.

Whether you're religious or not, you can hopefully agree that violence and murder contribute to the deterioration of society, and make the world a much worse place to live. Effaists like myself believe that our treatment of other animals also contributes to this. Whn we try to become "better people", we should keep in mind that respecting the life of other animals is a important part of that equation, an important stepping stone on the path to true progress.

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