Vegan vegan plants plants… Yeah yeah… But, playing Devil’s advocate, why should I value animals more than plants? Because, eating plants is not the same as eating animals, and here’s why:
Value Animals: Animals Feel Pain
As we mentioned in a previous article, though some animals are meant to consume other animals for food (carnivores and omnivores), humans are not. We are biologically herbivores, or more appropriately, frugivores. Aside from the fact that biologically we are meant to consume plants, the morality behind consuming plants versus animals can be simplified by stating that animals feel pain, while plants do not. In addition, morally, all animals can and should consume whatever their bodies are designed to consume. This makes their food source ethical, as it is their intended sustenance.
Value Animals: Plants Lack a Complex Nervous System
Some might argue that plants definitely have perception, as they appear to grow better when classical music is played, and grow toward the sunlight no matter how a pot is placed. However, the fact of the matter is that plants lack a complex nervous system, which is positively a requirement in the ability to feel pain.
Value Animals: Fishing
To simplify this concept even further, imagine this scenario. You are spending the day fishing on your uncle’s boat. The sun is shining, and the fish are biting. You catch a huge bass and reel it in, then remove the hook. Is it bleeding? You toss the fish into your bucket. Is it writhing? Is it struggling to get out? The answers to each of these questions is an emphatic “yes!” The fish may not be as aware of danger as, say, a human or even a dog would be, but it is aware that it is not supposed to be out of the water, it can feel the pain of the hook in its mouth because fish do have nervous systems, and it is trying to survive.
Value Animals: Gardening
Now imagine this scenario. You have a gorgeous garden in your backyard. You decide that you’d like to make a pasta primavera for dinner, so you head outside to select some vegetables. Walking toward your garden, bucket in hand, you reach down and begin picking tomatoes, zucchini, basil, and perhaps even some lettuce for a salad. Do the vegetables writhe in pain in your bucket? Did they struggle and attempt to get away from your hand as you went to pick each item? Obviously the answer to this question is “no,” and it probably made you chuckle a bit at the thought of vegetables feeling pain or fear. Vegetables don’t have brains. They don’t have nervous systems. Therefore, harvesting vegetables is quite different than raising and slaughtering animals for food.
Value Animals: Morals
Going back to the issue of morality, none of this information about plants lack of ability to feel pain would morally make a difference, if plants were not our intended food source. People eating plants is no less moral than a bear eating fish. Fish are what a bear is designed to eat. Plants are what humans are designed to eat. Therefore, eating animals, because it goes against human biology, is immoral. However, in spite of the fact that fish feels pain, it is, however, moral for a bear to consume fish. In addition, the way in which human beings breed, raise, and treat livestock (as commodities, not as animals) is highly unethical and illogical, as well as a waste of natural resources.
Value Animals: Intended Diet
Animals that are meant to consume other animals do not need anything to hunt them besides their bodies, and they certainly do not raise animals for food. When they are hungry, they go out and they hunt. They do not need to use their brains to build a gun and then point and shoot it. They use their brains to stalk, hunt, kill, and eat – all using what was biologically given to them. Humans can do the same when we consume our intended diet. We need nothing extra to go out and pick an apple when we are hungry.
Value Animals: In Conclusion
Any animal is doing the ethical thing when they consume their intended diet. The sooner human beings realize that our bodies are not designed to consume animal proteins, the better our bodies will function. We must examine the morality of breeding, housing, and feeding animals for the sole purpose of killing them in the end. This is not the circle of life. This is not nature. The sooner we do return to the natural order of things, the sooner the earth will return to this state as well.