Ethics and Beliefs

A primary motivator in choosing to stop eating meat is of a person’s beliefs. These beliefs can range from a desire not to harm a living animal, to becoming vegetarian to make it easier to follow religious diets. For example, I have a variety of friends who are either Kosher or Halal who simply find it easier to be vegetarians to avoid any issues when eating out or eating at other people’s homes, as being a vegetarian/vegan is now more commonly understood by the general population than the guidelines of many religious restrictions on meat-eating.

The grand majority of ethical motivations for becoming a vegetarian/vegan tend to center around not wanting to eat things that require the harm of animals. Many oppositions to livestock farming are easily illustrated by statistics, some of which include:

    • According to the United States Humane Society, each year, upwards of nine billion farm animals are slaughtered in the U.S. alone
    • In research fone by the Farm Animal Rights Union, more than 850 million animals reared in the U.S. die before reaching the slaughterhouse due to stress-related injuries or illness
    • “Farming and ranching are responsible for nearly 86 percent of all species endangerment in the United States” (United States Department of Agriculture).

While the transition into a meatless diet is sometimes a hard one, for many, the moral implications of modern animal rearing are great enough that they are willing to make the switch.

Although I had always planned to remain vegetarian, it was at about 13 years-old that I became indescribably grateful that I had been raised as a vegetarian. It was at 13 that I was at a camp focused on During a STEM research camp, I was taken to a meatpacking plant, something which I asked to not join the group in doing, but was forced to go to. When we entered the slaughter room, I immediately felt uneasy, and when the person in charge explained that the cows were simply stunned before being skinned alive, I knew that my diet was one that I would never have any interest in changing. Regardless of how someone comes to choose a meatless diet, it is a valid and valuable choice, and it is one that deserves to be supported by resources and information to make the transition as smooth as possible.