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Vegetarians I have no problems with. They prefer to eat vegetables.

Vegans are a different matter.
Vegans want YOU (and everyone) to eat vegetables.

Vegans are correct that humans have unique moral requirements in behavior. It is harder to get them to admit that this is because humans are the only actual 'persons' (Moral Agents) on the planet.

Vegans also will agree that humans are also animals, but they waffle hard when this is delved into.

The concept of the 'moral agent' gets a lot of scholarly ink. For purposes of drawing the line (or grey area) between 'people' and 'animals', I define it as creatures that will consider ethical questions beyond the immediate moment (some humans don't qualify).

====ANIMALS====
Animals are only animals. They are not capable of evil. They ARE capable of being vicious, ill tempered, horrible, sadistic, etc, etc, etc, but they are NOT capable of being 'evil'.

I've seen film of a pod of orcas that feed on young seal pups every year. Once full, the orcas sometimes will catch a seal pup (live baby) and 'play with it'. In one scene, an orca that had a live seal pup (live baby), tossed it into the air, and the tail of nearby orca came up and SLAMMED into the pup (live baby), sending it flying at least 20 feet. Had to of shattered bones.

The orcas where shattering the bones of live seal pup babies for FUN. Not for food. For FUN. And orcas are not even slightly unique in such behavior.

The orcas are not evil. They can't be. They are animals and NOT moral agents.

Humans are animals AND moral agents.

ALL animals can obtain the necessities of life (food, etc) without being evil, even if this kills other animals, and even if that killing involves pain and fear, and NOT be evil, even if they are moral agents.

Moral agents, however, had am added requirement to not add pointless pain and suffering. If the orcas had been people, they could have eaten seal pups to their heart's content and NOT been evil. But brutal play with a live pup for fun would be evil for a moral agent.

As for consideration of how much suffering is reasonable, if any 'rules' would have prevented typical tribal hunters from feeding their families, or even had more trivial impact of such hunting, then the rule is invalid. (So rules that make meat more than trivially more expensive are often invalid).

Having said all that, moral agents do have an obligation to ==TRY== to kill as reasonably 'clean' as possible. So long as a moral agent 'hunter' or 'farmer' exercises 'due diligence' in this regard, he is fine.

Killing 'pests' is also fine, but again, quick and efficient is the way to go.

Furthermore, 'enjoying' a hunt is fine, provided that real effort goes into 'due diligence' for clean kills.

But enjoying animal 'blood sport' like dog fighting is evil.

As a broad brush, the above works, but there will be exceptions. For example, setting aside the fact that a lot of 'traditional Asian medicine' does not work, Bear Bile farms are evil.

Poke at this as you will. Any set of moral observations or rules has difficulty when brought into contact with reality, but I find my views here hold up rather well, at least compared to stuff like Veganism.

Fear, meh...

townhall.com

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