I was just thinking today about the whole meat-eating, vegetarian, vegan thing, and I had this quite interesting thought come to mind. First of all, I'm not bashing anyone's lifestyle choice or beliefs. I think it's worthy of huge respect to make a transition into something different from how you usually live. I have Coeliac disease, and even with my own well-being as motivation, the transition to a gluten-free diet has been very difficult. So...no-one reading this be offended, it's really just something I was thinking of. This doesn't really apply to people who don't eat meat for other reasons, like how we aren't really designed for meat-eating.
Well, I'm not a vegetarian, I eat meat. But I do love animals, hate animal cruelty, the idea of animals suffering, etc. That's a huge reason for people to not eat meat, but the problem is...to survive, you have to eat living things, be it animals, vegetables/fruit, etc. You have to. If the reason for not eating meat is solely because of the pain caused to the animals, then doesn't that mean if you could completely eliminate pain from the equation and kill the animal with 0 pain, it'd be OK to eat? Hypothetically, what if it could be proven that plants do feel pain? Would they be cut from the diet of people with those beliefs too? You'd have to starve just to ensure you don't eat anything that feels pain.
Even that has its own flaw though. If life is bad to take simply because of the suffering caused, then you could kill a human who has that condition where they never experience pain, and that would be morally acceptable. So obviously it's not just the pain factor, it's respect for life itself. But then, plant life is still life. Is it OK to take lives that are so different to our own (plants), but not lives that belong to animals, who are adorable, who have eyes like we do, who we anthropomorphise and see as happy and sad, who feel like we do? We can connect to animals more than with plants, so maybe the conscience won't allow you to eat food from an existence similar to our own, but plants are...different. Easier to consume.
I don't know, but life is still life. Even killing bacteria is killing a living thing, so where do you draw the line on what's acceptable and what isn't? That's why I don't see the point in people arguing often about these things. Humans have awareness, and as such, we have a responsibility to minimise all suffering and do such things in a humane way. Not this stupid thing of keeping animals confined to tiny spaces, pumped full of God-knows-what and then killed without ever having truly lived. But it doesn't mean it's wrong to actually take an animal's life for use as food, as long as you respect that life for what it's given you. The same as with every other living thing that we may eat.