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Ethical Arguments for Vegetarianism

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A Pressing Issue
Despite the difficulties in nailing down its details, vegetarianism seems to be backed up by a wealth of ethical arguments. For this reason, turning to a vegetarian diet seems to be one of the most pressing issues for our contemporary society. In this article we shall review the main reasons in favor of a vegetarian diet.

Sufferance
First of all, some animals are inflected inhumane doses of sufferance. The conditions within which poultry, cows, and pigs are kept in most animal farms seems hardly justifiable on the face of the satisfaction which is gained from their consumption. One may gain great pleasure also from a properly prepared plate of vegetables and cereals rather than from a steak, a chicken sandwich, or a serving of bacon with eggs; that is, even granting that the latter may be succulent, the extent of sufferance within which they come seems – from an ethical point of view – not to rule in their favor.

Environment
Large animal farms proved to be among the environmental hazards most difficult to keep under control. For instance, in several parts of the United States alone, large animal farms contribute to the pollution of water basins as well as the air in the areas adjacent the farms. The manure coming from an animal farm is also costly and difficult to discharge.

Go for the Healthy Options
Consuming animal products may not always prove to be the best option even from a nutritional point of view. Intake of cholesterol may skyrocket as well as those of fats, depending on the variety and quality of meat that is consumed as well as the way in which it is prepared. On average, a vegetarian diet may facilitate greater self-consciousness in the diet.

Economic Considerations
Even if a vegetarian diet may seem more expensive at face value, it probably is not in the end. That’s because many cereals and vegetables are not that expensive; for instance, with a pound of dried beans, three carrots, an onion, and a bunch of parsley you can prepare a delicious soup that serves three to four people. Moreover, if your diet will be healthy, chances of not incurring in medical expenses will be higher. The only drawback is that cooking takes time; but it may increase your pleasure at the table.

Pleasure
Last but not least, indeed, one should consider the pleasure that can be derived from a vegetarian diet. Since a vegetarian diet may encourage some creativity and independence in the kitchen, the likelihood to increase the sensual pleasure derived from eating is high. But gastronomic hedonism may not be the only advantage. The pleasure derived from following a diet whose ethical values we embrace should be also factored in. Thus, even a gastronomic purist may gain pleasure from a vegetarian diet.

Why Not?
Given the wide spectrum of ethical reasons for adopting a vegetarian diet, one would expect that the majority of the population be vegetarian; that’s not the case, however. Why? This remains a riddle. Custom certainly plays a role in the matter. At the same time, however, a society can also quickly adapt to new standards, when appropriately prompted. Are there good ethical reasons in favor of a non-vegetarian diet?

Eating is an ecological relationship, and it is not hard to see that in some contexts eating animals may prove to be the best option, even from an ethical point of view. We may even wonder how is it that our ancestors started eating meat: was that out of necessity for the scarcity of plants, fruits, and nuts?

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