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essay contest on the ethics of eating meat, summarized his argument in the following way: "eating meat raised in specific circumstances is ethical; eating meat raised in other circumstances is unethical" in regard to environmental usage.He proposes that if "ethical is defined as living in the most ecologically benign way, then in fairly specific circumstances, of which each eater must educate himself, eating meat is ethical." The specific circumstances he mentions include using animals to cycle nutrients and convert sun to food.As noted by John Webster (emeritus professor of animal husbandry at the University of Bristol): People have assumed that intelligence is linked to the ability to suffer and that because animals have smaller brains they suffer less than humans.That is a pathetic piece of logic, sentient animals have the capacity to experience pleasure and are motivated to seek it, you only have to watch how cows and lambs both seek and enjoy pleasure when they lie with their heads raised to the sun on a perfect English summer's day. When people choose to do things about which they are ambivalent and which they would have difficulty justifying, they experience a state of cognitive dissonance, which can lead to rationalization, denial, or even self-deception.Peter Singer (Princeton University and University of Melbourne professor and pioneer of the animal liberation movement) has long argued that, if it is possible to survive and be healthy without eating meat, fish, dairy, or eggs, one ought to choose that option instead of causing unnecessary harm to animals.In Animal Liberation, Singer argued that, because non-human animals feel, they should be treated according to utilitarian ethics.
Mark Rowlands argues that the real determinant of whether it is ethical to cause suffering is whether there is any vital need to cause it; if not, then causing it is unethical.By analogy with racism and sexism, Melanie Joy has dubbed meat-eating "carnism".The animal rights movement seeks an end to the rigid moral and legal distinction drawn between human and non-human animals, an end to the status of animals as property, and an end to their use in the research, food, clothing, and entertainment industries.Moreover, consciousness is not a black-or-white, all-or-nothing type of phenomenon, as is often assumed.The differences between humans and other species are so great that speculations about animal consciousness seem ungrounded.
Some people choose to be vegetarian or vegan for environmental reasons.