Is it Ethical to Eat Meat?

Can people live without meat?

via PxHere

Can people live without meat?

There have been countless debates and numerous arguments online and offline about the topic, meat. About 129.5 billion pounds of beef, rounded up, is consumed annually. That’s equivalent to eating 431,666.6 Blue Whales a year. Eighty billion animals are slaughtered every year to keep up with the demand for meat. To top it all off, meat production alone produces 14.5% of all carbon emissions. That’s more than half of the entire food industry’s emissions (26% of all carbon emissions). So the question remains, is it ethical to eat meat?

Vegans would obviously say no, but hundreds of poorer countries rely on cheap processed meats as food. Without meat, more than half of the world’s population would die of starvation. There would also soon be a shortage of some candies. Most gummy companies would simply not exist if meat production stopped. This is because gummies are made of gelatin, which is made of skin and bone. If meat production stopped, the entire world would starve, possibly to death. 

If the world needs meat, can’t there be replacements for it? Of course. There are already numerous companies that specialize in creating plant-based fake meats. Examples of this are Beyond Meat, Before the Butcher, and Incogmeato. Most fake meats are often made of soy, which contains decent amounts of protein. Another way to avoid eating meat is to not eat it. Vegetarians still eat dairy and eggs, and vegans eat nothing even remotely related to animals. Pescetarians are vegetarians that have fish and seafood included in their diet. But that would still mean plenty of people wouldn’t be able to get what they need to live if tons of people switched to being vegan at once.

Not everyone can afford or can switch to vegetarianism. It may be more expensive to buy fruits and veggies rather than meat and bread. Even if everyone wanted to go vegan, thousands of people, especially meat producers, would go broke and many wouldn’t be able to afford the overpriced veggies due to high demand and low stocks. Vegan charities, charities that give out fruits and veggies for free, do exist, but that still wouldn’t be enough to feed everybody. Maybe people could switch to more ethically made, higher-quality meats? No, because if we switched to only ethically raised and grass-fed animals, meat production would decrease by about 70-90%, which means meat would be one of the most expensive consumables ever. 

So if stopping meat production, going vegan, and having the economy possibly crash isn’t an option, then what is? The truth is, no one knows. A good way to help make a change is to try going vegan for a week or two and have some friends try it out as well. Or maybe donate to a vegan charity. Meat will most likely always be a part of a normal human’s diet and there’s no denying that. So is it ethical to eat meat? It depends on preference and belief.