I am consistently irritated by philosophies that go to far into one direction and stop making sense. One such example of this are pushy vegans/vegetarians. There is even a group on facebook that wants to extend the idea of murder into ALL killing of animals (so it appears on the page). This is a notion that simply makes no sense.
What specifically is murderous about killing another animal for food? Don't misunderstand me, there are instances where people do actually murder animals, like the bunny seen on fatal attraction, but it does not follow that any killing of an animal is murderous. Why? Because you simply do not extend the same distinction to carnivorous animals. What makes a human so different from a tiger in this regard? Think about it, the prey animal is alive (often enough) for longer stints than animals killed using human implements. Not all kills are clean, but humans are actually better able to do that than most species.
If a tiger or cheetah are aloud to devour herbivores, why can't humans? Don't try and say that it is HOW the kill the animals (though there are things that make sense in that thought) because most deaths are going to be painful in the animal world. Nature is not kind. Seriously, it isn't in the least.
In nature, animals are killed in many and varied ways, often painfully. In nature, animals kill other animals all the time and we are not trying to turn tigers and polar bears into vegetarians. If you're going by the gore, a seal clubber produces just as much blood as a polar bear (though the animal is far less shredded when beaten to death). It cannot simply be the pain and gore that are the problems.
I'm willing to concede that animals have souls in a far more limited sense than we do. This may sound terrible, but humans are different from other animals in a great many ways. As with most things, it isn't the similarities that matter, it is the differences. Where humans differ from other animals is far more important than the similarities, in this case pain, soul in some sense of the word, and feelings.
As far as the animal kingdom go, humans are a strange phenomenon. We make art, we use thought when making out buildings, we develop better tools etc. We are the crazy ones. The is something that is above or, in the least, not normal in the existence of human life.
Turtles are not likely having existential crises or fighting someone because someone talked about its mother. Tigers are not either. Animals, while filled with life and soul, are of different stuff than us. Yes, they have emotions and can feel a lot of the same things, but it isn't exactly the same in every way. Animals are far more tied to their instincts than we are. We can choose our own course, but it isn't like there are Ape colleges or dolphins capturing humans for an underwater LandWorld. Let's just face it, humans are different.
That said, humans are omnivores (though they do not have to be). Humans, moreso than any animal, can adapt to the food that is available to them. A tiger cannot likely become a vegetarian and nourish itself properly. Its stomach is built to handle raw meat, not vegetables. Killer whales are not often in waters that even have a lot of vegetation and similarly built in such a way that meat is the way for them. A human's digestive system can handle so much more. Much like bears, humans can eat most anything and they do. Since humans are like this, it makes sense for various peoples to prefer different foods for various reasons (religious etc.), but it does not make sense to think that eating meat is necessarily wrong. If other animals can eat meat, why are we so different? If other animals cause pain, why are we so different?
Bear in mind that I, in no way, condone mistreatment of animals; I just think that the line for mistreatment is in a completely different place than pushy vegans/vegetarians say it is. Is it wrong to train dogs to fight and drown them if they don't perform? Surely. Is it wrong to club a seal just to club a seal? Yes. Is it wrong to (as a I saw on a comic on that group site) boil your cat to make sure that your water isn't scalding hot for you? Of course. But, one cannot just use a broad brush and paint any situation where an animal is hurt or loses its life as a case for murder or moral wrongness. Not all cases where such things occur are as these people believe.
Here is another point: if you are equating humans and other animals in terms of morality, then the times when you allow other animals to do something "murderous" should be allowable to humans, no matter what the method is, teeth, fangs, or musket. If a wildebeest can end the life of a lion to protect its young, so can we. If a lion can end the life of a gazelle for nourishment, so can we. That is all in simply thinking that humans and animals are equal. The pushy vegans/vegetarians are trying to equate us with pure animals and hold us to a standard that is clearly not natural.
Let's look at nature again: dolphin males regularly rape and badger females for sexual pleasure. They will go as far as killing a calf to make the mother receptive. Would this be acceptable for a human? no way, no how. Dolphins also regularly kill sharks for fun and don't even make an attempt to use the carcass for anything. If it weren't for animals that can survive off of such a thing, the thing would wither away. That's a waste of a good shark.
What I am trying to say is that, they need to make up their minds. If we are the SAME as other animals, their arguments fail for sure. If we are different, then they need to find a way to tell us why an animal life should get the same consideration a human life does. Why should I not eat that delicious baby gazelle; nature certainly does not prohibit it because prohibitions are a human invention.
I am done for tonight, and I hope this makes sense. Again, there are times when were ARE mistreating animals, but we cannot say it is mistreatment because they are the same as us, the similarities are nice, but we are still QUITE different. In the areas where we are similar, it is perfectly acceptable to take the life of another animal. I'm not talking about hunting for sport and not using the animal in any way, I'm talking about milking a cow or killing it to eat it. These things are not wrong (there are ants that raise aphids like farm animals for slaughter) in nature and do not appear to be wrong when looking from outside of nature. Their rhetoric and arguments need to change. Goodnight.