What’s your beef? An ethicist’s guide to giving up meat

Arianne Shahvisi in 1843 Magazine:

The case for giving up meat should be easy to win. Eating meat is clearly inconsiderate to animals: slaughtering billions of sentient beings each year seems gratuitously cruel when our nutritional needs can easily be met in other ways. It’s demonstrably unfair to our fellow humans and the environment, too. Meat-eating – especially consuming beef, which is the most wasteful and environmentally damaging kind – is responsible for most of the carbon emissions the food industry produces.

Yet those who eat meat are largely unmoved by the arguments against it. Why? In most societies, meat-eating is still presented as the natural state of things, a necessary part of a healthy diet. It doesn’t matter that red and processed meats have been linked to cancer and heart disease, or that we know early humans mostly ate vegetables. For thousands of years, meat-eating has been not only normal, but aspirational. History shows that the richer people get, the more meat they crave: when people in poorer countries with traditionally plant-based diets become wealthier, their meat consumption tends to rise. It’s hard to accept that something is morally troubling when so many people around you are doing it.

More here.