Is Being a Vegetarian or a Vegan a Sustainable Lifestyle or a Utopian Ideal

Is becoming a vegetarian/vegan a realistic expectation of our society or even future societies? Is it even a truly sustainable lifestyle or is a simply a utopian ideal conjured by the middle and upper Class? As always the reading this week presented a very intriguing dichotomy. Michael Pollan in the “Ethics of Killing Animals” presented both philosophical arguments for and against vegetarianism/veganism. On one hand, Peter Singer’s admonition that in the future, society will look back on eating meat as something as bad as racism really struck me.

Singer claims that we are being “speciesist” by choosing to eat certain animals and not others i.e buying our dog a Christmas present whilst roasting up a nice Christmas ham. I do not know if I really agree with this. I don’t think I would compare being “speciesist” to racismi Being human, we are inclined to put humans first.

Yes, we care about animal welfare, and those ASPCA commercials bring out the waterworks every time, yet I think most people (including myself) would agree that starving human children is a more pressing issue then say a starving dog.

Perhaps society will look back and believe eating meat is barbaric in the future. That would be awesome, however, I don’t think that is something that will be occurring anytime soon, especially with an ever-growing population and other Various issues such as poverty and food deserts. Being vegetarian/vegan still is and probably will be for a long Lime, a luxury of the middle class.

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Furthermore, whether we like it or not, eating meat has been an intrinsic cultural part of society as Pollan highlights, which simply cannot be dismissed off-handedly. Furthermore, the idea of sustainable (nonfactory farming) methods presents a more realistic solution, in my opinion.

In today’s society, the fact is, not everyone would want to or simply could afford to forgo eating meat. It is simply too easy to ignore the problem when you can pick up an almost unrecognizable piece of animal flesh from the grocery store and not give any thought to its origins I do not really agree with the admission of meat enthusiasts that “animals eat each other so why shouldn‘t we eat them?” Yes, we are animals too but we have long agreed to be “separate” from nature based on our supposedly superior language, culture, and reasoning skills. We have become master manipulators of nature. Pollan highlights this when he tells of the piglets being introduced to islands=increase in golden eagles=deficit of foxes. We are also no longer endangered by nature. hardly any place lies untouched by man. We are no longer in danger of being eaten by predators in the modern world.

That being said, we are so removed from nature, what right do we have to all of suddenly insert ourselves into some sort of pseudo-food chain to justify our questionable eating habits? Throwing a monkey wrench into the whole “vegan utopia” argument is the “Least Harm Principle” paper. A vegan society seems ideal. No more factory farming (yay!). no more animals being led to slaughter (yayl), however Davis throws us a curve ball by throwing some stats up about how many animals are killed by the plow every year and how much this would increase if everyone became vegans (poor bunnys!) It is also interesting to note that farm animals (with the exception of pigs) have evolved to rely on humans and thus would perish without farming practices. Yes, [actory farming is evil; I think we can all agree on this in this class. However (and this pains me to say being a vegetarian), society giving up meat seems unrealistic and most likely unsustainable in the long run.

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Is Being a Vegetarian or a Vegan a Sustainable Lifestyle or a Utopian Ideal. (2022, Dec 11). Retrieved from

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