2.5
January 23, 2011

Is it really “better” to eat lettuce than, say, a chicken?

On the Morality of Eating Sentient Beings vs. Veganism.

I posted this funny bit, and the following discussion (that every philosophically, morally-oriented college kid ever has had) ensued:

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David: The soil itself is teeming with animal life. Eating any food harvested by turning the soil kills billions of sentient beings. Eating one larger animal causes less suffering that eating a carrot or a potato or anything where one has to dig into the ground.

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Waylon Lewis You think harvesting chickens doesn’t impact the earth? You think bugs the size of dust mites have the same intelligence or feeling as a sentient being? That goes against science, or Buddhist thought for that matter.

Still, you make an interesting point..!

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David:

Of course harvesting chickens impacts the earth! And I am very much pro growing our own food, esp; through gardening.

But we must realize that all eating, all life involves death to those we consume and destroy their habitat. Also all an…imal life is considered sentient in Buddhist thought. All have equal right to life and freedom from suffering. Furthermore I didn’t equate one chicken to one dust mite. I equated one chicken to billions of tiny creatures. And I also realize that each chicken also eats and destroys millions of smaller beings.

My point is that we need to expand our awareness of the life and death consequences of our actions and not just accept easy answers.

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Waylon Lewis Actually, in Buddhism, they’d side with you…Buddhists urge eating one cow vs. 100 shrimp, for example.

On other hand, Buddhists say that human life is more precious because there’s more ability to wake up, more inherent intelligence…and extending that logic to animals, we might say that it’s preferable to eat plants and bugs and simpler forms of life rather than those, like pigs or cows, that clearly evidence feeling and intelligence.

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