The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers
The Question (ID Number 402)...
While I understand the theory that vegetarianism tends to aggravate the population explosion, I find it morally reprehensible to consume the product of a cruel and unnatural factory farming system. My reasons for vegetarianism are not because I value a cow's life over a carrot's, and I know that both the meat and vegetable industries practice totalitarian agriculture. Both industries kill, but this is a "natural" way to get food. The problem, in my eyes, is that it is clear that cows are vastly mistreated during life, whereas carrots are not. My vegetarianism is a boycott of an industry that treats life as no more than capital. I want this industry to change. Are my morals unfounded in your opinion? Do you think vegetarianism is an ineffective way to bring about change in the meat industry? If so, what would be more effective, or what should I do instead?
...and the response:
You seem to be laboring under the misconception that I think people should not practice vegetarianism. I've never said this or anything remotely like it. What I have said (in every book, every speech, and practically everything I've written) is that there is no one right way for people to live. You can adopt any diet you want to as far as I'm concerned. But if you then come along and say that your diet is the one right diet for everyone in the world, then I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you.
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