Animal rights is an issue that is near and dear to me, as I have been a vegetarian for over 2 years now. I chose to become a vegetarian, not because I don’t support humans eating meat, but because I don’t support the way we eat meat. In On the limits of food autonomy, one point that’s brought up is that we have made ourselves “continually dependent on ecology and others.” This was said in a negative way in the reading, but I don’t see it in a negative way at all. It’s fundamental for species of different ecosystems to rely on each other—for shelter, food, or nurture. In this way, I don’t think it’s fundamentally wrong for humans to consume meat, in the same way it’s not wrong for lions to prey on antelope. Predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem.
However, the way that humans have transformed the meat industry is inhumane and ecologically detrimental. First of all, one of the biggest causes of deforestation in the Amazon is the meat industry. Close to 70 percent of deforestation occurs as a direct result of the increasing demand for beef. In addition, it’s a leading cause of ocean dead zones and water pollution. Every year, livestock produce 130 times as much waste as humans, and most of this waste is unfortunately deposited into the oceans. And in my opinion the worst impact of the meat industry is its contribution to global warming. Carbon emissions made by livestock production produces 65 percent of human-related emissions, which is an outstanding number. Not to mention how inhumane the cattle farms and slaughterhouses are, and how poorly they treat the animals from birth. Chick-Fil-A is currently under attack by many for using farms and slaughterhouses that severely abuse chickens.
Therefore, my issue with the food industry is fully based on my ethical and environmental issues with the way the meat industry is set up. In this way I want to educate the world that buying animal products from sustainable, local farms is the way to go. Eating those products is not the problem—but eating them from big companies or restaurants, like Chick-Fil-A or Tyson, is.