Herb Caplan wrote:
David N. Snyder wrote:while others believe there is not a direct link or causation to the killing of animals.
So they think the butcher performed amputation to remove the pig's leg without killing the pig? Or the meat descended to their plate from the heavens?
If you want to discuss this, knock off the attitude IMO.
We waste so much food that a large amount of meat gets thrown away every year, period.
That being the case, it is hard to argue that there is some one-to-one relationship between simply eating industrially produced meat and being wholly responsible for it's production and planning. it would be similar to arguing that paying one's taxes makes one responsible for the actions of the government of one's country.
Assuming that one is changing the world, or is absolved of some kind of moral responsibility by the alteration of one's diet also rests on the idea that people's consumption choices are made with complete free-will, and that individuals can have a big effect on the world by being vegetarian. IMO neither of those is very true of the world we live in today.
So, I think the best reason to do away with eating meat is to generate the positive karma that comes from losing one's taste for meat, and to have eating be an act where one knows no sentient beings were killed in the process - definitely a chance to rejoice. I think though that the subject is given hugely undue significance by Western Buddhists, at the expense of other ethical considerations.
There is also the fact that some products of vegetarian diets - soy for instance, have led to environmental degradation etc. - read up on soy and Argentina:
http://wwf.panda.org/who_we_are/wwf_off ... argentina/
http://wwf.panda.org/what_we_do/footpri ... consumers/
So soy seems doubly bad, it's both used to feed livestock (linked to meat production, and used to feed people, and seems to be destroying habitats all over the place.
This leads to an important question for me:
Just what is a "vegetarian" in a moral sense anyway? A poor Jamaican or Indian who eats mostly vegetables exists on a completely different diet than a (comparatively) wealthy American eating meat replacements regularly, and a diet which amounts to very different things in terms of..collective Karma, comparing to two as if they involve the same level of indirect moral culpability (since that is what we are talking about) is pretty questionable.
On a personal level, in my 20's I was able to maintain a vegetarian diet without much difficulty, as a man nearing 40, I have found it impossible to remain as physically active as I want to without consuming some
meat. The level of fatigue I experience now when I don't get s small amount of animal fats and protein is huge. I have yet to find a solution to that that makes much sense, especially when so many meat substitutes seem both unappetizing, and not particularly healthy either.
So, most of the week is standard vegetarian fare (lots of beans and rice and stir fry's), then maybe chicken, fish or occasionally beef on the weekends, we really stretch it out typically. I also have a family and young kids, which of course complicates a question like this.