The Ecology of Humans (58-1) The Morality of Diet

The Morality of Diet

Flesh eating is unprovoked murder. ~ American journalist and diplomat American Benjamin Franklin

In recent years, it has become an increasingly popular moral concern, even among meat eaters, to not kill and consume animals known to be intelligent, such as primates (bushmeat) and whales. This is an affinity bias, as humans readily identify with other large animals that are known to have similar intelligence systems.

This bias is a selective ignorance. Cows are much smarter than they are given credit for. Pigs are quite clever, but bacon is too tasty to worry about the source. Birds, notably chickens – with their stunning intelligence – stir no moral misgivings.

People engage in the denial of mind in animals to allow them to eat animals with less negative feeling. ~ Australian psychologist Brock Bastian

Vegans try to gain the moral high ground by shunning animal fare entirely. They figure that fish – which can feel pain – deserve respect. But vegans never give a second thought about eating vegetables, even as flowering plants are more intelligent than any animal could ever dream of. Creature bias leaves humans blind to the savvy of verdant life.

To plants, herbivores are noxious weeds. While plants seek peaceful coexistence by offering fruit, they harbor no moral qualms about putting up their best defense, body count be damned.

Beyond pollinators as their patsies, plants have little reason to think that animals are intelligent. Rampant human deforestation rather proves the point.

To a plant, fungi and bacteria bifurcate by alliance: friend or foe. There is little middle ground. That is Nature’s sense of morality.