How do atheists justify eating meat on an ethical basis?

As we all evolved from common ancestors, and atheists reject the idea that we have god given dominion over the other animals, what ethical justification is there for not considering then suffering of other species?

It seems that to discriminate on the grounds of species is just as arbitrary as to discriminate on the basis of skin colour, sex etc.

I base my ethics on minimising unnecessary suffering and death and promoting well being and happiness. What are others ethics based upon?

Tags: Vegetarian, vegan, veganism, vegetarianism

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"Where do you get your innate sense of morality from. Do you not have some guiding principle?"

Are you a theist?

I'm not a theist and never really have been. You think we are born with moral values? I have tried to explain what why moral values were. They are to promote well being and to reduce or avois unnecessary death and suffering. I was wondering if your had any like way you lived your life?

I do feel guilty about eating meat.  I just do.  I plan to become a vegetarian in the future. I know I should do it now.  My Mom is a vegan, and hasn't eaten meat in over 10 years.

You may want to read atheist blogger Richard Carrier's Meat Not Bad first.

The vegetarian/vegan guilt mongering is not that different from theist's appeal to "____" fallacies that, hopefully most here can already see right through.

Richard I did read through it and found it skimmed over the animal suffering part. It don't really get to grips with that issue. SOunded like self-justification to me.

I'd be interested to know why you feel the guilt. What are your ethical/moral thoughts.

Thanks. It was helpful to me.

I share many of your thoughts but found it difficult (unusually) to put it into words. I was thinking about this earlier today, and it turns out that most if not all of us do many things others might find morally repugnant. I believe in global warming yet I don't drive a hybrid. I throw away enough food for many families to exist on. I'm sure there are plenty more examples. No one is perfect. Nor should we be expected to be.

Yet the sense I get from Vegans is that they are morally superior, as though they don't share in the rest of humanity's flaws. At least that seems to be what I've read here. When it comes to my carnivorous ways, I don't feel guilt. Most primates are omnivorous, so its completely biological to desire meat. Good for those that have apparently evolved beyond that. I have not.

@Matthew Greenburg

 

"Most primates are omnivorous, so its completely biological to desire meat"

 

Are you saying that it is permissable to do anything that a primate does? Thet do kill each other you know? The point is we are more intelligent than primates and can make rational and ethical choices.

We kill each other too. As Tim Minchin says "we're just fucking monkeys in shoes..."
So do you think it is ethical to kill each other?
Seriously?

Earlier I asked you if you would eat meat if they didn't suffer, to which you replied no. Why is that? I'd really like to know.

All each animal has is his life.  In addition to not wanting to cause physical and emotional suffering, I also do not wish to steal someone's life from him.  How would I like to be killed?  I would not.  Just as it would be against my ethics to kill a human, and for the very same reasons, I would not kill a different kind of animal.

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