One of the many behaviors of humanity that baffles me is the slaughter of our fellow intelligent animals for the sake on eating unhealthy, unenvironmental and uneconomical food.
Diet and ethics have long since been a major influence of religion. In Judiasm and thus inherited to Christianity and Islam, God commands "Thou shall not kill". It seems that God was quite absolute in saying no killing period. It does not seem that God said just no killing fellow humans. Perhaps one assumes this is what God meant, but shouldn't an omnipotent being be given the benefit of the doubt for getting the correct wording?
Buddhism and Zoroastrianism stresses "Compassion for all living things". In Hinduism and Jainism vegetarianism is the ideal way of life.
There are many religious diets that promote vegetarianism. Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain all promote vegetarian diets. Muslim Halal food, and Jewish Kosher food are largely vegetarian. Catholics are suppose to obtain from eating meat on Friday. Some Christian sects such as the Seventh-day Adventists promote a vegetarian diet.
Some suspect that the original Jewish and thus Muslim ban of eating pig to be related to that fact that the pig is the most human of our fellow animal species that we slaughter for food. A pig is a highly intelligent mammal, and its fatty hairless body resembles that of a human. It cries from pain similar to humans, its' babies are extremely similar to human babies. Most fire fighters also do not eat pig, this is because when a pig's flesh is burnt is smells much that same as human flesh does when it burns, I would assume it tastes the same as well. Perhaps you should think of that the next time you slice into a ham, or chew on a succulent piece of bacon.
In the criminal code paying someone to kill is considered murder, so paying for meat would also constitute murder, at least the murder of an animal. The poor ethics of killing intelligent animals for food are indisputable. I'm really not sure how society justifies it. Perhaps it is the argument "Because we can", but then this would also justify murder and cannibalism of humans, which society does not allow. Perhaps it is "They are less intelligent", of course those that make this argument typically have arguable intelligence themselves, so does that make it right for those with more intelligence to eat them? If aliens moderately more intelligent than us invaded our world, would we think it ethical of them if they enslaved and ate us because they had slightly more intelligence? We also seem to frown on people eating dogs, but a pig is as intelligent as a dog, and a cow fairly close. This logic really baffles me.
Perhaps I could understand it better if eating meat was actually beneficial to humanity. But it is one of the worst and most expensive and least environmental sources of nutrition that we have. Countless studies have shown that a diet high in meat, especially red meat (meat from mammals) drastically increases ones susceptibility to cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, alzheimers and several other ailments. The number one recommendation for heart disease is switching to a vegan diet. Meat and animal products contain high amounts of cholesterol and saturated fat. Cholesterol does not exist in vegetables. Fiber, one of the best nutrient for fighting heart disease and cancer does not exist in meat.
The largest, longest and most detailed study of diet ever conducted was The China Study. The basic result was "The more meat and animal products you eat, the sooner you will die". Studies have shown that eating meat can reduce your life expectancy from 5 to 10 years, or longer. Statistically this is similar to smoking. So if you do not smoke because you know it's bad for you, why on earth would you eat meat? Most parents do not force their children to smoke, so why on earth would they force them to "eat their meat"? Child (and adult) obesity is increasing at catastrophic rates, in large part because of an animal products obsessed society.
In recently reading the book Healthy at 100 the thing I found most shocking was that the diseases we assume are natural as one ages, cancer, heart disease, alzheimers, are not natural. There are many societies to whom these disease are extremely rare, societies where it is normal to live a healthy life into the 100s. Over 10% of the entire worlds population over the age of 100 live in Okinawa Japan. The diet of these elders is a largely vegan diet (with a little fish or seafood on occasion). We spend billions of dollars a year searching for cures to breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, hearth disease, but perhaps the "cure" is the same as the "cure" for lung cancer. If you don't want to get lung cancer then don't smoke, if you don't want breast, prostate, colon or many other types of cancer, heart disease or diabetes, then don't eat meat.