Is It Ethical To Eat Meat? – Going Vegan as a Nigerian
Is It Ethical To Eat Meat?
This question has been on the top of many people’s tongues, and different opinions about it have been aired. Although a more significant percentage of this argument leans towards the negative aspect, a few of those responses are discussed below.
- It is believed that eating meat benefits the animals themselves. Domesticated animals exist in the numbers they do because of the lifelong practice of eating them. They continue to procreate and replicate, so an excellent way to keep their existence going is by eating them to avoid overpopulation and mass death. An example is the domesticated chicken and goats reared in many Nigerian homes. These animals procreate by either laying and hatching eggs or giving birth to their young ones alive, and sometimes, chickens, most significantly, die when they are overfed or overcrowded in their coop.
- Considering the nutritional benefit of eating meat, it is an essential source of human nutrients and calories. It is a ready source of many nutrients such as Zinc, iron, Vitamin B-12, fat and calcium. Although some of these nutrients can be obtained from other food products, they cannot be the same when obtained from a meat source, making them essential for human survival.
- Given the lifelong symbiotic relationship between humans and animals, we benefit them by taking appropriate care of them and benefit humans by providing nutritious, financial and economic benefits; eating them is therefore justified. The main highlight of every Nigerian family meal is meat, and it has been a lifelong tradition to consume them often at Christmas, New year, Easter and all other festivities or ceremonies. So the question remains: Why stop now?
- The environmental factor of the world becoming overcrowded and no one needing it to be more crowded than it already is is another justifiable reason for meat consumption.
- Factory-produced meat is often injected with hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone to speed up their growth and consuming this puts humans at risk of developing an illness.
- Another argument is the fact that animals also have feelings. They may be less than humans, but they are intelligent and can feel, perceive and understand things like humans. They not only feel pain but also have the ability to recollect their families and form attachments with humans. An example is a dog seeing its mother/ human owner after being separated for a while and still barking continuously while wagging its tail in excitement.
- The cost of raising these animals for consumption is rising, putting immense pressure on the availability of grains to feed them. These grains have also become more scarce in the market for human consumption. The amount of food and water used in animal growth can be channelled towards the production of plant-based foods, which can give humans a measurable amount of calories and nutrients like that found in animals.
- Animals emit Carbon dioxide (CO2), which is needed for plants’ respiration. The existence of animals ensures a continuous cycle of CO2 circulation. They also give off Methane gas when they are slaughtered, and an excess of this is harmful to humans as it can cause nausea, chest pain, shortness of breath, headaches, visual problems, unconsciousness and sometimes, memory loss.
- In some parts of the world, people abstain from meat consumption due to their religious beliefs and religious seasons, such as fasting periods and times.
- Some people argue that killing an animal can be very much likened to killing a human and can only be justified if it’s under extreme conditions such as a threat to human life.
- Some diseases are zoonotic (of animal origin), such as Ebola, Coronavirus, and Plaque. Infections are frequently transmitted also due to animal meat being carriers. Examples are tuberculosis, typhoid fever, rabies, and many others.
- Waste products from the slaughtering of these animals in terms of disposals impact environmental and air pollution by messing up the environment (if not properly disposed of) and leaving a stench in the air.
- Animals substantially impact the climate, contributing at least 18% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. An imbalance in these emissions leads to climate change and faster depletion of the ozone layer.
- The high cost of production and pressure on grains to feel the animals leads to an increase in the price of grains in the market due to their scarcity, thereby leaving those unable to meet the cost with little or nothing to eat.
- Heavy consumption of meat (especially beef and processed) is a leading cause of rising chances of developing cancers, heart-related illnesses, type 2 diabetes and many other illnesses.
Is It Worth It To Go Vegan Or Vegetarian?
No doubt, everything in life has its pros and cons, and so does being a vegan. Whether or not to become one depends on each individual’s reason for becoming one. This decision may be due to the need to protect one’s health, a doctor’s prescription, the need to lose weight and sometimes the love for animals is a valid reason to becoming a vegetarian.
Appropriate knowledge of what an individual would be giving up to become a vegetarian is needed. Below are a few things that would be given up.
- They would be giving up meat and meat products, fish, eggs and, as the case may be, dairy products.
- Having family dinners becomes challenging as they would be the only vegetarians, leaving them with fewer food choices.
- Restaurants in Nigeria do not cater for non-vegetarians, so the choice of restaurants becomes limited.
- They will have to live with an intense desire to consume meat occasionally and work on managing them and not cave ineffectively.
Knowing this is an influential determinant for everyone to know if becoming a vegetarian is worth it.
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