“I only eat predators.”
That was how the girl seated next to me started the conversation when the airline began serving us our food. She used that attention-getting line to launch into a condemnation of our entire food system.
It was her position that when it comes to meat, she will never eat herbivores – only carnivores or omnivores. Her point of view is that herbivores, such as cattle and goats, are innocent in the sense that they do not inflict suffering on others by killing and eating them. Thus, they themselves should not be harmed. However, she indicated that she will happily eat predators such as chickens, fish, etc. because they inflict suffering upon others and her eating them is what they deserve for the suffering they have caused to other sentient beings.
Given our intelligence and resources, she argued, we are able to make conscious, rational decisions about food rather than being compelled to just eat whatever is in front of us. And given our intelligence, she added, we have a moral obligation to counteract the base instincts we harbor as a result of evolution and should do what we can to deliver the world from the suffering and cruelty embedded in our current food system (she was getting rather heated by this point).
I interjected to point out the obvious flaw in her logic in that herbivores are predators too – they just happen to eat flora rather than fauna. However, she was ready for that response and stated that she abhors the suffering caused to plants and does not contribute to it.
Noting my raised eyebrows, she explained that she will just eat fruits and vegetables that come from a “cruelty free” source. She defined “cruelty free” as fruits and vegetables that come from trees or plants that do not suffer or die when their bounty is harvested. She mentioned almonds, strawberries, oranges and apples as positive examples, while carrots were cited as an example of something she wouldn’t touch because harvesting the carrots results in their death.
It’s an interesting perspective – interesting enough that I felt like sharing it with my dear readers… And perhaps I should even have explored and challenged it a bit more. However, I was tired and was halfway through The Place Beyond The Pines, which I wanted to finish before the plane landed more than I wanted to debate the subject with her.