Everyone has that one snooty friend who is always trying to convince you of the ethical reasons for becoming a vegetarian. Well, now you have the argument to prove them wrong.
A new book by Andrew Smith makes the case that there isn’t a morally defensible argument for vegetarianism. In fact, it’s not even possible to be vegetarian.
Smith is an assistant professor of philosophy in Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences and specializes in environmental philosophy. His book is called A Critique of the Moral Defense of Vegetarianism and has received a number of positive reviews.
The award-winning author Daniel Quinn said this about the book:
“This is one of the most important books I’ve read in the past two decades, and I think you’ll agree, whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or neither. It will change your mind in significant ways (it did mine), and you’ll enjoy the process, even if it means relinquishing some assumptions you once considered far too self-evident to be questioned.”
Smith was a vegetarian – if that’s possible anymore – for over 25 years, and he draws on the latest research in plant science, systems ecology, environmental philosophy and cultural anthropology to eliminate the distinction between vegetarians and omnivores.
He explains how the divisions we’ve constructed between plants and omnivores reflect a worldview that ends up destroying the natural environment.
For example, Smith explains that the linear way we currently view the food chain is inaccurate. The linear way sees that the cow eats the grass and we eat the cow.
What actually happens is this:
The cow eats the grass, we eat the cow, the worms eat us, the grass eats the worms. And so on.
In this way, a person can’t be a vegetarian because even plants eventually eat animals. Whatever you eat, you’re actually eating animals (and everything else because all of nature is connected and interdependent).
As Smith says:
“We are part of an extended food web. We’re not at the top of a food hierarchy because there is no top. Every living being eats and is eaten. And this is a good thing! The well-being of our planet and our own well-being depends on it.”
According to Smith:
“The world would be made better – far better – if we could embrace that we are full-fledged members of the community of life: constituents of a closed-loop system from which we have borrowed, are now using and will one day return the fire of life that burns in us all.”