The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Letters

Unhealthy arguments on animal slaughter

Simon Lee (August 5) worries more about the ethics of vegetarianism than carnivorism by being “upset” at the “inhuman conditions in which many lowly-paid workers around the world toil to pick vegetables.”

Is he seriously suggesting, in speciously contrasting this with the “humane slaughter” (a contradiction in terms) of animals that the workers around the world who toil to provide the majority in the West with their daily diet of flesh, are any better paid or treated and those involved with the growing and harvesting of vegetables?

If so he is either woefully misinformed or deliberately trying to mislead us.

As a vegetarian, I know that workers in agriculture in general are poorly treated in many parts of the world, and do what little I can to counteract this by seeking to buy (wherever possible) from where I can be assured that fair wages and conditions are provided. But I also know that the mass slaughter of animals is unnecessary in order to provide a healthy diet as well as being totally uneconomic in terms of land usage.

If it can thus be demonstrated that animal killing simply to satisfy human desires or habits (as opposed to needs) is unnecessary and therefore unjustifiable, then killing for transplant purposes is, to my mind even less acceptable.

This, however, resurrects the whole moral issue of transplant surgery and I, for one, view the passion for prolonging human life at any cost as seriously deflecting from the need to accept death as a normal part of life and to prepare for it with dignity and equanimity.

David Marriot
The Catholic Herald
(26/8/88)

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