Do you base all your behavior on what other animals do?
Many people insist that it’s natural to eat animals because other animals eat animals. It is, they insist, therefore morally neutral. However, there is rarely anything natural about humans consuming animals. We’re not doing what other animals do in nature.
First, the vast majority of animals are herbivores, including 95% of mammals. And no animal confines other species, forcibly breeds them, uses factories to kill them, uses heat to cook them, uses plants and minerals to season them, or needs utensils to eat them.
Second, like the vast majority of animals, humans have no biological need to consume the flesh or secretions of non-human animals. The animals who are naturally equipped to kill other animals for food are doing the only thing that they can in order to survive. They don’t have any other choice.
The vast majority of humans, on the other hand, do have a choice. When people with access to vegetables, fruits, legumes, and grains choose to eat animals, they are harming them unnecessarily. Most people believe that harming animals unnecessarily is wrong. They are horrified if someone abandons a dog because it’s too inconvenient to continue caring for them, or if someone tortures a cat for fun. But how can it be wrong to harm some animals unnecessarily, and not others?
Third, it makes no sense to emulate only certain behaviors of only certain animals. All non-human animals go about naked. They defecate and copulate in front of family, friends, and strangers. Some practice infanticide. Humans don’t defend other humans who emulate any of those behaviors.
But somehow, when they are defending a habit, non-vegans point to a small percentage of non-human animals as proof that they don’t need to change.
The bottom line is this: if you are not vegan, you are paying someone to needlessly hurt animals in ways that you can’t even watch.