Having watched the optional video (Professor Tyler Doggett’s video on “Killing Animals for Food”), I feel there is strong evidence that it is not morally acceptable to kill animals for food. Prof. Doggett starts off by asking the following question: if it is morally acceptable to kill animals (he specifically chose to use pigs as an example) for food, is it morally acceptable to kill people (human beings) for food? Obviously, we can all agree that the answer to the latter question would be no. Why then would it be ok to kill pigs for food? What is the difference between humans and pigs? Doggett discusses a number of possible responses one may offer, but I list just a couple here that I thought he argued particularly well against: humans and pigs have different genetic makeups and humans are stronger (higher up in the food chain). Let’s consider the first difference one may offer, that humans and pigs have different genetic makeups. In his hypothetical example, Doggett says to consider the case that aliens come to Earth and decide to farm humans. Their justification in doing so is that aliens and humans have genetic differences, so it is morally acceptable for them to farm humans. However, if humans shouldn’t kill other humans for food, why should aliens kill us for food? Exactly, they shouldn’t. If we translate this idea to the humans/pig scenario, it is clear that even though pigs are a different species than humans, it is not morally permissible for us to kill them for food. Now to the second response, that humans are stronger. That is, the response that humans are higher up in the food chain. Doggett argues that even if humans are higher up in the food chain, it is not morally acceptable to kill those lower down in the food chain for food. This is because if we take the example of 2 humans, one stronger than the other, it would obviously be wrong for the stronger to kill the weaker. Similarly, he argues, even if humans are stronger than pigs, it is not morally acceptable for humans to kill pigs for food.
Personally, I feel that Prof. Doggett makes a strong case for why we should’t kill animals for food, although he does not specifically address the issue of whether it is wrong to consume them. Perhaps one may argue that humans kill animals for food simply because they can? This seems to suggest that humans are in some way superior to other animals and therefore deserve extra rights. As Regan would argue, this would be blatant speciesism. One could argue against this and say that animals kill animals for food all the time in nature, but as a more intellectually evolved species, I feel that we humans should exercise better judgment and consider the perspective of the animals we are slaughtering. Therefore, like Doggett, I personally don’t believe it is morally acceptable to kill animals for food.