Originally Posted by kaydee
Of course, all sorts of behaviors could fairly be called instinctual. That doesn’t make them ethical.
I was interested more in hearing about the logic behind the statement that humans cannot be compared to other animals. I don’t believe that it is merely instinct that informs our practices towards animals (after all, compassion for animals seems instinctual as well). Social constructs play a large role, as well. And whatever we have constructed, we can analyze.
But while we are speaking of instinct, I think my instinct is to protect those I know and care about first. I love my son more than to my cats, but love my cats more than a stranger’s son. Something other than species definitions are at work in our actions.
*Dons flame-retardant suit*. I believe that right here is where nutrition and religion meet, for me. I believe in the the Biblical perspective of Creation. I believe that human are created in the image of God, and that is what separates us from animals. Humans are more valuable, because we bear the image of God (ok, it's easier to see that image in some people, granted!), and thus, a human has more value than an animal, regardless of the mental or physical capacity of that human.
I also believe, that without that sort of Biblical framework, it is nearly impossible to separate humans from animals. Without a higher reason for being, there is no distinction between humans and animals. Humans think, so do animals; humans feel, so do animals; humans love and nurture their young, so do animals. There are some animals who are probably smarter, more intelligent, have greater mental capacity than some humans. So, without a Bibilcal context for human value, why is the lower capacitated human worth more than the higher capacitated animal?
To me, this is the heart of the discussion. I believe it is ok to take the life of the animal to nourish my own, and those of my family's, because there is an inherent value differential. God plainly gave animals to humans for nourishment, who am I to dispute that?
I also believe, within a Biblical context, that it is imperative to properly care for those animals, and the environment we all share. The current system of agriculture does not do this, and I think it's wrong. I think this is where we are failing, not in eating the animals in the first place.