People who are vegetarian in order to save money are stupid?
If you're in trouble financially I can understand the switch. I was more so referring to an ideal situation where you have free reign on what you can eat.
I had thought of this too in my paper, however, the argument which came to my mind was this: Suppose you lived in a world where some superior creature bred you on a farm and used you for food. Maybe some superior alien race or something. You are kept in a cage, given surgery without anesthesia, forced to have young, and then sent to a slaugherhouse at a young age where you know something bad is about to happen to you. One day you go to your master and say, "how can you do this to sentient beings who know and feel pain and suffering." Your master replies, "If we did not raise you for food, your pitiful little species would become extinct in our world. Therefore it is for your best that we do this and it is perfectly fine." I would think we would reject such an argument as unfounded, though there's nothing you could do about it anyway except hope that your master extends rights to you.
i. Cows, pigs, goats, sheep, chicken, etc are all heavily domesticated creatures that have no form of sentience. The several thousand year domestication has heavily stunted their desire and genetic urge to evolve their genes. The cow today is incredibly similar to the cow from 3000 years ago.
At this point, the only evolving done in these species is through hormones injected by humans in order to get a 'better' meat product.
ii. I do not support mishandling of livestock in any shape or form. Abuse should be sought after and persecuted fully. Your scenario is entirely based on the concept that cows are sentient and that the abuse is comparative although it is not. I really do not know what else to say to that since the scenario falls apart with the simple fact that livestock isn't sentient.
From the same book mentioned above:
I live in rural Ontario and I have never seen any of this done besides the slaughter transport. There was one farm here that branded their cows but they ran out of business and sold all their cows at a discount price to neighbouring farms. You could say that farmers where I live are heavily in support of not being a douchebag to your livestock.
Farmers elsewhere might "traditionally" do that but they are wrong in it. The worst cows from around here live with is the plastic tag that is put into their ear for identification.
Also worth mentioning, since I know a likely response of yours to this will include something along the lines of "factory farming will be unfeasible that way", is that I support producing meat in a vat which is becoming more and more a future reality. It would halve the space required for livestock while keeping the population alive. I made a thread on this a while back.
That is true, but does our good deed to have them alive in the first place justify our bad deed to slaughter them, to raise them under terrible conditions, to physically abuse them?
Would you say that because I am responsible for giving life to a human being, I am justified in physically abusing it? In killing it? That someone else was "stupid" to complain about it, if I only would enable the children to be born once I can kill it as I like?
If not, what we do with say chicken can not be argued to be justified either. So morally speaking, a vegetarian is in principle right to complain about that. But I emphasize in principle, because you still are completely right in arguing that the chicken - unless really filled with misery - in the end still profits from us raising livestock to eat. As a consequence, I actually agree with you in so far as that while the vegetarian has in principle morality on his side, in the context of what can actually be expected to happen, trying to put an end to raising livestock to eat will mean a net harm for those animals we eat and hence defeats the purpose of being vegetarian to begin with.
On the other hand, to argue with the hypothetical existence or non-existence of living beings is a dangerous road. It has many unpleasant implications when thought until the end. Because it will reduce all morality to a question of quantity of living feeling beings, overshadowing any other legitimate concern. And frankly, I think we are all too selfish to have a go at that. So I am not convinced that one should argue that way to begin with other than to arbitrarily advantage different groups of living beings.
So from that point of view, I actually don't agree with you at all.
No, it doesn't justify it. If it were up to me all livestock would be treated well and given enough room to at least enjoy their short time on Earth. This is both unfeasible in a space sense and illogical in a human sense. This is why I would much rather have abuse lessened and vat meat improved upon so that everything involving the slaughter of livestock will no longer be a "bad deed".
Humans are omnivores and our bodies are made for it. Saying "sod off" to a half of our species because you feel bad for eating an animal is, well, stupid. There is nothing wrong in killing a weaker and less advanced creature as long as you aren't a douche about it (abuse, slow slaughter, etc). This is why hunters throughout the ages trained hard to be capable of killing a creature both quick and with the least amount of pain possible. A dirty kill meant you made a creature unnecessarily suffer, and that's a bad thing.