oops, you missed a step. i have encountered many zersons who really enjoy making this argument; but there is just one detail they are all glazing over:
YOU ARE NOT PART OF AN ECOSYSTEM.
what is the carrying capacity of the place where you live? do the animals you eat occur naturally in the region you live in? if so, do you have a rough figure for uninterrupted forest acreage in your area? is it enough to sustain both that animal and the species (if any) that occupy a higher space than them on the energy pyramid?
the answer is probably “no” to all. the fact is, your food probably comes from a farm. it’s ok, mine does too. if you ate a steak that came from south america today, and a kiwi imported from new zealand, does that make ostensibly most of the world your ecosystem? how are you interacting with the organisms in this community? when you die, will your remains help fertilize the former rainforest land that was burned to make cattle ranches in ecuador?
the fact is: very, very, very few human beings can claim to be an actual functioning part of their ecosystem anymore. take a tiger for example. it needs a certain amount of territory in which to hunt to get enough food to sustain itself. for the tiger to have enough deer or wild boar to eat, these animals must have enough acreage to obtain sufficient calories to sustain themselves. basically what this boils down to is that everything creates waste. a deer does not absorb 100% of the energy from the grass it eats, and it can’t just keep eating the same patch of grass every day because that grass will take time to regrow (a darwinian version of you can’t have your cake and eat it too.)
so back to the tiger. the tiger is a part of the ecosystem; tigers are aware of the comings and goings of all other tigers within their territories. if a tiger encroaches on another’s territory, tiger A will respond with force to make the second tiger leave; this second tiger (tiger B) provides competition and the chance that there will not be enough food to go around. if 20 tigers just moved in next door, you can damn well bet the whole ecosystem will go out the fucking window.
do you have neighbors? you probably do. (i do too.) human beings have positioned themselves in such a way where we live in population masses which greatly exceed the carrying capacity of the land these masses exist on. this requires food importation. we can go on and on about whether this concept is flawed to begin with, or how the agricultural industrial complex got to be the way that it is today, but that is not going to get us to where we want to go. food importation is a real, tangible thing that happens.
and any way, and i truly mean ANY way you slice it, meat as food costs more resources to bring to table than vegetables. small scale, large scale, doesn’t change the fact that eating meat is feeding your food. more land used, more water used.
so if we have found a way to live outside the context of an ecosystem, acquire our food oftentimes from great distances from the place we live, and it costs a good deal more to raise meat as food than non-meat, your argument starts to unravel a bit.
-the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
i know i have mentioned this before on this blog, but just a reminder in the case that you are living in a way which would allow you to forget this:
WE LIVE ON A FINITE PLANET
yep, there is only so much land. there is only so much oil. there is only so much clean water. with this many fucking people covering this planet, feeding your food is just plain unsustainable.
if i am sitting in a room with three starving people while i gorge myself on cappuccino flavored potato chips, i feel as though one could make a strong argument that i lacked empathy.
the sheer volume of information available on veganism (solely on this very website alone) is staggering. to have that access to that information and instead to choose to cover your ears, say LALALALALALA and give some flimsy, embarrassing, red herring argument about being part of an ecosystem as justification for eating meat, one could make a pretty strong case that you lack empathy. taking more than you need when there is a finite amount that the planet can produce is to take the needs of the many and take a shit on them. good do, ace.
Awesome post. Thank you :)