My two cents on The Meat Eaters - an article in NYT

Suffering is a human concept. Wallowing in it, a human condition. Inflicting suffering, a by-product of civilization. Who are we to decide that we must eliminate a whole bunch of animals from the entire living universe to satisfy us humans? Aren't we actually inflicting suffering this way on the species thus rendered extinct, and would we not then have blood on our own hands and be loaded with guilt for their extinction? How do we know that plants do not suffer when chopped up?

Rarely do we find unfit animals alive in the natural world. In most cases these are killed or eaten by others. Nature has its own way of recycling and restoring the ecological balance. On the other hand we have a large segment of human population actually suffering untold misery for years together as their life extends beyond their capacity to operate independently.

Again, the author refers to animals. What about the millions of insect species that eat non-plant life? How does he propose to bring about their extinction?  

Now to the practical problems. Let us assume we should eliminate these animals. Even then: 
How do we decide who to exterminate and who to keep? What about the omnivores? 

Let us assume that we do decide. Even then: 
When the hawks are eliminated some of the doves turn into hawks. Thus balance is established in the universe. What guarantee is there that the species that is herbivorous today will not turn to a carnivorous diet in future. A part of evolution is about fitting into a niche where there is a vaccuum. By advocating such extinction the author shows a tremendous confidence in human ability to exercise total control in suppressing carnivore population. What if there are already species in the making - subspecies perhaps - that are adding meat or fish to their diet? 

To get back to the article: will human beings eliminate suffering by elimination of a few animal species? Suffering is a meme that will find a new host to thrive in. Should we then consider deliberate extinction of the human species? That it might happen (much sooner) in an involuntary manner is another matter. 

~ Alaka 

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