‘Our Hen House’ Contest: Why It’s Unethical to Eat Meat

Why is it unethical to eat meat? That’s the question posed by Our Hen House, one of my fave vegan animal rights blogs. Run by fabulous vegan lesbian feminists Jasmin Singer (I heard her speak at Vida Vegan Con…she’s seriously amazeballs!) and Mariann Sullivan, they’re sponsoring a contest: “Calling All Herbivores: Tell Us Why It’s Unethical to Eat Meat.” They ask vegans to submit a short essay, in 600 words or less, “why it’s unethical to eat meat.”

The essays will be judged by vegan culinary goddess Isa Chandra Moskowitz along with Singer and Sullivan. The winning essay(s) will be published at Our Hen House and the winner will receive a signed copy of one of Moskowitz’ cookbooks.

Our Hen House’s contest was spurred by The New York Times’ contest, “Calling All Carnivores: Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat.” Columnist Ariel Kaminer writes:

“In recent years, vegetarians — and to an even greater degree vegans, their hard-core inner circle — have dominated the discussion about the ethics of eating…In response, those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say.”

In response to Kaminer’s statement that vegans have dominated the discussion on ethical eating, Singer writes:

“Well, I guess that’s true, to the extent that there has been any discussion, which, in fact, most meat-eaters generally avoid at all costs. Indeed, meat-eaters seem to be very comfortable interrogating us as to why we eat the way we do, but never seem to feel it’s necessary to explain why scarfing down a dead tortured animal is defensible.”

I have to say, I agree. While I enjoy dialoguing about veganism, I loathe when some meat-eaters grill me on my way of life – as if they’re trying to disprove my logic or that my eating vegan is an affront to them, or some such nonsense – but don’t tell me why they choose to eat carcasses.

Meat-eaters can argue culture and tradition, as well as advocate for humane treatment of animals and eradicating factory farms, all of which Kaminer points out. And people need to choose what’s right for them, including what to put in their bodies. But perhaps they’ve had “little to say” on the ethics of meat-eating specifically because it’s difficult (some say impossible) to argue the ethics of killing animals and eating tortured animals, especially when people have a choice. And I emphasize choice because not all communities have access to a plethora of non-meat food sources (Indigenous communities living in the Arctic, for example, although they do eat berries, tubers, grass and seaweed).

Veganism is predicated on compassionate consumption. Making choices every day – what to eat, what to wear, what to slather on skin – rooted in a philosophy of kindness towards animals and the planet.

Our Hen House‘s DEADLINE is TOMORROW, Sunday, April 8th. Email entries to

So c’mon vegans…hurry up and get writing!!

2 thoughts on “‘Our Hen House’ Contest: Why It’s Unethical to Eat Meat

  1. I can’t help but to wonder that vegans and vegetarians, in considering only the subjective aspect of ethical eating such as caring for their bodies as well as the poor animals, have ignored the potential ecological and biological consequences of not eating meat. I by no means am an expert in biology or ecology, but it seems to me that there would be a variety of problems that would arise from not eating meat. Consider the “food web” as scientists like to refer to it. If cows, chickens, pigs, etc. are not eaten but are merely allowed to reproduce without limits, the Earth as well as other humans will suffer. There will be overpopulation, food shortages, etc. Perhaps this is a false dilemma or slippery slope argument, but it is still something that needs to be taken into account. While I respect your choice not to eat, if that choice interferes with the lives of others, it must be stopped. And as a playful closing remark, if you love animals so much, why do you eat their food? 😉

  2. It’s not that we vegans don’t think about the bigger picture concerning “the potential ecological and biological consequences of not eating meat”–in fact-we are thinking of the bigger picture more intensely than most other people ever do.

    There is, right now, not a good answer as to what would happen if all people stopped consuming animals today.

    But to be blunt, that is not going to happen anyway, people are still too stubborn to even consider changing their animal saturated diet to think of stopping. So it’s a moot point and an argument to try and distract vegans from what we know, is inhumane and immoral concerning the killing of our fellow inhabitants of this earth. PS: it’s not working.

    So as a vegan, here is what I think would happen, my theory, so to speak.

    First, people converting to veganism and not eating or using animals in any way-is going to be a very long and very slow process. I’m sure laws will be enacted to protect more animals in more ways as this “change” moves forward.

    As the changes slowly occur, scientists will be working toward solutions to alleviate animal suffering, population control, sterilization, and which animals will be able to exist free on the land, and which ones will be in well kept sanctuaries to live out their lives.

    If we stopped eating animals there would be no need to manufacture, through horrible experimental procedures, under tortuous conditions, millions of animals, every single day. This is done just to feed the food fantasies of humans. When the need for animals slows down and then, eventually just stops-we will not have billions of the poor tortured creatures, suffering on this earth.

    Uncaring, meat and money hungry humans have created this travesty-vegan humans are trying to correct it.

    I never want to see the day when there are no wonderful, amazing animals on the planet earth, I hope we can find a way to save a core group of all animal species. But alas, I am not a scientist and I don’t know how that would work.

    But if I had my choice-right now-today, I would rather never see another animal species-than to know in my heart and mind what terror, pain and suffering they experience on a daily basis.

    I love animals-I would be totally bereft if they cease to be. But I am willing to suffer the complete loss of them-rather than knowing they are murdered without compunction, every second of every day….

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