Why I think eating meat can be moral

Willfrank84

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From an ethical standpoint I can understand eliminating animal products to reduce animal suffering or global warming impacts. These are no doubt lofty worthwhile goals I can understand as a former vegan from a decade ago. However it was always clear to me that there is inherent environmental destruction, and animal exploitation involved in even vegan diets. Manure to fertilize crops, bees used to polinate crops. Forest cleared for farmland. Hydroelectric daming of rivers for electricity. Of course the mantra is less harm is still better, but by that logic no harm is best.

I work at a store that sells pre packaged sandwiches, subs, bakery goods and cooks hot dogs and taquitos (processed food wraps with sauce and meet in them). Inevitably food does not sell always and these products are destined for the trash. Much energy, resources, suffering, environmental degredation, and CO2 emissions went into the production of these foods and it was a waste. I would argue that these foods are zero carbon and zero animal suffering as eatting them adds no additional harm and there would be a moral imperative to eatting them. In fact eating anything but, vegan or not, can only be some measure of worse. Of course these foods are not the healthiest options and should be eaten in moderation. But from an ethical standpoint would you all agree it is a moral way to eat animal products?
 
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nobody

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But from an ethical standpoint would you all agree it is a moral way to eat animal products?

Absolutely. And if you make a whole lifestyle out of that, and dumpster dive and buy very little, it's called freeganism, which is much better for wild animals and the environment than (consumerism based) veganism, and is even less exploitive of factory farmed animals and bees than veganism is, because of the issues of organic fertilization and pollination you pointed out.

 

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Also, I will explain why I wouldn't eat those subs personally even though I think in isolation they would be a morally superior choice to a purchased vegan meal.

For one thing, I'm not willing to commit to freeganism as a lifestyle, and dumpster dive etc., currently. (Maybe that will change someday, I don't know.) If I were to eat free subs containing meat, dairy or eggs, it would make me someone who occasionally eats that stuff, and then I would start making all kinds of exceptions to my strict vegetarianism. Being as I am someone who buys food rather than dumpster dives for it, I would start buying animal products here and there and also accepting free animal products from people whether they would be thrown away otherwise or not.

I am an ex-smoker and ex-animal product user and never touch either, whether they will be wasted or not, because to use either, even a little, would lead down certain paths I don't want to take.

So, I just wanted to add that. I believe the net effect over a lifetime of certain people occasionally using animal products is worse than if they threw them away, because it leads to buying the stuff again, for those individuals. Other people can maybe eat waste animal products occasionally and not have it lead to them buying it again, I don't know.
 
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Willfrank84

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My parents dumpster dive, out of cheapness rather than neccessity. Food waste has always been considering immoral in my home but my parents retired with more than enough money they don't need to resort to dumpster diving bringing home mostly large quantities of eggs, bread, and yogurt. Personally I wouldn't enjoy the shame associated with being caught but they did bring home a box of 100 protein bars I occasionally eat. I don't have much fear of a wrapped energy bar having sat in a dumpster for half a day.

Because where I work throws this food away, I don't have to dumpster dive, I just pull it out of the cooler the minute it is past best before and eat it or take it home and throw it in my fridge for a day or two.

I do understand the idea of potentially drawing excpetions as a slippery slope. I guess it would beg the question long term does getting 15% of your calories from zero harm animal products that tempt you better or worse than 100% from "low harm" non animal products. I don't know the answer to that.

As someone who has struggled with diets my whole life when calorie counting I don't have days where I didn't try to meet my goals because I feared viewing those days as failures and giving up. Currently I diet through intermittent fasting of 16 hours a day as I thought the scientific studies on it showed promise, some people I respect had success with it. I find it so far a slow but successful method of losing weight, about 5 pounds a month over the last month and a half. I don't overly concern myself with what I eat, though I do focus on nuts, berries, and fish as anti inflamatory foods as I have arthritis.

Currently I would admire veganism moreso for the low carbon footprint of it. Setting moral goals and being concerned with being a good person has always been an interesting topic for me.
 

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long term does getting 15% of your calories from zero harm animal products that tempt you better or worse than 100% from "low harm" non animal products.

In my view, it's better as long as you never buy or accept any animal products.

I see my mother a lot and she cooks and buys me vegan dishes and if she ever got the message from me that exceptions were ever okay, it would open the flood gates and she would be shoving non-vegan food in my face all the time asking me to make yet another exception.

There are addictive stimulants in muscle meats and dairy, but not in organ meats. So that plays into it as well. Once I excite those neurons or receptors in my brain, and activate the addiction, I will buy my own animal products. It is only a matter of time from that point. I know this from experience during the first 5 years I was trying to cause less harm to animals through diet.

Yeah, I started time restricted eating 10am to 8pm a couple of weeks ago and it seems to be working. I've cheated a couple of times though and ate after 8pm.
 

Forest Nymph

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Numerous studies have disproven both grassfed and local meat as being more sustainable than any plant based diet. The vast majority of waste is in the growing and feeding of the animals, not in transportation or packaging. Emissions from meat animals does more harm than packaging or trucking a product into town. Also, sequestration from grassfed is unreliable.

Sure, if you are a poor person or a very frugal person and don't "cheat" by buying animal products, dumpster diving could be an option for you. It's called Freeganism but is illegal in many places due to the possibility of food poisoning. So enter at your own risk.

Freegans aren't my enemy. Most are anarchists and few who talk about it actually do it. It's most lucrative in major cities (LA,New York, Bay Area, Portland, etc)...in my area companies and farmers donate near rotting or nearly expired food to a resource called Food for People so they don't have to dumpster dive. I judge no one for eating at Food for People. And yet they still offer vegetarian and vegan packages to the poorest of the poor. I don't think I'll ever leave California because of things like that. Imagine, respecting a poor persons autonomy and beliefs!

It would still be better if those things weren't produced at all, but that's a systemic issue, not a problem for hungry individuals to solve.
 
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Forest Nymph

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My parents dumpster dive, out of cheapness rather than neccessity. Food waste has always been considering immoral in my home but my parents retired with more than enough money they don't need to resort to dumpster diving bringing home mostly large quantities of eggs, bread, and yogurt. Personally I wouldn't enjoy the shame associated with being caught but they did bring home a box of 100 protein bars I occasionally eat. I don't have much fear of a wrapped energy bar having sat in a dumpster for half a day.

Because where I work throws this food away, I don't have to dumpster dive, I just pull it out of the cooler the minute it is past best before and eat it or take it home and throw it in my fridge for a day or two.

I do understand the idea of potentially drawing excpetions as a slippery slope. I guess it would beg the question long term does getting 15% of your calories from zero harm animal products that tempt you better or worse than 100% from "low harm" non animal products. I don't know the answer to that.

As someone who has struggled with diets my whole life when calorie counting I don't have days where I didn't try to meet my goals because I feared viewing those days as failures and giving up. Currently I diet through intermittent fasting of 16 hours a day as I thought the scientific studies on it showed promise, some people I respect had success with it. I find it so far a slow but successful method of losing weight, about 5 pounds a month over the last month and a half. I don't overly concern myself with what I eat, though I do focus on nuts, berries, and fish as anti inflamatory foods as I have arthritis.

Currently I would admire veganism moreso for the low carbon footprint of it. Setting moral goals and being concerned with being a good person has always been an interesting topic for me.

If you are strictly an environmentalist I would say it doesn't matter. If you are an animal rights activist I would honestly begin to wonder about your sincerity if you weren't at least vegetarian. I say this because, ok think about it this way. You don't actually rape women but you enjoy watching porn depicting rape frequently. I wouldn't fault you for isolation of your kink to pornography if you were some anonymous Joe. But if you claimed to be a feminist or worked in rape care and watched these porns, I'd question your ability to care for women in real life. Animal Rights is like that. No I don't think environmental throw away meat eating Freegans are evil. But if they joined me in animal rights protests or rescue I'd start wanting them to examine their personal choices.
 
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Willfrank84

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I am not an animal rights activist anymore but I could imagine a person being one and eatting free animal products destined for the trash can at their place of work. But then again I always viewed killing humans and killing animals as too very different things. I never had an inherent aversion to animal products, just imagined the suffering by viewing animals rights movies or videos and decided I didn't want to be responsible for it. If they had developed cows and pigs with no brains I would have happily ate the meat. To me that's essentially what destined for trash is. Meat you don't need to feel guilty eatting because no harm was caused.

I can imagine finding the harm being caused in the first place as reprehensible however acknowledging any vegan choice is never harm free.....it would have to be better morally. It would be like if we lived in a society where dozens of humans on every farm were killed trying to eat wheat we ate but humans were also a food source for some. The overall human death toll could then be convievably 1/100 of a human for 1000 calories of wheat and 1/10 of a human for 1000 calories for a human. As a pro human rights activist you eat wheat knowing less humans die. You worked somewhere that served human because in our society every place with food does, but the human meat is passing best before and although safe can no longer be sold. You have to decide whether to eat the 1000 calories of human or the 1000 calories of wheat, knowing the wheat will kill 1/100 of a human and the human meat none at this point. To me the answer is obvious especially if you spent the vast majority of your life eating human.

Of course in this scenario I am treating human meat like animal meat even though human meat are probably less safe due to human to human disease spread from eatting human. But you get my point I hope.

i so find the argument though that one might enjoy meat so much their ability to resist bought meat might be hampered.
 
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Forest Nymph

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I am not an animal rights activist anymore but I could imagine a person being one and eatting free animal products destined for the trash can at their place of work. But then again I always viewed killing humans and killing animals as too very different things. I never had an inherent aversion to animal products, just imagined the suffering by viewing animals rights movies or videos and decided I didn't want to be responsible for it. If they had developed cows and pigs with no brains I would have happily ate the meat. To me that's essentially what destined for trash is. Meat you don't need to feel guilty eatting because no harm was caused.

I can imagine finding the harm being caused in the first place as reprehensible however acknowledging any vegan choice is never harm free.....it would have to be better morally. It would be like if we lived in a society where dozens of humans on every farm were killed trying to eat wheat we ate but humans were also a food source for some. The overall human death toll could then be convievably 1/100 of a human for 1000 calories of wheat and 1/10 of a human for 1000 calories for a human. As a pro human rights activist you eat wheat knowing less humans die. You worked somewhere that served human because in our society every place with food does, but the human meat is passing best before and although safe can no longer be sold. You have to decide whether to eat the 1000 calories of human or the 1000 calories of wheat, knowing the wheat will kill 1/100 of a human and the human meat none at this point. To me the answer is obvious especially if you spent the vast majority of your life eating human.

Of course in this scenario I am treating human meat like animal meat even though human meat are probably less safe due to human to human disease spread from eatting human. But you get my point I hope.

i so find the argument though that one might enjoy meat so much their ability to resist bought meat might be hampered.

Alright so far I've gleaned that you see animals as objects. You would happily eat meat from animals without brains (and presumably rape women without brains, which leads us to cases of men raping retarded women or date rape of unconscious women, so I already don't like you at all as a person and wonder why you're here other than to troll).

In a nicer light, you're a great candidate for lab grown meat. Even if you don't care about animals, human rights abuses are more rampant in slaughter houses than anywhere else in the US. I doubt there is any other profession than prostitution where humans are treated as so disposable as slaughter house workers.
 

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Alright so far I've gleaned that you see animals as objects. You would happily eat meat from animals without brains (and presumably rape women without brains, which leads us to cases of men raping retarded women or date rape of unconscious women, so I already don't like you at all as a person and wonder why you're here other than to troll).

In a nicer light, you're a great candidate for lab grown meat. Even if you don't care about animals, human rights abuses are more rampant in slaughter houses than anywhere else in the US. I doubt there is any other profession than prostitution where humans are treated as so disposable as slaughter house workers.

Why is cultured meat bathing in a nicer light in your mind than some hypothetical entire animal body grown using a computer brain to control growth and bodily functions?

The ability to suffer is necessary and sufficient for something to have intrinsic rights. A body grown with no brain cannot suffer and should be objectified, just like a slab of cultured meat should.

The life processes of such a body could be terminated simply by unattaching the computer brain. No slaughterhouse with accompanying human rights violations would be necessary.
 
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Mark Mywordz

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I can't see the point of separating the moral aspect of veganism from the reality. I would find the taste, texture etc. of any meat disgusting and I think most vegans would. And somehow I still feel that you are giving support to the meat farmers and legitimising their cruelty.
 
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Ponadr

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From an ethical standpoint I can understand eliminating animal products to reduce animal suffering or global warming impacts. These are no doubt lofty worthwhile goals I can understand as a former vegan from a decade ago. However it was always clear to me that there is inherent environmental destruction, and animal exploitation involved in even vegan diets. Manure to fertilize crops, bees used to polinate crops. Forest cleared for farmland. Hydroelectric daming of rivers for electricity. Of course the mantra is less harm is still better, but by that logic no harm is best.

I work at a store that sells pre packaged sandwiches, subs, bakery goods and cooks hot dogs and taquitos (processed food wraps with sauce and meet in them). Inevitably food does not sell always and these products are destined for the trash. Much energy, resources, suffering, environmental degredation, and CO2 emissions went into the production of these foods and it was a waste. I would argue that these foods are zero carbon and zero animal suffering as eatting them adds no additional harm and there would be a moral imperative to eatting them. In fact eating anything but, vegan or not, can only be some measure of worse. Of course these foods are not the healthiest options and should be eaten in moderation. But from an ethical standpoint would you all agree it is a moral way to eat animal products?

Here is one way to look at it.

Ignoring the health argument, one question this point brings up for vegan activists is which goal should we prioritize: to minimize net animal suffering regardless of what people think or to change peoples' moral beliefs. Undoubtedly, the two goals are linked. In order to achieve the first goal to minimize animal suffering, you have to pursue the second. That aside, I think we would all agree the first goal is the more important.

If you use that premise to base our actions, I would have to agree with Willfrank84. There's no additional suffering in dumpster diving for meat products, so the higher goal is achieved. I would say if you're a freegan who believes in minimizing animal suffering, go ahead. But, you better be sure you are not eating meat that is not truly intended for waste.

However, once you add in the health argument I would change my answer. We know processed meats, like the ones used in sandwiches and subs, are unhealthy. We need to remember that veganism should be based on three reasons: ethics, environment, and health. Therefore, I wouldn't eat it for the third reason. Vegans who base their actions on all three have the lowest chance of reverting back to meat eating.


Here is another way to look at it.

Once you pick up a meat product intended for waste. Is it really still considered waste? Sure, the food cost nothing to you because it's unwanted by most people in society. But now that it's been redirected from the landfill, it reattains its purpose as food. I would argue that the moment you pick up the meat product from the trash to eat, it is no longer waste; you are now contributing to animal cruelty.
 

SapphireLightning

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Once you pick up a meat product intended for waste. Is it really still considered waste? Sure, the food cost nothing to you because it's unwanted by most people in society. But now that it's been redirected from the landfill, it reattains its purpose as food. I would argue that the moment you pick up the meat product from the trash to eat, it is no longer waste; you are now contributing to animal cruelty.

I disagree, as there is no magical "turns back in to supporting animal cruelty" state. The "support" here would be refering to paying for the product, which induces the store to order more of a selling product. That is where the "support" turns in to cruelty, not the act of eating it. If you buy a tonne of pig flesh and eat it or buy a tonne of pig flesh and throw it away, it is equally as cruel as they both literally support those doing the cruel acts and financially incentivises them to continue such acts. The continuity of cruelty is where each purchaser has the choice. Do you break the money chain or do you continue to fund it?
That being said, the freegan eating dumpster meat may even be causing slightly less suffering than a vegan eating a store bought meal, if one were to consider the extra field deaths (EG, let meat rot in dumpster and buy a meal vs eat discraded dumpster meat and don't buy a vegan meal). Regardless, you wont find me eating any form of meat, yuck. no.
 
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Ponadr

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I disagree, as there is no magical "turns back in to supporting animal cruelty" state. The "support" here would be refering to paying for the product, which induces the store to order more of a selling product. That is where the "support" turns in to cruelty, not the act of eating it. If you buy a tonne of pig flesh and eat it or buy a tonne of pig flesh and throw it away, it is equally as cruel as they both literally support those doing the cruel acts and financially incentivises them to continue such acts. The continuity of cruelty is where each purchaser has the choice. Do you break the money chain or do you continue to fund it?
That being said, the freegan eating dumpster meat may even be causing slightly less suffering than a vegan eating a store bought meal, if one were to consider the extra field deaths (EG, let meat rot in dumpster and buy a meal vs eat discraded dumpster meat and don't buy a vegan meal). Regardless, you wont find me eating any form of meat, yuck. no.

I think there may have been some misunderstanding on where I was going. Yes, it doesn't contribute directly to the financial cycle of meat consumption. I was rather pondering the morality of the act of eating meat from an animal you did not kill.

Suppose a lion just killed and ate an antelope, and you, the hyena, go finish off the remains. Are you just as guilty as the lion in the death of the antelope? The hyena did not directly contribute to the death of the antelope, but it still did receive benefits from the kill. Now, that raises several questions to debate, but the thing with morals is that there is no true moral.
 

SapphireLightning

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Morality does not exist, but harm does. The motto of the vegan society is Ahimsa, which means 'no harm' in sanscrit. I do not bother with discussions of invented morals, and concern myself with reducing harm as much as I can (The whole ' possible and practicable' part of the definition of veganism). Not that Lions nor Hyenas have any concept of ethics or the harmful consequences to their victims, but if they did, then no matter what, the hyena is not adding harm to any being. The lion made the decision that caused maximal harm (death) to the antelope, an the hyena eating the remnants left behind as literal waste does not induce the lion to kill more often. As stated above, lions and hyenas do not understand, and have no choice, humans do, so an example using them makes no logical sense. I cannot control what a hyena does, nor can I even influence them. I can only control myself and try to influence other humans to make the least harmful choices they can.

So in short: Morals do not exist so they are not really relevant to me, nor for much discussion that has bearing in reality. Harm exists and I en-devour to minimize it as much as I can. A hyena scavenging does not add harm.
 
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Lou

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I used to enjoy philosophical discussions. But it seems like whenever I wade into one here on the forum I feel like I'm wading into a quagmire.

Morality does not exist in the animal kingdom. It's a human construct. Animal behavior is not right or wrong. Well, of course, there are exceptions. I think when my sister's dog chewed up my new headphones, that was BAD.

we can't project morality on animals. morals imply a shared dialog. You can't talk to lions or hyenas or dogs about their behavior. (Well, you can talk to dogs - not sure it makes a difference, tho).

Almost everybody uses morals and ethics interchangabilty. I get them mixed up all the time. the general idea is that ethics is something that is imposed. Maybe from a higher power but most often from our own community. Vegans are a society. And they have their own ethical standards. Morals, I think is something that is influenced by your culture, religion.

Another distinction is that ethics might allow for more subjectivity.

Frequently when I head into a philosophical quagmire I bring along the vegan guidelines. I didn't invent them. A bunch of other guys did. but when I decided to be vegan I implicitly agreed to vegan ethics.

The Society now defines veganism as "A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.​
Although that seems pretty clear to me the thing is that "as far as possible and practicalbe" is subjective. So we have our guidelines but we don't have any hard and fast rules.

That is actually one of my favorite things about veganism. It allows for personal subjective decision making. So each vegan gets to decide for themselves.

Probably my least favorite thing is that it allows for people to get into long and involved philosophical debates. Sometimes relying on dessert islands, guns to your head, and trolleys. Not to mention dumpsters.

For me, Dr. Melanie Joy, (who is a psychologist, not a philosopher) put the pin in this when she wrote, "Be as vegan as possible".
 

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I don't want to make it seem like I'm the enemy here because I agree with you both. At the end of the day, it just comes down to minimizing animal suffering. I brought up morality since it seemed like that was the topic of the thread.

At the same time, it's kinda fun to think about morality. We're humans; we can't dismiss the morality discussion. For example, if a vegan comes across an injured animal that was going to die no matter what, would you end its suffering?
 
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I don't want to make it seem like I'm the enemy here because I agree with you both. At the end of the day, it just comes down to minimizing animal suffering. I brought up morality since it seemed like that was the topic of the thread.

At the same time, it's kinda fun to think about morality. We're humans; we can't dismiss the morality discussion. For example, if a vegan comes across an injured animal that was going to die no matter what, would you end its suffering?

I've often thought about this possible situation which makes me shudder. I would have a huge dilemma as I could not stand the fact of
it suffering, neither the possibility of having to kill it.:(
 
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PTree15

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I've often thought about this possible situation which makes me shudder. I would have a huge dilemma as I could not stand the fact of
it suffering, neither the possibility of having to kill it.:(
Same here. It's heartbreaking either way.

RE the discussion, I agree with this:
Once you pick up a meat product intended for waste. Is it really still considered waste? Sure, the food cost nothing to you because it's unwanted by most people in society. But now that it's been redirected from the landfill, it reattains its purpose as food. I would argue that the moment you pick up the meat product from the trash to eat, it is no longer waste; you are now contributing to animal cruelty.
To me, it would be the same as if a friend offered me a burger before tossing it in the trash. I wouldn't eat it, so I can't see what the difference is as both are waste. Why is one supposedly more acceptable than the other?
 

SapphireLightning

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To me, it would be the same as if a friend offered me a burger before tossing it in the trash. I wouldn't eat it, so I can't see what the difference is as both are waste. Why is one supposedly more acceptable than the other?

Your friend doesn't buy food to throw away if it isn't sold, and does not buy food to just throw away if you don't eat it. If you eat that food, it would incentivise your friend to feed more to you or they would have to buy replacement meat because you ate it. This would be adding harm. The grocery store only buys meat because carnists buy it from them, and throws it away once it stops looking so salable. Pulling it out of the trash then does not incentivise them to order more cruelty. If people stop buying meat from the grocery store, they stop ordering animals to be killed. If you take their refuse out of the wheely bin, then it does not cause them to order more animals to be bred and killed. I think you may be stuck seeing this issue from a human invented morality system more than the real issue that vegans face which is unnecessary harm.

Regardless, as said before, I wouldn't eat it either way, just that the grocery store dumpster dive technically does not cause any further cruelty to occur. Veganism is in many ways a boycott, buying products that do not cause unneeded harm to try to steer the market and to not use our money to perpetuate a cruel system.