Animals kill other animals for food, so why shouldn't we humans, too?

Baby cow photo courtesy of Farm Sanctuary

Question: Animals kill other animals for food, so why shouldn't we humans, too?

As a vegetarian or a vegan, has anyone ever asked you this question? Or, perhaps you're curious as to what vegetarians or vegans think about this philosophical objection to killing animals. While it may seem obvious that there is a large difference between ethical human behavior and the survival mechanisms of animals, let's take a closer look into this question and some possible responses.

And, while it may seem to be a silly question, it is, in fact, a frequently asked question about vegetarianism and of vegetarians, silly or not!

See also: More frequently asked questions about vegetarianism

Answer: Darwin’s "survival of the fittest" theory is certainly an accurate description of "nature’s law," which requires carnivorous animals to eat other animals in order to survive.

But the animals who kill other animals for food do so because they have no choice in the matter -  it is a matter of necessity and survival and they would starve to death otherwise.

We humans (at least we humans who live in the developed world and have enough leisure time to browse the internet and enough disposable income to have internet access and a device to use it on) are lucky to have a choice.

Millions of vegetarians the world over are proof that we won't drop dead if we stop eating meat, and, whether or not you believe that a vegetarian diet has certain health benefits, in fact, millions of vegetarians who have never eaten meat in their lives (such as those born and raised vegetarian) are proof that one can indeed not only survive but thrive without ever eating meat at all! Thus, eating meat is, truly, a choice, and we do not have to kill other animals in order to survive, and we will neither starve to death nor be negatively affected by not eating animals.


We humans have a social order in our interactions with each other and with the animals we love and protect—animals like dogs and cats. Few people reading this article would seriously argue that we should be killing dogs and cats for food (though there are indeed, many parts of the world where dogs and cats ARE killed and eaten for food).


A vegetarian diet extends this compassion (whether innate or cultural) that most people in developed nations have for domestic animals and the respect of the right to life that we give other humans, to all animals.

After learning about the cruelties that go on in the average slaughterhouse or abbatoir, it would be very hard to argue that what you see is morally defensible, no matter what happens among other animals in nature and in the wild. To see for yourself, visit

If you'd like to go vegetarian or vegan, here's a few resources to get you started: