You have clearly expressed your views and insights and demonstrate a deep sincerity.
I find it hard to argue with much of your reasoning, although Anna raised some very valid comments that resonate with me also.
I’d like to mention a couple of points. Although I thought your different types of morality ie. selfish, pragmatic, high, were merited and proper I would have prefered the word ‘ethical’ in place of ‘moral’, as I see it as having fewer religeous connotations.
The arguments for the ethical treatment of animals, in view of their ability to suffer under the mass production of their meat and other body parts, is compelling although the degree of suffering is difficult to ascertain, as you say.
I have looked at several websites and articles in response to reading your essay. These convey the contrasting and often disparate viewpoints of the vegan/vegetarian/ omnivore argument, and how broad and complex the topic is!!
We see the environmental, the economic and the health reasons for vegetarianism, and conversely the health and physiological reasons for continuing to eat meat and dairy, etc. The latter includes the argument that human teeth are designed for chewing flesh, that the (hydrochloric) acid in the human digestive system is not found in herbivores, suggesting an adaptation to eating meat. Other nutritional reasons for eating animal produce are that vitamin D and B12 are found in milk and most animal products and a defiency can be serious, especially in pregnant and breast-feeding
women. Iron defiency is also more common in women and is a mineral most easily found in meat. Are vitamin/mineral supplements ever as good as the natural substance found in correct proportions and mixed with other nutrients of certain foods?
From a selfish point of view I believe that many meat-eaters ( including me) find something very sensual and satisfying about biting and chewing flesh, and it seems natural to do so. That is a hard habit to break, as is the life-style changes that would be necessary to become a vegetarian.
Finally, I agree that most of us, given the freedom and opportunity to reflect on Life’s issues, such as the choice to eat or not eat animal products, would prefer to make the nobler, more ethical choice. However, being human, we may fail as often as we succeed.
Thanks again, Dan, for making me think on all this!