Is becoming vegetarian the way to go for the world?

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There comes a time in humanity where we are required to rethink and reconsider our practices and norms. We are required to evolve with times, and so must our practices. In light of this fact and the current pandemic, it is necessary to adapt and evolve to better practices. 'Vegetarianism' today stands as a possible and viable way forward.

Wet markets and the spread of diseases

Several theories are propounded to explain the cause of the outbreak. One of the glaring reasons for the pandemic is the running of wet markers in China. The wet markets are seen to have unhygienic conditions where animals are transported for trade, sale, and consumption as food. There are no strict guidelines in place for maintaining the cleanliness of these markets. The animals are not given a proper environment with access to adequate water, food, and sufficient space for excretion and releasing waste matter. They are also not kept in capacious areas, which affects their physical health and mental well-being.

The poor conditions they are kept make them vulnerable to all kinds of infections and diseases. How they are caged makes it easy for them to transmit these infections to other animals. When the meat of these caged animals is consumed by humans as food, it leads to those diseases infecting the human being as well. Thus, the wet markets serve as breeding grounds for all sorts of micro-organisms and lead to the spread of infection from animal to animal as well as to humans.

In this sense, a pandemic is not an accidental natural phenomenon; instead, it is entirely human-made. This is because this pandemic was caused due to severe human interference in the animal world and for satisfying additional human gustatory preferences.

Rights Approach

Another approach to 'vegetarianism' would be to attribute rights to animals by recognizing that their lives have inherent value, and they must be treated with dignity and respect. The rights view is unbiased, non-arbitrary, and the most intuitive response we could have to animal rights and paving the way for 'vegetarianism.' Attributing rights to animals is absolute and requires the abolition of any possibility of infringing upon these rights for human purposes, such as for food. It recognizes the right of animals to live and prevents animals from being kept in wet markets or commercial farms for their meat.

Reforming our practices to use animals for our needs cannot be the solution in a fundamentally wrong system that blatantly permits the violation of animal rights by using them for purposes of food. Infringing animals' rights to secure the continuance of human existence and restoration of the world order is a plain disregard for the value of rights. Such practices must be condemned even though it would serve the greater common good.


It is certainly safer to move to a plant-based or ‘vegetarian’ diet to avoid dangerous diseases being transmitted from animals. A complete transition to a plant-based diet would seem idealistic, because many people still use 'health' as a reason for eating meat. However, a gradual shift from a meat-based diet to a mixed one followed by a diet mainly consisting of plant-based food is feasible in the long run.


A proposal for acknowledgment of animal rights may seem radical. Still, it would resonate with those who disagree with the idea of ‘speciesism’ and the pervasive belief that human beings are superior or ‘special’ when compared to other existing species. It is perhaps time that we attribute rights to animals and place them on equal footing with human rights.