Pleasures for us is pain & suffering for the animals which are slaughtered. When we are causing suffering & pain to others, we lose moral rights to expect not the same ever happened to us. In case of animal slaughtering, do we also lose the moral rights to mourn if our beloved ones are killed the same way which we, being non Vegetarian, kill other creatures? In other words, Don't we have moral rights to take it as injustice to ourselves if our beloved ones are killed, being Non Vegetarian?

EDIT: Seems I am unable to express myself clearly, I would like to ask the same question in other words: Do non-vegetarians lose rights to ask GOD if their beloved ones are killed, presuming GOD doesn't want us to kill any creature intentionally for sensual pleasures. (Seems obvious if god is Benevolent & Equal to all the creatures.)?

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    Call it inherent speciesism, but I never read of anyone stating a position like that. It is highly problematic to speak of "a moral right to mourn". Mourning happens, as a matter of fact, being an emotional (bodily, culturally moderated) reaction. You are not entitled to it by a right you have to earn first. If anything, you could say that there should be an obligation to mourn the death of animals as well, but again, you cannot oblige someone to mourn. It is not how things work.
    – Philip Klöcking
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 10:12
  • @PhilipKlocking I have asked in other terms as well, I knew it would create this problem..
    – Mr. Sigma.
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 12:01
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    A hidden premise in your question (an enthymeme) is that humans and non-human animals have moral equivalence. An enormous number of people on this planet do not hold that premise, and a great subset of those actively and explicitly reject it. And before you respond “sure, but all those people are wrong”, first construct a counterargument for a fruitarian (who won’t eat anything a plant hasn’t already shed for the explicit purpose of germination, ie a fruit which is already doomed to die) saying “Do vegetarians have the moral right to mourn when their loved ones are killed?”.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 14:27
  • @SonOfThought Non vegetarians (like me) kill animals or make them killed for taste. But we kill mosquitoes for self defence. And tiny creatures by mistake- not by intentions.
    – Mr. Sigma.
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 15:54

2 Answers 2


moral rights

"Rights" aren't a moral or ethical category. They are a juridical category.

to mourn

To "mourn", on the other hand, is psychological, not moral or juridical, phenomenon.

So, the "moral right to mourn" is a conflation of disparate concepts, which becomes meaningless at all three - juridical, moral, psychological - levels.

Juridically, there is nothing that can be done to prevent people from mourning. If they think that the defeat of their preferred soccer team is something to mourn, more than the death of thousands of people in a war on the other side of the planet, there is nothing to be done about. What would we do? Jail them? Tell them they are going to hell? Dose them some chemical that will make them unable to mourn?

Morally, you can condemn whatever you want. It doesn't affect the rights of others. You may think that those who see too much television lose their moral grounds to complain about the moral decadence of society, for television is hugely responsible for such decadence. They will still watch TV and complain about the decaying mores of the commonwealth. Both things are, and should be, legal rights; a society in which either or both were forbidden would be horrible to live in.

Psychologically, there is nothing that can be done about mourning or not mourning. One may think that I should mourn the extinction of the pox virus; but the fact is that if I am not, for any reason, psychologically attached to such virus, I won't mourn its extinction, and may be indifferent or happy about it. It's possible, I guess, to shame people into pretending that they are unhappy about a given event, but it is not possible to make them unhappy if they are not.

And this - shaming people - is what this idea is probably about. It is not that we should not mourn the passing of our grandmother just because we just ate a barbecue; it is that we should not have eaten the barbecue, for we should think of the poor cow as we think of our grandmother. But as some of the comments above pointed out, the vast majority of human beings do not think a cow is equivalent to a human being, and consequently won't be able to act as if it was.

Evidently, the idea of an all-encompassing equivalence among all living beings is pragmatically unsustainable. All human beings, vegetarians and animal-rights activists included, are "especiesist" - they do not think killing a vegetal is the same as killing an animal, they do not think killing an insect - or any invertebrate - is the same as killing a mammal, they rarely think that amphibians, fish, or lizards, are on the same standing as birds and mammals, and more often than not discriminate among mammals - who does empathise with a bat or a hyaena as much as with a panda, for instance?

Talking about empathy, it is often repeated that a psychopath is someone who is devoid of empathy. But empathy is a complicated thing; as someone else put it, if you break your leg, do you want a physician who painfully pulls it into the right position, or a physician who hugs you and cries together? "Empathy" can be paralising in this sence. If no empathy makes one a psychopath, unqualified empathy may turn one hysteric.

Most of us are by far more empathetic towards our own relatives, friends, neighbours, etc, than towards people we do not know and live far away. And the idea that you should not mourn your grandmother because you didn't properly mourn the victims of a hurricane in Texas or an earthquake in Mexico is somewhat disturbing - at some point, all-encompassing empathy veers dangerously in the direction of no empathy at all.

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    Very good answer. "In other words, Don't we have moral rights to take it as injustice to ourselves if our beloved ones are killed, being Non Vegetarian?"... I am unable to express myself clearly. I mean , Do we lose any right to ask to GOD : why our beloved ones are killed provided we too killed other creatures for taste?
    – Mr. Sigma.
    Commented Oct 1, 2017 at 15:52

Sea urchins can kill off kelp forest if left unchecked. It was meat-eating sea otters who restored the forests, where other critters can have a place to live.

Goats are capable of turning grasslands into deserts. It was meat-eating wolfs who checked the goats' number and kept alive the grassland, where other critters can live.

When the Mongols were strong, farmers could not ravage the earth.

There is nothing inherently morally superior in a vegetarian, and experience does not support this connection either. India, for example, probably has the worst environmental record of the whole world despite being mostly vegetarian.

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