Isn't being a vegetarian ethically pointless if you think about it?!

Question: Isn't being a vegetarian ethically pointless if you think about it?
I dunno, there might be holes in my thinking, it's just something that's been bugging me for a while now. I am a vegetarian and have been one for three years and will probably never eat meat (on purpose) again. Why I became and/or am a vegetarian doesn't really matter much for the question haha. Also, I don't want to offend anyone who is a vegetarian for moral reasons, I just want to get my thoughts out there and see what others think <3

Many people become vegetarian because they do not want to see animals go through cruel treatment or be slaughtered. But at the same time they will eat and drink dairy products which come from a cow, chicken, ect. Focusing on cow milk in particular just for an example, one mus have a pregnent cow or one that just had a calf (i'm not really sure about the pregnent part, I'm not a cow expert haha). So if we all kept consuming the amount of milk we do and didn't kill at least some cows, wouldn't we technically have a massive cow overpopulation on our hands? And I have heard that the chickens that factories get eggs from live in horrible conditions and are treated just as badly as those that are slaughtered. (or maybe they are eventually slaughtered too, i'm not sure).

All I'm really trying to question I guess here is that unless you are cutting milk, eggs, dairy, ect. out of your diet along with meat, isn't there not a lot of difference?

I dunno, I could try to explain my thoughts more but I feel like this question would become way too long haha. There might be major holes in my thinking and I might be missing something completly, I just wanted to get another opinon about it.

Thanks for the responses! <3


It is not ethically pointless because the conditions chickens and cows are put under in order to get dairy products can be changed.
As for eating meat... obviously, you can't have meat without the murdering of an animal.
Cows are supposed to produce milk. It goes without saying that the way they (same with any other animal) are being treated in factories is horrible but if someone who has the authority decides they want to, it can very well be changed.

Congrats on your diet and you choices-----I may not agree (and don't), but respect what you do.

You need not explain your reasons---just enjoy what you are doing. Just sayin.

Me, I need a Big Mac.


most places like dairy farms treat their animals well. they want the cows or chickens to be in the best shape and least stressful conditions because they wont be able to produce as much milk or eggs if they are stressed so it is idiotic to treat your animals poorly. the majority of places that i get my milk and eggs are right here in wisconsin where i live because we are the dairy state and you see farms everywhere with cows roaming fields everywhere. that seems like a decent life to me if i was a cow. you have to look at the big picture in your morality reasoning and see that most places are good to there animals and there is nothing wrong with eating/drinking dairy.

Yes, ethically, it is pointless.
Vegetarians have fooled themselves into thinking that by not eating meat, they are somehow saving animals. They think that their own vague misinterpretation of "supply and demand" means less livestock will be produced because of them.
Vegetarians do virtually nothing that saves animals, reduces global warming, ends world hunger, or any of the other ridiculous claims that they have deluded themselves into believing.
But I also believe that they should eat whatever they want to, even if they won't give me the same courtesy.

A vegetarian is still supporting the meat industry when they eat milk or eggs. The spent layer hens are slaughtered after a year or so when their laying slows. A dairy cow is also sent to slaughter after a couple years when her milk production decreases or if she develops reproduction problems. In both industries the males are slaughtered too. Male chicks are generally disposed of right at the hatcheries and bull calves are used for veal. I personally don't have a problem with using the bull calves for veal or butchering the low producing animals. What I do think is somewhat wrong is the way the young cockrels are killed. They are litterely ground up in a machine alive and I think this is often overlooked. The vegans tend to get all worked up about using cute little calves for meat but they don't tend to focus in the male chicks. Veal calves and other aniamals are being killed to be used for food, while the chicks are killed and disposed of. I'm not going to start protesting against this because their is no good alternative but I dont want to support it. Instead of buying hatchery burds i raise dual purpose chickens so that I can use the males for meat and the hens for eggs therefor making every one of my bird useful.
If your concerned about animal cruelty I think you will find that in genral the meat animals are treated better than layers or dairy animals. Beef steers ussually are raised on pasture and only in feed lots at the very end of their lives. Layer hens are raised in battery cage systems while the broilers are in a free range setup. I do not at all agree with vegans about the so called abuse and murder that animals suffer from but I would say that the meat animals praticulary cattle are offered more freedom.
Sarah: that is not true about cows continually producing milk if they are milked. After a little more than 300 days a cows milk production stops. The cow needs to wean the calf and they do this by gradully stop producing milk. It would not make sense for a cow to always produce milk. If this was the case you would have a 4,000 lb bull still nursing from from his 1,200 lb mother.

Ethical Vegetarians consuming other animal products doesn't make their vegetarianism "pointless"-
at most, it might make them hypocrites.

They are, nevertheless, subtracting a huge portion of contribution to animal suffering from their lives by not eating meat.

Cows are not rounded up from the wild- they are purposefully bred by the millions for human use.
If humans stopped using them, within one generation of happy, cared-for cows,
that number would be a tiny fraction.

Ethics is for your own consumption. If you think it's pointless, then it is. Only you decide what your own personal ethics mean to you.

As for your views about milk and eggs, that is generalizing an entire industry focusing on what is wrong instead of what is right. Nowadays, there are many dairy and egg farmers who treat their animals a lot better. Take the case of the farmer where I get my cheese. He only has 12 cows (and six bulls) and 50 goats in a 32 acre farm. The cows are impregnated by a bull, not a syringe. Trust me the cows and bull go about their business voluntarily without interference. The calves are separated after a reasonable time and as long as there is a pressure on the teats, as simulated by hand milking, the cows produce milk for up to two years. My egg supplier (actually next to my own crop farm) is another free ranger and organic (the same as the dairy farmer).
So instead of "giving up" because saying it's all "pointless", if you are going to consume either eggs and/or dairy, just try to be more discriminating as to where you get your products. You would not get your vegetables and fruits if you knew that the farmer hires kids and de facto slave labor would you? So why make the distinction of animal farms only. To me that is more hypocritical. Criticizing one industry while patronizing another that does the same exact exploitation albeit to another species. Avoiding meat/dairy and eggs because it is cruel to animals but buying vegetables and fruit despite such farms being cruel to humans.

Biologically speaking, after a cow gives birth once, she will keep producing milk as long as she is consistently milked. So we wouldn't have to massively overpopulate cows just to get milk. She doesn't have to keep having more and more calves.

It depends on your reasons for being vegetarian. If you are concerned about the treatment of animals, you can get dairy and eggs that are ethically sourced (cage-free, etc.). I recommend reading Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (or any of his other books). He has a lot more info on how our food is produced and the impact it has on our health and the environment.

You make the mistake that every vegetarian consumes milk & eggs firstly, and that secondly a flaw in practice is a flaw in theory/philosophy. Its not.

Depending on your viewpoint, if you are a nihilist then anything is virtually pointless as an end result as such ethics don't exist & are merely constructs of society not necessarily needed by an individual. If you believe in some higher force, or fall under the likes of Socratic belief, buddhism etc. Then there is every reason as you believe in some higher understanding to try live up to by which you gauge your ethics in practice to.

Also lastly not every cow or chicken is treated badly as seen in factory farming this depends on a nations economy, social taboo etc. Such things are common in america but virtually unheard of in Ireland.

***EDIT Dion J
ever think that some vegetarians like myself just don't want to partake in what we see as morally wrong? (ie slaughtering a being) & pockets of vegetarians in localised areas do have an effect obviously the more diluted the vegetarian population is in one area the less an effect, still doesn't negate that effect. Well done for stating common sense


I'm not a vegetarian, however I do realize that the more vegetarians there are...the less animals will be bred, born and then slaughtered. Its all about supply and demand. Maybe One Vegetarian/Vegan wont make a huge difference, but you have a ton of them...and there will be an impact, even if it's small...its still an impact.

Even if it causes less suffering to just ONE animal, that's better then none.

I am a vegetarian and I don't find it ethically pointless at all. However, I do not consume milk products except for cheese occasionally and I only eat eggs from my own pet chickens so I know that they were treated humanely with lots of free space to stretch their wings and run around and scavenge.

Cutting out meat is a huge step when it comes to making ethical dietary choices. I understand what you mean when it comes to still contributing to certain industries that exploit animals, but being vegetarian or vegan is not about being perfect. Eliminating meat is the first big step, and later on some people decide to drop milk and eggs and opt for either veganism or eggs and milk from local farmers markets or trusted sources.


Vegetarianism is a step in the right direction. It is by no means a great thing but it is better than just being a normal carnist. Really the only thing is veganism:
"The word 'veganism' denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — 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 animals, including humans and the environment.
In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals."

As far as cows are concerned they don't really get overpopulated because the males just get sent to veal farms to be slaughtered and the female calves are put in as part of the rape and abuse cycle for milk. I mean they have to breed a lot of them because there are so many products that use dairy so one could easily argue they are overpopulated but then again they aren't natural. If you found a more wild cow and compared them too a dairy cow they would be quite different.
The same can basically be said for the egg industry. Except the male chicks are just ground up or thrown in bags and suffocated to death and the female chicks are stuffed into cages (or large warehouses where they still have no room to move and live in their own feces and dead birds)

However it should be said eating meat is not an option. So doing the little bit vegetarians do is better than being a carnist but eventually all vegetarians should work animal exploitation out of their lives completely and go vegan. I started off as a vegetarian then I went strict vegetarian and eliminated all the animals in my diet and then soon after became a vegan and it was the best thing I have ever done and I feel ashamed of myself for my past life and the horrific things I did that a lot of people are still doing and know I have to make it as right as possible.

I would suggest checking out this video:

Vegan because animals are not property

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