Ever since I started actively becoming a vegetarian/vegan (I had been moving that way for many years, but only consciously for just over a year), I have offered to show my friends and family videos and literature on where their meat comes from and the conditions under which it is produced. However, without fail, every single one of them has declined my offer, many of them instead choosing to quickly change the topic. Fair enough. There are many things I also choose not to face up too (e.g. the conditions under which my iPhone was constructed), but a question I have been pondering lately is whether or not we can consider this to be moral behaviour.
The fact that my offer was universally shot down tells me something; we all already know there is something seriously suspect in how our meat is produced, but we just don’t want to face it. We know it will probably upset us, and, consequently, put us off our cheese burgers. So, instead, we choose to bury our heads in the sand. We prefer the gory details to be out of sight and out of mind, leaving us with just the happy cartoons of cows and chickens on various food cartons. This is the exact reason it took me a full 22 years to man up and read my first book on the subject. But, again I must ask, is this moral behaviour?
We all like to think of ourselves as moral individuals. Some of us follow religious codes, most of us follow legal codes, and all of us have our own ethical codes. But it is remiss to think of yourself as a moral person unless you address what goes on behind the facade, especially if you suspect something is amiss. The people who suspected, and yet indirectly benefited, from the slave trade were not moral. The Germans who suspected what was happening during WW2, and yet did nothing, were not moral (attention: Albert Speer). Likewise, those who suspect there is something wrong with the way meat is produced or iPhones constructed, but do nothing to learn exactly what, let alone do something about it, are not moral. Hiding is not moral.