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The Verge of Vegetarian Virtue Vegetarianism is not a moral mandate.

While there exists an ever expanding plurality of conceptualizations of vegetarianism, it will serve the purpose of this argument to understand vegetarianism as merely the practice of consuming nothing that requires the death of an animal to prepare. While vegetarianism may not be obligatory, it is wrong to kill an animal for food. 1 The seemingly counterintuitive tension begotten by such juxtaposition is dissolved by the possibility of consuming meat, contra vegetarianism, without violating the moral status due to animals. While respect for this moral status is often manifested by a moratorium on the consumption of meat, such abstinence is not a necessary condition thereof. It is morally wrong to inflict death upon another sentient being to fulfill a flittingly unnecessary desire. The conditions under which most animals are kept and killed compound this moral obligation by the actualization of excessive cruelty. Even so, not all instances of eating meat begotten under such conditions are morally unacceptable. Actually, the very act of consumption is very rarely the unacceptable act. It would be fitting now to transition from the theoretical to the practical. To purchase meat is to financially support an industry that constantly violates the moral status of animals. The consumption of meat once purchased, is not. If meat were accidentally introduced to a vegetarian dish at a restaurant, the consumer would have no moral obligation to discard the food.2

I understand that there exist cases in which this would be inaccurate. These cases are marginal and unlikely. While they exist, they are irrelevant. 2 There would be plenty of other reasons to not consume the meat (e.g. health concerns, symbolic display of principle, etc.) but they are not morally obligatory reasons.