What if people know farmed animals are abused, confined, and suffer when they’re killed? What if people know they don’t need to eat animals to be healthy? What if people know eating animals has a more significant negative impact on climate change than eating plant-based food? What if people know these facts, but continue to eat animals? Does it make them bad people?
What if people volunteer to save children from the sex slave trade, but also eat animals? Are they bad people? What if dentists and doctors volunteer to provide free medical care in war zones to save the lives of the neediest people on earth, but also eat animals? Are they bad people? What if firefighters risk their lives to rescue people from burning buildings, but also eat animals? Are they bad people? What if a family adopts and raises a child who lost both parents in a car accident, but also eat animals? Are they bad people?
If these people are not bad people, should we treat them like bad people? If they are bad people, despite whatever good they otherwise do, is it possible our neglect of certain issues that negatively impact others could make us bad people too? What if we fail to donate, volunteer, and advocate for other causes that lead to suffering and death? Does our inaction make us complicit? Could others fairly criticize us for bearing some responsibility? Where does our obligation end? Do some people not eat animals but do other things that people might think make them a bad person? Who are the winners in a battle for claiming the moral high ground?
Are people who don’t eat animals absent of all blame for harming animals? If not, where is the line drawn between someone who is doing enough and someone who is not? How do we distinguish between perfection and imperfection? Slight imperfection and more imperfection? Do people who don’t eat animals volunteer and donate as much as they can to help save animals? What if they don’t? Does it make them bad people?
Does thinking people are bad people or making it public that we believe people who eat animals are bad people help animals? Does showing disdain for them inspire those people to stop eating animals? Does it help animals to view people who eat them with contempt? Is that how we affect change? Or might it be more effective to applaud people for all the good they do, admit our own shortcomings, and inspire people to do more good?
What is the definition of bad person? Or is human nature too complex to define a bad person? Who wins these arguments?