The fact of life is that living organisms must consume other living organisms to get the nutrients to survive, because all the nutrients available are now being used by one organism or the other. This is an undeniable fact of the matter and one cannot deny this.
There is, however, an alternative for humanity. Using tools developed through scientific research, we have a unique opportunity to harvest elements then synthesize nutrients, in essence we can create the very chemicals of life from inorganic and nonliving sources.
Currently, we are limited in our ability to accomplish this, our best option is to produce a super food source using modern genetic modification methods. We are utilizing mostly corn and wheat with this goal, someday we could replace all food sources, even animal flesh, with these crops.
Essentially, we will be removing ourselves from the food web, which is really awesome for those who's empathy is strong. But until then, what are acceptable food sources?
This is where morals, science, and survival all crash, resulting in one huge existential argument about right, wrong, and fact. Technically we cannot say with absolute certainty that any one source is okay without also allowing for other sources, so it comes down to what is acceptable socially.
To more clearly illustrate this we must dispel all myths around all food systems. First, and easiest myth, is the one stating genetic modification is bad.
Yes, we can combine all arguments against modern GM methods into one, they're all the exact same argument regardless of how you word it. The fact is that old methods, like crossbreeding, rely on mostly random factors which quite often produce dangerous hybrids.
Modern GM methods use a focused change, planned based on well understood phenomena, resulting in an expected and planned product. Essentially the modern GMOs have almost no guess work involved while "organic" is nothing more than guesswork.
Often people will claim that meat is the only source of one chemical or another, they always forget the food we evolved to consume feeds on meat but does not process those chemicals. As a species, we evolved to eat maggots off rotting corpses, the maggots consume all the dangerous chemicals and convert them into benign and useful chemicals for us.
This process is inefficiently replicated by the act of cooking the flesh. As our numbers grew, without the knowledge of how to farm insects, we turned to this alternative.
It allowed our species to thrive to an extent, but in exchange we have begun to damage the ecosystems we depend on. Our only option now is to remove ourselves form the food systems or begin farming insects to better suit our needs and our conscience.
Then there is the question of which species we should be consuming for food, and the lines become completely subjective, which totally sucks. The reason this annoys me is because one cannot consume any meat if they are to stand the high ground on this specific issue, meaning that it becomes an all or nothing situation.
For me, because of empathy, certain species are completely off limits due to our social needs and responsibilities. Cats and dogs are certainly off the menu, we engineered them to be companions, meaning they think more like us than most people realize, they also feel the things we do.
Swine should also be removed, they are nearly as intelligent as us and we should show our peers much more respect than slaughtering them. This includes dolphins and whales, what monsters are we that slaughter animals who may be more intelligent but pose no threat?
Of the remaining animals, we must take care how we treat them. We cannot be certain how they feel about things, or what they can understand, and to terrorize or torture them makes us monsters.
So I shall leave you with this one final thought and plea: can we, as a species, just stop being idiotic troglodytes?