There is no authoritative teaching on the subject of killing animals for food, although the Catechism requirement not to cause the unnecessary suffering or death of animals (n.2418) could indicate that, as meat-eating is not necessary for a healthy diet for most people, vegetarianism is thereby recommended. There are several reasons for the Church to support a meat-free diet:
The Church’s long tradition of self-denial, so that people, including several religious orders, renounce meat-eating entirely in order to live a more simple life-style, in solidarity with the poorest people.
Abstinence from meat-eating on Fridays, also in some cases on Wednesdays, and during Lent and Advent, was a long tradition in the Church – although often fish was substituted for the flesh of mammals and birds.
Social justice and the environment would benefit from the Western world’s reduction or elimination of a meat-based diet in order to be able to feed growing human populations in a world of limited resources, and to cut down our carbon footprint.
Livestock and the livestock industry consume many more times (some say seven times or more) the amount of food, water, fuel and land resources than are returned in the form of meat, eggs and milk; and their sector accounts for up to one fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Human health benefits from a reduction of animal fats. Vegetarians and vegans are known to live longer and healthier lives with far fewer coronary conditions and cancers. As more chemicals, antibiotics, steroids and other substances are added to meat and diary products, human resistance to these is lowered and people become susceptible to diseases.
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