Some argue that since nonhuman animals eat other nonhumans in the wild, our use of animals is “natural.” There are four responses to this position.
First, although some animals eat each other in the wild, many do not. Many animals are vegetarians. Moreover, there is far more cooperation in nature than our imagined “cruelty of nature” would have us believe.
Second, whether animals eat other animals is beside the point. How is it relevant whether animals eat other animals? Some animals are carnivorous and cannot exist without eating meat. We do not fall into that category; we can get along fine without eating meat, and more and more people are taking the position that our health and environment would both benefit from a shift away from a diet of animal products.
Third, animals do all sorts of things that humans do not regard as morally appropriate. For example, dogs copulate and defecate in the street. Does that mean that we should follow their example?
Fourth, it is interesting that when it is convenient for us to do so, we attempt to justify our exploitation of animals by resting on our supposed “superiority.” And when our supposed “superiority” gets in the way of what we want to do, we suddenly portray ourselves as nothing more than another species of wild animal, as entitled as foxes to eat chickens.