So, apparently, I must now add "Veganism" to the ever-growing list of "things I have to pretend to like if I ever meet Natalie Portman":
For the record: I don't really have any "problem" with Vegans, though I DO have a problem with Natalie Portman becoming one. Namely... well, remember "Closer?" "Hotel Chevalier?" Yeah... that figure is just NOT going to exist under a veggies-only diet. Ah, well...
One of the things that has always perplexed me about vegetarianism (and hardline animal-liberation ideology in general) is how often it's framed as a kind of mutual-morality issue: That it's wrong to eat or experiment on animals because some believe they are just as capable of emotion, emotional-reaction and even moral reasoning as human beings are. To me, that seems backwards... I'M against cruelty to animals largely because I'm inclined to conclude that they AREN'T capable of moral-reasoning - at least not to the degree we are.
See, I've met TONS of human beings who deserve to be treated unkindly, to say nothing of outright CRUELLY - mostly because that's how they've treated myself and others. Hitler deserved to be treated with cruelty. Osama bin Laden deserves cruelty. Have you ever heard of an animal that did anything to deserve the same? I certainly haven't.
For all anyone has been able to prove scientifically, animals are TOTAL innocents: moral/ethical "blanks;" which means they aren't capable of EVIL. If, on the other hand, we were to prove that they were capable of good, logic would dictate that they are ALSO capable of evil - one cannot exist without the other. Wouldn't this, then, mean that a simple solution to the problem of how to consume meat protein without harming something "good" be to eat only the "bad" animals? Surely, it couldn't be hard to find and execute the Hitler of Cows or the Manson of Turkeys, yes?
Science could probably make this whole thing irrelevant if they wanted to: If we can clone whole animals effectively, it can't be too far of a step to only clone PARTS of them. Imagine being able to GROW edible cuts of meat without having to worry about the pain inflicted on a whole steer...