The view you are describing is hardly universal, it is much more a "western" thing. As you and Pythagorean are both keenly aware, science and philosophy is rapidly adopting the position that a man's life is not objectively more important than any animals.
Mr Fight the power,
In response to your first sentence,if this view is not universal, that is unfortunate,as the reality is universal.This reality does not itself stress the superiority of man.Our ancestors,hunters and gatherers did not think of the animal as on a lower level of a scale,with humanity at the top.Their rituals were to put them in touch with the reality,that life consumes life as natures way,and to relieve the guilt they felt at killing their fellow beings.
We buy our meat wrapped in cellophane and largely forget just what it is we are consumeing,so out of touch are we with the ways of nature.
This is a very intersting topic. If everyone in the world changed their attitude and became vegetarian woudl that solve this dilema?
If everyone in the world became a vegetarian, what would the butchers do?
You spoke of balance,but what a great many people fail to grasp is that,if nature is not balanced nothing else will be either.The foundation of all economys is nature.Alienation from the natural world is a type of retardation which in association with a degraded environment spirals downward.You have people alienated and enstranged from nature making decisions effecting the lives of people who work and live in the far north-----a frightening thought.The thing is we need a new psychological postion,how altimately that is to come about is as yet anyones guess.We do know we cannot stay the course,that is suicide.
The world needs to reduce the global population,traditionally the church is against population control.In by gone days an oral tradition would adapt itself to the changeing conditions around it,Christianity cannot do this,it is a closed system,written in stone,and as such has become pathological.
Boagie, this sounds quite drastic. Who do you have in mind who is to live and who not. George Bush is doing his bit, isn't he? You don't have this problem, and those that may have it will be future generations and who knows what may happen then. Technological advances may have solved the problem (if indeed it is a problem), or human nature may have solved it. Haven't you read that the quality of sperm has fallen drastically, and couples are finding it difficult to conceive. There may even be more homosexuals that will contribute to this world you are thinking about.
As for eating meat, I would not recommend it. Red meat (beef, lamb, game and pork) is a cause of bowel cancer. I make a point of not eating it. Ecologically, it is also more beneficial. I wouldn't suggest that everyone should live like Thoreau as in Walden Pond, but understanding what and how one eats is a good start.
the fact that life substains itself by consuming itself is a reality that most people certainly in North America have lost touch with, is that good? Personally I do not think so, there is something dangerous about being out of touch with reality, very dangerous.