By His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra)
Some might object on the issue of deeming slaughtering animals and eating their meat permissible, considering it a form of torture that contradicts with the notion of mercy and confiscates the life of a living thing, picturing it as morally hideous as killing man and eating his meat! Therefore, some have forbidden eating meat, since it necessitates killing an animal, and they depicted it as a form of human brutality that does not differ in its nature and form from the savagery of animals.
The answer is that the issue of life cannot be dealt with in this way and that mercy is not based on a naÔve emotional state. Life is Allahís gift to the living things. He wanted them to survive according to special vital conditions based on mutual dependency in the process of consuming food. This is apparent in the carnivores world that cannot last and continue to exist except by having animals eat each other by any means possible, which suggests that the creation of different animals in their inherent weakness and strength is based on that, since the law of the universe is based on the deep interest in the movement of life.
And man is no exception to this world when it comes to the food cycle which means that he has an existential need to eat animals (albeit within certain limits), for the continuity of his life in its strong elements is dependent on that.
In the light of this, we consider that the issue of confiscating a life is not all evil; but rather, it is necessary to ensure the continuity of another life as governed by the cosmic system, for had it not been for that, life [on earth] itself would have disintegrated and ceased to exist, which makes it a deep integral part of the system of life, creating diversity and mutual dependency. As for the issue of torture caused upon slaughtering, it is just as the torture and suffering caused as one animal devours another, and we should surpass its hideousness by focusing on the fact that Allah made it of an innate nature, since the advantages it causes are far greater than its disadvantages. Thus, we notice that mercy is relative in comparison with the arising interest, not to mention the emotional aspect in the sense that if something might be merciful from the aspect of its relation with the general order, it might not be so on the individualistic level. Actually, this is something natural when it comes to all the issues related to the vital aspect governing the relation of man with his responsibilities towards another fellow human and the system of punishment on which the system of life is founded.
[(Interpretations) inspired from the Quran]