“Meat Is Murder” by The Smiths

“Meat Is Murder” is one of the most well-known tracks by The Smiths. The lyrics of this iconic song creates the reason that animals are not any different from humans in any special way. By virtue of this, these animals deserve a comfortable living without being slaughtered for meat or whatever other purpose man may have.

So the narrator (Morrissey) uses the song to implore his audience that the killing of animals is completely not right and should be stopped. He compares killing animals, regardless of the purpose, to murder. This is where the song’s outstandingly powerful title “Meat Is Murder” comes from.

Lyrics of "Meat is Murder"

Facts about “Meat is Murder”

“Meat is Murder” was composed by Morrissey alongside Johnny Marr. The classic’s production was handled by all members of The Smiths with assistance from English music producer Stephen Street.

It is noteworthy to state that “Meat is Murder” was recorded straight away without any demo recording.

The mooing of cows you hear in the song was an idea brought up by Morrissey. Fortunately, the rest of the band loved it. It was therefore prominently used both at the beginning and end of the song.

During the promotion of the song, in order to show that the band supported the idea of not killing animals for meat, Morrissey told the other members of the band to be careful not to be captured on a camera eating meat.

In an interview with Mojo magazine, Smiths’ bass player Andy Rourke said he found the song “hypnotic”.

In 2016, a video game from PETA called This Beautiful Creature Must Die was released. The game’s title was taken from the track’s lyrics. It is actually taken from the third line from the song’s first verse.

In his autobiography titled Autobiography, which came out in 2013, Morrissey shed more light on this song. According to him, it is a song that gives a voice to the millions of animals (which he refers to as “beings”) that are killed on a daily basis all over the world.

The title/phrase “meat is murder” doesn’t appear anywhere in the song.

When did The Smiths release “Meat is Murder”?

The song is the 9th and last track from The Smiths’ highly acclaimed second studio album. The said album is also titled “Meat Is Murder”. Both song and album were released on February 11th, 1985.

In 2003, the album (“Meat is Murder”) was placed at the 295th position on the list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The said list was compiled by Rolling Stone magazine.

Does Morrissey have a point? Is it Morally Wrong to Eat Meat?

Human beings are the dominant living organisms on earth and we consume most of the resources on earth. In doing so, moral values and ethics are put in place by society, to check a number of things, including:

  • what we consume
  • how we consume nature’s produce
  • our general relationship with animals and plants

The subject of whether it is morally acceptable or wrong for humans to consume the flesh of animals is a highly debatable area in food ethics.

Why People like Morrissey don’t eat Meat

People do not consume meat for a range of reasons. Some of these reasons include health implications, animal welfare requirements, religious beliefs, and the environmental effects of meat production.

Ethical vegetarians and vegans are the names most people who do not consume the meat of animals or any product of animals, associate with. These people believe that killing an animal is only right in extreme cases such as self-defense. Thus, the killing of animals mainly for food and how they taste, conversion of their parts for tools, and financial purposes are all wrong and morally unjustifiable.

They also argue that animals cherish their lives and have moral standards just as humans do. Furthermore, they insist that animals can feel emotional and physical pain just as humans feel. Therefore, humans although are generally “more intelligent” than animals, do not have any right to take the lives of animals.

Again, they believe that it is very possible and simple for a person to live a very healthy life and obtain all the necessary nutrients through the consumption of only plant produce. This is the only morally acceptable way of food consumption for them. Hence consuming meat solely for the purposes of taste and as food is morally and ethically wrong. In their eyes, this cannot be justified in any means.  

Why People Eat Meat

Many people also consume meat for various reasons including health implications, taste, religious and traditional beliefs. All these reasons are justified by logical explanations and scientific researches over the years.

Scientists claim humans have a shorter digestive system than some animals (herbivores). Owing to this, humans lack specialized organs that speedily digest cellulose fiber from plants. Some scientists also classify humans as omnivores. An omnivore is an organism with the ability to consume both plant and animal products for survival and other life processes.

Therefore, many meat consumers believe that we function best when both plant and animal produce are available for us. This creates a needed balance for the body. The protein obtained from meat is also described as complete by many food scientists. According to them, it contains all the amino acids essential for a healthy body.

Some meat consumers also justify their food ethics by making an argument that the consumption of meat helps to control the general population on earth. They believe that if they did not kill and consume meat over the years, the animal population will have become unbearable and some animals may exist without having any proper use for them.

However, some meat consumers do not agree with the suffering and cruelty inflicted on animals before they are killed and consumed. They are always concerned about the welfare of animals. Therefore, while vegans, vegetarians, some religious beliefs, and many people, find everything wrong with meat consumption, the only ethical injustice some meat consumers find about meat consumption is the cruelty animals go through before they are killed and consumed.  

As to the question of whether consuming meat is ethically or morally wrong, the individual and their conscience may just be the best judge.

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