At one point I decided to ask myself if there were any animals that I wouldn't eat, for moral reasons. I'm not talking about if I were starving on a desert island, but were there any animals that I'd avoid eating given other available food sources? I started to make a list:
So, what was special about these animals? Well, for me, it was their intelligence. It just seemed wrong to eat an animal that had a level of smarts in the ballpark of human intelligence. Then, of course, I was forced to figure out where exactly I was going to draw the line. Was it right there at monkey?
Eventually I considered dogs. Were they too smart to eat? I decided they were, although JUST BARELY. I was going to draw the moral high-ground line at Dog. Any animal as smart as or smarter than a dog was going to be given a virtual Get Out Of Mike's Stomach card, free of charge. Sadly, this included pigs. My understanding is that they're probably a bit smarter than dogs. This is a big drag because pigs are really delicious. Bacon. Pepperoni. Pot stickers. Damn.
But I drew the line there about a decade ago and I've stuck to it.
Actually, that's not exactly true. My rule is that I don't wish to be the cause of any more pigs (or smarter animals) to be served up as food. However, if my wife or daughter orders some bacon and then leaves some on their plate? Well, I mean, it's not like I could plant the bacon in the ground and re-grow the pig. There's no use in throwing away delicious bacon!
I think most people who claim to be omnivores probably have a similar internal rule for what they will and won't eat, but they may not have taken the time to articulate it or examine exactly which animals are on or off it. If anyone wanted to argue that I've drawn the line in an arbitrary place, I'd agree one hundred percent, but it's the place that seemed natural to me.
Note, however, that since my rule is intelligence based, if I could find a pig farmer who raised an especially stupid breed of pig, then maybe I could enjoy some pork. Similarly if I meet some annoying person who is a total freakin' idiot, and is covered with a spicy garlic sauce, then bon appetit.