Someone asked, regarding the Order's stance on Vegetarianism and Animal Rights:
Someone asked:I am still a little unsure where we stand on the question of vegetarians, though. For my part, I feel that some animals eat meat, and that from a rabbit's point of view, I am no different to a fox or a weasel. However, being humane, I would never kill an animal for sport, nor would I treat one inhumanely.
"All human beings, the earth itself, and all creatures that live, are endowed with dignity and the right to live in liberty and peace, in accord with natural law.
-Obligation III, article iii.
Protect the helpless at all costs; None are noble who let strength stand idle while the helpless suffer. Kindness to humans and to living creatures is a great mark of Nobility, and a mark of Holiness.
-Obligation III Paraphrase
You are quite right that some animals eat meat, and so do humans. This is part of natural law- but as you pointed out, killing animals for sport is contrary to their natural dignity, and so is treating them inhumanely.
The meat industries are often guilty of inhumane treatment of animals, and I am morally opposed to this. I agree with you that even if animals are to be raised for food, they need to be accorded every comfort and dignity that they can be, and be given as full a life as possible, before they are slaughtered. I am personally against Factory Farms, and favor a return to free range farming and ranching, and stricter penalties for abusing animals; less hormone use and more oversight of animal living conditions.
One of the problems in the West is that we eat too much meat. Humans may require certain amounts of animal products in their diet to survive- plants alone cannot provide us with all we need- but we do not need to eat the amount of meat we do. Even products like milk and eggs are enough to give us the B12 we need, without ever needing to eat actual meat.
But still, eating meat, predation, all these things are part of natural law, for humans, as well as other predators. What we have to keep in mind is balance and dignity. But this is something people (especially industries) seldom keep in mind.
Humans have a moral obligation to be prudent with the resources afforded to them by the Holy and Sacred power of our Environmenet. To abuse the environment, take from it without prudence, or destroy it, is a grave error, and against all five articles of Obligation I.
"Natural Law", to us, is a simple matter of what supports life in balance- Lions and Bears, for instance, cannot be allowed to live wild in human communities; but we should also not destroy their every single natural habitat. Natural Law states that we need to keep ourselves alive and healthy, taking of resources needed for that, but ALSO that we should help other creatures do the same, actively or passively.