That may be fine for economics but I don't think it is applicable to moral matters.
Well opinions are just that opinions, and verifiability is not the goal, I'm just echoing a certain school of philosophical thought, professor Gary Francione calls it abolitionism, which is borrowed from the anti-slavery movement. As for HSUS animal euthanasia, I disagree with several or their policies, euthanasia is one of them. Justin Bieber had to surrender his pet monkey in Germany recently. When he asked how long he had before they euthanized it they informed him that they don't euthanize pets in Germany. So it can be done, we're just not as compassionate or efficient as the Germans.
“To say that a being who is sentient has no interest in continuing to live is like saying that a being with eyes has no interest in continuing to see. Death—however “humane”—is a harm for humans and nonhumans alike.” ― Gary Francione
I submit that there is a difference in our interactions with wildlife and animals that we have domesticated. By doing so we bear some responsibility towards them.
There you go again with your imaginary measurement scale of moral good and bad. Anyways, you are leaving out intention again. I'll say it again, there is a big difference between killing an animal specifically for its flesh or fur and the accidental killing of an insect. This idea is expressed in our laws by the two criteria for convicting someone of a crime. You need two criteria; an actus reus (guilty act) and a mens rea (guilty mind)
I already stated that vegetation can grow without any fertilizer, neither chemical or manure. Our ancestors have been doing this for thousands of years.
We are not quote mineing or using apeals to authority to make points now are we?
We bear responsibility for our actions period, weather it's dusting an ecosystem with insecticides that find its way into the entire food chain or dumping round up on huge corn fields and destroying the creyfish populations in the nearby slews or scalding a live chicken in boiling water with a mechanical claw.
The moral quantification is not imaginary. There is a point of marginal utility gained or not gained by each decision that we make in which we will not make or make that decision. When talk about a unit of utility or in my example good and bad which is really just positive and negative utility, we are talking about an average of something gained or not gained. It cannot be quantified in the sense of a measurement because it exists in our minds, but it is certainly still there. When you really think about it even a meter is an arbitrary measure of space. Being arbitrary dosnt make it imaginary. It's a way to discuss something in a quantitative terms so that we can critically analyze them with graphs and equations. I'm not makeing any of this up, this is the way human choice is discussed in universities. I have a BA in economics.
Example: if you are a vegitarian for moral reasons, you gain more utilty from not consuming meat than you do from the pleasure of eating it.
Utility from eating meat (EM) < (NEM). All this says is that you gain more satisfaction from avoiding meat than you do from eating it. If you did not, you would not be a vegitarian. In fact it may be that your guilt would cause you negative utility if you ate meat, but it's really the same thing.
But let's use this to analyze a choice you might have to make. Let's keep it simple.
Eating 1 unit of meat gives you -1utility.
However..... You are in a situation where you have to eat meat or starve to death.
The satisfaction of living gives you 100U. You will without out a doubt eat 99 units of meat despite the negative utility it gives you. Unless of course eating a unit of meat gives you -101U. This means you would rather die before you ate any meat at all.
You see the measurements are arbitrary ( all measurements are) but they are not imaginary. The point behind any large policy should be to maximize the utility in our society. This is the ultimate goal behind economic theory, though unfortunately human beings are very good at pushing their moral judgments onto others, and the very concept of self interest puts utility seeking ahead of utility averaging for large groups. It's a constant struggle and the foundation of the struggle for freedom... Anyway im drifting off here, but I hope you understand that it's not imaginary at all.
There are many crimes that happen without intentions. It's called neglect.---- I did not mean to leave my kid in the hot car while grabbing a couple shots at the bar, I just forgot--- ---- we don't mean to destroy massive amounts of wild life and ecosystems through agriculture and profit seeking, it just happens----
Our ancestors used a very limited supply of flood plains to grow things in which fields were refertilized with anual floods or crops that were natural to that particular environment ( this is the basis for permaculture). Modern agriculture requires organic matter or chemical fertilizers to operate.