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Why It's Ethical to Eat Meat
Apr 4 2012, 4:50 pm
By: Fire_Kame
Pages: 1 2 37 >
 

Apr 4 2012, 4:50 pm Fire_Kame Post #1

Stupid babies need the most attention

"Ethically speaking, vegetables get all the glory. In recent years, vegetarians — and to an even greater degree vegans, their hard-core inner circle — have dominated the discussion about the ethics of eating. From the philosopher Peter Singer, whose 1975 volume “Animal Liberation” galvanized an international movement, to the novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, who wrote the 2009 best seller “Eating Animals,” those who forswear meat have made the case that what we eat is a crucial ethical decision. To be just, they say, we must put down our cheeseburgers and join their ranks.

In response, those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say. They say, of course, that, well, they love meat or that meat is deeply ingrained in our habit or culture or cuisine or that it’s nutritious or that it’s just part of the natural order. Some of the more conscientious carnivores have devoted themselves to enhancing the lives of livestock, by improving what those animals eat, how they live and how they are killed. But few have tried to answer the fundamental ethical issue: Whether it is right to eat animals in the first place, at least when human survival is not at stake. "

The New York Times is running a contest calling carnivores to write about why it is ethical to eat meat.

This is an issue I personally have been battling with. The whole 'ethical treatment' of animals that are then sent to slaughter always seemed ironic and disturbing to me. But I do still eat meat.

You can read more about the contest here. Entries are due the 8th of April (four days!), and the prize is being put in the NY Times. I am considering writing for it, let us know if you are too.




Apr 4 2012, 5:08 pm Sand Wraith Post #2

she*

I eat animals because they are delicious and nutritious. If they really didn't want to be eaten, they would have evolved away from tasting so good.

Yummy in my tummy, FOR THE MEAT GOD.

EDIT:

If everyone gave up eating meat, what would we do with all of the animals raised for meat?

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 5:22 pm by Sand Wraith.




Apr 4 2012, 6:14 pm Tempz Post #3



Everyone wouldn't probaly stop eating meat all together... we'd probably slowly phase out meat. Like me I've been trying to phase out meat for the past few weeks but like sand said "its yummy in my tummy". I'm pretty sure it isn't ethical to eat meat so i can't give a unbiased argument sorry.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 6:19 pm by Tempz.



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Apr 4 2012, 6:37 pm Fire_Kame Post #4

Stupid babies need the most attention

That usually means you're not getting enough protein otherwise...but the taste of meat is alluring.




Apr 4 2012, 6:38 pm Sacrieur Post #5

Still Napping

Easy, it's not.



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Apr 4 2012, 6:40 pm EzDay281 Post #6



Quote
This is an issue I personally have been battling with. The whole 'ethical treatment' of animals that are then sent to slaughter always seemed ironic and disturbing to me. But I do still eat meat.
So far's I'm concerned, ethical philosophies in which "life" is a unit of utility are crazy to begin with, so I don't really care if something is being raised with the specific intent of killing it.
So I'm generally against consumption of meat on an ethical basis, as industrialized meat production will, so far as I am aware, tend strongly towards the inhumane as a matter of practicality; I have little complaint otherwise. There is, of course, the question of efficiency, but whether meat is more or less efficient than not is likely pretty trivial compared to the alternative solution of just not sustaining such a large human population as to make organic and land resource limits a significant issue.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 6:46 pm by EzDay281.



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Apr 4 2012, 8:27 pm Sand Wraith Post #7

she*

why is it unethical to eat meat




Apr 4 2012, 9:23 pm jjf28 Post #8

Oh bother...

Quote
why is it unethical to eat meat

I've never heard significantly more than vague appeals to instincts and "Hypotheses non fingo" on that one...

I don't think animal rights activists have satisfied their burden of proof; they have to show that there is something inherently wrong with violating "animals rights" (which are ill-defined 'naturally' as it is) or to adequately equate 'human rights' to those of animals, Peter Signer, for instance, appears only to take us half-way: a utilitarian perspective fails to condemn such acts as...

- Giving an animal a better life than mean value theorem dictates in the wilderness, then giving it a quick and painless death (benefiting both the animal and the consumer)
- Killing animals out of necessity (to feed, say, a starving family)
- Testing medicines on animals (if the benefits/chance of the medicine/medicine working outweigh the animals risk, that is)

I would agree with those who say that we shouldn't needlessly harm animals or cause them to suffer (for reasons dually theistic and instinctive), but fail to see where morals come into play strictly for eating meat.

Edit: also want to throw this quote in

Quote from name:Consider">http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-animal/#MorConAni]Consider a seal who has spent his life freely roaming the oceans and ice flats and who is suddenly and painless killed to provide food for a human family struggling to survive a bitter winter in far northern climes. While it is probably true that the seal had an immediate interest in avoiding suffering, it is less clear that the seal has a future directed interest in continued existence. If the seal lacks this future directed interest, then painlessly killing him does not violate this interest. The same cannot be said for the human explorer who finds himself face to face with a hungry Inuit family. Persons generally have interests in continued existence, interests that, arguably, non-persons do not have. So one factor that can be appealed to is that non-persons may not have the range of interests that persons do.


Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 9:31 pm by jjf28.



Rs_yes-im4real - Clan Aura - jjf28.net84.net

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Apr 4 2012, 9:30 pm Lanthanide Post #9



Quote from Sand Wraith
If everyone gave up eating meat, what would we do with all of the animals raised for meat?
There would be none.

Which actually has an interesting implication: cows, sheeps, pigs etc are at no risk of going extinct, precisely because they are exploited by humans. In fact humans do a lot to maintain good gene combinations and over time improve the genetics of the herd.

An interesting side-effect of this is that this selection pressure can be carried to the extreme, as in the case of turkeys, where factory-farmed turkeys are such genetic freaks that they would basically die from stress on their heart if they lived for much longer than the time at what they're harvested, simply because they grow so fast and put on so much weight that the rest of the body can't keep up with it. It's also anatomically impossible for factory-farmed turkeys to mate normally, they must be artificially inseminated. Several varieties of 'heirloom' turkeys almost went extinct because factory farming had displaced all of the old-time farms, but a resurgence has started up, basically splintering from the organic food movement, where traditional breeds of turkeys are now produced on farms using the same methods dating back to the 1800's and earlier, which all ended around 1950 or so.

Anyway the idea that exploited animals are safe from extinction is being promoted by a guy in my country (many people consider him a bit crazy) where he wants to allow the farming of a couple of our national, endangered birds (like the Kiwi). His argument is that if industry was allowed to farm kiwis, their numbers would dramatically increase and they'd be safe from extinction.

Quote from jjf28
- Killing animals out of necessity (to feed, say, a starving family)
Except this is a bit of a fallacy, particularly in the US. It takes approx 6 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of edible beef. If you were really interested in feeding the starving family, you'd feed them corn, not beef.

Now obviously humans need protein and beef is a good source of this, but there are other much cheaper sources of protein available. If all you care about is feeding a 'starving family' then giving them beef isn't required. Also Americans on average eat way way way more meat than is required, or healthy for them.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 9:36 pm by Lanthanide.



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Apr 4 2012, 9:46 pm jjf28 Post #10

Oh bother...

Quote

Quote from jjf28
- Killing animals out of necessity (to feed, say, a starving family)
Except this is a bit of a fallacy, particularly in the US. It takes approx 6 pounds of corn to produce 1 pound of edible beef. If you were really interested in feeding the starving family, you'd feed them corn, not beef.

Well worth nothing that I used the word "necessity"... of course developed farming would be potentially morally superior in utilitarianism, but if no other food sources were available to enable the survival of multiple sentient beings, it would be morally right to kill and eat one animal.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 9:59 pm by jjf28.



Rs_yes-im4real - Clan Aura - jjf28.net84.net

Reached the top of StarCraft theory crafting 2:12 AM CST, August 2nd, 2014.

Apr 4 2012, 9:50 pm Sand Wraith Post #11

she*

I don't think corn grows in tundras.




Apr 4 2012, 10:03 pm Vrael Post #12



Vegetarians make the assumption that somehow animals are more worthy of consideration than plants. That somehow animals are people too, and we shouldn't eat people so we shouldn't eat plants. Me, I see no difference. Sure, maybe dogs or gorillas or dolphins or whales might be intelligent enough to count as something sentient, but the every time a chicken drowns out in the rain, I feel I am justified in saying animals are no different than plants. My body was designed to eat meat. I crave meat when I'm hungry. I am not worried about finding a positive ethical solution in favor of eating meat, I am satisfied that there is no credible negative problem.



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Apr 4 2012, 10:08 pm Jack Post #13

>be faceless void >mfw I have no face

Lanthanide makes an interesting point which I've thought about a few times.
Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JpRmmMyNYo



Red classic.

Apr 4 2012, 10:25 pm TiKels Post #14



To really have any sort of discussion you have to define ethics.



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Apr 4 2012, 10:52 pm EzDay281 Post #15



Quote
Vegetarians make the assumption that somehow animals are more worthy of consideration than plants.
I can find no objective basis on which to divide creatures between "conscious" and "non-conscious", nor function to map "similarity of brain to mine" to "level of consciousness"; any answer, whether in favor of animals' rights or not, is entirely arbitrary.
The two opposite possibilities for "any answer" are solipsism, and the assumption that everything is conscious. The former, if used as the default philosophy, would likely result in behaviours of greatest negative estimated utility, their effects averaged out across the entire "any answer" spectrum; the latter, on the other hand, is nil, as there's no way to determine an expected utility for any action and thus all actions are equal.
All that said, I'm inclined to err in the "safe" direction from whatever appears to me the most intuitive assumption. Doesn't make my answer any less arbitrary, but that's the way things go.

Quote
I don't think animal rights activists have satisfied their burden of proof; they have to show that there is something inherently wrong with violating "animals rights" (which are ill-defined 'naturally' as it is) or to adequately equate 'human rights' to those of animals
Has the validity of human rights been established, objectively, to any greater degree than animal rights?



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Apr 4 2012, 11:01 pm rockz Post #16

おやすみの敗者

It's not ethical to eat meat.

meat tastes good. I am smarter than all the other species on the planet. That's why it's fine to eat meat. Ethics doesn't come into the equation. Growing animals is especially cruel, but I do not have a problem with it because of my previous statement.

By the way, it's not ethical to live in the desert, or in the tundra either.

Post has been edited 1 time(s), last time on Apr 4 2012, 11:06 pm by rockz.



"Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman - do we have to call the Gentleman a gentleman if he's not one?"

Apr 4 2012, 11:17 pm EzDay281 Post #17



Quote from rockz
It's not ethical to eat meat.

meat tastes good. I am smarter than all the other species on the planet. That's why it's fine to eat meat. Ethics doesn't come into the equation. Growing animals is especially cruel, but I do not have a problem with it because of my previous statement.

By the way, it's not ethical to live in the desert, or in the tundra either.

Are you trying to bring up the point of "define ethics"?
Your edit makes it appear overwhelmingly so, but I'd rather not assume, so (if not):
Ethics define "fine"ness. The first paragraph is self-contradictory.

(if so):
TiKels already brought that up, and in any case, discussion hasn't reached a point where there's any need to (despite what he says).



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Apr 4 2012, 11:20 pm Lanthanide Post #18



Quote from jjf28
Well worth nothing that I used the word "necessity"... of course developed farming would be potentially morally superior in utilitarianism, but if no other food sources were available to enable the survival of multiple sentient beings, it would be morally right to kill and eat one animal.
Yes, but I have trouble imagining where such a situation would exist. Maybe if you're in the middle of nowhere and there is a cow next to you, you kill it and eat it. But if we're talking about a situation where a farmer is producing food for their town, they can feed their town directly on the corn they grow much more efficiently than they can feed them on meat from the cows. Now if the town needs a source of protein and there is no such other source available, then sure, it would make sense then. But otherwise it's considerably less efficient to eat meat instead of just eating the grains directly.

Now in a case like New Zealand where almost all of our cows eat grass (which is inedible for humans) it is quite different, except that you could in many cases replace the grass with wheat or corn and still be more productive.

Quote from Sand Wraith
I don't think corn grows in tundras.
I'm not sure why this is relevant or what you're even trying to say. Cows don't "grow" in tundras either. If you're using tundra land as a place to store your cattle, and you are feeding them corn that was grown somewhere else, then clearly you have transported corn to your tundra. You'd still be more efficient feeding the local town if you used the corn as human feed instead of the cattle.

Did you actually have a point, because it's not clear?



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Apr 4 2012, 11:43 pm Sacrieur Post #19

Still Napping

Nothing says delicious like some freshly picked tundra cows.

--

I honestly don't think cows have the mental capacity to understand or fear that one day, we're going to kill them. I advocate painless methods, however. Also I support that they are well treated.

The industry doesn't quite perform either of these things, so I am forced to oppose what many farms do.

I mean we don't feel bad about chomping on plants just because they're living. Hell, plants don't even feel pain. But these other animals do, so in the interest of granting person rights only equivalent to their attributes, I don't think we should cause them to experience pain or suffering. But neither are they guaranteed rights that say, dolphins, should have.



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Apr 5 2012, 1:11 am Vrael Post #20



Quote from TiKels
To really have any sort of discussion you have to define ethics.
Quote from name:EzDay
your whole post
Quote from rockz
It's not ethical to eat meat.
Quote from name:everyone else who brings up this crap
It's stupid to revert back to the "DURR DESCARTE ASSUMED NOTHING SO WE SHOULD ASSUME ETHICS DONT EXIST DURR DURR" that a lot of you are doing when you're talking about an issue like this. You aren't cool or clever for doing it, it's been done a million times by a million idiots. What would be cool and possibly clever, is to address the situation in a respectable, reasonable manner, since you see that so little on the internet. We live in a society which has ethics; it's wrong to cause pain and suffering. Animals can feel pain because they have a central nervous system which was designed to feel pain, plants do not. This is why there's a question of whether or not its bad to kill and eat animals where there really is no question about whether killing plants is bad, we have no evidence whatsoever that plants can feel pain. It's obvious from simple observation that the overwhelming majority of non-human animal species do not share in our intelligence. They lack some crucial self-awareness that humans have. As long as animals lack that special something we humans have, I dont find anything wrong with causing them pain just like I dont feel like killing plants is bad. Sure I think we should treat them with respect as an extension of the idea that we should treat everything with respect, but if some cows gotta die for my burger, no worries from me.



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