• darthbarracuda
    2.9k
    Is eating meat morally permissible? Why or why not?

    Do advances in slaughterhouses by individuals such as Temple Grandin make it less ethically problematic, if it even is problematic to begin with?
  • Throng
    8
    In the commercial industrial world, a full consideration of meat consumption and its personal and environmental circumstances, let alone the quality of life of farmed animals, would lead to concluding that a vegan lifestyle is for the best. Peter Singer convinced me of that. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UHzwqf_JkrA
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    The vegetarian may hold higher moral ground than the carnivore. However, I like and I plan on continuing to consume meat. Eating meat can be more or less ethical.

    These make carnivorie more ethical:

    1. Being apprized of the conditions under which animals are turned into meat.
    2. Choosing humanely raised and slaughtered meat (over totally rationalized industrialized methods)
    3. Minimizing the amount of meat consumed

    People who grow up in farming areas, whether on a farm or near a farm, have some idea of what animals experience. These days, people who care to know will understand what their egg, skinless chicken breast, hamburger, farm-raised fish, or pork chop suffered (or didn't), even if they live on the 75th floor of a midtown Manhattan co-op.

    Eating force-fed Pâté de foie gras (goose liver) seems patently unethical. Animals (calves, swine) raised in quarters so confined they literally can't turn around, or are bred to gain weight so fast their legs can't support them (turkeys) is an example of unethical rationalized industrial production.


    Eggs, chickens, geese, ducks, cattle, pigs, goats and sheep can all be raised under humane conditions. What can't happen is raising the volume of meat we presently produce for domestic consumption and trade. Generally, Americans eat more meat than is necessary (or desirable) for a healthy diet. 1 3-oz. serving per day is enough; can one get along on less and eat a healthy diet? Absolutely.

    If Americans ate a minimum of meat (rather than as much as possible) most animals could be raised ethically. As a double plus benefit, raising less meat, milk, and eggs would make a significant contribution to reducing our carbon footprint.

    There is a financial cost involved. Producing chickens and eggs on actual pasturage is much less efficient than rationalized industrial methods. A dozen eggs produced this way would cost about twice as much as "cage free organically fed" eggs cost -- in other words, about $8 to $10 a dozen. Roosters raised for meat would cost more too. 2,500-cow milking operations of the sort they use in Texas are incompatible with free-range grazing cows. It would take way too long for 2,500 cows to wander out to the pasturage and then wander back in -- you need a lot of acreage for 2,500 cows. Thus it is that humanely raised milk, beef, and pork also costs more than industrialized production.

    Animals that dine al fresco and walk around all day on dirt have more natural lives, most likely more pleasant, but they don't grow or produce as fast as animals raised indoors. They use up more energy just being themselves. They take their time. And for chickens especially, if they aren't protected in some way (even pasture raised animals) there is continual predation by wild animals like hawks, fox, coyotes, and wolves who like the same meat we do.

    Other countries have their own ethics problems with food which they will have to address.
  • Wayfarer
    8.2k
    I admire vegetarianism and go through spasms of wanting to be vegetarian. I have actually succeeded for some months at a time in being vegetarian, but generally relapse to various kinds of 'white meat' - OK, I eat an enormous amount of chicken. Went to a lecture on the evils of factory farming by Jonathan Safran Foer some years ago, he pointed out that the avg. chicken consumption in the USA has increased by 2,500% in the last generation - people used to eat chicken for Sunday dinner, now it's a takeway and pre-prepared meal stable. I can't criticize it, had chicken for dinner, so don't want to be hypocritical. But I really do intend to learn to love chickpeas more than chicken. It takes dedication, it takes sacrifice, but it's good for the planet, and the factory farming of animals really is a moral blight.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    We "feast" too often and too much for our bodies' own good. Feasts were normally celebrations and an opportunity to obtain a good sized serving of meat. How often? I'd have to look at very old calendars but let's say, 60 times a year--on average, once a week, and less. These were not all 'great' feasts, like the saturnalia, solstice, or yule feast. More like minor feasts. One would sacrifice a chicken instead of a lamb. A can of sardines instead of a steak.

    Between feasts people ate brown bread, gruel, some vegetables--not a lot in the northern areas. Maybe bits of dried fruit. Beer (home made, in a barrel--maybe with chickens roosting over the barrel--see John Skelton's long raucous poem, The Tunning of Elynour Rummyng.) Some cheese, some milk, maybe. An egg every now and then. Fish perhaps. No meat. It would all depend on one's location in the world, the season, and one's prosperity.

    Of course, people ate better in mid summer and fall than they did from late winter to early summer.

    This didn't really change until relatively recently (like the 19th century). Greater and more wide-spread prosperity enabled more people to inch up the social/dietary ladder. Better agriculture and trade helped. "Plenty" arrived for many people in the 20th century, but diets were still comparatively parsimonious until quite recently--say, since 1970, just to pick out an arbitrary date.

    People started eating more servings of protein foods (meat, milk, cheese, fish) and with it a lot more fat. Real bread was 'refined' into the Wonder Bread sponge, gruel was replaced by Fruit Loops, actual cheese was replaced by Velveeta plasticized cheese-like by-product, and so on. Pizza was probably the leading edge of the higher-fat-extra-protein glacier. (Pizza became a thing in the 1960s, at least in the midwest.)

    Part of our problem today is that jumping off the high-fat, high-protein, high sugar glacier to the low-fat, lower protein, much lower sugar zone is that psychologically it has become something of a dive into an empty swimming pool.

    A healthier diet would hearken back to the 19th century and earlier (minus all the alcohol they were drinking--a lot!) and would just be much more vegetable than meat. Keep the 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, lower fat milk, cheese, eggs, whole grains and beans, and eat meat sparingly.

    I'd recommend a gradual change towards a more parsimonious diet over several months time. Start at the shallowest end of the empty swimming pool and move slowly. Consider returning meat to it's feast status.

    All of this is, of course, good advice. Do as I say, not as I do.
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    I find it odd that the top predator on this planet, man, is burdened with a guilt-complex arising from what seems to me to be natural behavior.

    Another odd thing: with our intelligence and emotional depth, we humans are best suited to appreciate life. And yet, when we examine life, it appears to be devoid of any meaning.

    Rather peculiar, wouldn't you say?
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Of course, veganism is tops.
  • Hanover
    4.9k
    Of course, veganism is tops.Wosret

    I eat only vegetables who have died of natural causes. I say "who" because I think it's discriminatory to think of plants and people differently. I've been waiting for a carrot to die in my yard so that I can eat it. Any day now.

    My cat won't eat peas. She sort of swats them around. She eats fish though. She's such a dick about this whole thing.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Eating meat is natural enough, but most modern men (people) are not driven by guilt-expunging hunger to kill animals. The killing is done long before we see the raw meat, even we even come that close to a kill. Then we see pictures of animals with faces, we project feelings onto them, and then we feel guilt.

    A well-cared-for dairy cow isn't subjected to much suffering. Neither are well-cared-for pigs. Poultry get the short end of the stick, but they also have the smallest brains to contemplate their sorry state. Geese? Wild geese have a little bit more going for them upstairs, but most domestic geese are raised outdoors. Turkeys? Wild turkeys are brighter than domestic ones, but not many wild turkeys end up in the food supply.

    The slaughter house is the place where horrible things can happen in-between their arrival and their death. We have the means to make sure animals are not just probably dead, but are definitely dead before their heads are removed or their veins/arteries are opened for bleeding.

    When you get down to it, killing an animal is a brute process. Before mass slaughter, animals were killed one by one as well as could be managed by whoever was doing it. It wasn't always pretty,
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Is eating meat morally permissible? Why or why not?darthbarracuda
    This question is relatively trivial to the more pressing questions we have regarding our well-being - this issue is relatively minor. I would say it depends. It would be preferable if there was no meat eating, morally speaking. However, some people do need meat eating to function at top potential - for example athletes. The proteins that are found in meat are hard (though not impossible) to get elsewhere. If someone doesn't do any sports - I'd say morally speaking they should not eat meat (generally speaking - I can see exceptions even here).
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Yes, bask in your morally inferior positions, and unhealthy physiques. Vegans are the only demographic that falls smack dab in the middle of the ideal BMI range.

    54788405.jpg
  • swstephe
    109
    I notice that many arguments about vegetarianism and morality focus mainly on the plight of the animal, and it seems the majority of people don't care, (unless we are talking about animals like dogs, cats, koalas, pandas, dolphins, or something else seen as more of a pet or intelligent). But there are plenty of moral reason on the human side of the equation.

    It is objectively better for the environment and would help alleviate the symptoms of overpopulation. It takes much more land to support food animals than it does vegetation. The majority of crops currently being grown ends up as feed for animals. With more vegetation available, we have more to use to create reusable energy. But you tell people that, and they still don't care. World problems and the environment are problems that can be put off for now and they don't need to take direct responsibility for the situation.

    But what about all the health benefits? With developed and developing countries faced with mounting health effects of obesity, diabetes, depression and inflammatory diseases. Eating meat is essentially on the spectrum of self-destructive behavior from suicide, drunk driving, drug addiction, anorexia and bulimia or smoking. Some of those things feel good, (just like eating meat), and may even have some temporary short-term benefits, but over the long term "natural selection" would weed out those with less healthy diets.
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k


    The problem with this approach - that of only being concerned with whether animals suffer or not - is that it seems applicable to humans too. That is to say if aliens rear humans under humane conditions and kill us for food with minimum suffering then killing humans for food would be morally permissible. We find this instinctively wrong. Perhaps we consider ourselves different from other animals - being intelligent and capable of great psychological suffering.

    That makes me feel as if any and all killing is wrong even if suffering was reduced to a minimum. There's something seriously wrong with killing using whatever method.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    With developed and developing countries faced with mounting health effects of obesity, diabetes, depression and inflammatory diseases.swstephe

    No doubt, obesity and diabetes are past epidemic levels, but "meat eating" per se accounts for those as efficiently as too many refined carbohydrates and sugars. Too much fat? Yes, of both kinds, animal and plant derived (and too many hydrogenated fats as well). More protein than necessary? Most likely. I'm not sure where depression fits in here, and the same for inflammatory diseases. There is a connection between diet and inflammatory disease, not sure what it is.
  • Wosret
    3.2k
    Also, my dad has type 2 diabetes. I tried to show him the science that shows that a plant-based diet works more than twice as well for combating the disease as any other diet: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2847116/How-vegetarian-CURE-diabetes-Plant-based-diets-improve-blood-sugar-levels-scientists-claim.html
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    It is objectively better for the environment and would help alleviate the symptoms of overpopulation. It takes much more land to support food animals than it does vegetation. The majority of crops currently being grown ends up as feed for animals. With more vegetation available, we have more to use to create reusable energy. But you tell people that, and they still don't care. World problems and the environment are problems that can be put off for now and they don't need to take direct responsibility for the situation.swstephe

    Animal cruelty has the advantage of sentimental loading. (And sentiment does not trivialize the issue, it just adds another dimension.) Most of us personally commit no gratuitous animal cruelty. The cruelty is performed remotely. We can (and should) prefer that animals be treated well, but treating the chickens kindly doesn't solve the environmental problem. The environmental issue is approaching the level of an existential threat.

    But you tell people that and they still don't care. World problems and the environment are problems that can be put off for now.swstephe

    Well... I think that was yesterday... Today, the problems of the environment are visibly coming home and roosting. It isn't "people" that seem not to care (though they should be more worried, and politically charged up, definitely). It's at the higher, larger decision making level that there are people who can't bring themselves to act positively on the problem. Take major shareholders in coal and oil: They may intellectually recognize that the planet is heading towards a worldwide disaster, but... closing down their mines. wells. and factories means the end to their wealth! That's very hard for them to do. It's easy for me to do, because I don't have a single oil well in my backyard. Not one. No coal mines, either, the last time I checked.

    It's easy for me to tell people to stop driving and take the bus, bike, or walk. I don't drive (can't) so no problem. People who drive don't want to switch from 15 minutes to get to work to 90 minutes on a bus. I don't blame them. I hated those long bus rides intensely. In many cities (this one, among them) one can travel many routes faster on a bike than a bus.

    Society has to make it easier for the average person to make the kind of decisions I think they know would be good. But those decisions are discouraged higher up by the auto industry, by the highway industry, by the fuel industry, all who are going to lose the cash cow if we make necessary changes.

    Taking care of the environment (the land, plants, wild animals, food production, fresh water, domestic animals, ourselves, etc.) is an existential imperative. Millions of people are applying poisons to their lawns and gardens with no benefit beyond the cosmetic. Very bad, not moral. Hundreds of millions of acres of crops are being sprayed with herbicides and pesticides that are literally killing off the environment -- wild flowers, wild and domestic bees, birds, reptiles, frogs, toads, fish, etc. Very bad, not moral.

    The real problem with eating beef and pork, especially, is global warming and environmental degradation (from intense feed-crop production). Animal production isn't the #1 cause -- that honor goes to fossil fuel. But it's a contributing cause.
  • swstephe
    109
    There was a study by "Nutrition Journal", that noticed that "high intakes of arachidonic acid (a long-chain omega-6 fatty acid", so they compared the moods of vegetarians and omnivores to find that vegetarians had a better outlook. But that only shows correlation, and there may be contingent factors, (maybe depressed people eat more meat because they don't care?).

    I heard some rumors about inflammatory diseases. That may be indirect, since it seems a lot of it is related to being overweight. Vegetarian diets tend to make it easier to lose weight simply because there is less calories and more bulk/fiber.

    I recently switched to vegetarian meals from my meal kit delivery service, (a good way to learn that vegetarian doesn't mean raw vegetables and salads). Then I got a fitbit and challenged myself to walk 5 miles, (7km) every day. On Saturdays, I try to double it and after a month, tripled it. I also limited my calorie intake to 1500 per day. I've lost 20 pounds, (8kg) and most of my inflammation problems disappeared, and my mood has improved a lot. It was probably a combination of several things, but I think a vegetarian diet is part of it.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    If one has the opportunity to survive without eating meat, there is no reason, moral or otherwise, to eat it.
  • Sinderion
    28
    of course there's a *reason* which is simply that it tastes good, and S wants to eat that which tastes good.

    It doesn't justify inflicting harm towards animals or the environmental damage the industry is said to cause, but it's a reason. It's also the reason why I personally am hoping lab grown meat becomes commercially viable sooner rather than later.

    Regarding OP, if there was a way to eat meat without contributing to the suffering of animals I think most of the weight of the argument against meat eating dissipates. There's still the question of environmental sustainability but lab-grown meat is still in such an early stage of development it's rather difficult to predict the environmental impact it will have when produced on a large scale.

    With regard to arguments about health, an argument about respecting the individual's autonomy likely takes precedence, even if it's proven that meat eating necessarily is detrimental to health (in all possible scenarios of meat-eating)
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    if there was a way to eat meat without contributing to the suffering of animals I think most of the weight of the argument against meat eating dissipates.Sinderion

    Of course, animals suffer whether meat is an item on the menu or not. No body is eating us, yet we suffer. Birds suffer. Mammals of all sorts suffer from non-human-caused events. Farm animals, were they freed and were they able to live on their own, would still suffer.

    Decay and suffering, as the Buddha said, is inherent in all compounded beings.

    Animals suffer because we are exposed to a frequently hostile environment of predation and disease, starvation, and injury.

    The amount of suffering a cow, for instance, experiences in the course of its milking life is minimal. Cows are valuable and are taken good care of. At the end of their life they are hauled off to a slaughter house and killed. Their death is pretty quick. That beats the way many animals die in the wild, where predators begin chowing down on their prey before it is dead.

    The environmental impact of animal consumption (meat, wool, milk, labor) has been with us for a long time. There was environmental damage from over-grazing by sheep/goats 3 millennia ago. 3 millennia later, goats are the least of it. Pigs, chickens, and cattle (and other animals) exist in huge numbers, and the burden of raising enough feed for them all constitutes a sort of over-grazing.

    In addition to the land that is worked in order to produce animal protein, the guts of cattle produce a lot of methane (a more potent green house gas, but shorter lived than CO2). 1 cow we can tolerate; 1 million cows we can tolerate; 1 1/2 billion cows, maybe not.

    How much meat are you eating on an average day? 1 serving, all kinds? 2 servings? 3? 1 serving is really all we need (in terms of diet for non-vegetarians). How big is your serving? 6 oz (170 gr.)? 4 (113 gr.)? 3 oz (85 gr.)? Maybe you are eating a lot more than you need?

    Dairy products are a very useful source of nutrition for children all over the world, and for people of European extraction into adulthood. Calcium, protein, fat, and other nutrients can be obtained from sources other than milk, of course.

    People who are well fed from childhood forward tend to be larger than people who have grown up eating minimal diets. When asians move to the United States, for instance, their children born here quite often grow up to be much bigger than them.

    Do people have a right to eat the kind of food that allows them to grow to their full genetic potential?
  • Sinderion
    28
    I don't see where you're going with this. Animals suffering without human intervention doesn't justify us inflicting additional suffering on animals.

    Whether we consume more meat than we *need* is a separate issue. The OP only asks if meat eating is ethically permissible, I argue there is a possible scenario where it is. I don't dispute that as things stand now, meat eating is likely to be morally wrong, with the caveat that you could possible justify eating meat on some anthropocentric grounds (which I personally don't find convincing).

    I've already stipulated for environmental arguments, lab grown meat should (though I can't say for certain) be able to do away with factory farming, which should also defuse most of the environmentalist argument.

    Regarding your last point, it's a controversial stand to take either way if you believe that the health of the individual trumps his free will or that his free will trumps his health. However given the emphasis bioethics tends to place on autonomy, I'm more inclined to think autonomy would hold. (i.e. In the general case, individuals should have the choice to pursue a healthy lifestyle or not)
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Animals suffering without human intervention doesn't justify us inflicting additional suffering on animals.Sinderion

    I am pointing at animal suffering as a given, whether we eat them or not. "Eating an animal" per se doesn't increase their suffering. Suffering is ubiquitous; a wild chicken, a free range chicken, and a factory farm chicken all suffer. They all die. Eating dead meat does not increase their suffering.

    Whether we consume more meat than we *need* is a separate issue. The OP only asks if meat eating is ethically permissible, I argue there is a possible scenario where it is.

    I am claiming here that eating meat is ethically permissible, but that it has negative environmental consequences, a critical issue because our human-and-animal-favorable environment is under so much threat. Eating meat is ethical provided that our impact on the environment is small (not zero). How much meat we eat, therefore, is relevant.
    Sinderion
    I've already stipulated for environmental arguments, lab grown meat should (though I can't say for certain) be able to do away with factory farming, which should also defuse most of the environmentalist argument.Sinderion

    I'm not quite sure what you have in mind. In a way, factory farming IS lab grown meat. Do you suppose that these huge vats of cell cultures, growing away, are not going to require substantial inputs of nutrients and energy? Do you suppose that there will be no waste products from these big tanks? Billions of pounds of cell culture are engaging in the kind of metabolic activity that produces all sorts of waste products. There will be costs -- it won't be like, "ah, a free lunch at last."

    They have produced a few ounces of lob meat; it was, I gather, not great but... "OK". I'd be fine with lab grown meat, but it probably won't compare with a real pork chop. Have you tried the full range of texturized vegetable protein meat substitutes? Some of them are moderately convincing and taste fairly good.

    Regarding your last point, it's a controversial stand to take either way if you believe that the health of the individual trumps his free will or that his free will trumps his health.Sinderion

    I don't see why health and autonomy would be in opposition.
  • Sinderion
    28
    sure, I can grant that animal suffering is a given. Your argument seems to be something like:
    Since animals necessarily suffer, regardless of whether humans interact with them or not, it is morally permissible to inflict suffering on animals.

    There's a disconnect. On the one hand animals necessarily suffering is what happens, and I don't see how you've gotten to your conclusion that therefore it is ok for humans to cause their suffering.

    I can't comment extensively on the environmental outcomes of lab grown meat that turns out commercially viable. But i dont see what's wrong with entertaining the possibility that it turns out to be at least better for the environment than factory farmed meat.

    I've tried the meat substitutes that are readily available in my country. Either I must not know how to prepare them or they just taste horrible.

    Not everyone values personal health above other other things. Like smoking, drinking, and eating meat. Given that someone chooses not to prioritise health over the enjoyment of meat, and given that the *only* issue with meat eating is a health detriment, at a level that's not comparable to smoking or drinking, is there any good reason to compel that person to give up meat eating?
  • TheMadFool
    3.8k
    I don't like the consequences of any justification that permits of the killing and consumption of animals because first of all, we are animals and there's a remote possibility that such justification may be used by aliens to kill and eat us. If such a thing happens will we, can we, comfort ourselves in that what's being done to us is morally permissible?
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    Since animals necessarily suffer, regardless of whether humans interact with them or not, it is morally permissible to inflict suffering on animals.

    There's a disconnect. On the one hand animals necessarily suffering is what happens, and I don't see how you've gotten to your conclusion that therefore it is ok for humans to cause their suffering.
    Sinderion

    But... Are we inflicting suffering on animals when we raise them in a humane manner, and then at some point, end their lives humanely?

    Granted, there are ghastly ways of treating animals. Factory farming fits the definition of ghastly. Animals raised in these conditions most likely suffer stress, if not physical pain. Factory farming is used for no other purpose than to maximize profit with a minimum of expense. Somebody (the animals first) pays the price.

    In a less intense regime of farming, where animals are not subjected to the conditions of factory farming, suffering can be minimized if not eliminated. Of course, traditional farming methods use more land, but it is used less intensively. Traditional farming can probably not produce the same quantity of meat as intense farming.

    It's a trade off similar to what happens to workers in factories: Intense pursuit of profit, minimal expense, speed-up--all that--produces more suffering, and greater suffering. The solution to produce less suffering is to consume less production--buy fewer goods, eat less meat.

    OR, we can automate the factory using robots to make things, or produce meat in tanks.

    BTW, texturized vegetable protein extruded into a bin is not appealing. It has to be seasoned and combined with flavorful ingredients to taste good. I agree, at the point of production some of the vegetable protein substances are disgusting. Mock Duck, used in vegetarian asian dishes, is (I think) a wheat based product that is very chewy and tasty -- because of the sauce and seasoning. It doesn't taste like duck, exactly, but certainly not bad. Tofu is just untexturized vegetable protein.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    of course there's a *reason* which is simply that it tastes good, and S wants to eat that which tastes good.

    It doesn't justify inflicting harm towards animals or the environmental damage the industry is said to cause, but it's a reason. It's also the reason why I personally am hoping lab grown meat become commercially viable sooner rather than later.
    Sinderion

    Okay, sure. It's a reason, but it's still not a good one or a moral one.
  • Sinderion
    28
    I'm interested in what, if anything, constitutes a good, non-moral reason. But I think I will make a separate thread on this eventually.
  • Sinderion
    28
    But... Are we inflicting suffering on animals when we raise them in a humane manner, and then at some point, end their lives humanely?Bitter Crank

    This is one of those instances where I think the only appropriate answer is "I don't know." I don't know if it's possible for a chicken to prefer not having its life ended prematurely, or if a cow prefers not to be milked. I certainly don't know if all chickens prefer not having their lives ended prematurely etc. The problem I have with a lot of discussion about animal cruelty is the presumption that we do know what animals want, and that we can generalize about animals in a way that would be shouted down immediately if we were to apply that to humans.

    Granted, there are ghastly ways of treating animals. Factory farming fits the definition of ghastly. Animals raised in these conditions most likely suffer stress, if not physical pain. Factory farming is used for no other purpose than to maximize profit with a minimum of expense. Somebody (the animals first) pays the price.

    In a less intense regime of farming, where animals are not subjected to the conditions of factory farming, suffering can be minimized if not eliminated. Of course, traditional farming methods use more land, but it is used less intensively. Traditional farming can probably not produce the same quantity of meat as intense farming.

    It's a trade off similar to what happens to workers in factories: Intense pursuit of profit, minimal expense, speed-up--all that--produces more suffering, and greater suffering. The solution to produce less suffering is to consume less production--buy fewer goods, eat less meat.

    OR, we can automate the factory using robots to make things, or produce meat in tanks.
    Bitter Crank

    I don't think I'm disagreeing too much with any of that. I do think it's easier to infer that animals suffer in factory farms from behavioural cues, though I'm sure Nagel would have a thing or ten to say about that. Really, when it comes to questions about what beings that are not human want, that also have no clear way of communicating their desires to us, I maintain agnosticism. Intuitively I would be kind of behaviourist but I don't think this position is strictly tenable (I have no good justification for behaviourism).


    BTW, texturized vegetable protein extruded into a bin is not appealing. It has to be seasoned and combined with flavorful ingredients to taste good. I agree, at the point of production some of the vegetable protein substances are disgusting. Mock Duck, used in vegetarian asian dishes, is (I think) a wheat based product that is very chewy and tasty -- because of the sauce and seasoning. It doesn't taste like duck, exactly, but certainly not bad. Tofu is just untexturized vegetable protein.Bitter Crank

    I'm aware of those options. I'm living in Asia. But like I said, I must not know how to cook "mock meat" because the few times I tried, it turned out awful. Though when I do buy food from dedicated vegetarian stalls, I'm generally not disappointed. Tofu was never a meat substitute for me, just another vegetable.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.2k
    I don't know, either, whether cows prefer to be milked, or not. If their udder is full, they seem to be anxious to have it emptied. I do know they have to go through regular pregnancies every year in order to keep producing milk. No calves, no milk. Do cows enjoy delivery? Probably not. It can be pretty difficult. Do they enjoy nursing their calves? Sometimes they don't -- calves will sometimes butt the udder hard with their heads to get more milk, and the cows, from all appearances, do not appreciate this. Getting milked by machine might be more pleasant, in that respect.
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