• James Riley
    2.9k
    Can you ethically justify eating meat?Kaz1983

    I can ethically justify killing animals and eating meat myself. I have a hard time justifying my eating of meat that was killed by others who are part of a profit stream related to the killing and processing of animals. The layers of separation between me and the animal are an issue for me.

    I see nothing wrong with, and I think it is entirely ethical to treat an animal in accord with it's nature. Prey species are prey; that's what they do. They evolved for it and they are good at it. And they make me a better predator for having tried to engage them in a free and open encounter. I don't hunt predators. I don't even hunt omnivores (like bear, etc.). And I don't hunt animals that mate for life. But I hunt. And I don't hunt to kill. I kill to have hunted. yGasset.

    I tried going veggie once (for ethical reasons alone), and I made it for two years. But I couldn't maintain it. I love meat. So I try to assuage my conscience with the idea that I think about the animal I eat, not only as I eat it, but all the animals that make up who I am. Including those I wear (I like leather, belts, boots, etc.). I want to say that I don't merely say grace before I eat, but I try to live in grace with what I eat. But I confess I can't do that when I don't even know the conditions under which the animal I eat was raised or slaughtered. I suppose I might be like Thomas Jefferson, in that I know what I am doing is fucking wrong, but I do it anyway.

    I will, however, advocate for, and support changes that force all of us to make it easier to hunt and/or not permit the suffering of animals. Not good enough, I know.

    I used to represent a slaughter house and I've been in many over the years. I wish more people had to kill and butcher their own meat. Anyway, I penned the following back then:

    Next!

    No longer wild, no longer free
    Domestic, you belong to me
    But that sparkle in your eye
    Makes my ownership a lie

    No matter what that we have done
    You are still another one
    I know this now in empathy
    As I watch your tragedy

    Up the ally on your way
    To where you’re going to die today
    The smell of death and anxious fear
    Now you fathom what is near

    The bellows of the ones before
    Who’ve passed beyond the cold steel door
    Still not sure, you stay in line
    Past the gate a false light shines

    If it is the worst to be
    Time permits you fight or flee
    But now the noise and sight to greet
    A head-knocked friend slides at your feet

    Any chance that it won’t be?
    You look around most desperately
    Too late, your Sacred Hoop spills on the floor
    Down the drain to ever more
  • john27
    692


    1 "name the trait"Kaz1983

    2. "a pig is not equal to a human"Kaz1983

    3. "the circle of life"Kaz1983

    All these statements believed to be false create great incentive for me to treat the adversary not as an animal separate, but as a human.

    Henceforth, we can now apply further axioms that are non contradictory to the initial statement, however are utilized creatively to realize certain informational discrepancies.

    Statement One:

    I 1. (name the trait) de-substantializes attributes in an ethical setting. In other words, it equalizes the differentiating attributes, in relation to an ethical regard. Since an equalization takes place, It should be of no concern should I apply a comprehension level similar to ours, to the individual, since traits are of no quantitative value, in correlation to ethics.

    We choose to relate ethics on whom we deem similar. equalizing the traits makes us similar. Therefore, humanitarian ethics are now permissive, to an extent.

    Statement Two:

    Meat is generated from death. Therefore, the question further clarifies into:
    Can I kill a man ethically?

    And then you could just ask the Truman question, harvest natural/satisfactory deaths without employing torturous activity, and boom, meat is ethical.
  • Count Timothy von Icarus
    664
    Sure, you can justify it in some cases.

    Predation is necissary to ecosystems. Given we have killed all the wolves where I live, if we don't hunt the deer, they out reproduce their food supply and then suffer from starvation.

    Second, we've killed off or greatly reduced the populations of large ruminates in vast swaths of territory. In some cases, introducing livestock there is, at least in the short term, one of the better options for the ecosystem.

    Industrial farming and meat production is obviously absolutely terrible for the environment and produces diets that make people fantastically overweight and unhealthy. Obviously there are better solutions than the ways things are currently done. That said, there will still be some places where livestock and fishing make sense (Iceland is a hyperbolic example where growing is difficult but fisheries are plentiful and the climate is decent for sheep and livestock horses ).
  • Kenosha Kid
    3.2k
    I feel that cannibals have been marginalised here.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    Doesn't "vat-grown meat" moot the question of "justification"? (re: link to article)
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    If you ask around, you know, do some sleuthing, you'll realize, very quickly I suppose, that nonvegetarians are nonvegetarians for one simple reason: meat is delicious.

    Firstly, try to balance the transitory nature of gustatory pleasure with the pain of dying and death. Does it make sense to end a life for the short duration the meat excites your taste buds? That's what a nonvegetarian asked me but he was referencing an ancient text, so he confessed. Back then, what?, 500 BC, physiology as a subject didn't exist.

    Your tongue likes a certain flavor for a good reason it turns out. Food that taste good are also very nutritious. The rule: If it tastes good, it's good for your body.

    Enter ethics: Indeed, meat has dietary benefits just as sugars (fruits) but...the suffering. It's a bit too much to bear even for those with a heart of stone.

    Isn't there a workaround?

    1. Humane rearing and killing.

    2. Meat substitutes [nutritional equivalents]

    3. Extract the meat flavor and use it to make veggies taste like, say, chicken. [This isn't actually a good way to solve the problem. It's what physicians call, disapprovingly, symptomatic treatment - like giving someone an antipyretic (tylenol) for a fever instead of an antibiotic to treat the cause of fever, an infection]

    Perhaps we could, ad interim, adopt 1 as a policy while sparing no expenses for a combination of 2 and 3.

    As an aside, a theory: Carnivory is, in a sense, cannibalism (we're all genetically related). One cause for cannibalism is prolonged food shortages e.g. famines (vide Wikipedia. Warning: gruesome images). Perhaps, in the remote past, millions of years ago, there was a mega-famine affecting all life on earth forcing some to eat their own kind. What followed is there for everyone to see - go for a safari in Africa to find out for yourself.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.6k
    Doesn't "vat-grown meat" moots the question of "justification"? ↪180 Proof (re: link to article)180 Proof

    Vat-grown meat will undoubtably be similar to hydroponically grown vegetables, in the sense of extremely deficient in taste. We already experience a big difference between grass fed beef and grain fed beef. There is something very untasteful about producing growth (quantity) for consumption, with complete disregard for the quality of life of that which is consumed. The vat-grown meat will experience the lowest quality of life possible, and most likely have the least taste as well.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    Vat-grown meat will undoubtably be similar to hydroponically grown vegetables, in the sense of extremely deficient in taste.Metaphysician Undercover
    Did you even read the article I've linked? That's not the experience of those who've actually eaten the 3-d printed steaks. Btw, I've eaten hydroponic grown vegetables and they tasted fine when added to soups and stews.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    10.6k

    I suppose that's why they say "taste" is subjective.
  • 180 Proof
    10.2k
    Eventually, vat-grown meat (not just 'plant-based meat' substitutes) will moot the question because its process (A) will not torture and kill any animals and (b) will not degrade the environment remotely on the scale of animal (over)farming.
    — 180 Proof

    Bring it on – guilt-free carnivorous delights. :yum:

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/08/worlds-largest-lab-grown-steak-unveiled-by-israeli-firm
    180 Proof
    Also, this from Solar Foods in Finland
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.euronews.com/next/amp/2022/01/03/protein-made-from-thin-air-could-be-the-food-of-the-future-for-astronauts-and-may-save-ear
  • Varde
    326
    Vegan food is nice; try vegan Donner kebab.

    It isn't always unethical to eat meat, it's unethical to be cruel to animals, and then eat meat.

    If provided with no alternative to gaining the meat-product other than killing an animal, I'd say, it was unethical for the universe to begin, that is unless killing animals is acceptable, then it's just a matter of farm life quality and killing method.
  • L'éléphant
    883
    unless killing animals is acceptable, then it's just a matter of farm life quality and killing method.Varde
    Raising animals for consumption on a large scale -- and there's no other scale because population -- will always entail treating them like inventories and goods, the process of raising them, storing them while alive, and eventually taking them to slaughterhouse will always involve cruelty because the point is profit. The most cost-effective method is used. So, it's really up to the consumers to stop animal cruelty.
  • Bird-Up
    83
    Here's a test to see if vegans care about the welfare of animals: ask them how often they buy meat products.

    If the answer is "never", then they are just looking for a way to avoid thinking about what is happening. A vegan concerned about animal rights will buy meat constantly and throw it in the garbage.

    They realize that the meat industry won't go extinct until most of the population quits eating meat; and that isn't going to happen any time soon. This means that animals are being raised to be killed no matter what you do with their corpses. If they are already dead, then you should strive to buy the most humanely-raised meats available.

    Doesn't matter if you end up eating them or not. The point is to influence the direction of the market. If everyone who cares about animal welfare stops participating, then the market will gravitate towards the people who don't give a damn how their hamburger was raised. That will undoubtedly end up being the worst situation possible for the animals themselves.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    I feel that cannibals have been marginalised here. — Kenosha Kid

    :lol:
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Question: Do you want to be vegan?

    Answers:

    1. Yes, I want to be vegan (Trying).

    2. I am vegan (Accomplished).

    3. No, I don't want to be vegan (Refusal).

    4. I don't understand the question (Ignorance).

    Important questions:

    1. Is it possible for the human race as a whole to give up meat? Will that come at a heavy price? Does it boil down to the choice abandon ethics (carnism) OR face extinction? If it does, life's a cruel joke!

    2. How can we justify human rights without concern for animal rights?
  • Graeme M
    77
    I haven't read all of the comments in this thread but I do think there is a misunderstanding of the ethics of veganism here. Some people might be vegan for reasons other than ethics, for example personal health or climate change. But the ethics of veganism are simply the very same ethics of everyday human relations as broadly determined over the past several thousand years. In a nutshell, ethical veganism is about extending the same ideas of justice to other species whenever we can. That's it.

    As I think about, generally speaking no-one is "a" vegan simply because everyone who follows the law and agrees with justice and human rights is already vegan but may not as yet have extended their ethics to include other species. Some actually may be "a" vegan because they really belong to a vegan club, for example paid up members of the UK Vegan Society.

    On this view, the fundamental question is how to decide when and how to behave ethically to other animals. With humans, we largely do it from convention and the law. As yet, convention and the law do not demand similar moral duties to other species as they do to our species. Thus for now it is up to the individual to work out what to do.

    The answer to the original question then, is yes, one can justify eating meat as an ethical stance. But it depends on circumstance and context. Ethical veganism doesn't prevent one making that choice, but the cases where it is right to do so are probably limited.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    You guys & gals should check this (Environmental Personhood) out!

    Some excerpts from the Wikipedia entry:

    Environmental personhood is a legal concept which designates certain environmental entities the status of a legal person. This assigns to these entities, the rights, protections, privileges, responsibilities and legal liability of a legal personality. — Wikipedia


    New Zealand

    In 2014, Te Urewera National Park was declared Te Urewera, an environmental legal entity. The area encompassed by Te Urewera ceased to be a government-owned national park and was transformed into freehold, inalienable land owned by itself.

    Following the same trend, New Zealand's Whanganui River was declared to be a legal person in 2017. This new legal entity was named Te Awa Tupua and is now recognised as "an indivisible and living whole from the mountains to the sea, incorporating the Whanganui River and all of its physical and metaphysical elements." The river would be represented by two guardians, one from the Whanganui iwi and the other from the Crown.

    Also in 2017, the New Zealand government signed an agreement granting similar legal personality to Mount Taranaki and pledging a name change for Egmont National Park, which surrounds the mountain.
    — Wikipedia

    If rivers and mountains are persons, a fortiori animals are too and where there are persons, there are rights!
  • gloaming
    128
    It all seems entirely arbitrary to me. Some say that the problem is pain...or suffering that might be inflicted. A properly killed animal or plant won't feel pain. So, that argument is easily dismissed.

    We can only guess that animals suffer at other points the way we manage them or raise them. It would be simple to measure levels of cortisol to see if there's a significant increase in stress between those sampled from wild populations and those raised in barns or pens. I would like to know the results of some reasonably sound empirical studies. Haven't bothered to look.

    I think it's speciesist to prefer to eat plants simply because they don't have deep brown eyes, make noises, have fur we enjoy stroking, and/or flick tails. Do we eat plants with indifference only because they don't scream when we harvest them?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Ethics revolves around two gods: Thanatos (Lord of death aka Yama in the Hindu-Buddhist tradition) and Algos (Lord of pain).

    Thanatos: All life is sacred. Vegans, you lousy sons of bitches! Options: Synthetic food whatever that is or starve yourselves to death à la Kurt Gödel.

    Algos: Way to go Vegans! Keep it up! Nonvegetarians, shame on you! Options: Go vegan.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k

    Empathy works by putting yourself in the others place. Since it’s near impossible to put oneself as how a chicken might feel, we can only use vague imaginative attempts. So seeing what certain animals go through before they are killed can lead one to empathize that the methods of treatment are harmful and thus wrong.

    I will give you certain points that people often conflate arguments..For example, is it out of harm or environment? If both, they are coming from two different ethical premises and should be treated separately. One happens to be a positive outcome of the other, but which is the primary ethic? And does the same ethic hold for other goods that are environmentally damaging?
  • Tate
    1.4k
    If rivers and mountains are persons, a fortiori animals are too and where there are persons, there are rights!Agent Smith

    So we should save the elk from being eaten by wolves?
  • Bird-Up
    83
    It's my understanding that vegans don't really care about what happens to animals; they just want to feel like they aren't responsible for what happens to animals.

    Here's a random fact:
    Less than 5% of meat consumers are willing to pay more for less animal cruelty. That number will be even lower after you become a vegan and leave the market for good.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    So we should save the elk from being eaten by wolves? — Tate

    Carnivores serve an important purpose in the ecology (as of now) - they're part of the overall equilibrium between all life in the global ecosystem. Blind evolution has shaped the biosphere as such. Notice, however, that apart from a few exceptions, ethics was/is still ever/not a priority for evolution - to ensure ecological balance, it'll resort to anything, even "cruel and unsual punishment" (re spider wasps, zombie-ant fungus, to name a few).

    Where humans come in is Directed evolution, the purposing of our vast knowledge of genetics and how to manage/control evolution of species so that carnivores are gradually phased out of the ecosystem but not at the cost of ecological equlibrium. This isn't something new (re dog, horse, cattle breeding). Interesting, oui?
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    457


    Vegan food is nice; try vegan Donner kebab.Varde

    Oumph donner kebab is my favourite here in the UK :yum: . Vivera do nice kebabs too.



    Empathy works by putting yourself in the others place. Since it’s near impossible to put oneself as how a chicken might feel, we can only use vague imaginative attempts. So seeing what certain animals go through before they are killed can lead one to empathize that the methods of treatment are harmful and thus wrong.schopenhauer1

    Makes sense not to increase demand for bringing sentient beings into a life of suffering, doesn't it?
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    donner kebab is my favouriteDown The Rabbit Hole

    That's good.. you don't want it to be this kind of Donner kebab :eyes:.

    Makes sense not to increase demand for bringing sentient beings into a life of suffering, doesn't it?Down The Rabbit Hole

    Yep. Try to reduce suffering. Vegetarianism is hard. Our ancestors learned the neat trick of killing animals for large amounts of protein that can be stored and used for brain growth with evolutionary time and adaptations. But we did a lot of things in the past that are no longer needed, so that's a certain kind of fallacy.
  • M777
    129
    As Nietzsche again puts it: “Life always lives at the expense of other life’—he who does not grasp this has not taken even the first step toward honesty with himself.”
    “The horse eats the grass; the lion kills the horse; the man rides the horse and kills the lion. Life is an ongoing struggle between strong and weak, predator and prey. Cooperation and trade are possible, but they are superficial interludes between more fundamental animal facts about life.
  • schopenhauer1
    7.7k
    more fundamental animal facts about life.M777

    Morality out of bad faith. The animal can’t help but do. Humans have the burden of choice, reflection, analysis.
  • Varde
    326
    Try being vegan for non-ethical reasons- hate of cows.

    Is it reason or rationality veganism appeals to?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Try being vegan for non-ethical reasons- hate of cows.Varde

    In Islam, pigs are unclean, loathsome creatures! Peeps, please hate me and take me off the menu! Muchas gracias.
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Paradox of carnism

    To animals:

    Either you're in our good books (sacred cows) or in our bad books (filthy pigs)

    In both cases we don't eat you (Hindus, cows and Islam, pigs)

    Morton's fork.

    What gives?
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