• Down The Rabbit Hole
    38
    If you look online there are innumerable hidden camera videos of factory farmed animals being beaten and tortured for fun by farmers and slaughterhouse workers.

    Is it ethical to purchase factory farmed animal products and fund this?
  • Philosophim
    529
    It is not ethical for the workers to add more suffering to the animals than necessary. But that should be managed by the business. Incidents of particular employees acting unethically does not paint all people in the organization as wrong or unethical. Typically bringing these things to light puts pressure on business owners to fix their image.

    As for funding these businesses, that may depend on people's pocket books. Buying non-factory farmed is VERY expensive. I buy eggs that are supposedly chicken friendly with some free range time, adequate space, and good feed. I pay nearly double what I would for basic eggs. Fortunately, I can afford it. Earlier in my life or if I had not gained a better career? I would not have been able to.

    And regardless of my misgivings of undue suffering, I need to eat at the end of the day. Boycotting your food because you don't like how it was treated can be a hard thing if the alternative providers are twice as expensive.
  • Outlander
    869
    Of course not. The workers should be allowed to take out their frustrations on society and their intimate partners. That or just let other places who don't allow such freedoms including personal belongings or electronics to document such events in the first place make all the money that will inevitably be made and perpetuate the abuse. What you don't know can't hurt you, right? What a silly thread.
  • fishfry
    1.7k
    Is it ethical to purchase factory farmed animal products and fund this?Down The Rabbit Hole

    No worse than typing on a computer whose components are made in exploitive third-world factories. You might recall that a while back, Foxconn employees were committing suicide. They solved the problem by installing suicide nets on the roof.

    The global supply chain is something you don't want to look too closely at.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    Factory farming is not not inherently cruel and abusive; cruelty and abuse could take place just as easily on a little farm as a very big one. Cruelty and abuse occur in human workplaces and shelters, too.

    Animal advocates go off the deep end they equate artificial insemination with rape. I've observed cows being inseminated artificially and it isn't a painful process.

    Pork, salmon, tilapia, chickens, turkeys, beef, are all intensively raised. Truly free-range chicken, lamb, beef, pork, or turkey is very hard to come by, and yes, it is much more expensive because there is no economy of scale in raising a couple hundred field-run turkeys or chickens. (fowl are usually raised in batches of thousands)

    There is no escape from the costs of feeding billions of people. There are human and environmental costs associated with ALL agriculture, whether the end product fills the bellies of vegans, vegetarians, or carnivores.

    Yes. It's ethical to eat beef raised on a grain diet in a feed lot farm. The quality of the beef won't be the same as when it is raised on pastureland and hay (over the winter months). Free range beef can cost $8-$10 a pound.
  • Garth
    112
    I will consume whatever is legal for me to consume without guilt. But I will advocate for changes to the economic system.

    We are playing a game with each other. There are clear winners and losers. I won't compromise my position for the sake of ethical abstractions.
  • god must be atheist
    2.5k
    It is not nice to beat defenseless creatures. It is horrible. But why would it be unethical? Is there an ethics book that says "this type of behaviour is ethical, and that type of behaviour is unethical"? And under whose authority can it be decided whether something is ethical or not?

    I certainly don't condone the torturing or beating of anyone. That includes animals, too. But I also don't condone calling something "unethical" by anyone who does not like that something happening.

    "Ethical" has a ring of authority, moral authority. Whereas that is a myth. Say what you think: animals should not be beaten, and one should not buy products made of tortured animals. Fine, I can support that.

    But why do you call it "unethical"? It boggles the mind. It's the buzzword of the late twentieth, early twenty first century. I hate this empty, illogical, yet emotionally forceful reference to any wrong-doing.
  • petrichor
    272
    Is it ethical to purchase factory farmed animal products and fund this?Down The Rabbit Hole

    No. Still, I do. Guilty.
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    Is purchasing factory farmed KILLED animal products ethical — Down The Rabbit Hole

    Is killing ethical?

    Is being part of the constant demand for meat that ultimately involves killing of animals ethical?

    Begging the question
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38
    Thank you everyone for your comments



    It is not ethical for the workers to add more suffering to the animals than necessary. But that should be managed by the business. Incidents of particular employees acting unethically does not paint all people in the organization as wrong or unethical. Typically bringing these things to light puts pressure on business owners to fix their image.Philosophim

    The aforesaid beatings and torture would not happen if people didn't pay for the animals products.

    Surely one should stop purchasing it, thus eliminating any suffering that was resulting from you doing so.



    Of course not. The workers should be allowed to take out their frustrations on society and their intimate partners. That or just let other places who don't allow such freedoms including personal belongings or electronics to document such events in the first place make all the money that will inevitably be made and perpetuate the abuse. What you don't know can't hurt you, right? What a silly thread.Outlander

    When people are violent to humans they tend to be locked away for it. The cruelty towards animals tends to be because they literally have no voice, and the perpetrator almost always gets away with it.

    The beatings and torture footage is from hidden cameras, planted by activists. As @Philosophim says, this footage pressures businesses in a positive direction.



    No worse than typing on a computer whose components are made in exploitive third-world factories. You might recall that a while back, Foxconn employees were committing suicide. They solved the problem by installing suicide nets on the roof.

    The global supply chain is something you don't want to look too closely at.
    fishfry

    Reaching for oat-milk rather than cow-milk is hardly inconvenient, and well worth it to prevent the suffering of animals.

    We can't be perfect, but we should try our best not to harm others.



    Factory farming is not not inherently cruel and abusive; cruelty and abuse could take place just as easily on a little farm as a very big one. Cruelty and abuse occur in human workplaces and shelters, too.Bitter Crank

    None of the cruelty would occur if people were not buying the animal products.

    Considering the amount of animal products consumed over one's lifetime, surely it would be better not to do so, and avoid all of the cruelty that comes as a consequence.



    I will consume whatever is legal for me to consume without guilt. But I will advocate for changes to the economic system.

    We are playing a game with each other. There are clear winners and losers. I won't compromise my position for the sake of ethical abstractions.
    Garth

    I'm not sure what you mean by compromising your position. Would you not compromise some taste pleasure, to save the animals pain and suffering?



    "Ethical" has a ring of authority, moral authority. Whereas that is a myth. Say what you think: animals should not be beaten, and one should not buy products made of tortured animals. Fine, I can support that.god must be atheist

    It was the softest term I could think of.

    You indicate that "one should not buy products made of tortured animals". Would you go further and say that one should not buy factory farmed animal products?



    No. Still, I do. Guilty.petrichor

    Well, you're the only person to respond in the affirmative. I appreciate your honesty.



    Is killing ethical?

    Is being part of the constant demand for meat that ultimately involves killing of animals ethical?

    Begging the question
    TheMadFool

    Considering that the animals only exist because of the demand, I don't think taking their existence away to satisfy the demand is unethical. The pain and suffering that comes with it is.
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    Considering that the animals only exist because of the demand, I don't think taking their existence away to satisfy the demand is unethical. The pain and suffering that comes with it is.Down The Rabbit Hole

    A couple of things:

    1. Pain and suffering are the harbingers of death. Their sole purpose is to warn living things when death is on the horizon. You can't separate the two - death and pain/suffering - in a way that wouldn't raise a few eyebrows here and there. That would be like a gang of thieves deciding to sabotage the the burglar alarm first and then robbing a house, fully convinced that doing the former makes their action legal (read: moral)

    2. Pain/suffering, in the "able" hands of humans, have morphed into something entirely different - goes by the name torture. We're so god-damned ingenious that we've manged to turn a friend (protective pain) into an enemy (torture pain) [This is a side note. You may ignore it if you wish]
  • 180 Proof
    2.2k
    Is it ethical to purchase factory farmed animal products and fund this?Down The Rabbit Hole
    It's becoming less ethical to do so ...
  • Outlander
    869
    When people are violent to humans they tend to be locked away for it. The cruelty towards animals tends to be because they literally have no voice, and the perpetrator almost always gets away with it.

    The beatings and torture footage is from hidden cameras, planted by activists. As Philosophim says, this footage pressures businesses in a positive direction.
    Down The Rabbit Hole

    In a perfect world, you would not be an idealist but a realist. Not a perfectionist but a pragmatist. And though I admire much of your sentiment as can be inferred here, let us, if not for simple sake of pragmatic philosophical argument, think in other ways.

    Say the entire world is but one village. The people have a modest amount to spend, more than enough for essentials, but not incredibly so. The law does what it can to ensure civility and a society without fear of rampant crime, but it is far from omniscient. Now. Say the price of essential foods increase by double. You have, to compare to modern standards, and perhaps these numbers are incorrect of course but perhaps they are correct:

    It’s estimated that there are currently 27 million shoplifters in the U.S. today, which means 1 in 11 of us steal from stores and retailers.

    At face value, these are not people who either have harmed or would harm anybody. A simple "appropriation" from someone much more successful, typically an unfathomably wealthy corporation who could take the loss. And, in fact, doing so alerts them of vulnerabilities in their systems, thus being a mutually beneficial action for all involved .. I suppose it could be argued. So. Let's say, by arbitrary example, an additional 1 in 11 out of those 1 in 11 are violent, who would kill or injure fellow citizens either in order to achieve said gains or prevent accountability (to escape and avoid jail time).

    What do you think would happen to those numbers if the prices for essential goods doubled? Do you think they would increase by anything less than double?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    288
    When thinking about the ethics of factory farming, there are several considerations that I have in mind:

    1. Animals probably don’t have the same capacity to suffer as human beings do mainly because they can’t reflect on their suffering and they probably can’t be traumatized by their suffering the way that humans can be.

    2. The suffering of an animal is probably just as important as the suffering of human assuming equal suffering. Outside the fact that most humans are probably capable of greater suffering than animals, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to think human suffering is more important to address.

    3. Depending on your definition of the word “ethical”, it might be rational or good to refrain from being ethical. Some philosophers do not define ethical behavior as necessarily rational or good while others require that a behavior is rational or good in order to be ethical.

    4. I think that it is more rational and more good for someone to focus much more on their own hedonic welfare above the hedonic welfare of others all things being equal. This is due to the fact that we are the ones that have to endure our own suffering and we get to enjoy our own pleasure. So, I think it’s probably more rational to be an egoist if you also happen to be a hedonist or subscribe to another experiential account of welfare.

    5. If I happen to be wrong about egoism, then it still seems that factory farming is best eliminated through investment in technology that can produce cultured meat at a more inexpensive rate. Instead of spending extra money on free range meat, it is better to donate the extra money you would have spent to charities that are trying to produce inexpensive ways to make ethical meat.

    6. On a final note, I think it is plausible to believe that even the suffering of disadvantaged people in poor countries is not much worse than the suffering of privileged people in wealthy countries. This is partly because of the role that hedonic adaptation plays on suffering. Hedonic adaptation is a phenomena where one adjusts to adversity after continuous exposure to that adversity and that adversity no longer causes as much suffering. If people adjust to adversity in this manner, then preventing the beginning of adversity is more important than preventing the continuation of adversity. Though, it could be argued that we can make poor people experience a period of greater happiness if we prevent the continuation of their adversity. This period of greater happiness will be somewhat valuable even if it is only temporary and will be followed by hedonic adaptation. But, this consideration wouldn’t apply to factory farm animals because a lack of factory farming would only cause these animals to not get born in the first place and other animals in more ethical farms will be born instead. Due to hedonic adaptation, these other animals might suffer almost just as much as the factory farm animals.
  • TheMadFool
    8.4k
    It's becoming less ethical to do so ...180 Proof

    :clap: :up: :smile:
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38


    Pain and suffering are the harbingers of death. Their sole purpose is to warn living things when death is on the horizon. You can't separate the two - death and pain/suffering - in a way that wouldn't raise a few eyebrows here and there. That would be like a gang of thieves deciding to sabotage the the burglar alarm first and then robbing a house, fully convinced that doing the former makes their action legal (read: moral)TheMadFool

    The industry uses the term "humane slaughter" - but as you say, it's rare that death is free of pain/suffering. Maybe in the future science will allow for livestock that cannot suffer (for those that will refuse to eat "unnatural" lab grown meat). Many vegans would still think it wrong to kill them, but I wouldn't.



    It's becoming less ethical to do so ...180 Proof

    You still waiting on your lab grown meat? :wink:



    What do you think would happen to those numbers if the prices for essential goods doubled? Do you think they would increase by anything less than double?Outlander

    I think you're getting your economics wrong. When demand falls, so do prices.



    Animals probably don’t have the same capacity to suffer as human beings do mainly because they can’t reflect on their suffering and they probably can’t be traumatized by their suffering the way that humans can be.TheHedoMinimalist

    The animals' confusion and panic can't be much better? A human can get mental strength from fighting back or contemplating escape.

    This is probably a very complicated topic in itself. And while an interesting and worthwhile one, I'm sure you agree that animals don't need to suffer as much as humans would in their position for their suffering to be wrong.

    I think that it is more rational and more good for someone to focus much more on their own hedonic welfare above the hedonic welfare of others all things being equal.TheHedoMinimalist

    As you say "all things being equal". Which is not the case when comparing the animals' suffering (sometimes from beatings and torture) to the taste you get from their products.

    Instead of spending extra money on free range meat, it is better to donate the extra money you would have spent to charities that are trying to produce inexpensive ways to make ethical meat.TheHedoMinimalist

    There is no guarantee this pittance would have any impact on innovation, where buying free range would undeniably give the animals a better quality of life. In any event, vegan food is even cheaper, then you would have even more money to donate to the ethical meat charities, and you've caused no cruelty in the process.
  • Garth
    112
    The following thought just occurred to me and although I'd do better to keep it to myself, well anyway...

    Many species of animal mate through a what is essentially rape -- the male chases the female down. I think of this because I just looked out my window at the pond behind my house and saw a group of mallard ducks chasing around a female. Suppose we were able to confirm through neural scans that the female really experiences this the way a human would -- terror, pain, etc. Should we then interfere with the natural process of mating of these animals for the sake of their welfare?

    For instance we could begin a program of artificial insemination of female mallard ducks so that they don't have to be raped.
  • Brett
    3k


    Surely one should stop purchasing it, thus eliminating any suffering that was resulting from you doing so.Down The Rabbit Hole

    If, suddenly for whatever reason, more and more people stopped buying factory farmed animals and instead turned to ethically farmed animals, with a rising demand for ethically farmed animals how long do you think those ethical farms would be able to keep up the demand for their product without putting pressure on their ethical practices? That seems to me a very work intensive way to produce the same amount of product the factory farms produced. How would they manage it?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    288
    The animals' confusion and panic can't be much better? A human can get mental strength from fighting back or contemplating escape.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I think you are referring to hope when you speak of mental strength but correct me if I’m wrong. It’s true that humans can have hope that one day they can escape their adversity and they may also hope for lots of good things to come once a bad period of their life is over. Nonetheless, I think animals have an advantage because they don’t seem to even need hope. They don’t experience the kind of despair that humans experience from their circumstances. When the animals are not experiencing physical pain or discomfort, they are probably not suffering. Humans in bad circumstances might suffer even when their adversity isn’t even physically hurting them.

    I'm sure you agree that animals don't need to suffer as much as humans would in their position for their suffering to be wrong.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I agree that animal suffering is almost as bad as human suffering and their suffering should matter more than say the pleasure of humans. I would happily press a magic button that would prevent all humans from enjoying the taste of meat if such a button existed. This would probably lead to a reduction of suffering in the world and humans would probably have just as much pleasure as they would simply find other ways to enjoy themselves.
    Though, fewer animals will be born to experience pleasure as well but I don’t think the pleasure justifies the suffering.

    I’m not willing to abstain from eating factory farmed meat myself though. This is because it would lead to social stigma for me and it would interfere with my goals of saving money for my own pain management in the future. The problem is that people who don’t eat factory farmed meat can’t be “in the closet” about it unless they live alone. You have to actually reject some meals that your family has made you out of the kindness of their heart. You have to put up with your family constantly trying to convince you to eat their meat and you might have some really bad experiences during the holidays. I would actually experience more conflict with my family if I refused to eat factory farmed meat than if I told them I was gay. To put this in a thought experiment, suppose that it was the case that animals will suffer greatly for some strange reason if gay people don’t come out to their entire family. If you have a very religious and conservative family that also greatly supports you financially, then would it be wise to sacrifice your relationship with them by coming out to help sentient beings that you never even met. I happen to think that it would be better to keep your mouth shut. Unfortunately, keeping your mouth shut is rarely an option for those with dietary restrictions because unlike sex, eating is typically a communal activity.

    There is no guarantee this pittance would have any impact on innovation, where buying free range would undeniably give the animals a better quality of life.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I would disagree that buying free range is guaranteed to give these animals better quality of life. The first point to consider is that quality of life is often determined by internal factors rather than external ones. A chicken living in a factory farm that is genetically predisposed to be happy is going to have a higher quality of life than a free range chicken that is genetically predisposed to be depressed. In addition, a single individual not buying factory farmed meat doesn’t guarantee that the production of such meat will be reduced because meat production is pretty insensitive to demand.

    Then, there is also a possibility that the company that is selling the free range meat is lying about their farming practices or are not fully aware of policy violations in their own company. A company can illegally label their meat as free range even if it’s usually factory farmed. They probably will rarely get investigated and they may pass inspections because they might have some farms that are actually free range but other farms might be doing the same thing other farms are doing. In addition, employees frequently break the rules and policies of a particular company in the real world. They may abuse those free range animals for fun just like the factory farm employees might do and they might simply be too lazy to let the animals go outside because they want to play on their phone. The employers will often just turn a blind eye to all this because it saves them money to hire bad employees and not fire anyone as long as they are getting the product out. They also probably don’t want to hire expensive managers and HR people to deal with those employees. So, free range farming is probably not much better than factory farming in reality. It’s also worth noting that free range usually just means the animals get like 1 foot of space to walk around in and they not laying on top of the other animals covered in feces. Is that a huge improvement? I don’t think that it is.

    In any event, vegan food is even cheaper, then you would have even more money to donate to the ethical meat charities, and you've caused no cruelty in the process.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I’m pretty sure it’s more expensive as it usually doesn’t fill you up as much. It’s definitely more expensive to buy free range meat for those that don’t want to go the full vegan route. In addition, the stigma caused by being vegan can lead to less support from your family and less money to donate to charity. Even if your family accepts your veganism, then it’s still more expensive to have separate meals from your family if your family is not on board with your dietary restrictions. Plus, eating healthy is easier if you also don’t abstain from healthy meat products. Being healthy would lower your medical expenses and increase your lifespan and this would allow you to donate more money in the long run. Donating lots of money to charity also requires you to be a busy person and it’s hard to find the time to be a vegan if you are busy making money.
  • Brett
    3k


    None of the cruelty would occur if people were not buying the animal products.

    Considering the amount of animal products consumed over one's lifetime, surely it would be better not to do so, and avoid all of the cruelty that comes as a consequence.
    Down The Rabbit Hole

    It sounds to me like you’re really against the idea of killing for food. Which I understand. The only way around that is for us to produce synthetic good or become vegans. Which would mean an end to all leather products, which is possible.

    Animals are an easy source of protein for us. It’s responsible for our evolutionary success. But maybe it’s time to end it. It seems to me that farming is just an unthinking continuation of hunting for food. Do we really need that source of protein? Is there really no other way? It all looks a bit savage and primitive to me.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38


    Many species of animal mate through a what is essentially rape -- the male chases the female down. I think of this because I just looked out my window at the pond behind my house and saw a group of mallard ducks chasing around a female. Suppose we were able to confirm through neural scans that the female really experiences this the way a human would -- terror, pain, etc. Should we then interfere with the natural process of mating of these animals for the sake of their welfare?

    For instance we could begin a program of artificial insemination of female mallard ducks so that they don't have to be raped.
    Garth

    I would be in favour of interfering with natural to reduce suffering. The scenario you have put has a lot of variables that need to be taken into consideration, as opposed to the obvious horrors of factory farming, which I cannot find justification for.



    If, suddenly for whatever reason, more and more people stopped buying factory farmed animals and instead turned to ethically farmed animals, with a rising demand for ethically farmed animals how long do you think those ethical farms would be able to keep up the demand for their product without putting pressure on their ethical practices? That seems to me a very work intensive way to produce the same amount of product the factory farms produced. How would they manage it?Brett

    People pay extra for "ethically farmed animal products" to make up for the additional costs to the industry. However, to be honest, as @Bitter Crank and @TheMadFool have alluded to, "ethically farmed animals" suffer cruelty and abuse too. Veganism is the only way to eliminate suffering.

    It sounds to me like you’re really against the idea of killing for food. Which I understand. The only way around that is for us to produce synthetic good or become vegans. Which would mean an end to all leather products, which is possible.

    Animals are an easy source of protein for us. It’s responsible for our evolutionary success. But maybe it’s time to end it. It seems to me that farming is just an unthinking continuation of hunting for food. Do we really need that source of protein? Is there really no other way? It all looks a bit savage and primitive to me.
    Brett

    I remember watching a video by one Dr. Neal Barnard where he says that even if you got your daily calories from broccoli you would get enough protein. When you consider all of the saturated fat and cholesterol that would otherwise be clogging up your arteries, leading to the US' biggest killer - heart disease, veganism looks like a pretty safe bet.

    It's surprising how conditioned we become: it didn't even occur to me that consuming animal products might cause suffering, until a few years ago.



    thank youmunmin78

    The animals can't speak for themselves, so those of us that have come to realise how much they suffer must do it for them.
  • Mijin
    123
    Factory farming is not not inherently cruel and abusive; cruelty and abuse could take place just as easily on a little farm as a very big one. Cruelty and abuse occur in human workplaces and shelters, too.Bitter Crank

    Actually I was about to say the exact opposite.
    Factory farming is inherently cruel and we don't need examples of specific workers intentionally abusing animals.

    We're talking about places where animals may never see the light of day; never get to even turn around in the case of chickens and often pigs. Fattened up (extra cruelly in the case of foie gras), with bodies that have been bred to produce e.g. many times more eggs, and much larger eggs than they ever did in nature; they wouldn't survive long if we didn't kill them, who knows what it must feel like.
    Oh and calves taken from their mother immediately so we can take the milk.
    I've probably missed a bunch of things.

    I don't want to anthropomorphize animals too much. But it does appear that these animals possess sufficient instinct and awareness to find all of this very unpleasant. Animals in zoos display anxiety and frustration in conditions far superior.

    Sadly, it seems I am something of a hypocrite currently. I buy free range where the option exists but I still eat out at restaurants that likely use factory farmed meat. It's just something I have put to the back of my mind. Also I know "free range" can be defined somewhat generously in some cases to mean near-as-dammit factory farming.
  • Bitter Crank
    9.1k
    it does appear that these animals possess sufficient instinct and awareness to find all of this very unpleasantMijin

    I think what you said is true. Their capacity to suffer is why farming should be humane. Foie gras is an egregious example of cruelty. Also egregious is boxing in pigs. The methods used in high-volume chicken raising operations (as well as turkey) are appalling. And so on.

    Corporate farming, which maximizes the intensity of resource utilization and output (space, feed, meat, eggs, milk) is the problem. We do not have to go back to the pre-WWII (or maybe pre-WWI) model of very small family farms of 160-200 acres, 100 pigs, a flock of very free-range birds, and 30 to 40 cows. Then pigs had optional access to outdoors, even in cold winter months. Ditto for chickens. Geese live outside all winter. There's not much for a cow to do outside when the ground is frozen, but they were let out while the barn was cleaned. Doing that would require at least 20% of the population to take up agriculture. That is not going to happen.

    I would like to see the size of individual hog, fowl, beef, and dairy operations scaled back to a large extent. This would require more labor, more barns, more barnyards, and more pasture land. The total amount of feed would not change very much. Yes, the cost would rise, but the end product would be healthier and more humane.

    Beef raised on pasture (In the summer) and hay (in the winter) without grain generally have fewer infections and harbor far fewer pathogenic bacteria. It takes longer to reach full weight, though. that's OK.

    Mega-animal operations are unhealthy for humans and animals. A hog, for instance, produces about as much fecal matter per day as an adult human does. Very, very few hog farms dispose of hog manure in a safe manner. Imagine 100,000 people living in a small county with no sanitary sewers.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    38


    I would actually experience more conflict with my family if I refused to eat factory farmed meat than if I told them I was gay. To put this in a thought experiment, suppose that it was the case that animals will suffer greatly for some strange reason if gay people don’t come out to their entire family. If you have a very religious and conservative family that also greatly supports you financially, then would it be wise to sacrifice your relationship with them by coming out to help sentient beings that you never even met. I happen to think that it would be better to keep your mouth shut. Unfortunately, keeping your mouth shut is rarely an option for those with dietary restrictions because unlike sex, eating is typically a communal activity.TheHedoMinimalist

    :grimace: To be honest, I probably wouldn't have been able to refuse in that position either, especially if I wasn't financially independent.

    In my view it all comes down to if your suffering will be worse than the animals'.

    The first point to consider is that quality of life is often determined by internal factors rather than external ones.TheHedoMinimalist

    I remember from reading positive psychology years ago, that extra wealth only becomes meaningless to happiness after a certain point. You need enough for a comfortable life, and so would the animals.

    In addition, a single individual not buying factory farmed meat doesn’t guarantee that the production of such meat will be reduced because meat production is pretty insensitive to demand.TheHedoMinimalist

    A lifetime of not buying factory farmed meat will have an impact.

    So, free range farming is probably not much better than factory farming in reality. It’s also worth noting that free range usually just means the animals get like 1 foot of space to walk around in and they not laying on top of the other animals covered in feces. Is that a huge improvement? I don’t think that it is.TheHedoMinimalist

    Maybe not in the grand scheme of things, but it must feel quite a bit better for them to stretch their legs, and not get infections from the feces.

    I’m pretty sure it’s more expensive as it usually doesn’t fill you up as much.TheHedoMinimalist

    Your grocery bill will drop dramatically if you substitute your animal products for potatoes, rice, bread, beans, pasta etc.

    I like pasta dishes, which are super cheap, and filling because of the amount of water absorbed.

    Plus, eating healthy is easier if you also don’t abstain from healthy meat products. Being healthy would lower your medical expenses and increase your lifespan and this would allow you to donate more money in the long run. Donating lots of money to charity also requires you to be a busy person and it’s hard to find the time to be a vegan if you are busy making money.TheHedoMinimalist

    Some meat might be healthier than others, but it all has saturated fat and cholesterol which contribute to heart disease - the biggest killer in the USA. A vegan diet is supposed to be healthier, and I don't see how it is any more time consuming.
  • god must be atheist
    2.5k
    I am sorry, but I like to eat meat. And I can't afford expensive meat.

    I figure the meat I buy is factory raised.

    I am an asshole if you ask any chicken, cow, or pig.

    So are you for making me feel bad.
  • Pinprick
    532
    In my view it all comes down to if your suffering will be worse than the animals'.Down The Rabbit Hole

    The problem with this is that it’s hard to quantify qualities such as suffering, even among ourselves, much less other animals. How can you be sure that factory farmed animals are indeed suffering at all?
  • TheHedoMinimalist
    288
    I remember from reading positive psychology years ago, that extra wealth only becomes meaningless to happiness after a certain point. You need enough for a comfortable life, and so would the animals.Down The Rabbit Hole

    According to the reading that I have done on positive psychology, relative poverty correlates with unhappiness but absolute poverty does not. This is why there are plenty of poor countries living on $5 a day whose people are happier on average than people in wealthy western countries living on $80 a day. Despite this, poor people in any given country are always less happy than rich people in that country. The thing that makes them unhappy is the presence of people much wealthier than them. Animals are never jealous of humans in the same way that humans can be jealous of other humans that they know personally that are wealthier than them. Thus, there’s no reason to think that factory farm animals are necessarily suffering more than the average human due to their discomfort.

    Some meat might be healthier than others, but it all has saturated fat and cholesterol which contribute to heart disease - the biggest killer in the USA. A vegan diet is supposed to be healthier, and I don't see how it is any more time consuming.Down The Rabbit Hole

    I would say that the healthiest vegan diet are healthier than the healthiest omnivore diets but it’s easier to have a diet that is healthier than the average western diet if you are an omnivore. This is because most people mostly eat unhealthy food most of the time regardless if they are vegan or omnivores. Vegans will typically indulge in potato chips, soda, white bread, pasta, and rice which are all pretty unhealthy. Meat eaters can avoid eating the above foods and reward themselves with a nice steak which is a really delicious food like the unhealthy foods that vegans often eat but it’s probably somewhat healthier than every one of the foods that I mentioned above that vegans eat. It’s kinda just something that I speculate but it seems plausible to me to think that being a healthy meat eater is easier for most people.
  • Brett
    3k


    It's surprising how conditioned we become: it didn't even occur to me that consuming animal products might cause suffering, until a few years ago.Down The Rabbit Hole

    That’s an interesting observation. So called animal ethics vary all over the world from culture to culture. I’ve seen the treatment of animals in India that I found appalling and yet no one blinked at it, as if they were oblivious to the suffering. But then they can turn a blind eye to the suffering of people right in front of them.

    In most developing countries I think animals have a hard time. They’re there for work or transport or food. It’s an interesting study in disconnect how we treat animals as a food source, and being bred for food is a pretty shocking concept to me, and live with our pets who get the best care, the best food and pampered like children. We’re repelled by certain eating habits in parts of the world. Does our outrage make us more ethical. It’s a luxury of the west to sit around discussing the ethics of rearing animals to eat and meanwhile thousands of animals are killed so we can buy a Big Mac.

    I mean really, what sort of ethics are we talking about? If you think it’s justified to kill lambs and calfs then what are your ethics? Even if we can’t get out of our meat consumption why must it be veal or lamb? Nor do I think “ eating the whole animal” and “respecting” the animal or personally killing the animal you eat cuts it. Until we evolve past this sort of cold view of life we’ll never amount to being more than savages.
  • infin8fish
    13
    Yes it is unethical if your ethics include the idea that you should not be cruel to animals.

    If you believe it is ethical to torture animals as such behaviour gives you pleasure or perhaps it makes you feel pleasure to kick your dog when you have had a bad day at work then eating factory meat products is ethical (for you).

    If however you think being cruel to animals is wrong then eating factory farmed animal products is ethically wrong. Any other answer is merely self deception so as to allay feelings of guilt so animal products can continue to be consumed.

    (Off topic but related) I would take this further and say eating any meat or animal products is ethically wrong if you accept that climate change is real (and that you wish to prevent this change) considering the impact that an animal based diet has on climate.

    The ease with which you can change your diet considering the amount of information available online in terms of nutrition means that anyone who thinks being cruel to animals is wrong and yet still eats meat or drinks milk or eats eggs (no matter what the source, factory or "free range") is merely choosing to satisfy their desires over their abhorrence of animal cruelty.

    Ultimately, when humans are faced with a binary choice most will choose their own comfort over anothers. Even though many may shy away from personally killing countless male baby chickens in an industrial sized blender so they can enjoy an omelette they will accept that others will do so on their behalf as long as they don't have to hear too much about the way the eggs were "broken" so they could eat that omelette. In other words humans are the type of animal that likes eating sausages but are not the type that wants to know how the sausages were made or what goes into it.
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