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Ethics of Beef Production.


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Should we breed cows for eating?  

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  1. 1. Should we breed cows for eating?

    • Yes
      25
    • No
      10


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That is false.

 

If by animal protein you mean B12, it's made in bacteria. That's how animals get it. So can we.

 

http://ods.od.nih.go...ets/vitaminb12/

 

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. Vitamin B12 is generally not present in plant foods, but fortified breakfast cereals are a readily available source of vitamin B12 with high bioavailability for vegetarians [5,13-15]. Some nutritional yeast products also contain vitamin B12. Fortified foods vary in formulation, so it is important to read product labels to determine which added nutrients they contain.

In dietary supplements, vitamin B12 is usually present as cyanocobalamin [5], a form that the body readily converts to the active forms methylcobalamin and 5-deoxyadenosylcobalamin. Dietary supplements can also contain methylcobalamin and other forms of vitamin B12.

 

Existing evidence does not suggest any differences among forms with respect to absorption or bioavailability. However the body's ability to absorb vitamin B12 from dietary supplements is largely limited by the capacity of intrinsic factor. For example, only about 10 mcg of a 500 mcg oral supplement is actually absorbed in healthy people [8].

 

So I can eat highly processed cereal, or I can take expensive vitamins with a horrible absorption rate. And if I don't do these things, my vegetarian diet can lead me to multiple illnesses:

 

Vitamin B12 deficiency is characterized by megaloblastic anemia, fatigue, weakness, constipation, loss of appetite, and weight loss [1,3,27]. Neurological changes, such as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet, can also occur [5,28]. Additional symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include difficulty maintaining balance, depression, confusion, dementia, poor memory, and soreness of the mouth or tongue [29]. The neurological symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency can occur without anemia, so early diagnosis and intervention is important to avoid irreversible damage [6]. During infancy, signs of a vitamin B12 deficiency include failure to thrive, movement disorders, developmental delays, and megaloblastic anemia [30]. Many of these symptoms are general and can result from a variety of medical conditions other than vitamin B12 deficiency.

 

I don't think anyone has even mentioned that you're trying to force a highly restrictive diet on the whole population. We've evolved to eat meat and some people have a hard time without it, or have a hard time with a vegetarian diet. I'm guessing you don't care about those people as much as you care for the cows.

 

It depresses me that you guys want to impose your will on the whole population. But at least it's not a B12 deficiency kind of depression.

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But if we don't eat meat then we'll have to eat all those tree embryos.... yes, we'll have to grow trees just so we can eat the baby trees. poor little helpless defense less tree embryos... Save the tree embryos!

 

Seriously, i am not one of those people who have never killed anything higher on the food chain than a cockroach, I know what it's like to kill and butcher an animal, to look them in the eye as you shoot them in the brain to make sure they feel as little pain as possible. I can say I never kill anything for the fun of it, I see no fun in killing anything and I don't kill it unless I am going to use it in some way, preferably to eat it. Humans are omnivores, we evolved to kill and eat things. Even what we think of as vegetarian apes eat animals flesh in the form of insects and other arthropods. If you are going to go that way I suggest you try bee larvae, really great mushed up in honey and spread over pumpernickel bread.

 

If you are against killing and eating anything vertebrate how about shrimp? Oysters? Lots of sea food that have little or no brains and are easy to justify killing.

 

If you want to change up factory type farming and push for more human conditions I'll be on your side, don't even think peta is against the killing of animals they kill thousands of them every year, what do you think they do with all the animals they supposedly save.

 

http://www.petakillsanimals.com/

 

I am however for the humane treatment of animals, against the feeding of ground up cows to cows, I have no sympathy for chickens, they are just nasty goomers, the only thing that keeps them from defecating in their own mouths is their heads won't reach their anus.

 

yes we could treat our food animals more humanely, we should, and no, ground that is used for beef production cannot always be used to produce edible plants, many food animals can live on marginal land that most of our food plant crops will not grow on.

 

I grew up on a farm, we hunted and grew our own meat and plants, i do feel like far too many people think meat is grown on Styrofoam cartons, meat comes with some real suffering built in, if you can't deal with that then you shouldn't eat meat but you'll find it not as easy as you think to eat nothing that comes from dead animals and I still kill cockroaches, nasty bastards for sure...

 

maybe someday it will be both possible and practical to grow meat like we do plants, possibly as fruit that has meat inside it rather than plant products but until then i see no way around eating some sort of animals at least part of the time for the vast majority of the population, until then try to avoid the pink slime they sell at fast food places and cut back on meat, maybe trying growing your own goats and pigs to make sure they are grown humanely, I'm sure your neighbors won't mind the smell when you tell them how inhumane it is to eat meat form stores...

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You can say that it might be good for the society to keep eating meet (which is wrong because of the starvation which is caused by the food which is given to animals and not humans), but you can not say that it is ethical correct...

As I said, if we would stop feeding animals (to make food out of them) with feed that we could consume, we would have enough to erase all starvation.

This is another Red Herring argument. We don't feed cattle with vegetable matter that humans can eat. Livestock get the stuff that's left over after we take what humans find palatable. We only eat the kernels from the few ears of corn each plant produces, but cattle can easily digest the whole plant. Raising cattle does NOT take food away from humans.

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Survival does not require killing animals which would not kill you.

Never said it did.

 

Value is not an argument, and ease is just an argument for the society as it is right now.

Never said it was.

 

But this is like saying okay to the nazi regime because it is more easy while discussing with a nazi.

Didn't take you long to compare my statements to nazis. You've got to be kidding.

 

That is not an ethical consideration ;) What do you mean with evolution? It is evolutionary better to have the ability to eat everything. That is right, but you would not lose the ability be not doing it. That means until it is proven for many generations that you don't need it.

So what?

 

Economic is a real bad argument, because - as I pointed out - you can more economically provide food for humanity when you do it with corn and not with "revised" corn. And economy is supposed to economize, isn't it?

Who is arguing for economics?

 

And if you mean gratification as in having fun killing, you probably mean it like it tastes good... and this is just the same as the taste :D

Not the same but related. It also makes me full, happy, etc.

 

All I did was answer the question you asked "Why do you eat meat?"

 

Don't read so much into it!.

 

 

So... I am still sure that there is NO ethical argument for eating meet,

So... I am still sure that there is NO ethical argument for NOT eating meat.

 

Nope, I am not saying that sentience is the key.

Sure you are! And I quote:

Not exactly: You can say it, which means you can draw the line by this statement where you want. But I'd like to remind you on this important scentance which is the key to the whole argumentation:

 

 

And...

 

Its okay to "kill" non-sentient beings...
Edited by zapatos
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This is another Red Herring argument. We don't feed cattle with vegetable matter that humans can eat. Livestock get the stuff that's left over after we take what humans find palatable. We only eat the kernels from the few ears of corn each plant produces, but cattle can easily digest the whole plant. Raising cattle does NOT take food away from humans.

 

Actually, you're wrong. So many people that discuss this lack the requisite farming experience. I am pro-meat, by the way.

 

If we used the land we use to raise corn for cattle for actual human crop instead, we would have an abundance of food. It's true that humans eat sweet corn and cattle eat another variant, but that's not the discussion here. He is right and you are quite wrong.

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Actually, you're wrong. So many people that discuss this lack the requisite farming experience. I am pro-meat, by the way.

 

If we used the land we use to raise corn for cattle for actual human crop instead, we would have an abundance of food. It's true that humans eat sweet corn and cattle eat another variant, but that's not the discussion here. He is right and you are quite wrong.

I read this about beef cattle:

Beef cows are primarily on pasture most of their lives, but in some cases when winter is harsh, they will be fed hay (sun-dried grasses and legumes), and perhaps silage or grain, depending on the producer's management criteria.

Does this mean that most beef cattle are not eating from land that is farmed?

I also saw this:

Dairy cows mainly eat grass, hay (which is just dried grass and alfalfa) and silage (fermented grass, alfalfa or corn). Cows also eat a lot of the waste left over from what people eat! This includes soybean meal, beet pulp, cottonseeds, citrus pulp, candy waste (what is left over from making chocolate and lollies) and bakery waste (what is left over after making breads and pastries).

It sounds like it is quite a mixture of what they eat, although I didn't see anything specifying "averge percentage of feed coming from crops" or any similar stat.

 

I didn't bother to provide links as they didn't really look like good sites. They just got me thinking about what you said and was wondering if you could provide more info.

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Actually, you're wrong. So many people that discuss this lack the requisite farming experience. I am pro-meat, by the way.

 

If we used the land we use to raise corn for cattle for actual human crop instead, we would have an abundance of food. It's true that humans eat sweet corn and cattle eat another variant, but that's not the discussion here. He is right and you are quite wrong.

I see what you're saying, Trip, but that wasn't what Mafio said either. If I understand you, you're saying we'd need to stop planting the kinds of corn that cattle eat and use the land for sweet (human feeding) corn.

 

Mafio's posts quite clearly state that people are starving because we give their food to animals. That's not the way you stated it either.

 

Is this just for the type of cows that produce "corn-fed beef"? Because I've also read where most cattle are given the parts of crops that humans find indigestible.

 

 

 

 

 

You know, now I'm having a moral dilemma of my own. Are we supposed to stop planting the kinds of vegetables our livestock eat so we can have more human food, letting all the livestock die out so we don't have to kill them anymore? That actually seems kind of monstrous. What will we say to the animal rights activists who want to save those species from extinction?

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I haven't seen many ranchers who feed their livestock corn, unless it's horses. Growing up, I think the most feeds I've seen in use were grains. Either planted oats or bagged. I think they serve up a richer diet at the holding pens, but I believe that was mostly for the fattening effect.

 

 

 

What will we say to the animal rights activists who want to save those species from extinction?

Dilemma solved. We only have to tell them that the lack of methane in the atmosphere will make up for it. How do you suppose they'll take that one?:D Edited by JustinW
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I read this about beef cattle:

 

Does this mean that most beef cattle are not eating from land that is farmed?

 

That's accurate to an extent. This is not the case for factory farms. And it is not the case for what happens after you sell your cattle. The heifers typically stay on pasture and just make babies until they die. The bulls are sent to "feed lots". There, they are "speed-fed" grain until they reach an unnatural weight and then are slaughtered. That is the corn I am speaking of. If you research feed lots, you'll find all the information there.

 

Some are quite barbaric. My family only sells to local feed lots that have contracts with big companies. Local places actually treat the cattle with kindness.

 

 

I also saw this:

 

That's also true, but it is irrelevant. Dairy cows are used to produce milk. They are only sent to slaughter when they are too old to even do that (cheap meat comes from cows like that).

Dairy cows probably live the best life. They eat pasture and such. But farmers also have to put out hay and corn to have food for them during the winter, otherwise they'll starve.

 

I lived on a dairy farm until recently. We dedicated around 50 acres, in addition to their regular acreage, to squirrel food away for them during the winter. Think of this act compounded to all different types of cattle all around the world. That is a *lot* of land being used to feed cattle.

 

It sounds like it is quite a mixture of what they eat, although I didn't see anything specifying "averge percentage of feed coming from crops" or any similar stat.

I'm not good at finding stats. And I don't really trust eggheads and their stats when it comes to farming.

 

 

I didn't bother to provide links as they didn't really look like good sites. They just got me thinking about what you said and was wondering if you could provide more info.

 

If their information was all like what you quoted, it's not a really thorough review of farming practices. And I don't have sources except for my life experience of 22 years on a farm. If you'd like me to clarify anything, I'd be happy to oblige.

 

 

 

 

Mafio's posts quite clearly state that people are starving because we give their food to animals. That's not the way you stated it either.

 

If that's what he's saying, he's very wrong as well.

 

 

Is this just for the type of cows that produce "corn-fed beef"? Because I've also read where most cattle are given the parts of crops that humans find indigestible.

 

Some cattle are given the remnants of sweet corn, though that practice isn't common. What you read was probably referring to silage. When we cut silage, our reapers cut down the *whole* plant. Stalk and all. It's not just the ears and stuff like with what people eat.

 

Most beef is from cows that were sent to feed lots to get their weight up, and therein lies the problem. If the world were vegan, all of that land used to grow that corn would be used to grow human crops. There would be more than enough food for everyone (though I'd wager there would still be starvation. We have plenty of food now, thanks to fertilizer and such).

 

 

 

You know, now I'm having a moral dilemma of my own. Are we supposed to stop planting the kinds of vegetables our livestock eat so we can have more human food, letting all the livestock die out so we don't have to kill them anymore? That actually seems kind of monstrous. What will we say to the animal rights activists who want to save those species from extinction?

 

That's why I think vegan people are stupid. Are the farmers supposed to let the now-useless cattle graze on their valuable land? Where will they all go? Doesn't make sense to me.

Edited by A Tripolation
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If their information was all like what you quoted, it's not a really thorough review of farming practices. And I don't have sources except for my life experience of 22 years on a farm. If you'd like me to clarify anything, I'd be happy to oblige.
If you don't mind me asking Trip, what part of the country are you from. Not that it matters, it is just that, generally down in the south we refer to raising livestock as ranching. A farm usually implies some sort of plant crop. The reason I mention this is to get a better idea of weather conditions to better understand the methods you're used to.
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If you don't mind me asking Trip, what part of the country are you from. Not that it matters, it is just that, generally down in the south we refer to raising livestock as ranching. A farm usually implies some sort of plant crop. The reason I mention this is to get a better idea of weather conditions to better understand the methods you're used to.

 

I live in southern Kentucky.

 

Don't try to understand our weather conditions. No one understands them. Just last week within a span of three days, we had tornadoes, snow, and then 70 degree weather. :P

 

We don't really refer to anything as ranching around here because we see ranches as thousand-acre type operations.

Edited by A Tripolation
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OK, a FB friend invited me to join the talk in here. I'm vegan. I'll start with this argument:

 

That's why I think vegan people are stupid. Are the farmers supposed to let the now-useless cattle graze on their valuable land? Where will they all go? Doesn't make sense to me.

 

That's very stupid to think that everyone will go vegan tomorrow morning and we'll have lots of useless cattle to let graze on the land. Do you really believe what you wrote? People are gradually eating less meat in some parts of the world. Chicken consumption dropped in the US (that's why the government bought some for schools). The number of animals bred will just go down if people reduce their consumption gradually with time. This doesn't leave us with plenty of useless animals to care for in a near future.

 

Now, why am I vegan?

 

1) Health considerations: Red meat (and even more so processed meat) have been linked to numerous cancers. Everything points toward a reduction of our meat consumption from a health point of view. The health argument doesn't point clearly towards vegetarism or veganism though. But these are considered healthy diets by the American Dietetic Association at all stages of human life, and they even credit it with some reduction of the major killer diseases in North America. So meat is *not* a necessity, but something we eat out of taste and habits.

 

2) Environment: Since this is about beef, specifically, let's only point out that beef grazing requires a lot more land than to feed the same amount of persons than if those persons would eat a plant-based diet. The figures vary depending on the sources, but it's more efficient to feed directly on the plants than to give plants to cattle and then eat cattle.

 

3) Ethics: Most people recognize that cats and dogs--pets--should not be tortured or kept in inhumane conditions. Some people even object to eating horses. Still, eating a horse or a cow or a pig or a dog, what's the difference? At the very least, someone eating meat should discriminate based on the qualitative sentient life of animals, not on their cuteness. I think that the philosophical stand against eating animals is solid enough. The ethical argument is, BTW, the only one that can be invoked to argue in favour of a strict veg diet, IMHO. You can have an eco-conscious consumption of some animal products (but cattle is not one of those, methinks) and you can have a healthy diet that is not veg. However, in all cases, your diet, to be healthy and eco-friendly, should be reduced in meat. If like Bentham you believe that what matters about animals is not whether they can think but whether they can suffer, and if you think that someone raising dogs for breeding in tiny cages without basic care but for profit only, by selling puppies, is not morally acceptable, then you should think about whether raising animals--any animals--in tiny spaces is morally acceptable too, because it is done in order to provide you a pleasure that is a mere taste, not a necessity.

Edited by marie-claude
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3) Ethics: Most people recognize that cats and dogs--pets--should not be tortured or kept in inhumane conditions. Some people even object to eating horses. Still, eating a horse or a cow or a pig or a dog, what's the difference? At the very least, someone eating meat should discriminate based on the qualitative sentient life of animals, not on their cuteness. I think that the philosophical stand against eating animals is solid enough. The ethical argument is, BTW, the only one that can be invoked to argue in favour of a strict veg diet, IMHO. You can have an eco-conscious consumption of some animal products (but cattle is not one of those, methinks) and you can have a healthy diet that is not veg. However, in all cases, your diet, to be healthy and eco-friendly, should be reduced in meat. If like Bentham you believe that what matters about animals is not whether they can think but whether they can suffer, and if you think that someone raising dogs for breeding in tiny cages without basic care but for profit only, by selling puppies, is not morally acceptable, then you should think about whether raising animals--any animals--in tiny spaces is morally acceptable too, because it is done in order to provide you a pleasure that is a mere taste, not a necessity.

Are you ethically opposed to eating animals because they are sentient, or because of the conditions under which they are raised? Would you be ethically opposed to eating animals if while living they were really enjoying themselves?

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OK, a FB friend invited me to join the talk in here. I'm vegan. I'll start with this argument:

 

 

 

That's very stupid to think that everyone will go vegan tomorrow morning and we'll have lots of useless cattle to let graze on the land. Do you really believe what you wrote? People are gradually eating less meat in some parts of the world. Chicken consumption dropped in the US (that's why the government bought some for schools). The number of animals bred will just go down if people reduce their consumption gradually with time. This doesn't leave us with plenty of useless animals to care for in a near future.

 

Now, why am I vegan?

 

1) Health considerations: Red meat (and even more so processed meat) have been linked to numerous cancers. Everything points toward a reduction of our meat consumption from a health point of view. The health argument doesn't point clearly towards vegetarism or veganism though. But these are considered healthy diets by the American Dietetic Association at all stages of human life, and they even credit it with some reduction of the major killer diseases in North America. So meat is *not* a necessity, but something we eat out of taste and habits.

Your comments on read meat accepted - especially after the latest tranche of research published in the last few days - however the problems with over-consuming red meat has very little to do with the question of ethical choice. Red meat is only a small part of the question and it is the over-consumption not the consumption per se that is deleterious to health. Vegan diets for children need to be either scrupulously monitored and very carefully constructed - or more likely supplemented or are dependent on fortified foods. It is much easier to achieve a balanced diet, when that diet contains meat, dairy products and fish - even though it is possible to do this with a vegan diet, it is not simple.

 

2) Environment: Since this is about beef, specifically, let's only point out that beef grazing requires a lot more land than to feed the same amount of persons than if those persons would eat a plant-based diet. The figures vary depending on the sources, but it's more efficient to feed directly on the plants than to give plants to cattle and then eat cattle.
I think Trip confirmed that - it has always been my belief. I am not sure, however, that I want to live my life on the basis of max efficiency. And I do not believe that any increase in efficiency will help the massive distributional and political problems that sentence an unforgivably large percentage of the world's population to food scarcity.

 

3) Ethics: Most people recognize that cats and dogs--pets--should not be tortured or kept in inhumane conditions. Some people even object to eating horses. Still, eating a horse or a cow or a pig or a dog, what's the difference? At the very least, someone eating meat should discriminate based on the qualitative sentient life of animals, not on their cuteness. I think that the philosophical stand against eating animals is solid enough. The ethical argument is, BTW, the only one that can be invoked to argue in favour of a strict veg diet, IMHO. You can have an eco-conscious consumption of some animal products (but cattle is not one of those, methinks) and you can have a healthy diet that is not veg. However, in all cases, your diet, to be healthy and eco-friendly, should be reduced in meat. If like Bentham you believe that what matters about animals is not whether they can think but whether they can suffer, and if you think that someone raising dogs for breeding in tiny cages without basic care but for profit only, by selling puppies, is not morally acceptable, then you should think about whether raising animals--any animals--in tiny spaces is morally acceptable too, because it is done in order to provide you a pleasure that is a mere taste, not a necessity.
Cuteness argument - quite agree. On the final section would re-iterate Zapatos' final question "Would you be ethically opposed to eating animals if while living they were really enjoying themselves?" I presume you would, as you are Vegan and you admit the ethical argument is really the only argument that would completely support that choice; but would like to hear your views. Personally i think a strict line must be drawn between two different questions - the eating of meat as it is produced for consumers in the western world today, and the eating of meat per se.
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Are you ethically opposed to eating animals because they are sentient, or because of the conditions under which they are raised? Would you be ethically opposed to eating animals if while living they were really enjoying themselves?

 

Both. The way they are raised is utterly pathetic, and worse than the killing actually, methinks. Humane killing sounds like an oxymoron when it comes to food production. Yes, you can humanely euthanize, but humanely kill to eat, I doubt it (problems with chemicals in food comes to mind). And no, stunning doesn't look exactly like a painless method. Plus, euthanizing is helping someone who is in pain go away from pain, whereas killing a healthy being for food is causing unnecessary pain. I will add that to raise "ethically" animals "enjoying themselves" would require a lot more lands and space than we usually use, and it's already a lot more than what is necessary to feed someone on a veg diet. The ethical meat would be, yes, more ethical when it comes to suffering, but not that ethical when it comes to land use and ecology. You'd have to eat less meat in order to have ethical meat and be sustainable.

 

Your comments on read meat accepted - especially after the latest tranche of research published in the last few days - however the problems with over-consuming red meat has very little to do with the question of ethical choice. Red meat is only a small part of the question and it is the over-consumption not the consumption per se that is deleterious to health. Vegan diets for children need to be either scrupulously monitored and very carefully constructed - or more likely supplemented or are dependent on fortified foods. It is much easier to achieve a balanced diet, when that diet contains meat, dairy products and fish - even though it is possible to do this with a vegan diet, it is not simple.

 

Yes, I stuck to red meat because of the topic's subject matter (beef). I agree that it doesn't sound exactly that simple for someone who has not tried it to eat balanced and vegan, but it is. As far as children health goes, there is not one species that *needs* to rely on the milk of another species to thrive. To say humans need that is sheer nonsense. You can get all the calcium you need from plants (mostly green leafy vegetables, cabbages), plus the calcium bioavailability must be taken into account. Anyhow, it's not really a problem to substitute dairy. As for fish, yes, I can agree that Omega-3 are harder to find on a vegan diet (though, not impossible to find: where the fish finds it -- algae, but also more common and practical, flaxseeds and hempseeds).

 

I think Trip confirmed that - it has always been my belief. I am not sure, however, that I want to live my life on the basis of max efficiency. And I do not believe that any increase in efficiency will help the massive distributional and political problems that sentence an unforgivably large percentage of the world's population to food scarcity.

 

I also agree that having a more efficient way of life here may not really help to bring food to those starving. However, it will help reduce the gaz emissions. This point was about the environmental impact of your choice, not about food solidarity, mind you. I never argued that eating less meat here would feed the masses. That being said, if the whole world wanted to eat the Standard American Diet, we'd lack land to grow the grains to feed all these animals. It takes less land to feed people on grains, legumes and vegetables directly. So that it's more part of a global solution to eat less meat than to eat more.

 

Cuteness argument - quite agree. On the final section would re-iterate Zapatos' final question "Would you be ethically opposed to eating animals if while living they were really enjoying themselves?"

 

Answered above.

 

I presume you would, as you are Vegan and you admit the ethical argument is really the only argument that would completely support that choice; but would like to hear your views. Personally i think a strict line must be drawn between two different questions - the eating of meat as it is produced for consumers in the western world today, and the eating of meat per se.

 

I agree that a line must be drawn. My view is quite simple. Living sentient beings care for their lives (most tend to avoid pain or react negatively to it, and they seek survival). That we, as a species, judge that their own life is not meaningful for them is a touchy issue. I can't really know what it is like to be a bat (invoking Nagel). Damn, I can't really know what it is like to be a physics major, so how the hell am I supposed to know what it is like to be a horse or a gorilla? But it is generally accepted that in doubt, we should apply the charity principle. Do I *need* meat? No. Does eating meat and animal products cause pain to sentient beings? Yes. Can I choose to do otherwise? Yes. So why not doing it? [Your answer here].

 

http://boingboing.ne...wkins-on-v.html

Edited by marie-claude
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I live in southern Kentucky.

 

Don't try to understand our weather conditions. No one understands them. Just last week within a span of three days, we had tornadoes, snow, and then 70 degree weather. :P

 

We don't really refer to anything as ranching around here because we see ranches as thousand-acre type operations.

Yeah, weather conditions are like that here in Texas at times too.

I just commented on the ranching phrase because it gave me hint that you weren't from my kneck of the woods and I started wondering what kind of conditions you had to deal with, which would have an impact on what kind of feed that's needed.

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Yeah, weather conditions are like that here in Texas at times too.

I just commented on the ranching phrase because it gave me hint that you weren't from my kneck of the woods and I started wondering what kind of conditions you had to deal with, which would have an impact on what kind of feed that's needed.

 

What if, suddently WORLD GOVERNMENT decides that humans are allowed to eat either meat nor vegetable of any description? Could we handle the trauma of knowing that our own lives would be so soon short lived? Just a thought!
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What if, suddently WORLD GOVERNMENT decides that humans are allowed to eat either meat nor vegetable of any description? Could we handle the trauma of knowing that our own lives would be so soon short lived? Just a thought!

Your response to Justin's post seems disconnected.

 

And are you saying that this fictitious world government decided that we are allowed to eat neither meat nor vegetables of any description? Are they limiting the world to fruit and grain only? I don't understand why you make this argument. What's the difference between fruits, grains and vegetables in the context of this thread?

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What if, suddently WORLD GOVERNMENT decides that humans are allowed to eat either meat nor vegetable of any description? Could we handle the trauma of knowing that our own lives would be so soon short lived? Just a thought!

Someone once asked Mark Twain what he thought men would become without women. His reply was "Scarce: mighty scarce".

How long would that government last?

The answer can't be more than a month or so because, as humans, they too would starve.

 

It was a silly post, why did you bother with it, particularly as a response to a comment on the weather in Texas?

Edited by John Cuthber
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Rigney,

 

What if, suddently WORLD GOVERNMENT decides that humans are allowed to eat either meat nor vegetable of any description? Could we handle the trauma of knowing that our own lives would be so soon short lived? Just a thought!

I second Phi's questioning of this statement. I'm not quite sure where you're coming from or what you're intending to question.

 

 

I was commenting on weather conditions because earlier in the thread people were discussing the amount of land that cattle take up that could be used for something else like vegetable growth. I noticed a comment about feeding cows corn and felt reasonably sure that they were commenting from a different perspective than I would have thought about it. When thinking about cattle feed you have take into account weather conditons. Here in Texas we have to worry mainly about water. A droubt would affect the amount of hay you can cut in a season, and availability of any washes that may retain water. While in cold weather you have to worry about water sources freezing, find shelter for your stock,etc... To keep from rambling too long, I was only mentioning this fact because a person usually has their perceptions based on what they're used to dealing with. And when talking about the room it takes to grow feed for cattle is impotant when considering what weather conditions they are being subjected to.

 

Nothing important and rather trivial, so nothing to get excited about.

Edited by JustinW
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I agree that a line must be drawn. My view is quite simple. Living sentient beings care for their lives (most tend to avoid pain or react negatively to it, and they seek survival). That we, as a species, judge that their own life is not meaningful for them is a touchy issue. I can't really know what it is like to be a bat (invoking Nagel). Damn, I can't really know what it is like to be a physics major, so how the hell am I supposed to know what it is like to be a horse or a gorilla? But it is generally accepted that in doubt, we should apply the charity principle. Do I *need* meat? No. Does eating meat and animal products cause pain to sentient beings? Yes. Can I choose to do otherwise? Yes. So why not doing it? [Your answer here].

 

http://boingboing.ne...wkins-on-v.html

 

I am not a vegan, but can completely understand the environmental reason for going vegan (although there are some environments in which grazing animals has a smaller environmental impact than growing irrigated crops). As someone with an ecology background, I still struggle with the ethical one though. I mean, I am definitely opposed to CAFOs and the like, and have reduced my meat consumption so I can afford to eat locally produced meat and eggs from farms that treat their animals humanly. But, I don't see the killing of animals for food as unethical, I guess because if we didn't corral the cows and chickens in safe environments, they would be gobbled up by other predators as fast as you could snap your fingers anyways. (Especially the chickens.) Food chains are an integral part of ecological systems on Earth, and humans are also part of those ecological systems. Why is it ok for a tiger to eat a gazelle, but not ok for me to eat a chicken?

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I like to eat cow, they generally object if they are not dead, why is it unethical to kill a cow?

 

Why "isn't" it unethical?

 

The ethics of anything depends on what you decide.

There's really no physics of the universe saying what "deserves" to die and what "deserves" to live, what is actually "right" or "wrong", living things just have to decide that for themselves. Do we want all these cows that don't necessarily deserve to die to in fact die to feed a random species? Or, to us are the values of cows lives un-important and don't necessarily deserve to live? There's no mystical force to decide for us, whatever we decide is on us.

Of course, this entire instance is purely relative to human beings, because whatever we decide the value of cows to be, cows themselves can easily and probably do think something differently. It's relative, much like time.

Edited by questionposter
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But, I don't see the killing of animals for food as unethical, I guess because if we didn't corral the cows and chickens in safe environments, they would be gobbled up by other predators as fast as you could snap your fingers anyways. (Especially the chickens.) Food chains are an integral part of ecological systems on Earth, and humans are also part of those ecological systems. Why is it ok for a tiger to eat a gazelle, but not ok for me to eat a chicken?

 

Quite simply, I'd say that to invoke the "food chain" argument, you have to advocate that humans are just beasts like any other animals that walk the Earth. Usually, people believe humans have a "special status" somewhat. Now, does this special status come with increased power, or with increased responsibility?

 

If you say humans can't help it, and that they feed on other animals following blindly their instincts, like any other animal does in the wild to survive, I'd say ok. There's no ethics involved in that.

 

If you say humans can think about their choices and act according to some moral standard, then invoking the food chain makes no sense. What people seem to do when they invoke the food chain is applying a double standard: humans are moral, except when it comes to putting food in their plate. The tiger eats a gazelle without caring about its suffering simply because it isn't an animal that can contemplate moral arguments. If you say humans are moral animals, than I say they'd have the minimal responsibility to act like they are moral animals and at least care about how they raise animals for food.

 

What I find the most hypocritical is that usually people will be obfuscated at cats and dogs being piled in tiny cages in shelters, after being abandoned by their owners, but happily eat pork coming from farms where they use contention crates, or eat eggs from chicken in batteries. Most people don't think it's ok to make animals suffer unnecessarily, but they don't react when animals are kept in suffering conditions to satisfy their gustatory habits and preferences.

 

The ethics of anything depends on what you decide.

There's really no physics of the universe saying what "deserves" to die and what "deserves" to live, what is actually "right" or "wrong", living things just have to decide that for themselves. Do we want all these cows that don't necessarily deserve to die to in fact die to feed a random species? Or, to us are the values of cows lives un-important and don't necessarily deserve to live? There's no mystical force to decide for us, whatever we decide is on us.

Of course, this entire instance is purely relative to human beings, because whatever we decide the value of cows to be, cows themselves can easily and probably do think something differently. It's relative, much like time.

 

I generally agree with that. We can decide what we believe is ethical and what isn't. Of course, it's also relative, as cows probably don't want to be eaten (though, really, we have no means to know what goes on in a cow's head). We can infer from the behaviour of most animals that they usually strive not to get eaten and so they must "value" their life to the extent that their own brain development allows them to.

 

We usually perceive suffering as bad, and many people would agree with a somewhat utilitarian view stipulating that something that is good increases one's well-being or reduces one's suffering. So we can say that we strive to avoid suffering, and that this is good. If it's good for us, it's good for others too, usually. All beings that can experience pain and suffering strive to avoid it. Some suffering might be necessary though (we have no choice but controlling pests when growing food, say). That's fine. Some suffering is unavoidable. But if we can reduce suffering, especially for sentient beings that can experience pain not only when put to death but during their lifetime, and if this suffering is the result of human behaviours that are not necessary, then why not change our behaviours? I do not *need* to eat meat. I can very well live without. Plus, many recent studies point toward health problems caused by meat, and the American Dietetic Association states the following:

 

"The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals."

 

I avoid meat because even though it was a very useful calorific source at some point during human evolution, we now know it is not the healthiest food around. Plus, we used to eat animals living in the wild, not selectively bred animals kept confined in cages. I have much more respect for someone hunting its own food than I have for our modern ways where people buy animal parts that don't look much like animal parts because if they did, people would feel disgusted to prepare them. We put pads in meat trays so that the consumers won't see any blood that could repulse them. From animals, we've gone to "animal products". This is a twisted way to look at living things, methinks.

 

------------------

 

I'd like to quote this:

 

"Why is taste, the crudest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses? If you stop and think about it, its crazy. Why doesn't a horny person have as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to killing and eating it? It's easy to dismiss that question but hard to respond to it. And how would you judge an artist who mutilated animals in a gallery because it was visually arresting? How riveting would the sound of a tortured animal need to be to make you want to hear it THAT badly? Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals."

 

-- Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

Edited by marie-claude
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Quite simply, I'd say that to invoke the "food chain" argument, you have to advocate that humans are just beasts like any other animals that walk the Earth. Usually, people believe humans have a "special status" somewhat. Now, does this special status come with increased power, or with increased responsibility?

 

We are "just beasts" if you think otherwise please tell us what separates humans from animals? Our "special status" is our own assertion made from our perspective it is a data point of one and therefor meaningless...

 

If you say humans can't help it, and that they feed on other animals following blindly their instincts, like any other animal does in the wild to survive, I'd say ok. There's no ethics involved in that.

 

That's exactly what we do, this idea that we are somehow superior to or different from animals is false. yes, from our perspective we seem to have the ability to choose but that is from our perspective. Then we go on and try to project our perspective on animals, yes we can look at baby animals and think oh how cute or look at an animal and think of how beautiful it is but when the rubber meets the road we are just an animal who thinks it's superior. Put you on an island where their is nothing to eat but animals and you will eat animals or do you think you'd have the moral fiber to allow your self to starve to death to avoid eating an animal? If you'd eat an animal to survive then you are a hypocrite, a cow would starve...

 

If you say humans can think about their choices and act according to some moral standard, then invoking the food chain makes no sense. What people seem to do when they invoke the food chain is applying a double standard: humans are moral, except when it comes to putting food in their plate. The tiger eats a gazelle without caring about its suffering simply because it isn't an animal that can contemplate moral arguments. If you say humans are moral animals, than I say they'd have the minimal responsibility to act like they are moral animals and at least care about how they raise animals for food.

 

You are projecting human morality onto animals and assuming they have no morals because we don't agree with their behavior. This is false, animals have moral behavior, lions do not kill other lions for food, in fact lions kill each other at a rate far lower than humans kill other humans... Wolves, those dastardly immoral beasts from the gates of hell... no they are animals acting on their own values, wolves do not kill and eat other wolves as food, they take care of their young, defend their mates and families. All social animals have what can be described as morals and some are close enough to our own that we can identify them as moral behavior. What we call morals is just our own social behavior.

 

I see no reason not to eat other animals, i find the idea of how some animals are raised for food to be deplorable but to say that killing another animal for food is immoral or unethical is nonsense.

 

What I find the most hypocritical is that usually people will be obfuscated at cats and dogs being piled in tiny cages in shelters, after being abandoned by their owners, but happily eat pork coming from farms where they use contention crates, or eat eggs from chicken in batteries. Most people don't think it's ok to make animals suffer unnecessarily, but they don't react when animals are kept in suffering conditions to satisfy their gustatory habits and preferences.

 

I have to agree, I find such things to be deplorable, I was raised on a farm and we raised animals as food, the conditions weren't as good as animals would enjoy in the wild but then they didn't have to consistently worry about predators either. We never killed an animal in the presence of other animals, that was thought to be cruel but it had some practical reasons as well, animals get suspicious if they see you kill some of their own and become harder to handle... well except for chickens... they don't seem to care and will eat their own but that is another thing entirely. ( i readily admit to not liking chickens, every time i eat chicken i think, Hmmm revenge is sweet and so is chicken meat...) I do my best to insure that the animal products I eat are raised in a reasonable manner but to say that it's unethical for humans to kill to eat is a stretch past the point of breaking...

 

Humans evolved due to pressures that sent our species in the direction of eating meat, our large brains resulted from both the increased food value of meat and the need for brain power to catch and eat other animals and avoid being caught and eaten while doing so. Our nearest relatives, chimps, eat meat as well. Is it better for an animal to be hunted in the wild and killed and eaten to be consistently under the stress of being hunted or is it best to be raised on a farm to be eventually eaten?

 

You cannot say that it's wrong for a humans to eat meat, our digestive system shows that to be false, we evolved to eat meat but you do have a leg to stand on when it comes to food production but it will take far more than trying to shame people by telling them eating meat is wrong to change the system.

 

BTW, i do know people who do not eat meat, I see no reason to show them as more or less moral or ethical than anyone else, some of them i wouldn't trust alone in the dark for sure... but hey they don't condone the killing animals so they should be morally superior.. horse feathers...

 

BTW, we allowed our chickens free range and our ducks as well, they never tried to escape because they feared wild predators far more than they feared us... loved to eat duck eggs, which they would defend but they never left us for the freedom of being hunted by wild predators and if a predator did come round they flocked to us for protection.

 

 

 

I'd like to quote this:

 

"Why is taste, the crudest of our senses, exempted from the ethical rules that govern our other senses? If you stop and think about it, its crazy. Why doesn't a horny person have as strong a claim to raping an animal as a hungry one does to killing and eating it? It's easy to dismiss that question but hard to respond to it. And how would you judge an artist who mutilated animals in a gallery because it was visually arresting? How riveting would the sound of a tortured animal need to be to make you want to hear it THAT badly? Try to imagine any end other than taste for which it would be justifiable to do what we do to farmed animals."

 

-- Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals

 

 

What a lovely quote...horse feathers, a total strawman argument...

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We are "just beasts" if you think otherwise please tell us what separates humans from animals? Our "special status" is our own assertion made from our perspective it is a data point of one and therefor meaningless...

 

Well, if you believe humans are only acting on instincts and beasts incapable to make rationale for their decisions, then we have nothing to discuss anymore. There is no ethics and the rapists is free to rape anyone on its instincts telling him to do so.

 

 

That's exactly what we do, this idea that we are somehow superior to or different from animals is false. yes, from our perspective we seem to have the ability to choose but that is from our perspective.

 

I'd even agree that free will might very well be an illusion. But nobody acts and lives as if all his choices are illusions. We believe we can choose, and we rationalize our decisions all the time. I am only pointing out that when we rationalize, we should at least strive for coherence. If you condemn torturing a baby, you should condemn torturing an adult chimp if you are applying the same standard, because every data seems to point that the adult chimp is most probably more self-aware than a newborn.

 

Then we go on and try to project our perspective on animals, yes we can look at baby animals and think oh how cute or look at an animal and think of how beautiful it is but when the rubber meets the road we are just an animal who thinks it's superior.

 

So being the only species that can use, say contraception, or make useful predictions using science... All this is rubbish and we are nothing more than mosquitoes, right?

 

Put you on an island where their is nothing to eat but animals and you will eat animals or do you think you'd have the moral fiber to allow your self to starve to death to avoid eating an animal? If you'd eat an animal to survive then you are a hypocrite, a cow would starve...

 

I've always been paying attention to talk about "unnecessary" suffering. Of course, I value my life and should I have no choice but eating animals, I'd eat animals. This has got NOTHING to do with our lives in developped countries where abundance of everything is allowing anyone to choose what he eats. This is not being hypocritical at all.

 

You are projecting human morality onto animals and assuming they have no morals because we don't agree with their behavior. This is false, animals have moral behavior, lions do not kill other lions for food, in fact lions kill each other at a rate far lower than humans kill other humans... Wolves, those dastardly immoral beasts from the gates of hell... no they are animals acting on their own values, wolves do not kill and eat other wolves as food, they take care of their young, defend their mates and families. All social animals have what can be described as morals and some are close enough to our own that we can identify them as moral behavior. What we call morals is just our own social behavior.

 

Actually, I'd agree with this, and my post was poorly written in this respect. Like sentience, intelligence and other characteristics, I do believe that there is a continuum over the animal kingdom and our evolution history. So yes, what we call "morality" is just complex, social rules for behaving ourselves.

 

I see no reason not to eat other animals, i find the idea of how some animals are raised for food to be deplorable but to say that killing another animal for food is immoral or unethical is nonsense.

 

At least, if you are coherent and think that animals have no value and we can use them for anything, then I'd say you are entitled to your opinion. However, most people are against causing suffering to animals when it's not necessary. The thing is that they consider it necessary to put tasty chicken in their mouths, when it is not. I just ask people to be coherent. If you don't care about animal sufferings for your food, why should you care about animal suffering for anyone's mere entertainment?

 

I have to agree, I find such things to be deplorable, I was raised on a farm and we raised animals as food, the conditions weren't as good as animals would enjoy in the wild but then they didn't have to consistently worry about predators either. We never killed an animal in the presence of other animals, that was thought to be cruel but it had some practical reasons as well, animals get suspicious if they see you kill some of their own and become harder to handle... well except for chickens... they don't seem to care and will eat their own but that is another thing entirely. ( i readily admit to not liking chickens, every time i eat chicken i think, Hmmm revenge is sweet and so is chicken meat...) I do my best to insure that the animal products I eat are raised in a reasonable manner but to say that it's unethical for humans to kill to eat is a stretch past the point of breaking...

 

I don't like chicken either. It's not a question of "liking" or not animals. I see no reason why "taste" should justify any amount of suffering.

 

Humans evolved due to pressures that sent our species in the direction of eating meat, our large brains resulted from both the increased food value of meat and the need for brain power to catch and eat other animals and avoid being caught and eaten while doing so. Our nearest relatives, chimps, eat meat as well. Is it better for an animal to be hunted in the wild and killed and eaten to be consistently under the stress of being hunted or is it best to be raised on a farm to be eventually eaten?

 

Well, we aren't quite still living in the woods, right? I don't deny anything you said in the above paragraph. But just stating that something is natural doesn't mean it's good. It is also pretty unnatural to wear clothes, to perfume ourselves, to shave, etc. To say that "natural" is good is committing the naturalistic fallacy. I won't compare which is best between living in the wild or in a farm as for me, it is unnecessary, at this point of the human history to continue to eat meat. Farm animals don't belong to any ecosystem in the wild.

 

You cannot say that it's wrong for a humans to eat meat, our digestive system shows that to be false, we evolved to eat meat but you do have a leg to stand on when it comes to food production but it will take far more than trying to shame people by telling them eating meat is wrong to change the system.

 

I agree that it may take more than telling them it's wrong. Actually, I started by reducing my meat consumption because many studies show that eating as much meat as we do in America is a very bad idea for your health. Our digestive system allows us to eat meat, yes, and if I'm not mistaken, we even evolved some capability to eat more meat than other apes without getting as much adversive effect from dietary cholesterol than they do, but this doesn't mean that eating the amound of meat we do now is good for us. Our diet should be mainly composed of fruits and vegetables, and supplemented by some animal proteins when available. Now look at how our plates are composed in America: a big piece of meat surrounded by a little bit of vegetables, plus, loads of dairy, especially cheese. This is not healthy at all. Also, the environmental toll of raising cattle, especially, to come back to the topic of the thread, is pretty much disastrous. These two reasons are good ones to want to reduce meat and some animal products, and they have nothing to do with animals' well-being.

 

BTW, i do know people who do not eat meat, I see no reason to show them as more or less moral or ethical than anyone else, some of them i wouldn't trust alone in the dark for sure... but hey they don't condone the killing animals so they should be morally superior.. horse feathers...

 

Of course. I don't pretend in any way to be superior to anyone else in general. I just try to be coherent. I don't believe my gustatory tastes should pass before the life of an animal. Tell me how this makes me feel superior to animals.

 

BTW, we allowed our chickens free range and our ducks as well, they never tried to escape because they feared wild predators far more than they feared us... loved to eat duck eggs, which they would defend but they never left us for the freedom of being hunted by wild predators and if a predator did come round they flocked to us for protection.

 

Yes, animals don't see humans giving them food as predators. So what? I can't access eggs that didn't cause at least some chicks to be killed to bring them to my table, so it's easier to just not eat eggs. Plus, I don't need eggs to survive.

 

And would you care to explain why Foer's quote is a strawman?

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