Saturday, September 30, 2006

So I've decided to give up meat... again...

Alright, so I'm probably not going to go cold-turkey (pun somewhat intended) - it's going to take some time to revise my cooking habits, meal planning process, etc. Especially since I have two other people to think about, neither of whom I'm comfortable enforcing my own ethical decisions on 100%, so there will have to be some compromises made. For myself, I'm going to work on cutting out meat - substituting w/ meat alternatives. For the rest of the family, I'm going to start buying meat products from local farmers that use more humane methods of raising and slaughtering their animals.

This hasn't been an easy decision. Prompted by a paper I had to write for my applied ethics class, I had to look closely at my own views on eating meat. When I started out writing the paper, I was of the mind that eating meat could be an ethical action, dependent on the treatment of the animal. Through lots of reading, pondering, and lengthy discussion/debate with Andrea and Birch, I came to realize that my lines of argument on the issue were flawed. I'm not saying that I am 100% confident that I've come to the absolute correct conclusion, but I do think I'm a lot closer than I was a week ago.

Here's the final draft of the paper I submitted (and yes, it's very short - we're only allowed 260 words to state our argument, support it, object to it, and refute the objection):

Eating non-human animals is ethically wrong because it causes unnecessary suffering in a sentient being. When we eat meat to satisfy a preference, or because we choose not to use other alternatives, we are causing unnecessary suffering. We do not need to eat meat to have a healthy diet, and when we choose to, we are assigning more value to our taste preferences over the preference the animal has to continue to live and to not be inflicted with harm. How can we possibly argue that our dietary preferences are worth more than an animal’s right to life and freedom from unnecessary suffering?

One could try to argue that an animal can be raised in such a way that reduces it’s suffering, and perhaps even allows it to live a “good life”, and in that case killing the animal (in a humane way) for human consumption would not be wrong. However, while this may be a convenient feel-good argument, it does not change the fact that the animal is killed long before its life would have naturally ended, and that cannot be said to satisfy the interests of the animal. Also, we need to ask ourselves what right we have to determine when an animal has lived a long enough life, whether it be good quality or not.

5 comments:

Andrea said...

That sounds like a pretty persuasive argument, but as you know I am heavily biased. Let me know how the vegetarianism goes and if you need any resources with where to find local meats.

FastLane said...

Don't... don't do the vegetarian thing... It's just not right. Cook yourself a nice big steak and enjoy life. Salad's for wimps.

FastLane said...

on the argument note... I fail to see why an animal life is more important than a plant life. Boo hoo, get over it and stop putting a face on your food.

This message brought to you by someone who actually enjoys food. I was eating lunch with Birch the other day, and he turned down good meat. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO HIM ANDY?!?!?

Andrea said...

Hey now, if you had actually taken the time to read any of the arguments for animal rights maybe you would see things differently....and maybe you wouldn't, who knows. Animals are sentient beings, plants are not. Animals can experience pain, plants cannot.

Birch makes his own decisions. So, maybe try pulling your head out of your ass and stop bashing your friends for their own personal moral convictions.

Brought to you by someone who chooses to not let animals suffer needlessly.

FastLane said...

I'm just messin with you Andy. In truth, I don't care what other people eat. More meat for me. I have read a lot of arguments for vegetarianism, and no, I don't agree. I can leave it like that (but it's my nature to give people, especially Birch, a hard time). Really, if you can accept that I eat meat, I can accept that you don't.

I'm friends with vegetarians the same way I'm friends with gay people. Not my thing, but to each his own. If you accept the fact that If you tried to push me to be gay, we'd have a problem. Since you guys don't push me to be vegetarian, enjoy your salad and what not. If you came to eat at my house, I'd make you something with no meat, even if I had to go out and buy it just for you (though I would probably make myself something with meat... vegetarian lasagna and other traditional meaty foods made with soy make me a sad panda).

I admit I don't understand the attraction to the vegetarian lifestyle. While I do take shots at vegetarians, it's meant in good humor.