Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
IFR

The Ethics of Eating Meat: A Fowl Dilemma

Recommended Posts

On 6/11/2021 at 12:32 PM, kairparavel said:

I think you have to axe lab meat. First, because it's not meat, and second you're still normalizing the consumption of 'meat'. If you truly want to end meat consumption you have to end meat.

I agree with not calling it meat but I don't think it should be axed.

I'd be onboard with lab cultured tissue of animal proteins and fats for human consumption if it can be developed to deliver the nutritional, satiety and enjoyment (texture/taste) equivalent of animal meat. I think we are decades away from recreating true cultured tissue to replace animal grown tissue, but I hope I'm around to see it and then perhaps we'll see the end of industrial scale animal husbandry for consumption.      

But what about the food we feed our pets? The pet food market (aquarium fish feed, dog food, cat food etc) is expected to head north of $100 billion in the coming years. A lot of that is animal by-products.

As a last thought, I fear the day of the Triffids. Once we've weaned off animal grown meat, if we truly wish to transcend as a species we need to figure out how to assemble basic molecules from nutrients instead of killing plants.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/11/2021 at 10:32 AM, kairparavel said:

I think you have to axe lab meat. First, because it's not meat, and second you're still normalizing the consumption of 'meat'. If you truly want to end meat consumption you have to end meat.

Why though? Doesn't lab meat get rid of most of the objections to meat consumption? Without the enviromental and ethical issues why should we abstain from lab meat? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/10/2021 at 8:32 PM, kairparavel said:

I think you have to axe lab meat. First, because it's not meat, and second you're still normalizing the consumption of 'meat'. If you truly want to end meat consumption you have to end meat.

I'm also curious about this position. Can you expound further?

Lab meat would eliminate the problem of inflicting inhumane conditions on other animals, drastically reduce environmentally hazardous effluents and greenhouse emissions, allow land dedicated to livestock feed to be used as carbon sinks, and reduce water usage. Presumably lab meat could also be engineered to be healthier - less cholesterol and so forth.

Why would this be a problem?

18 hours ago, Starkess said:

Yes, exactly

And as brutal as natural deaths are, factory farming lives are far, far worse.

18 hours ago, Starkess said:

I have a much broader definition of natural, I suppose. I mean, humans are animals. Basically anything that humans do is natural. But my point is that not eating meat requires some sort of advancement above and beyond the typical diet of homo sapiens. If there were a global apocalypse tomorrow, veganism wouldn't be a viable option. Again, this isn't an argument against veganism. I mean I love me a good bag of Doritos and that ain't natural either. But I think it is an argument in favor of an omnivorous diet.

I appreciate the clarification, but I guess I still cannot agree with this assessment. One cannot sustain the amount of food consumption (and waste) seen today without scientific intervention. In the early 1900s food scarcity was a problem, one that wasn't overcome until the Haber-Bosch method of using high pressure chemistry to convert atmospheric nitrogen into fixed nitrogen in the form of synthetic fertilizers. And then later the development of Norman Borlaug's semi-dwarf wheat. Certainly the meat people regularly consume would not be available without these developments. If an apocalypse occurred, most of the human population would starve to death, because scientific intervention is necessary to sustain our population.

Modern food habits require an advancement above and beyond the typical homo sapien diet. And certainly the amount of meat produced from factory farming is entirely dependent on scientific intervention.

And in regards to the point on the perceived moral superiority of veganism, I think there are ways to go about a discussion of differences, but there are always individuals in a group that immediately opt for the truncheon unfortunately.

But yes, the choice of not contributing to the suffering of other animals will unavoidably be viewed by those opposed to suffering as a morally better choice than contributing to the suffering of other animals.

Here's something that we can probably agree on. Lynching homosexuals is morally wrong. When you and I choose not to lynch someone for their sexual orientation, we both think we are making a morally superior choice to someone who chooses to lynch another for their sexual orientation.

You may object to this comparison. How dare I compare the suffering of a human to mere animals? And that's precisely the disconnect. Vegans do not devalue the suffering of animals. You have a different mindset. As you stated, your money is worth more to you than the suffering of another individual because you devalue their suffering. You devalue it to such an extent that it probably strikes you as absurd to make the comparison that I have made.

But I see this as a pattern of human behavior. Most atrocities have been committed based on devaluing those who a group is subjugating. "Of course the suffering of Jews can be disregarded - they are inferior to us." "Of course slavery is acceptable - they are inferior to us." "Of course women should not be able to vote - they are inferior to us." "Of course homosexuals should be persecuted - they are inferior to us." "Of course the suffering of other animals should not matter more to me than my money - they are inferior to us."

I'm sure you will consider this case special, that it has to be different. And that too is the mentality of those who oppress others.

So yes, if one does not have that mindset and observes someone choosing to harm another individual for no better reason than their own pleasure, it is not possible to consider their behavior moral.

Edited by IFR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 6/11/2021 at 8:02 AM, kairparavel said:

think you have to axe lab meat.

Cleavers are better I hear 

Edited by TheLastWolf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think veganism is coming strongly in other ways than vat grown meat, and that’s artificial meat substitutes based on soy beans, peas and other vegetarian protein sources. I’ve stopped eating chicken almost entirely because the vegan options are now so close to the real thing that I find them perfectly good replacements. Vegan “minced meat” also works, and some vegan sausages and burgers are also pretty tasty nowadays. The situation has improved tremendously the last 10 years or so. I’ve even found some vegan bacon that I like. It’s not like real bacon but it’s close enough to accept and get used to.

There are still of course many different foods that still have no good vegan alternatives. Cheese and many other dairy products are mediocre at best, and there’s no substitute for a good steak. I don’t even know if there are any fish substitutes. But if everyone could start replacing their meat, little by little, it would do a lot of good for the planet.

I hope I’ll eventually be able to go completely vegan, but for me it has to be gradual. It’s just too hard to give everything up at once. Food is not just something you eat to stay alive, it’s also part of our culture and identity. I take some pride in being able to cook. Switching to vegan means starting over from scratch, and for me that’s been a pretty long road. And there’s also the prospect  of losing some part of your life forever, something you used to enjoy. Easier then to think of myself not as a vegan but as someone who just happens to choose vegan options most of the time (and eventually, I hope, every time). 
 

I agree 100% that current food production is completely unethical. I’m an engineer. I work in factories, optimising production through continuous improvement. It’s normally a good thing, but it sickens me to think of how it’s being applied to animals. That’s why we have chickens being slaughtered just a few weeks after they’re born, and pigs being suffocated with carbon dioxide: it makes for effective production and a high throughput. The fact that I just can’t take the plunge and go fully vegan makes me like myself a little less. Kudos to all vegans out there who did it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I think you will have pockets of rural Americana that will always raise and butcher on the smaller scale hobby or family farm.

For a rural midwesterner it is not that unusual to know someone or a relative that raises lamb, beefalo, hog or poultry and to buy a side or quarter of meat or get eggs direct. I can get all those items directly without the factory farm, just as we can get our veggies, fruits, syrup and honey from farm markets without going to a store.

In rural America there was a time not to far removed where you could have milk, cider, and eggs delivered direct from farms.

Were corporate farms to wane, I suspect those practices would come back a little more heavily.

Even in the cities they have vast farm markets like Detroits Eastern Market where you can still purchase meats and produce that are produced from family farms. 

I can purchase Whitefish, Perch and Salmon at an area farmers market from coolers, fish directly from the lake that hasn't been farm raised.

Maybe it's a consequence of region or living removed from the population centers, but it is not at all difficult for me to skip factory produced meat and other agricultural staples and without paying a tremendous premium, it does require visiting multiple markets, orchards and so forth but it's very doable in a rural county like mine still.

Edited by DireWolfSpirit

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, ithanos said:

I agree with not calling it meat but I don't think it should be axed.

It’d be strange if food consumption ever got to a point where there wasn’t even a name for anything anymore, it was all lab grown and artificial and you just called it what you wanted. “Try these ... blue cubes! They aren’t meat or veg or ... well, anything. Just these blue cubes we made. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted! Literally!”

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, DaveSumm said:

It’d be strange if food consumption ever got to a point where there wasn’t even a name for anything anymore, it was all lab grown and artificial and you just called it what you wanted. “Try these ... blue cubes! They aren’t meat or veg or ... well, anything. Just these blue cubes we made. Like nothing you’ve ever tasted! Literally!”

Leave that to the marketing department. Just don't call it Soylent Green.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

I disagree with lab meat not being meat. It's edible animal tissue, that's the definition of a meat imo. That it's grown in a lab rather than on an animal is neither here nor there.

Edited by Impmk2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Impmk2 said:

I disagree with lab meat not being meat. It's edible animal tissue, that's the definition of a meat imo. That it's grown in a lab rather than on an animal is neither here nor there.

That should be the distinction to be able to term the product as 'meat', that's it's definable as lab grown tissue, cultured flesh, and not a conglomerate of plant materials. I wouldn't prefix lab grown tissue with 'animal' which can imply it was once alive (which it shouldn't be, right? :unsure:).  The English language has a life of its own so the semantics of the word meat in 30-50years may have some twists.

Regarding the eating of insects, I've eaten crickets and larvae from stalls at markets, which didn't taste too bad - although I wasn't chewing them to discern any flavours like you would a good cheese. So I'd be fine adding them my diet if it came to it. However, anything that looks remotely like a cockroach is going to get stomped on!  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, ithanos said:

 I wouldn't prefix lab grown tissue with 'animal' which can imply it was once alive (which it shouldn't be, right? :unsure:). 

 

We're very much arguing over semantics here, but it is most certainly alive, by any definition of the word. These animal cells respirate, grow, divide, consume nutrients, metabolise, they're as alive as animal cells in any other context. I guess I just don't really see much difference between them doing these things in a lab, rather than on (for example) the leg of the lamb where they originally came from.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I dissected cockroaches. They have bits that you could put in a shake and never know. Lobster rolls are better, but pain…

You know I admire Buddhism. They start off with there is suffering. Then you lead a good life and endeavor not to avoid or crave things as those create suffering. Does it work, yes some. Leading a good life is difficult, but I guess it’s a craving!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, IFR said:

You may object to this comparison. How dare I compare the suffering of a human to mere animals? And that's precisely the disconnect. Vegans do not devalue the suffering of animals. You have a different mindset. As you stated, your money is worth more to you than the suffering of another individual because you devalue their suffering. You devalue it to such an extent that it probably strikes you as absurd to make the comparison that I have made.

But I see this as a pattern of human behavior. Most atrocities have been committed based on devaluing those who a group is subjugating. "Of course the suffering of Jews can be disregarded - they are inferior to us." "Of course slavery is acceptable - they are inferior to us." "Of course women should not be able to vote - they are inferior to us." "Of course homosexuals should be persecuted - they are inferior to us." "Of course the suffering of other animals should not matter more to me than my money - they are inferior to us."

I'm sure you will consider this case special, that it has to be different. And that too is the mentality of those who oppress others.

So yes, if one does not have that mindset and observes someone choosing to harm another individual for no better reason than their own pleasure, it is not possible to consider their behavior moral.

The difference is Jews are people and cows aren''t, If I have a choice between saving a human being and a cow I'm going to save the human every time. Serious question based on this logic should we eliminate all predators? Since they need to kill other animals to live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Darzin said:

The difference is Jews are people and cows aren''t, If I have a choice between saving a human being and a cow I'm going to save the human every time. Serious question based on this logic should we eliminate all predators? Since they need to kill other animals to live.

Surely not "every" time?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Darzin said:

The difference is Jews are people and cows aren''t, If I have a choice between saving a human being and a cow I'm going to save the human every time. Serious question based on this logic should we eliminate all predators? Since they need to kill other animals to live.

Every time? Just out of curiosity, what if you knew that the person in this scenario is considered severely disobedient by social conventions (such as Jeffrey Dahmer)? Would you still go for saving the human who tortures and eats people over the cow who has harmed no one? This has no real bearing to the conversation, I'm just curious.

But to give a serious answer to your question, I do think that a goal of more intelligent organisms would ideally be to mitigate or remove suffering from all individuals.

We strive to do that for ourselves. We offer ourselves ways to reduce hunger, opportunities to provide happiness. We search for methods to improve our political systems so that as many can benefit as can be achieved. It's a process that we are always working towards, but not one with easy solutions.

And just as there are no easy solutions for ourselves, I do not think there are easy solutions to helping non-human organisms. For instance, a while back I was reading about the wolves of Yellowstone National Park. They had been driven nearly extinct in that area, which allowed the deer to overfeed and it significantly reduced the variety of life that could inhabit the area. When wolves were reintroduced to the area, after a surprising short period, more varieties of life began to appear again, and very quickly the area settled into its previous state of diversity.

There are a few things to consider in this scenario, from my perspective. When deer are eaten they suffer. When wolves don't eat they suffer, and the deer themselves will still eventually suffer from the harsh death that accompanies old age or illness (eg breaking a leg and being unable to access food or water and slowly dying). Additionally, because of resource limitations, if there are too many deer, other organisms are denied food and a properly habitable environment, which causes suffering.

So I don't think there is an easy answer to this due to practical considerations. Do I think we should throw up our hands, give up and say let nature do its thing? No. We do not accept that answer for ourselves. We try to improve the world for ourselves. We should in fact aim to improve the world for all (which, if some day we achieve sufficient enlightenment, I hope we do). 

The answer to your question is: I don't think we have a good enough understanding of the various biomes to intervene in good intention. Disruption could have catastrophic results (as we see with disruption due to global warming).

That being said, factory farming is a form of intervention already, and it is not a necessity. People do not need access to this quantity of meat in order to survive. It is a system that caters to taste, and additionally is incredibly wasteful and inefficient. Disrupting the factory farming system is merely disrupting a system that is already extremely pernicious in just about every category.

Other animals are not humans, as you say. It would be pointless to try to give them voting rights, for instance. But they are vulnerable to us, and they are capable of suffering. There are human beings who have severe mental deficiencies who cannot effectively function in society. We don't torture and kill them. We aim to protect them and offer them comfort. And I think that is a goal we should have for all organisms we practically can. It may not be immediately achievable, but certainly it is something worth working towards.

Edit: @DireWolfSpirit

It looks like we happened upon the same point. Well said! (Much more succinctly, at least.)

Edited by IFR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Comparing the holocaust to eating meat can fuck right off. I'm sorry, I know you said you wanted to start a well-reasoned discussion but the moment you do that you've messed that idea up. You can argue for the immorality of harming animals without comparing minorities to animals and if you feel like your argument doesn't stand up without you doing that then, well... what argument do you have?

Edited by polishgenius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol, cba going back but didnt the poster list a bunch of atrocities that were excused with the inferiority argument? Why not respond to the argument instead of the comparison?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, polishgenius said:

Comparing the holocaust to eating meat can fuck right off. I'm sorry, I know you said you wanted to start a well-reasoned discussion but the moment you do that you've messed that idea up. You can argue for the immorality of harming animals without comparing minorities to animals and if you feel like your argument doesn't stand up without you doing that then, well... what argument do you have?

I'm open to suggests on how to tactfully approach this point.

Your comment functions on the premise that it is an objective fact of the universe that humans are better than other animals, that their suffering has more value than the suffering of other animals, and even questioning this point is obscene. You are asserting that in a fundamental way human suffering should always have primary consideration, and everything else is secondary and that this should not in any way be questioned.

I'm pointing out that this is the very pattern of thinking that permits a culture to impose suffering on others. And furthermore, that human superiority is not a fundamental truth of the universe, but an opinion - a value system that I think is flawed.

I feel that it is a perfectly reasonable thing to discuss. I don't think it in any way diminishes the suffering other people have endured. I think the Holocaust and other ignoble points where suffering was imposed on vast numbers were completely awful, and deserve recognition as such. I'm simply extending that point to that which other animals are experiencing now.

If you can provide compelling evidence that human suffering is objectively more valuable than the suffering of other animals, then that would of course change the nature of the discussion. But I suspect you cannot offer anything other than outrage at my audacity, because it is not a scientific fact that the suffering of other animals holds less value than the suffering of humans, it's a convenient value to hold that allows one to in good conscience cause suffering to other animals for one's own pleasure.

I would suggest that your position is not factually based on any scientific evidence, but is a commonly held cultural opinion, and that disallowing contrasting opinions is the precise opposite of a well-reasoned approach to a discussion.

But again, I'm open to suggests on how to approach the issue at hand.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, Isalie said:

Why not respond to the argument instead of the comparison?

 

Because it's a disingenuous, false-pretense argument seeking to put the point over by emotional blackmail, which only works if someone already believes that humans and animals are equals. Since the majority do not they will therefore find the comparison offensive, which OP must surely know- and that comparing humans to animals was exactly how the first two atrocities in particular were justified, by dehumanisation.

Like I say, the argument that factory farming is immoral is perfectly makeable without the comparison, or even without arguing that animals aren't inferior to humans. And you can bring up the idea of whether humans are superior without outrage-baiting comparisons too. There is nothing about the argument that needs to compare people to animals directly. It's just shock-writing.

12 minutes ago, IFR said:

 

Your comment functions on the premise that it is an objective fact of the universe that humans are better than other animals, that their suffering has more value than the suffering of other animals, and even questioning this point is obscene.


No, my comment functions on the premise that you can question that point without going 'slaughtering cows is like killing six million Jews' and that making that comparison is obscene.

 

Edited by polishgenius

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...