Minus the south park moderately racist joke, this is the most rational response to the vegan philosophy outlined above.
Food animals are purpose bred/raised as food, under supposedly fairly stringent standards, and (at least theoretically) killed in a manner that minimizes suffering. Whether these standards and methods are truly acceptable/effective is not the scope of this particular argument. The point is that there is a world of difference between livestock production and slaughter and the wonton malicious injury of intelligent protected wildlife, which in this case led to death (…but how many cases of maiming aren’t known because the dead animals didn’t wash up?).
Can you elaborate why you think there is a difference?
Edit: I can save you the trouble. Both (food production and thrill killing) both satisfy an unneccessary human desire, they are different sides of the same coin. The only difference is that the death this dolphin suffered is vastly more humane than the life of the average food animal, and that is a fact. I urge you to read Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals for a very balanced and unbiased investigation of the entire issue.
You know, I’m a meat eater and think you are 100% correct - factory farming is inhumane. And it goes along with the industrialization of all aspects of human life. To fix it, we have to fix the whole system, because the dictates of the capitalist system demands warm bodies to make it run, and that means the majority of us have no time to raise our own food. Sidney Mintz makes a good argument about the commoditization of food and how that fits in the with rise of capitalism, in his book on Sugar.
Thanks Mindy, I always enjoy your posts, which are articulate and well thought out. Regarding the part of your post that I quoted, I have been fortunate enough to be able to drop out pretty substantially from the consumerist part of life by buying bulk from local stores, free-box crap from my neighborhood, fixing stuff and limping it along, etc… all of that great hippy stuff. This is a luxury I’ve been afforded because my daughter is almost grown, I’m not married, youngish and healthy, and live in a neighborhood that makes all of this possible and relatively easy. All the extra time allows me to do a lot of reading, thinking, walking, etc… The more and more I learn about our culture the less I want to participate in most parts of it, there must be a ton of people who feel the same.
Oddly enough, the thing about factory farming that repulsed me the most (after the anonymous cruelty) was the environmental aspect of it. The amount of water, land, petrol, workplace injury and mental harm, and waste involved is unfathomable. Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll see if my local library has it. If you have time, you should check out that Jonathan Safran Foer book (Eating Animals) I keep harping about, it really is wonderful, and someone as intelligent as you would probably have a lot of great insights to share after reading it. I wish he wouldn’t have given it that title however, as it sounds like it has an agenda. But he explains why, knowing this, he still decided to title the book as such.
I think this is important to acknowledge, that often people who can drop out of the system are those who can do that. It’s not always the case, but the stereotype of a well-heeled college-aged kid who can drop out and tune it is not without some merit (though in this case, you’re not college aged, obviously). Likewise, I’m incredibly privileged to be able to get a doctorate.
I think most public libraries also do interlibrary loans, though it usually cost a little something (a dollar or so, the few times I’ve used it from a public library - at school, my fees cover ILL).
I’ll have to read this too. Thanks for the recommendation!
I will elaborate why there is a difference. In one case the death of a wild animal, slowly dying over an extended period through a wantonly malicious wounding is excessively cruel and unnecessary, whereas the deaths of food animals are by law required to meet a minimum standard for speed and minimal suffering. I’m not going to go so far as to say that food animals do not suffer at all, but if you can’t see the difference between being wounded and slowly dying over an extended period (suffering the entire time), and a rapid death by captive bolt into the brain (cattle), decapitation (chicken), or electric shock followed by exsanguination (swine), then again, there’s no argument that will convince you.
My source…being a licensed veterinarian that has dealt with production animals, and briefly worked in a slaughterhouse as an undergrad student. I will grant you that my opinion is based solely on my personal experience, not on second or third hand information that I got from reading someone else’s material, so I may have only a very limited view.
True industrial farming is indeed a disaster, both on the level of disregard for the general welfare of the animals involved, and as you note, environmentally. Whenever money is the prime motivator, ethics and morality seem to go by the wayside. I was lucky enough to work in a very small setting as far as agriculture is concerned, and met a lot of good people raising a lot of well treated animals who died rapid humane deaths.
One can truly and honestly have reasonable and rational arguments about meat consumption without laying heavy on the hyperbole or assuming that the people arguing the other side of the argument are uneducated and irrational. There are conscientious meat eaters out there that “are fighting the good fight” in ways that may vary from your own. Me, I luckily live in an area (and can afford) to eat meat from local sources that I trust to raise and slaughter their animals in a humane fashion. I know a fellow veterinarian who is largely vegetarian, but has no issue with eating wild game meat (in her words “they’re living a good life, then BLAM, that’s it right?”.
So I’ll thank you for the reading recommendation, and ask that you “save yourself the trouble” next time when you assume that someone arguing a point of view different from yours hasn’t made a well informed decision just because they haven’t come to the same conclusion that you have.
Yeah, this may be an entirely selfish/ego driven motive, but this is the reason why I don’t eat pork/pig products. I’ve had a fair amount of exposure to pigs, and I’d say that they’re much smarter than dogs. Not primate smart, but frighteningly clever at times. Just doesn’t seem right to eat something that intelligent. I’ll be the first to agree that this is a somewhat arbitrary line drawn in the sand, but…