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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 04, 2012

Is Eating Meat Ethical?

By Mark Sisson
764 Comments

By now, you’ve probably heard about the essay contest the NY Times is running. The prompt is “Tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.” To decide the winner or winners, they’ve assembled a diverse mix of self-hating omnivores, self-hating sometimes-vegetarians, self-hating “flexible vegans,” and the guys with all those witty one-liners about food and grandmothers and “mostly plants” – Michael Pollan, Jonathan Safran Foer, Peter Singer, Mark Bittman, and Andrew Light. A number of readers have asked me to chime in on the subject and I agreed to it, albeit somewhat reluctantly. After all, why does the burden of proof rest on us, the physiologically omnivorous hominids who are simply eating the foods we’ve been eating for millions of years? But then I realized it might be a fun thing to write, to play around with and explore my own thoughts on the “ethics” of eating. And hey, maybe I’d have some sort of revelation, renounce my former ways, and come away a vegetarian! You never know.

Is eating meat ethical?

I find it odd that in their prompt for the essay, the NY Times forbids entrants from mentioning conscientious carnivory, local versus organic, grass-fed versus factory-raised, or sustainable versus unsustainable. In other words, they expect us to simply explain “why it’s ethical to eat meat” without allowing for any of the considerations or external factors that might affect the “ethics” of meat-eating.

How do I proceed, absent the ability to actually discuss the nuances? It’s a tough question, but I’ll try.

“Ethical” implies that we have a choice. Both dietary choices – omnivory and herbivory – cause animals to die. We have to eat something, and whichever choice we make, animals will die. There’s no getting around that. If we’re going to ask whether or not meat-eating is ethical because it causes animals to die, we also have to ask whether or not other common consumptive practices that also cause animals to die are ethical:

Is living in an apartment or a house built on the former homes of a dozen different species, several ant colonies, and the site of an indigenous people’s encampment from a hundred years ago ethical?

Is wearing clothing made from conventionally grown cotton that required the use of chemical fertilizers whose runoff pollutes rivers, lakes, and oceans, thus hurting marine life ethical?

Is eating pseudo-burgers made of soybeans that hail from monocrop farms whose owners razed the land on which they grow, killing families of groundhogs and field mice and trillions upon trillions of essential microbes that compose the topsoil ethical?

Animals all die as a result of these practices. Anyone who makes it past their first year has blood on their hands. At least the meat-eater must face the unavoidable fact that he consumes dead animals directly. At least he deals with death head-on, shrink-wrapped though it may be. For once the plastic and styrofoam are removed, there it is, staring him in the face: a bloody piece of dead animal flesh that he is then going to put into his mouth, chew, swallow, and digest.

Does that make him unethical? Only if anyone who eats anything whose production resulted in the death of animals is also unethical. One could even argue that since the meat-eater at least acknowledges the fact that an animal died for his meal, he’s the more honorable of the two.

And indeed everyone has blood on their hands as a direct or indirect result of their choices, consumption habits, and dietary practices. Everyone steps on someone else’s toes or hooves or talons or cute little paws or flippers or probosci or roots for “selfish” reasons – even vegans. If meat-eaters are unethical by virtue of their meat-eating, so too is the vegetarian whose grain-based meals came from farmers whose tractors crush small mammals and whose cropland disrupts entire ecosystems. I don’t think either person’s actions are unethical, but I fail to see how someone could think the former was unethical without also taking issue with the latter.  If you’re going to indict eating meat because it kills animals, you also have to indict other dietary practices that also kill animals, like grain – even if those deaths are “unavoidable” or “accidental.” Sure, the farmer may not gleefully set out to murder field mice with his tractor (although the rodenticide used in grain elevators might raise a few eyebrows), but does it matter if the end result – a bunch of dead animals – is the same?

I eagerly await next week’s “Is Vegetarianism Ethical?” essay contest. If you’re going to indict eating meat because it kills animals, you must also indict the other dietary practices that kill animals.

Well, that’s my very brief take on it. For the record, I don’t think a discussion of the ethics of meat-eating can be truly entertained without full inclusion of the sustainability, organic, and local issues. In other words, without mentioning all that stuff the Times forbade us from mentioning, we can’t really dig deeply enough into the issue to get to the bottom. I suspect that this was by design, and that the whole NY Times contest was primarily a way to get the “meat-eaters” on the defensive without really giving them a chance (600 word limit… really?) to come out on top.

This is a tough issue, isn’t it? Death isn’t pretty. Killing animals is not easy, pleasurable work. And I love animals, and not just in an ironic, “because-they’re-tasty” kind of way. I’ll even admit that when I think of a cow or a pig or a lamb dying for my meal, going about its daily routine and then BLAM, suddenly being escorted away from the others to be put down, it’s not a pleasant thought. I feel bad for the animal, I feel a bit sad even, but I also feel thankful. If that sounds contradictory or confusing, you’re right.

That’s humanity for you. We feel sad and thankful and hungry and a bit weepy all at once (just check out Robb Wolf’s reaction to making the amazing atlatl elk kill in “I, Caveman”). These “ethical questions” rarely get hard and fast answers. I mean, people have been wrestling with them for thousands of years. There are no easy answers. It’s an essay question, not a multiple choice test.

Now let’s hear your take on it. Write your essays in the comments or provide links to them. Just be sure to defend your murderous ways somewhere, somehow. Thanks for reading!

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764 Comments on "Is Eating Meat Ethical?"

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Tarek
4 years 5 months ago

If our biology requires that we eat animal foods in order to thrive, then there is nothing unethical about eating meat.

Sabasota
Sabasota
4 years 5 months ago

Yup. To me, that is the beginning and end to the discussion. It is as complex and as simple as that. There can be no argument with the types of food our biological design requires that we eat. It’s nature’s law…who is anyone to dispute it?

Primal Toad
4 years 5 months ago

+1

I’ll add that a mother who avoids all animal products prior to conception, during pregnancy and then never feeds her newborn animal products is a hell of a lot more unethical.

It is an indisputable fact that animal products in some form are absolutely essential for optimal health. It’s just who we are.

spayne
4 years 5 months ago

Just playing devil’s advocate here:
So what you are saying is that your life is more valuable than that of other creatures on this planet? Why is that? Wouldn’t it make more sense to minimize the suffering of other creatures with the capacity to to feel pain and emotions by not eating them just so that you can be “optimal”?

Primal Toad
4 years 5 months ago

Spayne,

Is my life more valuable than other creatures on the planet? No.

We are all going to die. If a women is going to have a child then she should take extra care in her health during that time period as well as feed her baby correctly.

Primitive societies around the world took extra care for newborns and their mothers. They were the first ones to be offered the most nutrient dense foods. I don’t remember what society but pregnant women would eat 10 eggs a day so their child had optimal health. This is from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

@Spayne So what you’re saying… is that in order to be optimally ethical, we should just kill ourselves?

If we eliminate human life… then we’ll allow all other life (plant and animal) to thrive.

Hitler redefined Ethics for Germany. It’s a dangerous slope.

John
John
4 years 5 months ago

“…your life is more valuable than that of other creatures on this planet? Why is that?”

Because I’m the one living it.

Galina L.
Galina L.
4 years 5 months ago

Is it more ethical to create the situation that would lead to the extinction of farm animals than to eat them?

Ethan
Ethan
4 years 5 months ago

Spayne, if you lived in the African savannah would a lion that spots you in the open think about the pain you may feel about being eaten? 1000 bucks says nope, creatures do what they have to to survive thats what nature intended. Maybe before we think about how animals feel about being eaten maybe we should focus on how other humans may feel about how we treat them (gays, ethnic groups, etc)

Tony
4 years 5 months ago

Life eats life. It’s a continuous process and is evident in mother nature. Is it ethical that a fish eat other organisms to sustain life?

I believe we’re analysing this idea at a conscious level instead of a deeper level – intuition.

If we continue to conceptualise and over-analyse this to death, humanity will de-evolve into extinction.

As Freud cleverly said – “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” Let’s not get too carried away by subjecting our own meaning to what eating or not eating flesh implies. Ultimately it is all subjective.

Nigel
4 years 5 months ago

My life is only more worthwhile than other animals to me and perhaps my family & friends. I am no better than the pig I eat, just happy that the positions aren’t reversed. All life forms “want” to keep their species going and so far my family has done a fairly good job.

Jade
Jade
4 years 5 months ago
Indeed, Toady. Surely admitting that forgoing animal products entirely would lead to suboptimal human health (which should be self-evident from the fact that extensive supplementation is necessary in their absence), is an acceptance of the masochism inherent in veganism. And isn’t promoting masochism speciesist? In this case, we’re considering the value of non-human animal life higher than human life and well-being. How can you argue within this framing that being speciesist, as long as you’re not eating meat, is okay? In other words, if humans deprived another animal, say a cow, of its optimal food source for the sake of… Read more »
Ramona
Ramona
4 years 5 months ago

Hey just wanna say that I’ve had two sons, and I was a vegetarian during my second pregnancy (no longer am, of course), and there is no indication my vegetarianly gestated son is any less healthy than my other son… I don’t think it’s “indisputable” that animal products are absolutely essential, though I do feel they are for me.

A
A
4 years 5 months ago

Humans do not live because of animal products. I fact, people who do not eat animal products are much healthier than people who do. And yes, the dairy and meat industry are completely unethical.

AndreasNYC
AndreasNYC
4 years 5 months ago

OMG – I’ve never eaten flesh in my life and went vegan 10 years ago. I rowed Division 1 Varsity Crew for 4 years while at MIT. I’m 6 foot 1 inch and optimal weight and athletic physique. I’m in amazing shape and look about 29 while I’m actually 41 years old with health stats that’ll keep me biking and healthy into my 90s+ while loving eating loads ridiculously delicious plant-based food that make my flesh-eating friends jealous. Myth Debunked! “If our biology requires that we eat animal foods in order to thrive,” = fail.

Bertahny6678
Bertahny6678
2 years 6 days ago
You may want to dispute with American Dietetic Association tho.. It sounds llike you believe everything the meat industry tells you, but nevertheless, self-eduation goes a long way. ”It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.” ”Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower… Read more »
Justa
Justa
2 years 12 hours ago
Bethany 6678: You mean THESE GUYS? MERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION A public policy workshop held in March 2001 was sponsored by American Soy Products, California Dried Plum Board, Egg Nutrition Center, Food Marketing Institute, Grocery Manufacturers of America, Kashi, National Soft Drink Association, Sodexho, and Marriott Services. (ADA Courier, 5/01) The American Dietetic Association has received funding from numerous companies and receives underwriting for “fact sheets” on topics related to the companies’ products. Major ($100,000+) donors include: Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Weight Watchers International, Campbell Soup, National Dairy Council, Nestlé USA, Ross Products Division of Abbott Labs., Sandoz, Coca-Cola, Florida Department of… Read more »
B Willson
B Willson
4 years 5 months ago

Yup is all I can say. The point perhaps could be made that these days having kids is unethical, with over-population degrading the earth 25% faster than it can recover. Has mankind become an unethical species?…

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 5 months ago

Nonsense! The earth can supply food, water and shelter to many more people than we have, even now. The difficulty is that some of us have 99% of it, and some have 1%, and the rest have none. Just ask Europeans in 25 years, when they have been having zero children for two generations and are underpopulated, who is going to go to work in the morning to pay for their entitlements!

sethanie
sethanie
4 years 5 months ago

As I explain to our kids about emergency situations . . . people first, pets/animals second, things third.

Kayla Ruschkowski
Kayla Ruschkowski
4 years 5 months ago
There is no simple answer to this question, no beginning and end in one simple thought. Hi Mark. I am glad that you touched on this subject. Whether we are vegans or carnivores it is important to think about whether our actions and choices coincide with our ethics. That is what being informed is all about. Its about living in a way that has a high positive impact to all living things around us and trying to lessen our negative impact although, as you said, a negative impact on the Earth is unavoidable. I respect the initiatives you are taking… Read more »
jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 5 months ago

Kayla,

Your reply is a way of dancing around the question of whether it’s ethical to kill other living things in order for us to thrive. Neither ominivores nor any variety of vegetarian can escape that question, unless your answer is that because our very survival requires those other deaths, they are, per se, ethical. It could be argued (as George Monbiot(1) and Michael Archer (2)have) that eating meat is at least as virtuous, if not more so, in regards to the total amount of killing required to feed humans.

(1)http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation

(2) http://theconversation.edu.au/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659

Nicola
4 years 5 months ago

Word.

Leif
Leif
4 years 5 months ago

jake3_14,

Did you even read the articles you posted links for? Monbiot makes the point that it CAN be, not that it currently is. He talks about the IDEAL animal farm system, which is far from what we currently have.

Mr. Retinol
Mr. Retinol
4 years 5 months ago
Nonsense. All vegans just need to do one thing. They just need to admit that they feel really bad for killing animals. The emphasis is on cows, pigs, chickens, etc, typical farm animals, fish and shellfish and not so much on other “smaller” or different lifeforms. Your comments above about vegans are not really true about what most vegans are like and what they really want. Just watch the youtube video of angry vegans throwing pepper in the face of “The Vegetarian Myth” author Lierre Keith. I know a lot of you will say not all vegans are like that… Read more »
mike
mike
4 years 5 months ago
Our biology clearly does not ‘require’ meat to survive. otherwise all of the vegans and vegetarians of the world would have starved or faced malnutrition. No. it has simply adapted the ability to digest meat. The question is, if you can avoid killing an animal for food if you do not have to eat it in order to survive, should you. That question is not answered by acknowledging the fact that our bodies can digest meat. people are tribal and warlike in nature. we evolved in such a way that that trait was favorable to the continuation of the species… Read more »
Leif
Leif
4 years 5 months ago

Exactly. We can also digest people…but just because we can doesn’t mean we should eat them. Why is that not extended to other sentient beings?

Mr. Retinol
Mr. Retinol
4 years 5 months ago

Thee is a difference between vegan and vegetarian.

Hindus who are eating cultured dairy foods are going to get all of the complete proteins from the complete amino acids that are only in those dairy foods and not in plants as well as saturated animal fat.

It is very hard to know exactly what a vegan is eating or supplementing with. Yes I am saying that I think a lot of vegans lie about what they eat/supplement with. It is the dogma at work. That makes your claim about them facing malnutrition a hard one to accept.

Jade
Jade
4 years 5 months ago

Leif,

There is an Amazonian society that consumed people as part of a grieving ritual. In essence, it was to rid the material world of the remnants of a person that would otherwise torment the living with his/her continued presence.

Was it really unethical to eat those people?

Milemom
Milemom
4 years 5 months ago
I second that. Humans are remarkably adaptive herbivores and can survive(and thrive!!) on diets ranging from vegan to almost completely carnivorous. It’s about making a choice to participate–or not–in cruelty necessary to keep a whole planet humming on animal products. And, horsehooey, the accidental killing of rodents is not the same thing as the the planned torture and killing of sentient animals to provide us with their flesh and fur. Certainly, grass fed/finished is “better,” but in the end, most of those animals are hitching a ride to the same slaugherhouses as their less humanely-raised friends. Just because we had… Read more »
Jade
Jade
4 years 5 months ago
Milemom, You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution. Nothing evolves “past” something else, and certainly not because our current ethical thinking, in your view, should make it so. Evolution is random, in the biological sense. Furthermore, you say that humans have the potential to not require meat to thrive, not that we currently have that capability. Will future generations be more adapted to herbivory? Possibly, yes. But by the wording of your own comment you appear to believe that this isn’t the case today. To engage in veganism, then, is masochistic. Also, your thoughts on the accidental killing… Read more »
Paul
Paul
4 years 5 months ago

That is simply not true. The human body, like all carnivores, requires meat. Vegetable and soy substitutes do NOT offer the same benefits. Long term studies of vegans list a host of nutrition-based deficiencies that could all have been avoided by consuming meat. It is true that humans can survive without it, but why deny a necessity?

vita
vita
4 years 5 months ago

LOL at “if our biology requires it” and the response. Have you ever actually looked into what humans are? We’re herbivores not carnivores! http://www.celestialhealing.net/physicalveg3.htm

Kevin
Kevin
4 years 5 months ago

So we were built to eat grains way before we ate grains? That link was pretty ridiculous. Have you looked up the amino acid profiles that humans require to operate optimally? Hint: you can’t get them in plants.

Mr. Retinol
Mr. Retinol
4 years 5 months ago

Who is anyone to dispute it?

Vegans of course. They just passed a new law in California banning “Fois Gras” or goose liver. I want to see how quick this one will be overturned. Yep, vegans made that happen.

The funny thing though is that vegans, paleos, or Weston Pricer’s etc, are all looked at as weirdos by everyone else. I find that funny because the non health conscious people look at all of us like we are crazy and they usually lump us all together.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago
That’s a very good point, Mr. Retinol. I despise the people who pass laws that do not pertain to themselves. The vegetarians/vegans who try to pass laws against meat are equal to the straight people who try to pass anti-gay laws. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. Lead by example, don’t force people to do what you believe by pointing a gun at them (which is kind of what making a law is). This same argument would have prevented our current “Preemptive” Wars. Everyone believes they are in the right, but we shouldn’t force everyone to agree or… Read more »
Adriaan
Adriaan
4 years 5 months ago
Wow, of all the self justified and uninformed comments this one is so far the most shocking. Fois Gras is not just goose liver, it is the liver of a goose that has been force fed by sticking a feeding tube down it`s throat and pumping food into it so that it can develop an abnormally large and unhealthy but more “desirable” texture for the fois gras eater. But then again, I guess that if you can manage to justify your meat eating by claiming that vegan food results in more deaths than meat farming (ridiculous), you also don’t mind… Read more »
Ed Oates
Ed Oates
4 years 5 months ago
There are only a few animal based products that you can’t get from plants, such as vitamin B12. But those can be gotten from insect (B12, again). Though it’s easier to get full nutrition by including animal sources, it is possible (with the above caveat) to be fully vegan and thrive. It’s just must harder and requires more planning. Consumer reports once noted that to get complete protein, you need a cup of rice plus a cup of beans; or four ounces of either one ounce of cheese. But with modern meat consumption in Western diets, we eat WAY to… Read more »
Truth
Truth
4 years 5 months ago

So by your assertion, eating dogs is okay, too, right?

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

Of course not, cute animals are exempt 🙂

Certainly emotional responses come into people’s ideas of “ethics”

B Willson
B Willson
4 years 5 months ago

But not yours, of course! Only other people’s.

FatAsAnElephant
FatAsAnElephant
4 years 5 months ago

I have no objection to eating dogs.

Diane
Diane
4 years 5 months ago

I always say that if the apocalypse comes then my three dogs are a type of insurance policy. Especially the fat one????

Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago

Eating a dog causes suffering to the dog. With this logic, we should eat you. Is that OK with you? Please go to a restaurant, be murdered, cut up, cooked, and served to your friends and family. how does that sound? I do not wish that for you, that is simply your logic.

Adrian
Adrian
4 years 5 months ago
I see no reason you couldn’t….though I would recommend against hunting and eating your neighbor’s pet! Check your local laws to see whether certain ‘pet’ species are protected from slaughter, too. Also, I’ve heard from various folks that carnivores don’t taste particularly good. Not sure whether that’s true or not, I’ve had alligator meat and it was pretty tasty. Ethics-wise, wouldn’t be much different than raising a pet chicken or rabbit, then having it slaughtered for dinner one day. Foodwise it’s no big deal, but if you’ve appropriated an animal as a friend, it might break your heart to see… Read more »
Sandra
Sandra
4 years 5 months ago
As a farmer’s daughter, it was often difficult to eat certain meats right after ‘processing’ because you do get close to some of the animals. After all, you got up at a ridiculous hour of the morning to call them in, feed them, and milk them (and some of us spilled our teenage angst out to Bessie). But in the end, we knew it was part of the life cycle. We didn’t, however, eat the dogs or cats, especially as they usually died due to a cow lying on them (cats) or getting hit by a car (silly dogs like… Read more »
piefrog
piefrog
4 years 5 months ago

Silly, There are people in countries who eat dog. China, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico, Philippines, Polynesia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the Arctic and Antarctic

H.M.
H.M.
4 years 5 months ago

I’m pretty sure that Mexicans do not eat dogs. This is the first time I hear this.

Kathryn Saylor
Kathryn Saylor
4 years 5 months ago

Yes, eating dogs is okay, too. But I choose not to eat dogs.

Jeffrey of Troy
4 years 5 months ago

No, eating dogs is not ok.

Prey animals eat plant food, predator animals eat prey animals.

On land and in air, all predator animals have eyes on the front of the head, for bi-focal vision, for depth perception, for hunting down prey animals.

All prey animals have eyes on the sides of their heads, giving up depth perception in favor of a wider field of vision, to spot predator animals hunting them.

Food:
chickens, turkeys, deer, cows, cod, salmon

Not food:
dogs, cats, hawks, sharks, humans

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 5 months ago

“On land and in air, all predator animals have eyes on the front of the head…”

I know some hawks, eagles, dolphins, sharks, and orcas who beg to differ.

kay
kay
4 years 5 months ago

actually hawks eat cats, sharks eat people, people eat sharks, people eat people. dogs eat dogs. Trying to Break down which animal will prey on which animal is pretty dumb.. in my humble opinion. White tip Shark is Delicious btw

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago
What’s the difference between a shark and a cod? If a cod spots a spider on top of the water, will he not eat it? Chameleons have their eyes on the side – they hunt insects. Just because an animal is a [class] of predator does not mean it is not also prey. It’s a big complex world. Your simple categorization doesn’t make any sense. It’s also a matter of what is available. As Westerners, we have the luxury of actually being able to choose (mostly) what we ingest. If a Mexican widow has 1 milk cow and 26 dogs,… Read more »
I
I
4 years 5 months ago

I suggest you look at pictures of hawks and sharks if the eyes’ position is important to you… that theory makes no sense, anyway. In spanish we say “the big fish eats the small one” : predators eat whatever they can obtain through their strength, wits or group coordiantion.

Denver
Denver
4 years 5 months ago

Dude,

I ate tons of Shark in Venezuela when I was a kid. Each one tastes different as it’s dependant on what breed they are & what they ate. Dog is enjoyed in many countries, many cultures. Chickens eat bugs & worms not grain when given free range, they they are techincally predators too…

GT
4 years 5 months ago
What nonsense; gorillas much? Eyes at the front, diet ENTIRELY vegetable – not even a HINT of ‘predator’ about them. Hell, they even pick bugs off their diet if they spot them. You’ve fallen victim to the shallow (dare I say “American”) argumentation – the sort of ‘plausible at first blush’ baloney that talks about canines (gorillas have those too – big’uns) or jaw extension (seen a gorilla yawn? – you could fit your head in there). If we’re going to base the decision to eat or not eat meat solely on some artificial taxonomy where we ‘rate’ life forms,… Read more »
Fritzy
Fritzy
4 years 5 months ago

Disagree–shark steaks are delicious. And I wouldn’t be opposed to trying hawk if given the chance. Your reasoning is flawed and without factual support.

bruno
bruno
4 years 5 months ago

@GT. It’s a shame you have a guy fawkes mask. I used to really like that.

JohnGT
JohnGT
4 years 5 months ago

Chicken and turkey eat insects, salmon eat shrimp.

I choose not to eat dog (or cat for that matter), but what makes that different from eating chicken turkey or salmon.

When was the last time you let your dog go out and hunt its food? I bet it eats from a can or bag.

Fritzy
Fritzy
4 years 5 months ago
GT– “If my diet causes direct harm to anything that is likely to have any sort of ‘inner life’, then I am doing something wrong. If it causes indirect harm I can take corrective action to the greatest extent possible.” True, you can; that doesn’t change the fact that organisms have to die so you can live. To say that a plant has any less right to continue living than an animal is being as “specieist” as vegans accuse omivores of being. Because a cow demonstrates fewer taxonomic difference from you than a rutabegah, it’s less ethical to eat the… Read more »
Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago
Humans have compassion and free will. Therefore, choosing compassion is an option. Not choosing compassion is also an option but taking that option causes suffering. For all omnivores out there, would you eat your children and siblings? How would they feel? How do you think they feel? I do not wish that for anyone, just expressing an extrapolation of your logic. There is no condition in the human experience where causing suffering should be an option ever. We’re too smart for that. There are too many choices and options. For the survival of the human species, a conscious thinking awakened… Read more »
stefanie
stefanie
4 years 5 months ago

In some countries, yes it is ok to eat dogs,kittens and horses. In America those things are pets in other places the idea of loving something that isn’t human as a family member probably seems odd.

Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 5 months ago

Note to GT:
When I was 47 I could do all those same things…on a woman’s scale. I was invincible. But just wait 20 more years…things may be different.

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 5 months ago
Dogs have been bred for thousands of years to be companion animals. Natural selection has therefore caused them to be uniquely paired with humans – they respond to our verbal and non-verbal behavior, and otherwise have a symbiotic relationship with us that we have caused over thousands of years. So, yes, we have special obligation to dogs, as companion animals, to treat them as just that – companion animals. There is nothing hypocritical about believing it distasteful to eat dogs, given our relationship with them, while not finding it distasteful to eat animals that have been bred to be livestock.… Read more »
Jenny
Jenny
4 years 5 months ago

In other cultures, it would be okay. So long you’re not stealing someone’s pet and eating it, it should be okay. =P

Galina L.
Galina L.
4 years 5 months ago

I would rather eat dogs than live without animal products and rely on supplements.

man1
man1
4 years 5 months ago

Yes. Dog tastes good. Seriously.

sethanie
sethanie
4 years 5 months ago

In our family, we do not eat our pets. Even if we have a pet cow, we will still eat beef. We just happen to live in a culture where cats and dogs are pets and not food.

Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago

There is no difference between a pet and other animals. It does not make sense that a pet would feel suffering and another animal would not. THEY ALL feel suffering, the difference is, we are kept from the suffering of non-pets and deny, there is any suffering caused. That is simply not true. Causing suffering causing suffering causing suffering, causes suffering, even if it is not in your face and right in front of you.

Jade
Jade
4 years 5 months ago

Yes. Can you provide a compelling reason why not?

Burn
4 years 5 months ago

Exactly. As Richard from Free the Animal said in his essay… meat is the very food that allowed our brains to evolve to a point where we could perceive a thing such as ethics. It’s pretty ironic, given that fact, that we’re even asking the question.

jake3_14
jake3_14
4 years 5 months ago

Just because humans became ethical through an allegedly unethical act of eating meat (and driving some species to extinction even in paleolithic and neolithic times) does not *automatically* imply that we should or have to continue that practice now that we have the capacity for ethics. If I were a vegetarian, I would counter that meat eaters have to show proof that our capacity for ethical behavior is diminished, if not extinguished, by foregoing meat, in order to justify humans continuing to eat it.

Martin Levac
4 years 5 months ago

Homeostasis rules.

If meat is what allowed us to question our behavior, it is also what continues to allow us to question our behavior. Thus, if we cease this behavior, we will lose the ability to question it, and promptly return to doing it again.

Consider obesity. Strictly speaking, obesity can’t be maintained if we cut out the driver of obesity – carbs. Conversely, leanness can’t be maintained if we add back carbs.

Homeostasis rules!

Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago

Modern man has a choice, to be compassionate or not, that is the only argument here. This supersedes all other arguments. We all have a choice to choose the causing of suffering or to choose compassion. Animals feel pain when they are slaughtered just as you would feel pain. Why do that? Science proves again and again we can get all nutrients from plants, just as the cows, gorillas and elephants do, why not us?

ravi
4 years 5 months ago

is it ethical to look a pictures of naked women? is it ethical to love to ski and to do so occasionally on man-made snow? is it ethical to chew gum from a rubber tree on a possibly unsustainable plantation??

another absurd distraction from an absurd establishment newspaper posing a worthless question.

Tarak states the obvious and uses the exact amount of words this inanely stupid query deserves (apologies to Mark for all the work he did above… 😉 )

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 5 months ago

It it ethical to look at pictures of naked women. At least according to my ethical system.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

My God says it’s ethical too.

moreporkplease
moreporkplease
4 years 5 months ago
My ancestral tribe is of the Jewish people – the Torah and the oral law tell us exactly how to kill and eat animals, and what ones we may eat. The rules are crafted to reduce animal suffering; there are even rules about how to treat farm animals and how to give them rest. These careful rules make eating meat a divinely-sanctioned act. Altho’ I’m not religiously observant, I imagine those Jews who are must be deeply offended by this essay contest. It’s really insensitive, and the inclusion of the Jewish vegan Safran-Foer as a judge doesn’t ameliorate that –… Read more »
pbo
4 years 5 months ago

I don’t eating meat is required for humans, as plenty of vegetarians prove every day. They may not be eating optimally or be as healthy as someone who does, but regardless is not a requirement.

For example, sleep is required… you dont sleep you will die 🙂

Mr. Retinol
Mr. Retinol
4 years 5 months ago

There is a difference between vegan and vegataian.

Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago

vegetarians and non-vegetarians can eat poorly or optimally. Just because people eat meat does not mean they east opytimally. Check out the USDA obesity slide show. Check out the statistics on diabetes. Vegetarians and vegans do not contribute to the pandemic of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. That sounds like an optimal option of eating.

Ryan
Ryan
4 years 5 months ago

I agree with Tarek. Arguing the “ethicality” (is that a word?) of meat eating outside of the context of biology is stupid. We are omnivores. If you chose to vegan, more power to you. As for me and my house, we will eat meat. There are no plants that contain all the essential amino acids needed for humans. However, all animal protein has the essential amino acids. That’s how human biology works. We eat what our body needs. Ethicality is a non-issue.

Leif
Leif
4 years 5 months ago

How about “Arguing the ethics”?

Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 5 months ago

Bravo! Short and to the directly to the point. Well said.

Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 5 months ago

Correction: to Ryan: Bravo! Short and to the directly to the point. Well said.

terrence chaplin
terrence chaplin
4 years 5 months ago

there was a study done with some plants, don’t recall all the particulars but the jist was plants hooked up to eeg sensors reacted when another plant was placed in a boiling pot of water to cook, inferring that they are sad? so, I guess we had better beware. remember the attack of the killer tomatoes?? could happen! idiots! if all this crap is true, eating is unethical, hence our survival unethical. I am hungry, I am having a ny strip steak tonight!

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

I want a T-Shirt that reads,

“I <3 NY (steak)"

Steven
Steven
4 years 5 months ago
That’s just the very beginning of the problems here. First, they pose the question in such a way that pre-supposes that eating meat is unquestionably unethical. That’s begging the question AND requires a belief in an absolute morality. A logical fallacy and a non-entity. Second, does anyone remember the smell of fresh cut grass? Well, recent research has shown that’s actually a plant distress call. Which means that plants might be more intelligent than we think, we’re just completely incapable of recognizing that intelligence. In other words, it’s highly likely that plants are just as capable of suffering as animals… Read more »
Winnie
Winnie
4 years 5 months ago

Perennial grasses depend on intermittent grazing (cutting) for their survival and longevity. If a grass goes ungrazed, especially in drier environments it stops growing and becomes stale, and dies.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

A distress call!?

What good is a distress call to immobile life?

“OH MY GOD, THEY’RE CUTTING US ALL DOWN! RUN FOR YOUR… oh, right.”

Many plants, including grasses, need to be eaten in order to reproduce. The reason it smells wonderful is because it tastes wonderful too. This is by design.

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 5 months ago
Au Contraire, we ARE superior. We are not JUST animals, we have a soul/mind and we are conscious of our actions and their consequences. Animals are not human no matter how cute your puppy is or how sweetly your pet pig looks at you – he is not human. We don’t eat humans – there has been a tabu against that since the year dot – albeit broken by some very primitive, dare I say barbaric, disturbed peoples. Oh, and please don’t tell me I have to respect their customs!!!! Again, nonsense!! It’s really crazy how this discussion gets off… Read more »
Leif
Leif
4 years 5 months ago

The problem is you’re saying that it’s probable that plants ‘suffer’ in some way, whereas we know for a fact sentient creatures such as pigs, cows, humans DO feel pain. So I do not believe that is a fair comparison by any means.

Karen P.
4 years 5 months ago

Word.

josephine Sutton
josephine Sutton
4 years 5 months ago
I think a much better question would be “Is it ethical to farm animals by the methods used in the US?” Mass farming in confined and unnatural ways does not say much about us as a species. Also there is a brutalising process that goes on for the people who carry out these cruel practices. It is well recognised that cruelty to animals is often followed by cruelty to humans. I would not eat meat or eggs farmed in the US unless guaranteed to be “free range” reared. If we cannot rear our food in a reasonable humane way we… Read more »
William
William
4 years 5 months ago

And the Creator,God, Clothe Adam and Eve in the skins of animals and their we have the first red meat meal

Susan
4 years 5 months ago

I think that consuming meat and milk from animals is totally ethical – simple choice for me just like you all. However, I think it is the conventional manor in which they are raised and treated that is unethical. Buy from local farms that pasture raise their animals!

Paul
Paul
4 years 5 months ago

I agree wholeheartedly…we born into this world, we did not design it. Even asking about “ethics” makes no sense to me. Why do we have to eat at all, or even breathe, for that matter? It’s just the way we are, just as all creatures on this world are the way they are- philosphizing about it isn’t going to change it.

Michael
Michael
4 years 5 months ago

Our biology doesn’t require us to eat animal foods to “thrive”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Animals protein, in general, as been proven to cause cancer and a host of of ailments. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t think there is anything unethical about eating animals..I do in fact. I just know it’s not as healthy as going animal free.

Kathryn
Kathryn
4 years 5 months ago

To Michael:

I politely disagree: we don’t need to eat meat to “survive”…but we do need to eat meat to “thrive”. Two different realities. Eating commercial meat can cause cancer, but eating organic/small farm meat does not cause cancer. Ditch the commercial grains and commercial dairy for the same reason(s).

Jzstiner
4 years 5 months ago

How about the demonstrated prayer after the deerhunt in Last of the Mohicans, where the hunters thanked the spirit of the deer for its body so that they could live?

abcdefg
abcdefg
4 years 5 months ago

there’s nothing unethical about eating meat. I would kill animals with my bare hands if I was a really, truly primal – but there’s a hell of a lot of unethical things about the way animals, especially on large-scale farms, are currently treated before they are killed.

Lynn
Lynn
4 years 5 months ago

Animals eat animals we just happen to be at the top of the food chain Bon Appetit.

Joe
Joe
4 years 2 months ago

Our biology does not require us to eat animals, This is scientifically inaccurate. That is like saying, I need a toyata to drive to New York and a Honda to drive to San Francisco. That’s silly.

Our body requires us to get proteins, carbs and fat. And, this can come from anything and does not have to come from animals at all. In plant based nutrition, it is easy to get all macro and micro-nutrients, anything.

Martin Levac
4 years 2 months ago

Everything you said is incorrect. If you know as much as you appear to, then you should know that humans can’t digest plant fiber. If we can’t digest plant fiber, we can’t extract the nutrition contained therein. Ergo, we must eat animals.

Dietary carbohydrate is not essential to humans.

Pete
Pete
4 years 1 month ago

If our biology requires us to reproduce to survive as a species then there’s nothing unethical about rape. Oh wait…..

Humans are intelligent enough to move past base natural urges.

John
John
4 years 5 months ago

Is eating meat ethical? Are Lions ethical? What about Honey Badgers?

jenella
jenella
4 years 5 months ago

honeybadgers don’t care about ethics. 🙂

mark
mark
4 years 5 months ago

They don’t give a shit!

mohill
mohill
4 years 5 months ago

I laughed out loud at this. Well played.

Paul
Paul
4 years 5 months ago

awesome. LOL.

craig almaguer
4 years 5 months ago

LOL!!!!

einstein
einstein
4 years 5 months ago

Neither should we. Posting the question like this is proof that we’ve gone soft in the head. Too much political correctness everywhere these days. Even towards animals. And I don’t mean those in congress.

Eating in Orlando
Eating in Orlando
4 years 5 months ago

Ahhhhh! I’ve been working all day on my response, counting words and editing to get it down to 600….and you beat me with a 5 word response!

Well done, and spot on.

Abel James
4 years 5 months ago

Do vegans refuse to feed their dogs meat?

Jen
Jen
4 years 5 months ago

Yes, actually some of them do. Imagine being that poor dog!

Rob
Rob
4 years 5 months ago

I knew someone who did that, and then they died…so she fed her next dog meat, yet continued to be vegan.

Dave S
Dave S
4 years 5 months ago

why did she not just quit exploiting dogs as pets. Actually I like vegans, when Akins was the craze in 03, the price of meat inflated upon demand. more vegans less demand lower price.

Lindsay Grok
4 years 5 months ago

Actually, there are quite a few people who feed their animals (dogs mainly) “non-meat” diets. I think they should all be charged with animal cruelty and have their pets taken away… but that’s just me. My dog is an omnivore and loves vegetables and fruits but I would never deprive him of his most basic staple nutritional requirement to further my own food agenda.

http://www.veganpoet.com/articles/dogs-can-be-vegan-too.htm
http://www.peta.org/living/companion-animals/vegetarian-cats-and-dogs.aspx

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

They do. Even vegan people I know thinks people who do that are idiots.

Kathy from Maine
Kathy from Maine
4 years 5 months ago

Unfortunately, many do. Many think it’s more healthy to feed dogs and cats a vegan diet. Sad.

einstein
einstein
4 years 5 months ago

They should be locked up for torturing animals. Stupidity is really limitless.

Penny
Penny
4 years 5 months ago

Actually, yes, some do. I recently read a news article about vegans who are turning their pets (mostly cats and dogs) vegan. Several vet experts were interviewed and they were all unanimously against the idea. It went on to say that a dog can survive reasonably well on a veggie diet…short-term. Then it will need meat. Cats need meat, period. One woman in the article actually said she would give up her pet, who she identified as a member of her family, to avoid having to feed it meat. “I can’t allow meat into my house,” kind of response.

Loren
Loren
4 years 5 months ago

Someone should tell this lady that if she has to give up her cat to avoid eating meat, there are some larger predators that would be happy to take care of her cat for her.

Robyn
Robyn
4 years 5 months ago

Grreeeaat, because a pet that ends up at the shelter because it’s owner can’t fathom the thought that it needs to eat meat will likely end up euthanized. Logic??? Yooohoooo, logic are you in there???? That woman is just plain cowardly. Certainly not ethical.

Emily Mekeel
Emily Mekeel
4 years 5 months ago

At least outdoor/indoor cats can survive on a vegan diet when inside… as soon as they get outside you know that they’re going to eat however many mice and other small mammals they want!

MamaB
MamaB
4 years 5 months ago

Someone should tell that lady that if she were to die in her house, it wouldn’t be too long before her cat started eating her. Cats are carnivores – poor kitty.

bill
bill
4 years 5 months ago

look at the ingredients for dog food, none of us feed our dogs meat unless a special effort is made.

Duncan
Duncan
4 years 5 months ago

I knew some Vegans who put their cat on a vegan diet – a cat!!! Cats never eat anything but meat (a little grass, once in a while).

The cat was constantly at the Vets, until the Vet basically told the owners the cat would always be sick if it wasn’t fed meat. They actually took the cat to a no-kill shelter rather than personally feed it meat.

GT
4 years 5 months ago

I would have thought it unlikely that a vegan would keep a pet; they ought to view that in the same way as they view the keeping of bees for honey (‘proper’ vegans don’t eat honey).

Apocryphal stories about such-and-so a ‘vegan’ who killed their dog by refusing to feed it meat are idiotic – again, the ‘plausible at first blush’ falderol that abounds on the internet, but which disintegrates the moment you think about it for more than two seconds.

les
les
4 years 5 months ago

Interesting then that this article is on PETA’s website:

http://www.peta.org/issues/Companion-Animals/meatless-meals-for-dogs-and-cats.aspx

Let’s not pretend that people are above transferring human values to animals, pets specifically. Anthropomorphism is exceedingly common and logical fallacies abound (i.e., what’s good for the owner is good for the pet).

As for your assertion that vegans wouldn’t have pets in the first place, that may be true for the purest definition of vegan (do we need a new term for pet-owning vegans? the absurdly specific “beegan” already exists for vegans who–you guessed it–dare to eat honey), but many own them anyhow. It’s not really that difficult to understand.

Truth
Truth
4 years 5 months ago

Lions also tend to kill the cubs of a previous males when it takes a new pride. Is it then ethical for human males to kill the children of a previous relationship, too?

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

I think the key thing with ethics is likely only humans have them, due to our ability to reason. Most (all?) other animals don’t have the higher intelligence to reason, and therefore are unable to grasp the concept of ethics.

Winnie
Winnie
4 years 5 months ago

So then it becomes a question of what we consider reasonable or unreasonable in our given circumstances.

Penny
Penny
4 years 5 months ago

Yep…illegal too.

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

Of course one could argue that it’s illegal due to ethics.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago
You’re really stretching yourself thin, Truth. A catchy name like that unfortunately does not make anything you say actually “True.” It is understood that as humans we hold ourselves to different standards than other animals. And within each and every separate group of humans, you will find different standards. You’re young, I can tell, and naive. And you think you know how everyone else should live. I’d suggest you do what you want to do and allow others to decide for themselves as well. I’m sure you wouldn’t like it if the opposite were true and meat eaters were trying… Read more »
Galina L.
Galina L.
4 years 5 months ago

The well-being of off-springs is important, right? Than why is it ethical to feed children a diet that is deficient without supplements? Is it a sacrificing of children’s health?

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 5 months ago

Oh come on! What are you suggesting? We are human beings with a body and a soul/mind. Lions are animals. Why should their behaviour have any relevance to what we do? And of course we do kill our young. Ever hear of abortion?

JohnGT
JohnGT
4 years 5 months ago

Nice.

Catharine
Catharine
4 years 5 months ago

What he said!

Erin
4 years 5 months ago

You are all a riot. Because of your meat / fat fed brains your high cognitive skills are stronger. I like it … Oh yea, like minds think alike!

Leif
Leif
4 years 5 months ago

Do lions factory farm? Do lions confine their prey in cages for a lifetime of suffering before eating them?

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

You’d better believe they would if they could.

Shalimar
Shalimar
4 years 5 months ago

No, they just rip their guts out to immobilize them and eat them while they are still alive.

David T
David T
4 years 5 months ago

But at least you can argue they lived a free, natural life up until their death. That’s an important difference, I think. A lifetime of pain and suffering in factory farming is worse than a few moments dying a natural death, in my opinion.

David T
David T
4 years 5 months ago

To put it into perspective:

Which would you prefer?

Would you rather live a happy, fulfilling life and have it end with a grueling 5 minute death, or live an entire lifetime in agony and torture, confined to a cage with absolutely no freedom, but die a quick, ‘humane’ death (if you’re ‘lucky’)?

Adam
Adam
4 years 5 months ago

You know what the sad thing is? I’ve actually heard vegans say that “It’s only okay for lions to eat meat because they don’t know any better.”

How do you argue with that kind of ignorance and stupidity?

jenella
jenella
4 years 5 months ago

thanks, mark, for again putting to words what I think.
Love my MEAT!

Alison Golden - PaleoNonPaleo
4 years 5 months ago

I got all weepy over that I-Caveman kill. It was the first time I’d really thought about the sacrifice animals make for us and how awesome and gut-wrenching and primal that is.

I don’t think it’s unethical to eat them. But I do think it’s unethical to treat them horribly in order to eat them. But then we get into the sustainability argument. Ugh. It’s a difficult dilemma.

Lindsey
Lindsey
4 years 5 months ago

+1

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago

Holi Canoli! I know what you mean! That video was amazing!

I want to do that.

Dave
Dave
4 years 5 months ago

+1

Ghost
4 years 5 months ago

I encourage all meat-eaters to go for a hunt. At least once, and participate in every part of it. You really get an idea of what animals do to survive, and what it’s like to take a live, and get your hands dirty to the elbow in the choices you make. It’s intense, and really best if you do it with a group.

Emily Mekeel
Emily Mekeel
4 years 5 months ago

In Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” there is a section on the act of (and thereby implications of) hunting and eating your kill that is absolutely beautiful.

Aron
Aron
4 years 5 months ago
I don’t understand your comment…what difference does it make to hunt in a group? I’ve hunted North American wildlife for more than 20 years and have faithfully consumed every last bite. In groups, or alone, it doesn’t matter. Personally, I prefer to be alone when I shoot and field dress an animal. Regardless, the entire topic and support for this non-meat eating class is perpetuated by the far left liberals who are the same people that will crucify hunters and meat eaters in general, yet they will constantly be pro-abortion! They will prefer to protect a cow, while voting to… Read more »
Qb
Qb
4 years 5 months ago

Oh please. If you think that liberals are all vegetarians, well, that’s ridiculous. I know several republican vegetarians, so maybe you can ponder that. If you think real hard, you might figure out that there are illogical people on both sides of the party line. And this is absolutely not an appropriate forum to discuss your opinions on abortion.

Ghost
4 years 5 months ago

It’s different in a group because there’s the sense of comradeship that you don’t normally get when you go on a solo hunt. You have to work together, everyone having a part in ending an animal, and creating a meal.

Um…yeah, I’m a liberal and a meat-eating pro-choice hunter. What’s your point?

Deanna
4 years 5 months ago

I know what you mean. I had the same reaction when I saw the video a while back. That’s why when I went in on a pig share, I visited the farm to be there for the kill. I wanted to be part of the process – it was important to me to see the animals in their environment and witness their deaths.

Laura
Laura
4 years 5 months ago
I agree with the argument that it’s unethical to treat them horribly. If you are uneducated about how horribly they are treated. Get an education. Then once you are aware, comment. It took me years before I found out just how horribly each different species are treated, from calves, to dairy cows, to ducks and geese, turkeys, chickens, pigs, even sheep, none of them get a good deal. They live a horribly confined and painful life with a gruesome ending. There’s a humane way to raise and animal and a humane way to slaughter an animal. But unfortunately, these poor… Read more »
Truth
Truth
4 years 5 months ago

Laura, you are right. And the truth is only a very small percentage of the US population will ever eat “humanely raised” meat. The people here are either in the “elite” that can, or are just looking for justifications or in denial.

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

Not just the ‘elite’. I think most could afford ethically raised meat, it’s just that people would prefer to pay for an ipad rather than pay 50-100% more for their food. It’s a societal mentality which needs changing.

B Willson
B Willson
4 years 5 months ago

How the animals are treated is where the real ethics come in. But I also think humans outstripping the earth’s ability to replentish itself is should be treated as an ethical question.

Galina L.
Galina L.
4 years 5 months ago

My son who is a student manages to eat grass-fed meats on less budget than he spent in a cafeteria. It is a redistribution of a budget. Step number one – the elimination of snacks and bought drinks. Eating organ meats besides regular cuts is the next step.

Kathryn Saylor
Kathryn Saylor
4 years 5 months ago
You are totally correct about most animals being horribly treated (major suffering) before being killed (search CAFO). I submit that in this case, death is the better…and sooner is better. We raise organic free range chickens, goats, sheep, and have guard dogs. Our animals have a totally happy life with great food and clean water. When it comes time for them to die…they do NOT suffer for one second. We see to that. Their brain is “turned off” at the beginning process of the slaughter. It’s not pretty to kill an animal. But it’s necessary. Better than being eaten alive… Read more »
Shalimar
Shalimar
4 years 5 months ago

Thanks for your comment!

LizS
LizS
4 years 5 months ago
+1 also! Amen Mark, amen! I look back at Native American spiritualism. When they took an animal’s life to feed themselves and their families, a prayer was said, thanking the animal for giving it’s life so that they may be nourished. Some tribes ate the heart immediately following the kill, as it was believed that was respectful. At least meat eaters might acknowledge the gift, appreciate the sacrifice. Maybe the question shouldn’t be “Is Eating Meat Ethical?”, it should be “What is Ethical Eating?” How you look at your food, animal or otherwise, and who or what was sacrificed to… Read more »
Vaidehi
4 years 5 months ago

Agree about the spiritual part, which is why most religions have a specific way of butchering animals: Jhatka (Hindu), Halal (Muslim), Kosher(Jew)). The Hindu aspect of considering it ethical to be Vegetarian is based on 2 concepts :Ahimsa (non-violence) and Karma (Feedback of your actions) and that is purely by choice!! Since the president cites Gandhi so often, maybe he should also consider Gandhi’s this saying :“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

martha
martha
4 years 5 months ago

Thank You, Liz!… for exactly putting into words what I had been waiting to read on this comment board.
Respect for life. Period.
And Gratitude.
My Father, who would have been 102 now, used to say when I was a kid, back before there was even a discussion about this, “Who knows what broccoli feels?”

Barbara Hvilivitzky
Barbara Hvilivitzky
4 years 5 months ago

Yes but this respect for life should start with human life, animals second. Why do we want to save the whales but let our neighbours in Sudan starve? Why do we want to save our neighbours in Sudan and kill the unborn who are too much trouble or too expensive to raise here?

Kelekona
Kelekona
4 years 5 months ago

Yep, it’s not treating them right that’s bad.

If you don’t have the room to raise your own cows or the means to “meet the meat,” it’s either acknowledge that you are a horrible person or move down the food chain to eat rodents and crickets.

Denver
Denver
4 years 5 months ago

In Thailand, crickets have been on the food stalls “hot sellers” list for a long time. Crickets deep fried in coconut oil w/ chillis, are like, well, they’re a super healthy tasty protein treat!! Yum!! I;ve eaten/enjoyed all the bugs on offer there, EXCEPT those water bugs which are basically oversized cockroaches, lol. And recently in Thailand, rats are the latest food craze, even city dwellers are actively seeking them out from the street vendors.

Digger
4 years 5 months ago

Vegetarianism has made overpopulation possible.There would be a lot fewer humans on the planet if everyone ate meat.

Annie
Annie
4 years 5 months ago

Over population is a myth. Overpopulationisamyth.com

The entire worlds population could fit inthe state of Rhode island, with room to dance. if anything I have learned from MDA, it’s that you can’t believe conventional wisdom.

Meat is necessary for our life and health, therefore not eating has to come from a feeling of giving something up rather than ethics. The question is too vague to be a real question.

Carl Barringer
4 years 5 months ago

Love this entire thread. In a 2-dimensional analysis, that’s about 4 square feet per person – 2′ by 2′. NOw, in order to have room to dance, I’d like to be able to pick who I am that close to. Away from the main point, but I couldn’t help myself.

Truth
Truth
4 years 5 months ago

Are you serious?? Think about what you wrote. Hey, check out the Flat Earth Society, I think you will fit right in.

Bruno
Bruno
4 years 5 months ago
I think you should go to law school, work as a DA for a couple of decades, then run for a Judge position, acquire a gavel – AND THEN start judging people. Do you know how many mountains had to be toppled to acquire the metals to build your car and your computer? How many humans had to be displaced? How many rivers were polluted and how many fish and other wildlife became diseased? Do you know how many animals die due to fertilizer and weed killer used to grow crops? Ethics goes beyond the topic of meat. Your “Ethical… Read more »
Joe
4 years 5 months ago

Very interesting website, great job with the videos. But, I have a problem with their base assumption that increased food production justifies an increased population. That is true only if the increased food production is sustainable and it’s not. So I have trouble buying their argument.

B Willson
B Willson
4 years 5 months ago

Well-said. What is wrong with 4 or 5 billion people in the US? Nothing comes to mind!

Patrick
Patrick
4 years 5 months ago

That’s a silly argument. Humans don’t just need enough space to be able to all squeeze in and dance. Overpopulation is a calculation of the ‘footprint’ we have, based on the area we need to provide us food, housing, and materials for all our stuff. Plus enough of nature for the ecosystem to survive and thrive–and process/biodegrade all our waste, from CO2 to garbage. And not all space is created equal; there are places we can’t live, can’t grow or raise food, etc. Can’t mine (and moreso, shouldn’t because it then poisons areas that we can use for other things).

Adam
Adam
4 years 5 months ago
Overpopulation is not a myth. The world may have enough room for our actual bodies, but our consumption levels determine how many people the Earth can support. According to estimates, the average American requires 24 acres of productive land. That’s productive land, mind you, which cuts out millions of acres of deep ocean, desert, tundra, etc. If everyone on earth lived like an American, we would need 5 earths to support 7 billion people. This doesn’t even take in to account how 7 billion people are degrading the environment through things like overfishing, pollution, converting forest to farms and grassland,… Read more »
Chris
Chris
4 years 5 months ago

Adam, spot on!

Jenn
Jenn
4 years 5 months ago

I’m curious to learn more about this.

Ashleigh
Ashleigh
4 years 5 months ago

What do you mean by this? How does that work?

Lloyd
4 years 5 months ago

Excellent logical approach, Mark, and one very different from the one that first crossed my mind.

This essentially re-frames the question to be, “is it ethical to exist?”

Well done.

Adam
Adam
4 years 5 months ago

“Is it ethical to exist?”

I love that. I’m going to use that whenever anyone tries to tell me about the ethical failures of meat eaters, if you don’t mind.

Cody
Cody
4 years 5 months ago

I think there’s an even bigger question here: what does ethical mean? Who decides for me what I should see as ethical? Ethics differ from culture to culture and as such is about as subjective as can be. Ethics do not enter into my decision to eat meat or not.

AnonyM
AnonyM
4 years 5 months ago

This is actually the more important and revealing question. The original question presupposes that ethics exist, are relevant and mean the same thing to all people.

However, attempt to come up with a logical argument explaining the existence of ethics and you run into some fundamental logical problems, such as appeal to authority without an authority.

Jeff Herron
Jeff Herron
4 years 5 months ago

Well, you know, unless you believe in God. 😉

Kenneth D.
Kenneth D.
4 years 5 months ago
Ethics are based on self-truths as I see it. The basic line is that you know, that for yourself, you would rather be: happy, well-fed, not in pain, not hunted, etc… From there you apply that same knowledge to things you understand, like other people. Then you argue if it applies to things that can: be happy, feel pain, feel fear, etc… Since I think its unethical to support big agra, I do things its generally bad to be vegan, eat GMOs, eat KFO meat, eat Fast food, etc… I don’t much care for the other ethical tac, the “good… Read more »
Kiran
Kiran
4 years 5 months ago
Without belittling the importance for such things Morals and Ethics are there as a framework for belief to provide a common set of expectations in society, they may sometimes be or seem somewhat “universal”, because they are for “man” and by “man” to suit his needs for cooperation. So despite the delivery method (God, the State, wise-men, your friends, Simpsons….) the end reason is the same. We (as a group and individual) create and support the Ethics that are important to us for our lives. So….. is it ethical to eat meat… I guess that depends on what you choose… Read more »
Mauricio
Mauricio
4 years 5 months ago

Eating meat is obeying nature (if you’re human, anyway), enough said 😀

craig almaguer
4 years 5 months ago

the human ANIIIIIIIIIIMMMMMAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL.

Chris
Chris
4 years 5 months ago

If that is true…why are there 10 billion artificially inseminated land animals and birthed and killed every year in the US?

Bob C.
Bob C.
4 years 5 months ago
Nice job, Mark. You’d also have to define ethical. Our very existence as a continuing species on this earth means we are utilizing resources that would otherwise be available for other creatures. That applies to every creature on earth as well. One might say existence is itself unethical. We have a human population on this earth that can only be supported by raising livestock and growing crops. If we want to be truly ethical, we would let the population die off to only what hunting/gathering would support…but there really is no realistic way of doing such a thing. We are… Read more »
Bill
Bill
4 years 5 months ago

Mark and Bob C’s comments were very well done. I enjoyed both of your responses.

Dan Donovan
Dan Donovan
4 years 5 months ago

It should be more like, “Is eating monocrop grains, fruits and vegetables; Ethical?”

Tiffany (NatureMom)
4 years 5 months ago

I think you did a wonderful job making your case. Whether you eat meat or veggies, animals died to bring that meal to your table. “Death” is also required for nutrient rich soil/food. That is the circle of life. The fact that vegetarians and vegans (I have been both) are often blissfully ignorant of this does not make them more ethical, only more ignorant.

Kiki
Kiki
4 years 5 months ago

I agree with you 100%. Ignorance is NOT bliss!

Dave
Dave
4 years 5 months ago

AMEN! +1 Ignorance is not bliss…it’s just ignorant of the facts.

Erin
4 years 5 months ago

Dito. Ignorance stinks. The question reeks of ignorance. True ethics is for both sides to come to the table with real data, real evidence to either support their position or disputes the other. However, that was not permitted. Without the freedom to bring into play sustainability, organic, local, grass fed, etc they dismissed “ethical” from the onset.

Grokitmus Primal
4 years 5 months ago

I think it shows that people are either trying to force their beliefs on you or they really have too little to worry about. Go work…Food in mouth… Go seepy now… Nice bowel movement ah… Make Grok proud… Grunt!

Paul Alexander
4 years 5 months ago

Of course it’s ethical.
Because in Nature everything is connected and one species requires the other.
For food, for aid, for LIFE.
Other animals support us with help and with their nutritious gifts.

It’s a wonderful Universe!

Also, don’t forget veggies are as alive as animals, but we cannot comprehend at the same level we comprehend other beings.

Jean (UK)
Jean (UK)
4 years 5 months ago

I can understand you feeling a little sad at the idea that an animal has to die to feed you but that animal would not have lived at all if there wasn’t a market for it’s consumption. Providing we go for well reared animals that have had a good life I think we are doing okay. As my neighbour explained to his vegetarian girlfriend, “They only eat ‘happy meat'”.

Kelekona
Kelekona
4 years 5 months ago

Ah right, I completely forgot that argument applied to products other than silk.

The domesticated chicken could probably breed back into something that almost has the survival rate of the jungle fowl, and escaped pigs are already more problematic than their wild cousins, but what can a jersey cow do?

Jeff Herron
Jeff Herron
4 years 5 months ago

As we say on our farm (echoing Joel Salatin), “All our animals have great lives and then one bad day.”

Etta
Etta
3 years 8 months ago

That’s right. The more happy animals we eat, the more animals are bred to live their happy lives as they please. That’s a net plus for the world.

Craig
Craig
4 years 5 months ago

I read an article at ZeroHedge that recommends meat eating to combat loss of testosterone. In fact the article reads like a Primal Living primer. Everywhere I look Primal Living is verified. Article is at http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-14-04/man-boost-your-testosterone-level-health-power-and-confidence

SnarkyBastard
SnarkyBastard
4 years 5 months ago

I think it’s unethical to eat anything with a face. That’s why I always chop the face off first, before I eat an animal!

SnarkyBastard
SnarkyBastard
4 years 5 months ago

In all seriousness, I am deeply grateful for all forms of life that sustain my own.

But I feel no guilt about eating animals, any more than they should feel guilt for eating humans, which many of them happily did for millions of years, and still do when the rare opportunity presents itself.

efrain
efrain
4 years 5 months ago

well said!

Michele
Michele
4 years 5 months ago

A little bit of my shepherd’s pie just went up into my sinuses. Snort:)

Chris
Chris
4 years 5 months ago

You gonna eat that face? Animal face fried in butter with some salt and pepper? Yes, please!

Dani
4 years 5 months ago

Like you said, grain fields, soy fields, corn fields, have destroyed entire eco systems, they have made entire species go extinct. And they are all staples of a veg*n diet. One cow could feel me for who knows how long, and I only buy grass-fed, which builds topsoil and is way more kind to the earth.

SnarkyBastard
SnarkyBastard
4 years 5 months ago

I hope you meant “feed”… 🙂

Icepyk
Icepyk
4 years 5 months ago

HAHA omg…

Chris E
Chris E
4 years 5 months ago

I can understand those who love meat, but those who want to be loved by their meat….

Erin
4 years 5 months ago

That’s perfect !

Bert
Bert
4 years 5 months ago

I’ll be your cow, baby.