A few months ago 'Habee' a 'Hubstar' asked this question "Can't we be meat eaters and still be concerned with animal torture?"
As a vegan (kinda) I think that eating animals is a personal choice that we all need to make and if someone chooses to do so after ensuring their meat comes from a humanely raised and killed source, then I don't have a problem with their choice, even though I think it's unethical in the first place.
I know that is kinda weird from a 'kinda vegan' however it's how I feel.
How about you?
I was just talking to my husband about this yesterday, after watching a wildlife program.
It occurred to me that yes, it may seem cruel to kill animals to eat. But consider the comfortable life of a domestic sheep or cow, with ample food, shelter when needed and a quick end. Then think about the life they'd have if they were "free" - never knowing where the next feed is coming from, constantly in fear of attack, and quite likely to die a slow painful death by drought, starvation or predation. Even though domestic animals are killed young, many of them would have much shorter lives in the wild.
I do think intensive breeding of animals (battery hens etc) should be banned. But if the animals are well looked after in natural surroundings, it's a fair trade-off.
Not to mention that sheep and goats produce food from land which is not fertile enough for us to grow food crops on - so if we all became vegan tomorrow, we wouldn't be able to simply replace the animals with grain or vegetable crops, as so many claim.
I was a vegetarian of sorts (I still ate fish) for almost four years. Now I eat meat, but not that often. I still care about the way the animal was farmed and how it was euthanised. So yes, I believe we can be concerned and still make a difference.
I have been a vegan, then a vegetarian, so I do drink milk. I thought at least the cow isn't being killed for their milk. Then a few months ago, I read a report which described how the dairy cattle are killed, which included stunning them, after which they fall to the ground, and then their legs are sawn off whilst they are still living. I found it hard to imagine the horror of it, and cannot see why it is necessary to kill them in this way.
Temple Grandin 2010 Claire Danes/David Strathairn is a great film about an autistiic woman who tried and did improve the conditions in which cattle are slaughtered.
I think one of the biggest problems is though, that we have to rely on the producers for their guarantees that animals are treated humanely.
No matter what I don't think there is really a humane way to kill an innocent animal. There are just so many factors. But I suppose if you like eating meat then just try your best to find providers that aren't terrible to the animals.
Pertaining to mainly wild game such as deer, rabbit, and the like not eating meat would cause over population in animals resulting in major loss of our grains and crops. It's necessary to hunt and kill animals if we wish to survive. However I believe that you can do it in a humane way with concern for the animal as well as yourself.
As far as animals such as cows and chickens I think that it's important to know how they are being treated, because their health and treatment is just as important as how they are killed.
In my opinion you can eat meat while still being concerned for the animals. In no way is it a one way street.
There's a difference between animal welfare and animal rights. Once can be concerned about the way animals are treated and strive to make sure they are used humanely without affording them the same rights as people. I don't subscribe to the same line of thinking as animal rights activists (i.e., that "A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy") but I think that we have a moral obligation to use the most humane methods when using animals in research and for food.
I agree that animals shouldn't have the 'same' rights as humans, and am also in agreement with your sentiments regarding Ingrid Newkirks statement; "A Rat Is a Pig Is a Dog Is a Boy."
Personally I value human life above that of non-human animals. Having said that, my personal feelings are that animals shouldn't be used for food, and only used for experimentation when absolutely necessary for research relevant to human safety/health. I say that because humans (in countries such as America, Canada, Australia, England etc) don't need to eat animals, they do so because they 'want' to, not because they 'need' to.
Do you practice what you just said, that is, about a 'moral obligation'? for instance do you only buy humanely raised food animals or do you shop mostly for convenience? Also do you source only humanely raised clothing items, and furniture (wool rugs, leather couches etc) The reason I ask is that if not, then your philosophy is without resonance, because actions are a mirror of your core belief whether you recognise that within yourself or not.
thanx for your response!
everythingdazzles; I completely agree with you.
Shesabutterfly; Thank you for your comment, I hope you have some places/stores etc that you frequent for their humanely raised food.
Hollie Thomas; Agreed!
knolyourself; Yes and we need further welfare reforms
Marisa Wright; I agree with you about intensive breeding, if humans choose to eat meat, then eating meat from a less abusive source should be paramount, although I don't know how that can be accomplished with the huge number of people in the world, especially in urban areas.
Muldania; That is so sad, sad mostly for the poor animal and also sad for what it does to the human performing such a barbaric practice, it just can't be good for that persons soul, However not all animal slaughter is or has to be that way.
I hadn't eaten meat in weeks until I had a small piece of beef this week for the iron. I called around and found a local slaughterhouse that adheres to the Humane Kill guidelines. I also talked to a former student who works in that slaughterhouse, and I'm pretty satisfied with how the animals are treated and killed there. Yesterday, I went there and bought some pork ribs. I took them out last night and rubbed them with spices, but now I don't want to eat them. Now that I've found a humane kill house, it seems that I've lost my taste for meat. Actually, I hope this isn't the case because I need the iron. I don't absorb iron well from supplements.
I just got a call about my lab work, which relates to this. My cholesterol has dropped 50 points in just a few weeks, and my triglycerides have dropped 10 points. Unfortunately, my hemoglobin has dropped a little, too.
And yes, I do believe one can be a meat-eater and still be concerned with animal welfare. I care about how livestock is treated while alive and about how the animals are handled and killed in slaughterhouses. Our cows and pigs actually got to be cows and pigs, with plenty of room to roam.
Hi Habee! I really appreciate your response, I wish there were more people like you. I'm vegan, except for wearing re-cycled leather or wool (but that's a whole 'nother story) I hope your iron levels normalise soon. Also as a little tip, one that I'm sure you're already aware of, did you ever think about using cast iron pans for the residual iron from the pan? I use the 'Lodge' brand.
Thanx again for your response & inspiration for this post!
Something I don't understand...how can some people be against eating meat like beef but they are fine with eating fish or chicken? What makes it okay to eat the fish meat/chicken meat but the beef is a no no?
Would love to hear what you all think of this...
I don't feel as bad about eating fish as I do about eating chicken, beef, or pork. Fish don't have to go through a slaughterhouse, for one thing. Scientists say that some types of fish don't even have pain receptors. Even if fish do feel pain, I can't believe that a shrimp experiences as much pain as a cow or pig. Some people believe fruits and veggies can feel pain. If that's true, what are we supposed to eat?
I hear what you're saying and respect your opinion, but I still think if someone claims to be a vegetarian then they shouldn't eat any meat...at all.
My 2 cents
Opps first time I hit the wrong button -
I wonder if this table of iron sources may be of any use to you habee.
Thanks, 2uesday! The problem is that iron from non-animal sources is non-heme iron, which isn't absorbed well. I eat several servings of spinach a week, however.
My iron levels have stupified my docs for years. They've even hospitalized me for it so they could run all kinds of iron panel tests. My hemoglobin can go up or down by 5 or 6 points overnight, which the docs say is absolutely impossible without a transfusion. But different blood samples tested in different labs have proven that my body can do this. The docs are baffled. I think I just have a strange body! lol
richardkruse; While I agree that 'labels' have to mean 'something' I'm not so sure that it's as important as making an effort to minimize our use of abused sentient animals. It's really difficult for anyone to be 100% anything, even the staunchest vegan can't avoid being a part of the abuse.
We all draw our own line in the sand. Sometimes for the sake of convenience we have to start off by saying we're vegetarian and then add a descriptor of sorts, e.g., I'm vegan except I use honey, so no, technically this person isn't vegan. but it did serve to get closer to the actual description of this persons lifestyle. For instance this persons' other choice might have been to say, I don't eat meat, fish, chicken, dairy, eggs, milk, or anything else with any animal products in them, which 'for me' is belabouring the point the person is trying to make. Sometimes you can just say 'vegan' and the person you're speaking to 'gets it' other times you have to spell it out and it still confuses the person you're talking to.
The thing is, as much as 'vegans' try to 'rein' in the description, pop culture will shape and reshape it, just like 'vegetarians' metamorphosis with all it's deviations. So yes, a term should have 'meaning' but it's intent almost always is more important and the term should be used in a transitional context.
I guess that's more than my 2 cents! haha. btw thanx for your comments
Absolutely, most farmers of the past loved their animals as much as they loved to eat them. They were dependant on their welfare and their productivity and also understood the life cycle of maintaining both the young and the old. Not all animals were kept for consumption but other things as well. Most animals today are not even capable of surviving within basic levels of domestication. They have become so genetically modified that they are technically retarded animals that would not survive outside the cage they are locked in. Like humans we feed them food they never ate and their bodies were never intended to process. We forget that we are consuming life and we do not respect and we are not thankful of what we receive. We are in total denial of what we consume today and how it effects our health and well being and we are all paying the price. Nutrition is medicine and today's medicine only treats symptoms with additional side effects but does not search for the problem but only the profit.
SanXuary; So you agree that we can be concerned, but how do put 'your' sentiments into practice, what is it 'you' do to ensure that your choices of food aren't complicit in the exploitation of animals.
I suppose the answer lies in whether you are of the opinion that human life is more important than any other species or that all life is created equal.
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I believe yes, because killing is itself a violent act and if it is involved in the process of making food, it will definitely makes them more violent.
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