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Food ethics: How do you choose what species are morally wrong to eat?

 
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:02 pm
@dadpad,
Your argument is the same for recognizing (but not condoning) eating of "bush meat" which is collective term that covers the hunting of many numbers of species, Several of which are at least threatened.

Its a dietary requirement but in most cases of bushmeat eating, the governments of the countries are so corrupt that emnergency foods sent by the first world nations, never gets to the people who need it. SO we are, in many cases balancing the survival of a species of animal versus starvation for humans. Theres no "either or" allowed here. QWeve gotta do both.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:05 pm
Some Australian Aboriginals had a moritorium on eating certain plants (esp root vegetables) when they were flowering or in seed. Thus practicing species conservation.

Incidents of canabalism have been reported for Australian aboriginals. One incident i recall was a reportd fight between two groups of aboriginal men. the winning tribe cooked and ate parts of the dead. when questioned as to wheather this was to absorb "spirit" the answer given was
No boss me plurry hungry.
how true that is i cannot say but it seemed at the time that the document i read was real.
The moritorium on eating human flesh is probaly based in one of the base drives of human existance (sex) and the populate or perish school of thought, but secondary or equal to the self preservation drive.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:08 pm
@dadpad,
I think it's more basic than that.

if people are declared open game, you might become game.

littlek
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:10 pm
My point wasn't that animals should eat no meat. By glut I meant that we eat more meat than we need to. Carnivores don't eat more meat than they need to, they need to eat meat.
0 Replies
 
littlek
 
  3  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:28 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
I have no "moral" qualms about being a carnivore. As it happens, i prefer pork to any other meat.


You're not a carnivore. You're an omnivore. You would die if you ate only meat.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:33 pm
@Rockhead,
Rockhead wrote:

I think it's more basic than that.
if people are declared open game, you might become game.

You dont kill me and i dont kill you. We are both better off.
I can see that, until i'm starving.
Did cave men kill their babies when things got real tight?
I bet they would rather kill someone elses babies first.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:34 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:
I consider eating an animal that is a friend almost on par with eating humans. That includes chickens, dogs, pigs and so on. I once raised a pig. I named her Dinner to keep our thoughts focused on our purpose for raising her. She had such a sweet disposition and was very intelligent. When we were forced to move, and give her up, it was have her butchered or let someone else take her. In either case, she would be eaten. We ate her, but I did not enjoy a bite of it.


I could never get used to eating animals I'd taken care of either. As a kid we had some sheep, and when one died they butchered it but I couldn't eat it. We also had chickens that I couldn't eat either (I'd raised them from baby chicks) and a cow died on us once (drowned) but nobody wanted to eat it so we fed it to the dogs we had.

It's not an ethic I hold, just a personal ick factor. I can't go from caring for something to eating it so I avoid eating anything I've fed.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:46 pm
Quote:
It's not an ethic I hold, just a personal ick factor. I can't go from caring for something to eating it so I avoid eating anything I've fed.

Some of the farmers i worked with have similar views. But they were happy to send hand raised lambs or calves off to the abottaire. Others laughed at the suggestion that pet lambs were not to be eaten at home.

I've raised chickens and killed them to eat. one infamouse rooster That the children named william attacked my daughter when she was about 3 or 4.
I charged to the rescue (sound of cavelry bugle) hit it several times with a lump of wood and rescued my daughter.
Though the rooster was still alive it was somewhat the worse for wear so we killed it and ate it. My daughters comment at the table was "William tastes good mummy"
we were short on cash in those days so not much got wasted. today i probably wouldnt bother as its too much time and effort. If i want a chook i can get one from the supermarket already cooked for 5 bucks.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:51 pm
@Robert Gentel,
There are no absolutely hard and fast rules but there are general outlines at to what constitutes prey animals and what doesn't.

Traditional prey animals include all deer and deer-like animals, swine, ducks, geese, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, rabbits, all fish, and all shellfish. That's a pretty small group and probably amounts to a list of over 90% of the meat we eat.

Plato and other Greek authors believed there had been an antediluvian peace during which predation did not occur and the Bible itself describes humans as vegetarians prior to the flood and as having received God's permission to eat animals afterward.

If the whole thing should break down in the future and hunting for food again become common, then the two most major sources of protein out there will be white-tail deer and Canadian geese. The thing most people will want to have will be a good quality semiauto 22 caliber rifle and a massive supply of 22 ammo, both subsonic and high power LR.


0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 09:52 pm
@dadpad,
yeah, for most of my life I raised all our meat (beef,pork, lamb) I also did the killing and butchering.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 10:01 pm
@dadpad,
dadpad wrote:
I've raised chickens and killed them to eat. one infamouse rooster That the children named william attacked my daughter when she was about 3 or 4.
I charged to the rescue (sound of cavelry bugle) hit it several times with a lump of wood and rescued my daughter.
Though the rooster was still alive it was somewhat the worse for wear so we killed it and ate it. My daughters comment at the table was "William tastes good mummy"


That's an odd coincidence because it's almost exactly like the scenario that prompted us to eat our chickens (actually all roosters). We got them as baby chicks for free at some fair, so they were all male, of course. As they grew they were getting a bit aggressive with the kids, and one attacked my sister (around 3 or 4 too) trying to peck at her eye.

I came running to chase it off and plucked a lime off one of our trees and chucked it as hard as I could. In a freakish bit of luck I nailed it in the head (from about 10 meters) and broke its neck. It started stumbling around and we decided to kill it to put it out of its misery. Then they decided to kill the others as well and have a feast. Strangely I felt much weirder about eating the chicken than having caused the first one to die in the first place.

Quote:
we were short on cash in those days so not much got wasted.


That as also a big factor for why we ate our animals as well.
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 10:29 pm
Lots of interesting replies to an interesting question. So far no clear, objective moral or ethical (what the hell is the difference ?) standards have emerged with respect to the proper choices available to us on this matter. Moreover, very significantly, no scientific standards either.

These then are issues relating to our own subjective concepts of permissible behavior - or merely taste and thresholds of disgust, and our opinions concerning the degree to which we should exploit what nature makes possible and available. That also means that limits on what others should be permitted to do are political issues, not scientific, ethical or moral ones.

Humans have to decide on ways to tolerate and live with each other in ways that are generally acceptable. Failing that, there is always war and extermination.
0 Replies
 
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 11:00 pm
Interesting question! The first thing I thought of when I saw it was that scene in Notting Hill where Hugh Grant's character is set up on a blind date with a fruitarian, from which a very funny conversation ensued regarding 'murdered' carrots. In an interview about the film, Grant reveals they didn't make that up...there really are fruitarians!
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 11:47 pm
They must suffer constantly from diarrhea.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Jan, 2010 11:57 pm
my ex was a vegatarian, she married me on the farm, the next day I butchered both a steer and a hog. She put a pine board splitting the fridge with her tofu/broccoli/borscht while my bavon, t-bone, pork chops went on the other side. we were together 2 1/2 years, in that time the only kitchen appliance she ever used was the microwave. sex was mediocre on the good nights.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 12:00 am
@dyslexia,
which leads us to the next question...



should we decide to eat another human, would vegetarians taste better?
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 12:00 am
@Irishk,
Irishk wrote:

there really are fruitarians!

yup. i know one
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 12:13 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

They must suffer constantly from diarrhea.

the one i know does not. (I'll paraphrase here) He was diagnosed with an illness that the doctors said will kill you before you are 30. he (eventually) changed his lifestyle bought a bush block and trys to lives his life according to buhddist principals. he farms sheep for the wool and grows as much as he can He's going at 63 doesnt look a day over 30.
his only complaint uis that if he works in a strongly physically manner he has to eat regularily say an apple every two hours as fruit does not give a long term souce of protein.
By the way fruit means fruiting body that which encapsulates the fertilised seed so could be beans or tomato or nuts.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 07:01 am
@dadpad,
Quote:
By the way fruit means fruiting body that which encapsulates the fertilised seed so could be beans or tomato or nuts.


That is significant information--beans, of course, and all pulses are a significant source of some of the proteins. Some friends and i once went all summer eating nothing but fresh fruit from roadside stands (which happens to be a reliable source of good product), but we suffered terribly from the trots. I also noticed that we needed to consume a great deal of food, and to consume it more often.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 12 Jan, 2010 09:44 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

This is a topic coming from the discussions on whaling for me, but that is also influenced by other controversies such as the eating of dogs and cats.

If you believe that some animals should not be eaten, can you provide an abstracted criteria that can govern food ethics as it relates to species?

For example, if you don't think dogs should be eaten, try to think of the why (e.g. they are intelligent, charismatic). Also try to see if this rule can be applied consistently (e.g. if intelligence is your rule and pigs are more intelligent than dogs would you stop eating pigs?).

Many of the examples that you cite actually apply to the killing of animals, not necessarily to the eating of animals. For instance, if whalers were out there killing whales for oil and baleen, as in the 1840s, I'm sure we'd see the same protests that we see right now. Anti-whaling groups primarily object to the eating of whales because it leads to the killing of whales. The eating itself is a secondary consideration.

The ethical considerations regarding the killing animals may be very different from those regarding the eating of animals. No doubt there are many vegetarians out there who don't have any objections, per se, to eating animals, but have strong moral objections to killing animals. Granted, they may not want to eat an animal that has died of natural causes, but then there are a lot of meat-eaters who would have the same reservations.

As for myself, I don't have moral qualms about eating animals (as an abstract act), even domesticated animals such as cats and dogs. Personally, I don't think I'd want to eat Fido or Fluffy, but that's merely a matter of taste. I don't want to eat bugs either, and I have no strong personal feelings toward them. My lack of moral objections to the eating of animals, however, is not the same as my position regarding the killing of animals. Furthermore, if the eating of a particular species encourages the killing of that species, and there are moral reasons for preserving that species, then the eating of the animal becomes immoral by extension. For instance, if killing whales is morally wrong, then eating whales is morally wrong as well, since the commercial trade in whale meat is tied to the killing of whales.

As for eating humans, there are some pretty compelling pragmatic reasons for avoiding cannibalism. On a more general level, there are, I think, good reasons for considering cannibalism immoral. For a utilitarian, for instance, cannibalism is disutile because it encourages people to kill each other. For the Kantian, cannibalism violates the categorical imperative.
 

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