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

 
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 06:02 am
Where one comes from colors one's food ethics as much as natural inclination. I was not introduced to a variety of foods until after I left home. At that point I was not adventurous and it took a long time to try many items others consume matter of factly. To this day I have not been inclined to taste certain things, among them eggplant.
Francis
 
  -3  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 06:13 am
I was thinking if it would be morally reprehensible to eat a pussy?

If so, then Amazon shouldn't be selling books with titles like: "How to eat a pussy"...
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 06:43 am
@edgarblythe,
I kind of have criteria, but I am aware they are grossly imperfect, not properly lived up to, and I need to do more research (but I am scared to, because of what I might find out.)

I was veggo for quite a long time....but gradually went back to some meats because I sort of figured that killing was a pretty normal part of life.

But.....

I won't eat anything where I think enormous cruelty is part of the raising of it; eg anything, including eggs, that are factory farmed. (I mean...kept in close quarters, not able to move freely in a decent environment, filled with hormones and antibiotics etc.)

So I won't eat anything but free range chickens and pigs, and eggs, and fish.

I CERTAINLY won't eat veal, "proper" foi gras, battery chickens etc.

This means I ought happily to eat Australian sheep and cattle....but I don't.



0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 08:08 am
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:
To this day I have not been inclined to taste certain things, among them eggplant.


As someone who first ate eggplant in childhood, i can say confidently that you ain't missin' nothin' . . .
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 09:23 am
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
I think you are making a distinction here that has, at best very few meaningful applications. If, for purposes of discussion, we completely exclude the eating of live animals or those that have died from natural (or external causes) - both of which certainly apply in all cases under active discussion, then the eating of animals necessasarily implys killing them and whatever criteria you apply to killing them must also apply to eating them. One may apply attitional criteria to eating them, but certainly not fewer. This doesn't appear to be consistent with "very different".

My impression is that the anti whaling folks are opposed to killing whales for any purpose, and that, as you suggested, their opposition to eating them is at best incidental to that.

That's odd: first you say that there's no big difference between the moral considerations involved in eating animals and in killing them, and then you cite an example where there is a difference. I'm not sure what point you're trying to make.

georgeob1 wrote:
Indeed we are quibbling about esoteric, mostly meaningless distinctions that would only interest a lawyer or Medieval theologan. Oh, I forgot you are a ....

I resent the implication that I'm a medieval theologian.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 09:50 am
I'll second that . . . it's my experience that Joe is a very up-to-date theologian.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 11:16 am
Would you eat a cat?

Cat meat market in China:

http://pagesperso-orange.fr/gismonda/catmeat.jpg
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 12:39 pm
@Francis,
no.

but I don't do frog legs either...


(i do, however, enjoy a monk fish occasionally)
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 02:52 pm
@Francis,
The yuk factor there is devastating.


It's not rational, but it's devastating.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 02:58 pm
@Francis,
Francis wrote:

I was thinking if it would be morally reprehensible to eat a pussy?

If so, then Amazon shouldn't be selling books with titles like: "How to eat a pussy"...


Francis, that doesn't generally involve killing the animal in question.
0 Replies
 
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 03:09 pm
George wrote:
Francis, that doesn't generally involve killing the animal in question.

So, your opinion is that we'd try to just keep it lively?
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 04:35 pm
I knew a girl who would not eat meat purchased from a butcher. It reminded her of killing, floors awash with blood and the cute little lambs, however she happily purchased and consumed meat from the supermarket that was on a polystyrene tray wraped in a half a mile of plastic.

She knew it wasnt rational but did it anyway.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Jan, 2010 04:40 pm
@dlowan,
Yeah. I immediately want to save all those cats.

I think that part of my own equation -- probably again more yuk than morality-based -- is the more emotional an animal seems to be, the less inclined I am to eat it. And "seems" isn't incidental there -- something about how apparent the emotion is and whether I know how to read it.

Fish: no problem. Pigs: maybe they are actually as smart as dogs but their beady little eyes and stolid faces don't usually give it away. (Portuguese potbellied pigs with their waggy little tails are a bit different.) Cats: I can see how miserable those cats are in the picture and it brings out the nurture. (Nurture and prey don't go together well.)
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 06:31 am
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Yeah. I immediately want to save all those cats.

I think that part of my own equation -- probably again more yuk than morality-based -- is the more emotional an animal seems to be, the less inclined I am to eat it. And "seems" isn't incidental there -- something about how apparent the emotion is and whether I know how to read it.

Fish: no problem. Pigs: maybe they are actually as smart as dogs but their beady little eyes and stolid faces don't usually give it away. (Portuguese potbellied pigs with their waggy little tails are a bit different.) Cats: I can see how miserable those cats are in the picture and it brings out the nurture. (Nurture and prey don't go together well.)




That's interesting.

Here's an elephant story I just saw retold.

It speaks to the enormously rich emotional life of the elephant, its capacity to be deeply traumatised, and its need for a long lasting attachment relationship and intense and loving social learning about what it means to be an elephant.


There have been several outbreaks of odd behaviour amongst elephants in various areas.

Here's one example:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2000/08/22/60II/main226894.shtml


In this park, elephants began killing rhinos. They were also becoming generally aggressive and were far more upset and frightened by life generally than elephants normally are.

The culprits turned out to be the young males, who were coming into musth much earlier than normal, and appeared to be attempting to mate with male rhino. When the rhino didn't co-operate, the males would become frustrated and kill them.

Why? Well, this park was stocked with elephants that were brought from other areas, where elephants were being culled.

Only young elephants could be brought, because adults were too big to transport.

The babies were darted, and then their mothers were shot and butchered before their eyes.

Now...the reactions of other elephants suggest very strongly that they become strongly affected by traumatic events. In Uganda, under Idi Amin, most park elephants were slaughtered for their ivory.....they used things like hand grenades . The people who cared for any babies they could find reported that the babies had intense nightmares, would not play, did not socialize normally.

Elephants appear to grieve for years, and have what appear to be mourning rituals that last for many years...eg stopping whenever they pass the bones of dead elephants...and, for those who were family members, stopping, sometimes for long periods and caressing and feeling the bones.

Adult and baby elephants that suffered in an intense "war" between elephant and Masai, when Masai people were protesting loss of their land to parks, also appear very affected.

Some of the matriarchs and their families have begun what appears to be a systematic campaign against Masai cows, killing them in large numbers.

So, we have a group of traumatised and unsocialized elephants in the game park I mentioned at the start of this post, where the young males were unsocialised and "lost" and became extremely aggressive.

The park sought help in understanding what was going on, and brought some mature males into the park.

No more rhino deaths.

I could never kill an elephant, except in self defense. Or eat one except if I were starving....because they they seem to me to complex and sensitive and intelligent. And it hurts their whole family when they die.


Is it right to privilege likeness to us?


I think the pig will be off my menu entirely very soon.

Even free range. They are too intelligent. I bet they are damned sensitive, too.

If they only had hands.

Who here could eat a chimpanzee, a gorilla, a monkey?



0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 06:33 am
@sozobe,
I wish I had never seen the cats. I can't get that image out of my head. That's prolonged suffering.

I need to really familiarize myself with how much chickens and pigs suffer in slaughter...even the ones raised in good conditions.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 06:41 am
The body of a newly beheaded chicken will run around, spouting a bloody mess everywhere. My grandfather had that one licked, though. Most people would put the chickens head on the chopping block, and push a staple in over the neck, which didn't really help. My grandfather would coo soothingly to the chicken, while stroking it's neck gently as it lay on the chopping block, until the chicken was hip-mo-tized. Then he'd whack off the head, the body would stagger off a couple of feet and fall over. Worked like a charm everytime.

My sister and i were responsible for feeding the chickens even when we were just liddlies. We would each grab one side of the bail of the feed bucket, carry it to the hen house, and then my sister would unlatch the gate, while i preceded her into the chicken run, waving a stick at them. She would quickly scoop feed into their feed tray, while they tried to get at us, tried to get past my guard as i brandished the stick. My grandmother always told us the old hens were mean, and would try to peck our eyes out.

Now, all grown up (well, mostly), i suspect she was having her fun with us, and that all they were really trying to do was get at the feed. We hated 'em, though, and when my grandfather would butcher one or two roof rabbits for the oven, we would stand by and cheer, laugh, clap . . . we were glad to see 'em dead. Small children are complete, unregenerate savages.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 06:44 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
My grandfather would coo soothingly to the chicken, while stroking it's neck gently as it lay on the chopping block, until the chicken was hip-mo-tized. Then he'd whack off the head, the body would stagger off a couple of feet and fall over. Worked like a charm everytime.


That kind of slaughter I feel ok with.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 06:55 am
For pigs, most farmers would use a sledgehammer to the forehead, as they usually wanted to use the brains. Those who weren't interested in preserving the brains would just put a bullet through their heads. All in all, i think you don't want to know the details of the processes, though . . .
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 07:00 am
@Setanta,
I had some notion that they were bled while still alive?

I don't care after an animal is dead.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 07:12 am
@dlowan,
I've heard that some people open a vein in the neck and then hang them up after they collapse. The old farmers i worked for when i was a lad weren't havin' any of that nonsense. I am reminded of a line from Pirates of the Caribbean, in which Geoffrey Rush says to Johnny Depp: "Ya see, Jack, it's that kind of thinking that lost ya the Pearl in the first place. People are easier to search when they're dead."

Hogs are easier to string up and butcher when they're already dead.
 

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