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

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 07:17 am
@Setanta,
I like aspects of halal killing..

You know, the animal cannot see other dead animals
Cannot see the knife
Must be handled gently
There is thanks given for its life


There is debate re that traditionally, I believe, the animal was not stunned first, and is left to bleed out..

But I just checked on an Australian visit to check abbatoirs for the sheep we so brutally export live, and it seems they stun them first in abbatoirs at least






0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 08:15 am
A lot of stores and restaurants in Trana advertise halal meats. The West Indians like to eat goat, as do many people from Muslim nations, so you'll see West Indian stores and restaurants that advertise that the meat is all halal. So i've often wondered if there is any kind of large halal meat packing industry in Ontario. Given the size of this city (more than three million in the greater metropolitan area), that could mean a substantial number of goats being slaughtered each year. Of course, they sell halal lamb and beef too. I wonder how they would handle halal chicken.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 12:46 pm
@dlowan,
I've been meaning to ask about that. I envision Australia as having similar cat values as America but then I hear about Aboriginal cat consumption and even a cat stew in a Alice Springs contest. I presume the BBC article, when it states "Australians have come up with a novel solution to the millions of feral cats roaming the outback - eat them", is grossly misrepresenting an isolated incident but my understanding is that the Aboriginal cat roasts are somewhat more prevalent and I wonder what cultural conflict that has caused in Australia.

Is it legal to eat cats in Australia? And for that matter I wonder if it's legal in most of the US.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 02:02 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
And for that matter I wonder if it's legal in most of the US.


That's an interesting question, but then i wonder upon what basis one would make it illegal to eat cats.

One of the French writers, maybe Anatole France, was in Paris during the 1871 siege by the Prussians, and he went to the butcher shop when times were getting tough, to see if he couldn't pick up a scrap of meat for his cat. The butcher regretted that he didn't have anything for him, and then made an offer for his cat.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:22 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I've been meaning to ask about that. I envision Australia as having similar cat values as America but then I hear about Aboriginal cat consumption and even a cat stew in a Alice Springs contest. I presume the BBC article, when it states "Australians have come up with a novel solution to the millions of feral cats roaming the outback - eat them", is grossly misrepresenting an isolated incident but my understanding is that the Aboriginal cat roasts are somewhat more prevalent and I wonder what cultural conflict that has caused in Australia.

Is it legal to eat cats in Australia? And for that matter I wonder if it's legal in most of the US.



I have no idea if it is legal!

I can't imagine it would be illegal...I doubt anyone would have thought to mention it in any law, because I doubt anyone would have considered it possible.

There'd be problems if the cats were killed other than humanely...or if they were being used commercially...there health laws would make a stink if there wasn't a process.

But the populace would make a hell of a stink...though there is a counter swell of strong anti-cat feeling here, because of the terrible environmental damage inflicted by them.

One guy used to kill ferals and wear them as hats to publicise this...but he didn't EAT them.

I'd never heard of them being eaten by Indigenous people before this moment, or anyone else...except the usual rumours about Chinese restaurants.

If i can put aside my emotions, it would make a lot of sense...along with eating feral camels, donkeys, dogs, goats, buffalo and so forth.

Humans seem much better at wiping out species when we want to use them, and do it by accident, than we do when we are trying.

And all those creatures, when they get into the wild, are devastating to the ecology.


Local people seem to have no desire to eat pests, that I can see.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:29 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
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?

Roughly speaking, my criterion would be the suffering they experience from being raised and killed for us to eat. I don't see a morally relevant difference between eating cows and eating ponies. However, I have fewer moral scruples about eating shrimp than I have about eating cows. That's because shrimp, to the best of our knowledge, have much more primitive nervous systems, and come with a much more limited capacity to suffer, than cows and ponies do.

PS: I don't currently live by those values. I'm still in the stage where I eat meat and feel guilty about it.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:41 pm
Obviously, i am more evolved than you.

I no longer feel any guilt about eating damned near anything that takes my fancy.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:44 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
For a utilitarian, for instance, cannibalism is disutile because it encourages people to kill each other. For the Kantian, cannibalism violates the categorical imperative.

Except, of course, in cases like the German one you cite, where the eaten human wants to be eaten. In that case, both the utilitarian and the Kantian should approve.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:46 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Obviously, i am more evolved than you.

If I'm less evolved than you, how do you explain my refined sense of hypocrisy in the matter?
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:48 pm
Unreconstructed Christian guilt . . . if it weren't that, you'd find something else to flog yourself about . . .
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  4  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:49 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Setanta wrote:
Obviously, i am more evolved than you.

If I'm less evolved than you, how do you explain my refined sense of hypocrisy in the matter?


Not enough fibre?
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:57 pm
@dlowan,
Probably not -- good point!
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 03:59 pm
@Thomas,
If that kind of rule were applied, can you give me an idea of what it would result in in practice?

For example, sounds like Foie Gras, veal and Kobe beef is out. Is free-range chicken in? Is pig in at all?
Francis
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 04:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Not to talk about rabbits, which I eat gladly!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 04:09 pm
@Robert Gentel,
From a moral point of view, I think there is much to be said for becoming vegetarian, or even Vegan. Have you read Peter Singer: The Ethics of What We Eat? I find it hard to refute his arguments for giving up animal products entirely.

If this solution should prove unworkably radical, I think a reasonable compromise would be to cut out the meat, and to getting whatever animal protein I want from "certified humane" eggs, milk, and so forth. That's what I did for lent in 2009. I should probably try it again in 2010, and stick with it.

dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 04:17 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:

I've been meaning to ask about that. I envision Australia as having similar cat values as America but then I hear about Aboriginal cat consumption and even a cat stew in a Alice Springs contest. I presume the BBC article, when it states "Australians have come up with a novel solution to the millions of feral cats roaming the outback - eat them", is grossly misrepresenting an isolated incident but my understanding is that the Aboriginal cat roasts are somewhat more prevalent and I wonder what cultural conflict that has caused in Australia.

Is it legal to eat cats in Australia? And for that matter I wonder if it's legal in most of the US.


Quote:
Marinated moggie was not to everyone's taste. One of the competition judges found the meat impossibly tough and had to politely excuse herself and spit it out in a backroom.


Warning Soap Box time.
Any reason to kill a feral cat is good enough for me. I hate 'em.
There should be some licenceing requirements for cat owners to prove that you are a responsible owner. And no more free to good home adverts.

Keep it at home and dont let it roam.

edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 04:21 pm
Keep it at home and dont let it roam.



Sound advice. There are too many feral cats.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 04:27 pm
And i feel pretty much the same about wandering domestic cats/strays around town although i'm aware they may be someones loved pet. Domestic strays are an entirely different breed to feral cats.

eat em? sure, if they are palatable. If not mince em into a 4'n20.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 05:11 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

joefromchicago wrote:
For a utilitarian, for instance, cannibalism is disutile because it encourages people to kill each other. For the Kantian, cannibalism violates the categorical imperative.

Except, of course, in cases like the German one you cite, where the eaten human wants to be eaten. In that case, both the utilitarian and the Kantian should approve.

I'm not so sure. There can be a good utilitarian case for preventing someone from eating even the willing victims of cannibalism, simply on the grounds that it sets a bad precedent for other cases where the victim's willingness may be less than certain.

To give an example, the US government forbids the use of endangered species in any kind of product, even if the endangered species died of natural causes. So, e.g., if I were to pick up bald eagle feathers and stick them in hats and sell them, I could be charged under the endangered species protection laws, even though I never committed any act that actually endangered an endangered species. That's because selling those hats creates a demand for eagle feathers that could lead someone else to kill bald eagles. Furthermore, it is usually impossible to distinguish between eagle feathers that were picked up off the ground and those that were plucked from a freshly killed eagle carcass. Consequently, it's easier to have a rule banning the use of all eagle feathers rather than creating exceptions for fortuitously found feathers.

In the same way, a utilitarian can defend a law that prohibits all cannibalism, even if the victim is willing. Such a law would discourage attempts at cannibalism in the future, and would draw a bright line in doubtful cases where the victim may or may not have been willing (in the German case, that was a point of controversy).

As for the Kantian, I think the argument there is that anyone who wants to be eaten is mentally ill, and so is in need of treatment rather than tenderizing.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Thu 14 Jan, 2010 05:39 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:
I'm not so sure. There can be a good utilitarian case for preventing someone from eating even the willing victims of cannibalism, simply on the grounds that it sets a bad precedent for other cases where the victim's willingness may be less than certain.

Okay -- but in this scenario, the case turns on the facts around the cannibalism, not on the person evaluating the facts being a utilitarian.

joefromchicago wrote:
As for the Kantian, I think the argument there is that anyone who wants to be eaten is mentally ill, and so is in need of treatment rather than tenderizing.

Ditto.
 

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