12
   

Animals, Eating Meat and Moral Standing

 
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:19 pm
@Thomas,
B12 isn't from animals either. It's from bacteria. The reason you find it more prevalently in meat is because most vegetables are cleaned and packaged and meat is left with its bacteria (both useful and otherwise). B12 is easily foun in fresh produce and getting your body's recommended value is very easily. Fresh mushrooms are particularly good. Supplements aren't necessary.

I think you knew this though, and just wanted me to say it. ;-)

A
R
T
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:25 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
The life of a plant is worthless? It's a silly, silly position upon which to assert one's moral superiority.

I don't think it's silly if the distinction draws on animals being sentient beings. (Notice that the word "animal" derives from "anima", the Latin word for "soul".) In practice, it seems to me that this is indeed the distinction vegetarians make when they abstain from meat for ethical reasons. If the distinction was by biological kingdom, you couldn't kill sponges, because they, too, are animals biologically. But I don't know of any Vegans who oppose killing sponges for making tools.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:29 pm
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
Eating meat lies outside of the field of ethics, I would think. Eating meat, for many animals and men, is an act of survival, not choice. That we inject our own scruples into the act is to afford luxury


Eating meat is not necessary. More than 700 million tons of grain and corn, not to mention 1/3 of the global soy (250 million tons) supply is used to feed factory farmed animals. Now keep in mind that animals can only turn a small fraction of such feed calories into meat calories. The result is the opposite of what you claim. By relying on meat you are supporting a vastly inefficient practice, when such feed could be supplied to the impoverished 1.4 billion humans.

Quote:
That said, I am an animal lover, who hates to see animals getting mistreated. If I had to personally kill for meat, I would down lots more vegetables. But I don't view my sentiments from a moral viewpoint, because we all are food, in one way or another.


I find this an interesting passage. If you had to kill for meat, you wouldn't eat as much. Yet instead you will pay for someone to do it for you, because in essence, that is the logical outcome. In addition, you are against animal cruelty, yet factory farming is well known to cause quite alot of suffering for animals, but yet you will pay for someone to do that as well. Where is the basic integrity in that?

Your point about the scope of morality is fundamentally flawed in my viewpoint. Would you be pre pared to allow humans to be farmed for meat under the same conditions? If not, why not?
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:35 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
the human and environmental impacts of such practices are what ultimately made the compelling change in me.


The problem I have with these sorts of justification is that I think they miss the point entirely (though they still are important reasons). The environmental impact of meat eating is like saying that eating meat is only wrong because it has harmful consequences for the environment. If the environmental consequences weren't so harmful, but factory farm conditions continued to cause much suffering, by your logic, wouldn't that be morally permissible? It is essentially an indirect reason.

If animals are mis treated, I think it is because they make a moral claim on us. Their suffering requires us to recognize that animals have direct moral standing.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:42 pm
@wayne,
Quote:
I think I see what you are saying, it's a long and slippery slope though.
You'd end up back at the first hominid to pick up a sliver of bone for use as a tool.
That said, there is no doubt that the demand begets the supply.
This is a tough subject that's been discussed a lot. I'd like to take it slow so we don't lose the focus.

So then, taking your input into account, a discerning and responsible use of animal products is ethical, as a premise?


I disagree that my argument entails a slippery slope. It all depends on what factors you take to be morally relevant. In my opinion, if a thing has interests, then it is morally considerable. As we go further down the animal chain, like your hominid example or insects or whatever, I agree it becomes a bit more vague. However, this shouldn't exclude those things which we know for sure to have interests, like pigs, chickens, cows etc. Just because one part of the animal spectrum might require more deliberation as to that spectrums moral considerability, it doesn't, and shouldn't negate the proper standing of other animals.

Further, your argument is still a weak one because it doesn't justify why only humans have standing. On your part, it still begs the question.
Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:44 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:
B12 isn't from animals either. It's from bacteria.

True. That's why I suggested supplements, not animal products.

failures art wrote:
B12 is easily foun in fresh produce and getting your body's recommended value is very easily. Fresh mushrooms are particularly good. Supplements aren't necessary.

This is only true if the mushrooms grow on soil that provides the vitamin B12 to them. The mushrooms you'll buy in your typical grocery store will fit the bill because they're grown on animal manure. But I don't see how you can consume those if you're a Vegan for ethical reasons. Mushrooms don't produce Vitamin B12 in any part of their own metabolism---including any bacteria that might live within them. To clarify the matter, I suggest you Google the term ' "vitamin b12" mushrooms', and disregard the articles from the Vegan echo chamber.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:48 pm
@tenderfoot,
Quote:
Trying to compare the Civilized attitudes of modern man to some belief system of today, is the same as comparing the attitudes of the cave man, who's whole existence relied on his spear and catching and eating of meat. Then saying that they were immoral and should have all become vegetarians


No offense, but this is a straw man because I think you are mis characterizing my argument. No where do I state, nor imply that the eating habits of pre historic humans is immoral. My main concern is with practices today. With that said though, your comparison is a bit shaky. The context of pre historic times is quite different with advent of industrialized animal husbandry. Back then it was necessary to hunt to survive. Today? Not so much. I think you can agree with that?
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 01:58 pm
@Ceili,
Quote:
I know many farmers, they all seem to genuinely care for their animals. I've seen them give a pat or a rub to the animals and they feed, water and give them good clean shelter, fresh hay and the like. These cows, pigs and chicken live in open areas, fields and get excercise. A farmer who doesn't is a fool. My cousins and friends have all had pet cows, pigs and sheep. But none of them have lived to old age. Again, a farmer can't survive otherwise.


I understand where you are coming from, and I agree what you describe above is much, much better than factory farm conditions. That type of progression I am indeed happy with.

Yet take note: these types of arguments are very similar, and in fact structurally identical to slaveholder arguments who thought if they gave slaves a better life and a quick death, then slavery ought not to be abolished. It is essentially no different with meat. It may seem noble to improve their living conditions, but does that make it right?

Quote:
I have three dogs. They also eat meat. When they are ill or no longer have a good quality of life, I will put them down humanely.

Chickens have it the worst and I believe that this will change as we begin to realize that this isn't good for us either.


I find these two points interesting. Being a pet owner, you obviously have a deep concern for your dogs. If someone were to light one of your dogs on fire, it wouldn't be wrong because they are your dogs per se, but wrong because the dog itself is harmed right? Why is the case any different with chickens? Though it may matter that the anto biotics pumped into animals will have some adverse health effects on humans, isn't the point, morally speaking, about the interests of the animal itself?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:01 pm
@Thomas,
Well, you won't often see real sponges in the store, and if you did, you would probably consider them too expensive.

That vegetarians have moral qualms about eating animals isn't a problem for me--it's the holier than thou attitude. If you bought a hen, and provided it food and water for all of its natural life, rather than killing and eating it, it would live four or five years. On the Pacific coast, there are bristle cone pine trees which precariously cling to the rock faces, for thousands of years. Are they worth less than the hen? The largest living thing of which i have ever read is a quaking aspen grove in Utah which is comprised of hundreds of trees, all linked to one another under ground, genetically identical from one side of the grove to the other, and weighing well over 6000 tons. Is that member of the plant kingdom worth less than a hen's egg?

A silly argument.
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:03 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
Most veggiephagies eat that way jut to rub our noses in their "superior" moral code.


You might disagree, but ad hominens arn't exactly good arguments.

Quote:

Meat can act as a central dish or a mere flavoring


I'm glad you said this, because when you get down to it, this is the primary justification for eating meat. So by your logic, shouldn't human cannibalism be permissible? You ready to stand by that?
0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:05 pm
@bigstew,
Being that I don't feel a person's choice to eat or not eat animal product resolves to a singular moral/ethical fulcrum, I don't feel I miss "the point." people may have diverse reasons to make any choice. A person may not eat meat simply because they dislike it. This person is not missing the point.

I've already stated that I do not have a desire to kill animals myself and as such I feel I have no place eating them. If I cannot administer the pain, I do not believe I can elect to eat the animal. I believe that is our overlap.

As fror the enviroment and indirect argument, as I said, I was sympathetic prior to my choice to the plight of animals, but that alone was not enough. My decisions is not built upon a singlar premise but multiple ones that formed together. The environment effects not only humans and as such animals would additionally have moral standing under a environmental argument.

A
R
T
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:06 pm
@Thomas,
Oh, by the way, that the word derives from Latin is essentially meaningless. The Romans built great roads and were geniuses with cement--but i wouldn't consider them the be all and end all of botany and zoology.
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:09 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
Omnivores take the lives of other living things from both the animal and plant kingdoms in order to survive.


As far as requiring animal meat goes, this is factually false, see an above post.

Quote:
Vegetarians (who also don't eat eggs) only take the lives of living things from the plant kingdom in order to survive. That makes them morally superior? The life of a plant is worthless? It's a silly, silly position upon which to assert one's moral superiority.


Plant's arn't worthless, but they aren't by my argument directly morally considerable. Do they feel pleasure and pain, happiness and regret? Are they social beings? Sentient? No, of course not, so your argument is a mis characterization of what I am saying, and that entails a straw man.

In addition, eating eggs aren't wrong per se either. factory farmed eggs yes. Eggs themselves don't have moral personhood (just like a fetus) in my eyes, so I don't see any moral wrong doing.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:17 pm
@bigstew,
That's a straw man--i didn't say it was required, so i'll not waste my time "seeing above," thank you.

That you don't consider plants to have the same moral standing as animals is an opinion to which you are entitled. I don't share it. You might want to read my remarks about the bristle cone pine tree and the quaking aspen. Then again, you might not.

I haven't characterized what you've been saying at all--you're nothing to me. This is the first time i've responded to you. Your remarks concerning the relative moral worthiness of plants and animals are nothing more than ipse dixit. You can speak ex cathedra to your heart's content, that won't make it an absolute truth.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:19 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
Being that I don't feel a person's choice to eat or not eat animal product resolves to a singular moral/ethical fulcrum, I don't feel I miss "the point." people may have diverse reasons to make any choice. A person may not eat meat simply because they dislike it. This person is not missing the point.


Here's the thing. When we talk about morality, we talk about those things which fall within morality's scope. Humans obviously fall within this scope, and for my reasons stated, so should animals. I disagree that indirect reasons are enough for the moral considerability of animals. If a cat is kicked down the road, it is wrong because the cat is harmed, not because it might make other humans nearby upset. The cat itself has direct standing.

Given then a moral considerability of animals (which is the fundamental issue at hand), the choices we make and how our actions affect animals must be taken into account, if we take their interests to be important. The reasons you state don't speak to that fundamental issue. In other words, it is poor justification (but don't get me wrong, they are still important for other reasons, nonetheless).
bigstew
 
  3  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:22 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
That's a straw man--i didn't say it was required, so i'll not waste my time "seeing above," thank you.


You don't know much about Logic eh? You stated "in order" to survive. "In order" is the logical equivalent to required. It is a necessary condition.

Quote:

That you don't consider plants to have the same moral standing as animals is an opinion to which you are entitled. I don't share it.


Fair enough, but if this is a normative argument you are making you have to be able to justify it. Just saying what you think isn't going to persuade anyone.

Quote:
that won't make it an absolute truth.


Another straw man, because no where do I claim any absolute rules.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:27 pm
@bigstew,
You don't know much about language, huh? I was contrasting two points of view. It is certain that we have to eat something to survive, and that is required, but my remarks don't say that omnivores are required to eat meat, it's simply a choice they make. So, no, eating meat is not a necessary condition, it's a choice.

Yes, well, you choosing to say what you think is equally as unconvincing to me.

you wrote:
Plant's arn't worthless, but they aren't by my argument directly morally considerable. Do they feel pleasure and pain, happiness and regret? Are they social beings? Sentient? No, of course not, so your argument is a mis characterization of what I am saying, and that entails a straw man.


You say that plants are not sentient. You say that they do not feel pleasure, pain, happiness or regret. You say that they are not social beings. You know this how? Without a reasonable basis for these ipse dixit claims on your part (which you have not provided), you are speaking ex cathedra, and your claims have no more merit than anyone else's opinion.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:39 pm
From the source i linked above:

David Sugarman wrote:
Scientists took samples from all the aspens in this forest and found that they're all clones - genetically identical. And they're all connected to a single parent tree. New sprouts called suckers grow from the roots of the parent aspen. The suckers are protected by the grove, and the young trees can get their nutrients from the parent's roots until their own are well established.

This may be why quaking aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America. And aspen root systems can remain dormant for centuries, until the right conditions exist for the suckers to produce the young trees stems, called ramets . . .


You're going to be obliged to quibble about the meaning sentience and social relationships to slip out of this one.

Mr. Sugarman has an honors degree in biology and a BA in education from the University of Toronto. I'll take his word on such matters over yours, someone who is a complete stranger to me, and someone whom i do not know to possess any experise in any subject.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 02:57 pm
I honestly think that if most people had to catch and kill their own food, most animals would suffer a great deal more than they do now. We leave certain things to the experts for obvious reasons. Hell, most people can't even grow a garden. They'd starve by most that thinking...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Feb, 2011 03:01 pm
@Ceili,
They'd be in a hell of a fix getting wheat, potatoes, veggies and fruit, too. I grew up in a household in which we grew almost everything we ate except the meat, and we provided some of that through hunting, fishing and keeping chickens and geese. We went out to the woods to gather mushrooms, nuts and fruit. Growing your own food is hard work, and when it comes to things like potatoes, it's backbreaking stoop labor. I would have no problem with killing my own food, or growing it either. But since i don't have to, i don't worry about it. I certainly don't take silly moral positions on the issue.

I'd better add a disclaimer. I'm not saying that you, Ceili, have taken a moral position here--i haven't been paying that much attention. However, if you would like to argue about it, i'm sure i could work up something.
 

Related Topics

is there a fundamental value that we all share? - Discussion by existential potential
The ethics of killing the dead - Discussion by joefromchicago
Theoretical Question About Extra Terrestrials - Discussion by failures art
The Watchmen Dilemma - Discussion by Sentience
What is your fundamental moral compass? - Discussion by Robert Gentel
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
The Trolley Problem - Discussion by joefromchicago
Keep a $900 Computer I Didn't Buy? - Question by NathanCooperJones
Killing through a dungeon - Question by satyesu
 
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 09/25/2021 at 07:33:59