Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

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chatterbears
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Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by chatterbears » May 9th, 2018, 6:24 am

I base my moral foundation on something similar to Sam Harris, which is the consideration of the well-being of conscious creatures. This includes humans and animals. But I'd also say it is impossible to accept these 3 moral pillars while simultaneously eating animals. And these 3 pillars are: Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency.

Empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another living being. Compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. (Can be substituted for Altruism). Ethical Consistency is being logically consistent within a belief. Primarily regarding the consistency of the justification being used.

Does anyone here eat animals, while also adhering to the moral trifecta (Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency)? If so, I'd like to know how?

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 9th, 2018, 10:18 am

The usual explanation is that predation is natural. Most meat-apologists will say that humans are carnivorous and cannot be healthy on a meat-free diet, even less so on a vegan diet. They are - to some extent - correct in both of those statements. That is, they are correct, within a limited range of information.
In fact, we are omnivorous, which accounts in large part for our success: we have been able to adapts to a variety of environments and food sources; the technological advances of food processing, cooking and preservation also helped. Actually, before we were able to cultivate crops, our health and nutrition deteriorated after the wide-spread introduction of farming https://www.nationalgeographic.com/food ... n-of-diet/

Then, we have the question of the treatment of food animals. Being hunted is stressful - but herbivores are bot accustomed to that and built for it. Being killed is undesirable - but inevitable. Whether a deer is brought down by a pack of wild dogs and torn asunder, or by a well-aimed arrow and butchered cleanly, the difference is not in that animal's fate but in the amount of suffering. Ethically, as well as emotionally, I would opt for the arrow.
But not for the confining cage, breeding programs, force-feeding and horrific killing methods that modern industrial food production entails.

Many people still deny that this is the case; maintain in the face of overwhelming evidence that modern farming practices are humane. And, of course, some will even deny that we now have the technological means to supplement our protein, vitamin, amino acid and mineral intake without resorting to meat - and even to manufacture meat without killing any animal.

Then, there are the ecological, social and economic considerations, most of which would come under your moral tenets indirectly.

The hardest thing to overcome is the contrariness factor. You will encounter quite a lot of resistance to change in eating habits. The bacon addicts will mount a tenacious rearguard action. You will even encounter some quite aggressive rejection of the moral tenets of empathy and compassion.

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by LuckyR » May 9th, 2018, 1:09 pm

Alias wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 10:18 am
The usual explanation is that predation is natural. Most meat-apologists will say that humans are carnivorous and cannot be healthy on a meat-free diet, even less so on a vegan diet. They are - to some extent - correct in both of those statements. That is, they are correct, within a limited range of information.
In fact, we are omnivorous, which accounts in large part for our success: we have been able to adapts to a variety of environments and food sources; the technological advances of food processing, cooking and preservation also helped. Actually, before we were able to cultivate crops, our health and nutrition deteriorated after the wide-spread introduction of farming https://www.nationalgeographic.com/food ... n-of-diet/

Then, we have the question of the treatment of food animals. Being hunted is stressful - but herbivores are bot accustomed to that and built for it. Being killed is undesirable - but inevitable. Whether a deer is brought down by a pack of wild dogs and torn asunder, or by a well-aimed arrow and butchered cleanly, the difference is not in that animal's fate but in the amount of suffering. Ethically, as well as emotionally, I would opt for the arrow.
But not for the confining cage, breeding programs, force-feeding and horrific killing methods that modern industrial food production entails.

Many people still deny that this is the case; maintain in the face of overwhelming evidence that modern farming practices are humane. And, of course, some will even deny that we now have the technological means to supplement our protein, vitamin, amino acid and mineral intake without resorting to meat - and even to manufacture meat without killing any animal.

Then, there are the ecological, social and economic considerations, most of which would come under your moral tenets indirectly.

The hardest thing to overcome is the contrariness factor. You will encounter quite a lot of resistance to change in eating habits. The bacon addicts will mount a tenacious rearguard action. You will even encounter some quite aggressive rejection of the moral tenets of empathy and compassion.
A very good synopsis of many of the issues. However, there is one glaring omission, namely that almost no one hunts and fishes for their subsistence. Therefore the fate of deer in the forest is of no consequence. The corollary of this is that the purpose of farm animals is to provide nutrition. So 1) if their purpose is gone, they have no need to exist and should logically go extinct and 2) it is not illogical to use something for it's express intended purpose
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Felix » May 9th, 2018, 3:21 pm

LuckyR: The corollary of this is that the purpose of farm animals is to provide nutrition.
That is called anthropomorphic fascism. If you were the entree rather than the diner, you would surely feel otherwise.
If their purpose is gone, they have no need to exist and should logically go extinct.
So then they do, but that's very unlikely, we'll at least want to keep some dairy cows and their mates (steer) around. Besides, extinction can be preferable to a living hell.
Does anyone here eat animals, while also adhering to the moral trifecta (Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency)? If so, I'd like to know how?
A great deal of food, including meat, is thrown out rather than eaten, so those animals will have died completely in vain. It would be ethical to eat this food rather than see it go to waste.

An argument could also be made for raising an animal with tender loving care, and allowing it to live a long and pleasant life, before slaughtering it (as quickly and painlessly as possible). It's life probably would have been shorter and less pleasant without our husbandry, if it had one at all.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 9th, 2018, 3:33 pm

LuckyR wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 1:09 pm
However, there is one glaring omission, namely that almost no one hunts and fishes for their subsistence. Therefore the fate of deer in the forest is of no consequence.
That was a reference to the origins of human meat-eating - and therefore has some bearing on humans' ethical attitude to "food" animals, why the apologists call it natural . Our relationship to those animals we hunted for subsistence has changed radically; there is nothing natural about it for over 5000 years. There still are a few aboriginal hunters, but most modern hunting is done with high-tech equipment, so that it can't even be called sport anymore. Fishing is still carried on in traditional ways in parts of the world, thought it's become industrialized in the west.
The corollary of this is that the purpose of farm animals is to provide nutrition. So 1) if their purpose is gone, they have no need to exist and should logically go extinct and 2) it is not illogical to use something for it's express intended purpose
Of course.
Thus reducing the methane emission and inordinate land and water consumption of the beef herds, the stink of pig-farms, the carnage of poultry operations, the pollution of transport and processing plants, refrigeration and storage, etc. etc.

(Ps Felix - You won't get many new dairy cows from steers.
Otherwise, I'm quite happy to continue free range egg and dairy production. )

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by LuckyR » May 10th, 2018, 2:32 am

Felix wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 3:21 pm
LuckyR: The corollary of this is that the purpose of farm animals is to provide nutrition.
That is called anthropomorphic fascism. If you were the entree rather than the diner, you would surely feel otherwise.
If their purpose is gone, they have no need to exist and should logically go extinct.
So then they do, but that's very unlikely, we'll at least want to keep some dairy cows and their mates (steer) around. Besides, extinction can be preferable to a living hell.
Does anyone here eat animals, while also adhering to the moral trifecta (Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency)? If so, I'd like to know how?
A great deal of food, including meat, is thrown out rather than eaten, so those animals will have died completely in vain. It would be ethical to eat this food rather than see it go to waste.

An argument could also be made for raising an animal with tender loving care, and allowing it to live a long and pleasant life, before slaughtering it (as quickly and painlessly as possible). It's life probably would have been shorter and less pleasant without our husbandry, if it had one at all.
A couple of things. You do realize that only humans give a second thought to the plight/life quality of the organisms they consume, right? So playing the "switching roles" card, harms your argument.

Second, if you disagree that farm animals (the product of human domestication of some wild animals) exist for the purpose of providing nutrition, what alternative purpose do you propose they fulfill (petting zoo inhabitants, perhaps?)

We at least agree that domesticated animals will (and should) go extinct if humans decide to go vegan. This is neither a good nor bad thing, just a logical thing.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 10th, 2018, 12:27 pm

It seems funny to me that we should be concerned about the extinction of artificially modified life-forms, while not giving a damn about the extinction of thousands of naturally-evolved species, in order to serve our growing appetites.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by LuckyR » May 11th, 2018, 11:01 am

Alias wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 12:27 pm
It seems funny to me that we should be concerned about the extinction of artificially modified life-forms, while not giving a damn about the extinction of thousands of naturally-evolved species, in order to serve our growing appetites.
Do you know anyone who believes what your post posits?
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 11th, 2018, 11:57 am

chatterbears wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 6:24 am
I base my moral foundation on something similar to Sam Harris, which is the consideration of the well-being of conscious creatures. This includes humans and animals. But I'd also say it is impossible to accept these 3 moral pillars while simultaneously eating animals.
No. I only eat dead animals.
I don't think they have feelings.

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 11th, 2018, 1:17 pm

LuckyR wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:01 am
[It seems funny to me that we should be concerned about the extinction of artificially modified life-forms, while not giving a damn about the extinction of thousands of naturally-evolved species, in order to serve our growing appetites.]

Do you know anyone who believes what your post posits?
Not personally. But you - was it? I'm not sure - raised the issue of domestic food animals becoming extinct when they lose their function. I have heard that concern elsewhere, though I cannot attribute it at the moment, and it's not worth researching.
We do know that many wild species of plant, animal and insect are extinct or endangered directly because they pose some kind of threat or competition to the meat industry in particular and agribusiness in general.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 11th, 2018, 1:27 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:57 am
No. I only eat dead animals.
I don't think they have feelings.
Like roadkill? Or the leavings of a cougar?

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Gertie » May 11th, 2018, 2:29 pm

chatterbears wrote:
May 9th, 2018, 6:24 am
I base my moral foundation on something similar to Sam Harris, which is the consideration of the well-being of conscious creatures. This includes humans and animals. But I'd also say it is impossible to accept these 3 moral pillars while simultaneously eating animals. And these 3 pillars are: Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency.

Empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another living being. Compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. (Can be substituted for Altruism). Ethical Consistency is being logically consistent within a belief. Primarily regarding the consistency of the justification being used.

Does anyone here eat animals, while also adhering to the moral trifecta (Empathy, compassion and ethical consistency)? If so, I'd like to know how?
I agree with you.

I think the well-being of conscious creatures is the best grounding for Oughts/Moral Choices I know, and being a vegetarian is the correct moral choice.

The only counter-argument which concerns me is the consequentialist one, if we don't keep farm animals then they'll either have a worse time of it in the wild, or go extinct. In a world where we took our moral duties to the welfare of conscious creatures more seriously, I expect there are ways of ameliorating those consequences, but in the imperfect real world I'd guess if everyone turned veggie we'd end up with a few cows and sheep in zoos or as pets.

Anyway, not being in charge of the world means I only have control over my personal choices regarding vegetarianism and the welfare of other conscious species.

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 11th, 2018, 4:09 pm

Alias wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 1:27 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:57 am
No. I only eat dead animals.
I don't think they have feelings.
Like roadkill? Or the leavings of a cougar?
Why do you say that?
Supermarket steak has no feelings.

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » May 11th, 2018, 4:26 pm

Here it is, LuckyR! A real ethical concern.
Gertie wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 2:29 pm
The only counter-argument which concerns me is the consequentialist one, if we don't keep farm animals then they'll either have a worse time of it in the wild, or go extinct.
I don't think that's a big problem. Certainly, domestic food animals will become extinct, but gradually. All the carnivores won't change their eating habits overnight - nor even over the decade or so that it will take to gear up the artificial meat industry. The demand for meat will decline over time, so that fewer ranchers will have a financial incentive to breed beef cattle and fewer pig farms will be profitable: each generation will be less numerous, until they dwindle away to none. Unfortunately, the transition phase for most converts involve the replacement of red meat with poultry and fish, where some of the most horrific treatment of the "harvest" takes place. Mercury might save the fish, but chickens and turkeys have little chance of relief in the near future. Factor in the egg-mills and millions of carnivorous pets that need to be fed and the cost of factory-processed meat - it will take quite a long time to end that slaughter.
Dairy farming, both cow and goat, as well as sheep and llama for wool, will continue much longer - but hopefully on a smaller scale; on the more humane family farm model.
if everyone turned veggie we'd end up with a few cows and sheep in zoos or as pets.
Pets are no impossible, but if we liberate all that grazing land and turn it back into wildlife habitat, there won't be any need for zoos. Maybe as the odd frontier-village style historical museum...

Thomas Hobbes -- Supermarket steak has no feelings.
*Sigh*
I'm not guilty of murder! My wife was already dead when the man I hired to kill her let the house.

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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by NasloxiehRorsxez » May 11th, 2018, 5:19 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 4:09 pm
Alias wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 1:27 pm

Like roadkill? Or the leavings of a cougar?
Why do you say that?
Supermarket steak has no feelings.

Well, does abstaining from animal products actually save any animals in the process? Or is it just to clear one's conscience? If that's only the case, then it seems rather pointless. Since your moral actions change nothing, and the same amount of animals will be supplied regardless. In fact, you could probably be able to argue that it's ethically preferable to consume the meat, as it doesn't go to waste.

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