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Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

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

Post by Thinking critical » June 8th, 2018, 6:38 pm

Alias said
The purpose of a farm-animal is to be eaten
This is not always the case, dairy cows are farmed for the purpose of milk, sheep and Lama for wool, chickens for eggs. Then there are those on smaller life style blocks who keep farm animals for the purpose of maintaining the grass in their paddocks, or simply for pets.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » June 8th, 2018, 7:05 pm

Thinking critical wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 6:38 pm
Alias said
The purpose of a farm-animal is to be eaten
This is not always the case, dairy cows are farmed for the purpose of milk, sheep and Lama for wool, chickens for eggs. Then there are those on smaller life style blocks who keep farm animals for the purpose of maintaining the grass in their paddocks, or simply for pets.
I was responding to Lucky-R. Yes, some some animals were domesticated for functions other than to be killed for food, while some were domesticated and specially bred to that one end. What they have in common is that humans, having the power, accord themselves the right to assign a human-serving purpose to other species.
It is this power that makes all utilization of other species ethical.

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

Post by LuckyR » June 9th, 2018, 1:51 am

Alias wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 6:17 pm
LuckyR wrote:
June 8th, 2018, 3:46 pm
It is not only possible, but logical (though optional). Just as it is logical to use a gun for it's purpose of propelling bullets, it is logical to use a domesticated farm animal for it's purpose of being culled for it's nutritional content. Now, there are ethical and unethical ways of using guns (target practice and murder being examples) there are ethical and unethical ways of ranching and meat packing.
If power = right, that's all true.

Actually, the purpose of a gun is not to expel bullets - that is the methodwhereby it fulfills its purpose, which is the same as the purpose of bombs, spears and hand-grenades: to kill by inflicting physical damage on flesh. The purpose of target practice is to gain proficiency in the use of a gun, or bow, or slingshot, and thus be able to do more efficient killing, if and when the occasion arises.
People make a sport of it, for enjoyment, as they turn many serious activities into games and entertainment.

The purpose of a farm-animal is to be eaten, only because humans had the power to re-purpose an autonomous other species that they found in the wild.
And because humans have the power to designate some other species "game" or "trophy" or "vermin" or "surplus" or "potential disease vectors", it's equally logical to kill [cull, harvest, hunt, thin, exterminate] those other autonomous individuals for those human reasons.
People make a sport of it, for enjoyment.

It's a widely-applied ethic, with its own internal logic - and certainly optional - but I'm reasonably sure it's not predicated on the principles Chatterbears mentioned in the OP. Of course, those, too, are optional.
I used guns as my example on purpose. Killing things were why the first gun was invented, but we are several centuries down the road at this point, so I stand by my description of their purpose (over yours). There are guns and ammo specifically manufactured for the purpose of target shooting, which is a legit sport on it's own. These types of firearms likely have never been used against a person.

Part of the problem with using broad stroke moral arguments against the legitimate use of farm animals lies in the underappreciation of the natural way the world works. Namely that most wild animals will die gruesome (to modern human eyes) deaths and typically will be eaten, often while still alive in the wild. Yet this isn't "gruesome" (a human word), its routine.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by SimpleGuy » June 9th, 2018, 2:38 am

We should argue that the god reborn in flesh, the son man (Jesus) was already fascinated by saying take this as my flesh (bread) and this as my blood (wine). How could we argue about that the indigestion of animals is something strange for us? Due to the fact that we're unwilling to accept the fact that a humane spirit could be at least cannibalized in the spirit world together with the flesh.

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

Post by Thinking critical » June 9th, 2018, 3:34 am

SimpleGuy wrote:
June 9th, 2018, 2:38 am
Due to the fact that we're unwilling to accept the fact that a humane spirit could be at least cannibalized in the spirit world together with the flesh.
How is this a fact?
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » June 9th, 2018, 11:04 am

LuckyR wrote:
June 9th, 2018, 1:51 am
I used guns as my example on purpose. Killing things were why the first gun was invented, but we are several centuries down the road at this point, so I stand by my description of their purpose (over yours). There are guns and ammo specifically manufactured for the purpose of target shooting, which is a legit sport on it's own. These types of firearms likely have never been used against a person.
Turning a weapon into sporting equipment doesn't change its initial purpose, any more than hunting for just the horns or ears, changes the original purpose of hunting. Neither sport diminishes the amount of death caused by guns, nor the number of animals killed for food.

The point I struggled to make is not whether there might be some other way to view these activities - of course there is - but what it is that legitimizes them. Power.
Humans get to assign purposes to other species, just as we assign purposes to our own inventions, and change those assignments of purpose at will, at our convenience, or on a whim - because we can.
Part of the problem with using broad stroke moral arguments against the legitimate use of farm animals
"Legitimate" as legitimized by humans, for humans. What can can pronounce, man can also question.
lies in the underappreciation of the natural way the world works. Namely that most wild animals will die gruesome (to modern human eyes) deaths and typically will be eaten, often while still alive in the wild. Yet this isn't "gruesome" (a human word), its routine.
Yes, and it's done routinely by other animals with moderate appetite, limited weaponry, no choice in the matter, and no concept of morality.

With the capacity to reason, one develops the need to justify.
Somehow, I find : "By domesticating, breeding, caging, abusing and slaughtering billions of animals, I'll spare them the risk of dying at the claws of a tiger, so it's the right thing to do." ethically unsatisfactory. But that's just me.

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

Post by LuckyR » June 10th, 2018, 12:37 am

Alias wrote:
June 9th, 2018, 11:04 am
LuckyR wrote:
June 9th, 2018, 1:51 am
I used guns as my example on purpose. Killing things were why the first gun was invented, but we are several centuries down the road at this point, so I stand by my description of their purpose (over yours). There are guns and ammo specifically manufactured for the purpose of target shooting, which is a legit sport on it's own. These types of firearms likely have never been used against a person.
Turning a weapon into sporting equipment doesn't change its initial purpose, any more than hunting for just the horns or ears, changes the original purpose of hunting. Neither sport diminishes the amount of death caused by guns, nor the number of animals killed for food.

The point I struggled to make is not whether there might be some other way to view these activities - of course there is - but what it is that legitimizes them. Power.
Humans get to assign purposes to other species, just as we assign purposes to our own inventions, and change those assignments of purpose at will, at our convenience, or on a whim - because we can.
Part of the problem with using broad stroke moral arguments against the legitimate use of farm animals
"Legitimate" as legitimized by humans, for humans. What can can pronounce, man can also question.
lies in the underappreciation of the natural way the world works. Namely that most wild animals will die gruesome (to modern human eyes) deaths and typically will be eaten, often while still alive in the wild. Yet this isn't "gruesome" (a human word), its routine.
Yes, and it's done routinely by other animals with moderate appetite, limited weaponry, no choice in the matter, and no concept of morality.

With the capacity to reason, one develops the need to justify.
Somehow, I find : "By domesticating, breeding, caging, abusing and slaughtering billions of animals, I'll spare them the risk of dying at the claws of a tiger, so it's the right thing to do." ethically unsatisfactory. But that's just me.
By your logic the purpose of the sport of boxing is to kill people and video games equate to genocide.

Your red analogy suffers from oversimplification. For a modern human whether to domesticate an animal is not a choice, farm animals already exist. And in anitiquity, when farm animals were created, it was both ethical and moral (by the standard of the day). As to the other four actions you mention, only “abusing” is unethical, and it is not required to raise farm animals. I didn’t and I am unaware of anyone else who uses the rationale of “sparing” the wild ancestors of current farm animals to “justify” modern meat consumption. Perhaps you do.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Alias » June 10th, 2018, 10:23 am

LuckyR wrote:
June 10th, 2018, 12:37 am
By your logic the purpose of the sport of boxing is to kill people
No, hitting is only meant to hurt. It does.
and video games equate to genocide.
Video games are not in the same class as physical sports.
Boxing, wrestling, judo, etc, are training to fight, even if you make a game of it. Archery, fencing, target shooting are training to kill, even if you make a game of it.
Video games are a long step up from board games as mental training, since they require a degree of reaction speed, dexterity and hand-eye co-ordination. Depending on the contents of the game, they may be mere fantasy (in wish-fulfillment, a step up from verbalizing a daydream)
or it may be training in strategy and tactics for conflict of some kind.
The progression from ideation to action in the real world can be halted anywhere along its logical path - and, for most people, does stop at the game stage. For professional fighters and soldiers, it goes on to real life enactment - hurting and killing - under particular rules; for some disturbed individuals, it goes on to crime and mayhem with no rules at all - and if the disturbed individual is commander-in-chief of a real live army, genocide is not an uncommon end result.
Your red analogy suffers from oversimplification. For a modern human whether to domesticate an animal is not a choice, farm animals already exist.
They exist in response to a demand. I am either part of the demand which increases their number, or part of the trend away from their use.
What I tried to point out is that the legitimacy of their existence and use is entirely dependent on humans legitimizing their power to exploit other species. Humans have the ability to legitimize even their most heinous actions, and a long, untidy history of disagreement over what's legitimate and what's ethical.
Individuals can opt out of, or oppose, any human-legitimized activity that is distasteful or seems wrong to them.
And in anitiquity, when farm animals were created, it was both ethical and moral (by the standard of the day).
The ethical question was posed last week, not in antiquity. It was posed, and the answer has to be considered, in the context of modern practice. It isn't especially complicated.
As to the other four actions you mention, only “abusing” is unethical, and it is not required to raise farm animals.
Yet we know it's common practice in the industry that supplies our food. It is with that knowledge we decide whether to buy a slab of cellophane-encased refrigerated muscle.
I didn’t and I am unaware of anyone else who uses the rationale of “sparing” the wild ancestors of current farm animals to “justify” modern meat consumption. Perhaps you do.
I may have paraphrased too freely for dramatic effect.
Part of the problem with using broad stroke moral arguments against the legitimate use of farm animals lies in the underappreciation of the natural way the world works. Namely that most wild animals will die gruesome (to modern human eyes) deaths and typically will be eaten, often while still alive in the wild. Yet this isn't "gruesome" (a human word), its routine.

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

Post by LuckyR » June 11th, 2018, 4:48 am

I have no problem with folks deciding to go vegetarian or vegan. Or even to cut down on their meat consumption. Personally, it is my understanding that the factory dairy industry is worse than the meat industry so I am essentially non-dairy. I prefer for many reasons to consume higher end foodstuffs so don't contribute much to factory farming profits. This decision is not mainly because of ethical considerations, though it is a minority driver.

But I guess as someone who has taken the effort to find and support farmers and ranchers who provide quality products in a nonindustrial manner, I take exception to the assumption that all food production is equal.
"As usual... it depends."

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

Post by Greta » June 11th, 2018, 6:04 pm

LuckyR wrote:
June 11th, 2018, 4:48 am
I have no problem with folks deciding to go vegetarian or vegan. Or even to cut down on their meat consumption.
This simple and seemingly obvious comment carries a hidden weight - consider the mentality of those who DO have a problem with others being vegetarian or limiting meat consumption.

We tend to despise those who make us feel guilty. Somewhere beneath the bravado and the inane sense that eating meat is masculine (great white hunters in supermarkets) even meat worshipping boofheads realise that on some level, what they are doing is wrong. Hence the guilt, and resentment.
LuckyR wrote:Personally, it is my understanding that the factory dairy industry is worse than the meat industry so I am essentially non-dairy. I prefer for many reasons to consume higher end foodstuffs so don't contribute much to factory farming profits. This decision is not mainly because of ethical considerations, though it is a minority driver.

But I guess as someone who has taken the effort to find and support farmers and ranchers who provide quality products in a nonindustrial manner, I take exception to the assumption that all food production is equal.
Yes, best to avoid bargain milk for that reason. Milk produced humanely does not cost $1-2 for two litres.

The exception for me is pork. While I appreciate that pigs that are killed for organic pork are allowed some naturalness and not imprisoned in cruel stalls and overcrowded pens, the stain of all those years of inhumane treatment has turned me off that food completely.

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

Post by h_k_s » November 25th, 2018, 10:03 pm

[quote=chatterbears post_id=310802 time=1525861472 user_id=48284]
I base my moral foundation on something similar to Sam Harris, which is [i]the consideration of the well-being of conscious creatures[/i]. 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: [b]Empathy[/b], [b]compassion[/b] and [b]ethical consistency[/b].

[b]Empathy[/b] refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another living being. [b]Compassion[/b] is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. (Can be substituted for [i]Altruism[/i]). [b]Ethical Consistency[/b] 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 ([b]Empathy[/b], [b]compassion[/b] and [b]ethical consistency[/b])? If so, I'd like to know how?
[/quote]

Animal slaughter bothers me, although when I go to a food store to buy a steak I do not readily think about it.

I feel the least guilt about killing and eating animals that I have hunted, because I know that my 300 RUM hunting rifle will kill them instantly and unexpectedly. Therefore they do not suffer. And the biology of herd management means that the excess males which do not mate as well as some of the females in a culling situation where the population of the herd has grown too large requires hunting. Hunting of herd animals is accomplished by wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and human hunters. There is nothing unethical about it.

Q.E.D.

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

Post by LuckyR » November 26th, 2018, 3:48 am

h_k_s wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 10:03 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?
Animal slaughter bothers me, although when I go to a food store to buy a steak I do not readily think about it.

I feel the least guilt about killing and eating animals that I have hunted, because I know that my 300 RUM hunting rifle will kill them instantly and unexpectedly. Therefore they do not suffer. And the biology of herd management means that the excess males which do not mate as well as some of the females in a culling situation where the population of the herd has grown too large requires hunting. Hunting of herd animals is accomplished by wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, and human hunters. There is nothing unethical about it.

Q.E.D.
Well, as has been established earlier, the argument that domesticated animals who are bred specifically for their production value are reasonably culled for that product. What is unethical are certain specific techniques and practices, not the entirety of agriculture.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 5:38 am

I'm curious how many people here have read the book or seen the documentary "Eating Animals". I found the case being made there against factory farming to be quite compelling -- not only are the practices extremely inhumane, as no one here seems to contest, but they also facilitate massive orthogonal harms like antibiotic resistance and significant carbon emissions, both of which are threats that could potentially reach existential scale.

I currently still eat meat and dairy, with eggs being a significant part of my diet, but I feel myself to be acting immorally for doing so. When I have the means I do plan to prioritize a transition to some form of vegetarianism or pescatarianism -- resources for doing so would be appreciated.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by Eduk » November 26th, 2018, 6:08 am

I found the case being made there against factory farming to be quite compelling -- not only are the practices extremely inhumane, as no one here seems to contest, but they also facilitate massive orthogonal harms like antibiotic resistance and significant carbon emissions, both of which are threats that could potentially reach existential scale.
As I understand it factory farming is the most efficient and therefore environmentally soundest method for farming meat.
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Re: Animal Ethics - Is it wrong to eat animals?

Post by ktz » November 26th, 2018, 10:46 am

Eduk wrote:
November 26th, 2018, 6:08 am
I found the case being made there against factory farming to be quite compelling -- not only are the practices extremely inhumane, as no one here seems to contest, but they also facilitate massive orthogonal harms like antibiotic resistance and significant carbon emissions, both of which are threats that could potentially reach existential scale.
As I understand it factory farming is the most efficient and therefore environmentally soundest method for farming meat.
As I understand it the advantages of factory farming lie almost entirely within the realm of the balance sheets of Purdue, Monsanto, DuPont, and other major players in the agriculture space. Not only are efficiency and environmental soundness not correlated, in many cases like soil erosion and the antibiotic resistance/climate change impacts I mentioned previously they are in fact contraindicated. I'm open to reading about citations that show otherwise, but I'd be interested to see if you maintain your perspective after watching the documentary.
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