Wednesday, October 12, 2011

To eat or not to eat MEAT?

I love meat. Whether a nice hamburger, chicken breast, or even, dare I say it, a tender veal chop I cannot get enough delicious hot juicy meat in my diet. You can imagine my dismay when I found out that our guest lecturer, Professor Evans, was a vegan and would be explaining, through decently sound philosophical argument, why we perhaps should be vegetarians. According to professor Evan’s eating meat, eggs, or dairy is morally wrong because of the great amount of pain that factory farming causes to animals. I never thought that the simple task of consuming the burger I had for lunch or the chicken breast I ordered for dinner could be considered a morally incorrect action. This lecture forced me to look inside myself and ask, for the first time, if I honestly thought that continuing to eat meat on a regular basis constituted my direct “cruel” treatment of animals. I quickly decided that it was not. Whether this was a result of the realization that I simply could not live without meat or the result of rational sound moral reasoning I cannot honestly say.
Humans are the dominant species on the planet. We build roads in the middle of desserts and jungles, we throw bridges between land parted by water, and we kill animals, a class below us hierarchically, for their food. Humans have always utilized, or exploited depending on how you look at it, the resources of their land. We as a species are all about convenience, productivity, and satisfaction; three factors accounted for in the current factory farming system employed in the United States. Eating meat is the most efficient way for us to obtain our daily protein requirements. Without daily meat consumption it would be more difficult to consume the appropriate amount of daily protein and other nutrients. In terms of the argument against the cruel treatment of animals perhaps there needs to be reform in the system in which we raise our animals for food rather than a movement to stop eating a type of food which our ancestors have eaten for millions of years and many people continue to enjoy today. I’m not saying that I don’t understand the intentions of the animal rights activists but rather I am perplexed as to why they do not initiate movements for healthier and more humane raising practices. No one can ever make me feel guilty for eating an animal because we, humans, are above animals with the prerogative and free will to eat as we please and look out for our own best interests and the needs of our families. We are the superior species in all regards. We are the more intelligent and industrialized species and with global hunger running rampant and an economy in dismay we cannot give up eating meat because of the way in which that meat is treated before it even hits our local butcher shop. 


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  2. I'm re-posting this because there was a typo in the first one...

    As you have stated, "we are the more intelligent...species." However, can you really believe that you are very intelligent when you continue to eat meat, although you know that it causes unneccesary suffering to innocent animals? For the most part, we don't choose to hunt down other predatory animals who are carnivores, but rather the slower herbivores. Animal suffering aside, animal flesh, dairy, and eggs are not good ways to nourish your body. For a healthier diet, veganism is the way to go. You have stated that you want to "look out for [your] own best interests and the needs of [your family]". However, if you truly meant that statement, you would look into veganism further. The health benefits to veganism (especially compared to eating as an omnivore) are extraodinary. "Well-planned vegan diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy foods. Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses such as the flu. Vegetarians and vegans live, on average, six to 10 years longer than meat-eaters." ( Not only that, but "the American Dietetic Association (ADA) states that vegetarians and vegans enjoy a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease, lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, and lower body mass indexes, as well as lower overall cancer rates. The ADA concludes that vegetarian or vegan diets "are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases." ( Now, animal suffering and your health aside, there is a third angle from which to view this issue. You stated theat "with global hunger running rampant and an economy in dismay we cannot give up eating meat." I assume that you mean that we cannot stop eating meat as a society because food is already scarce enough and that with this scarcity we should not be picky about the way in which it comes to us. However, this is an entirely wrong way to think about world hunger in regards to the omnivore/vegan dilemma. explains this topic well: "There is more than enough food in the world to feed the entire human population. So why are more than a billion people still going hungry? Our meat-based diet is largely to blame. We funnel huge amounts of grain, soybeans, and corn through all the animals we use for food instead of feeding starving humans. If we stopped intensively breeding farmed animals and grew crops to feed humans instead, we could easily feed everyone on the planet with healthy and affordable vegetarian foods."

    Here's a video link that I find interesting for this subject:

  3. Zach-

    I can tell you have very strong opinions regarding the “rightful” consumption of meat and your disapproval of vegetarians and vegans is very clear. Unlike you I was very eager to hear Matthew Evans’ take on food. Being a vegetarian I sided with him for most of his presentation, except for the part about not wearing or using animal products. I can talk for hours about why we shouldn’t eat animals, but living vegan is far too extreme for me to rationalize.

    In addition, your argument about humans being the most “dominant species on the planet” is very interesting. It’s true that we know how to utilize our resources in order to survive, but don’t all animals do that? Just as we kill cows and fish to eat, they fight for their meals everyday.

    You also mention how us humans “are all about convenience, productivity, and satisfaction.” What’s more convenient than a Black Bear walking into a forest hungry, seeing raspberries, and simply eating them? There is no preparation necessary and no cooking at all. In my opinion humans have the most difficult eating habits to fulfill. We hardly eat raw foods and require preparation, processing, etc. for every meal, which is very inconvenient. Since we spend so much time on these unnecessary actions animals have the opportunity to be the more productive species.

    Furthermore, I do agree with you that we should argue more on changing the way we raise and kill animals and make less of an effort arguing against animal consumption.