(I hack Ruby and C++ as a day job, the farm is just a hobby).
One major reason for doing so is animal welfare. I'm a meat eater and will staunchly defend it...but factory farming is terrible.
At this point we get most of our meat from our own pastures: chicken, goat, lamb, pork.
It's much more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, and even more expensive (in labor, if not dollars) than shopping at Whole Foods. It is wonderful, however, to not merely know that the animals are being treated well, but to watch them every day, enjoying their animal lives: chickens pecking at the pumpkins and squash we grow and feed them, pigs rolling around and enjoying themselves in the mud, sheep chewing contentedly in the pasture. And, of course, at the end of the season, when it's time to turn living creatures into meat, doing it yourself ensures that it's done well, and with minimal stress and pain.
This lifestyle isn't for everyone, but for those who are interested in it, it's becoming more and more possible because of remote work (and soon, driverless cars).
Pictures of processing one of three 500+ lb pork carcasses below:
(Btw, I'm in civilization, on a client site, today. I packed my lunch, as I always do. It was pulled pork and home-made cole slaw. The pork came from that very critter in the above photos.)
If anyone has any questions about the farm life, feel free to email me. My user name @ my user name . com
As someone who has struggled with his diet for ethical reasons for a long time, I have a question though. You say
> at the end of the season, when it's time to turn living creatures into meat, doing it yourself ensures that it's done well, and with minimal stress and pain.
How does this work? Do you not get cognitive dissonance from killing "your children"?
In the abstract, I completely agree with you that 1) eating meat can be done in a good, respectful way and 2) that perhaps the best, most honest way is to do it your way. But I would imagine that once I actually raise a chicken, I could probably not bring myself to kill it with my own hands (let alone eat it). Hell, I'm probably soft enough that even spending just enough time with a chicken to get a sense of its personality would make this impossible for me. Well, maybe if it's a particularly nasty personality, I could kill it but then how could I put such a revolting character in my body? Either way, it seems undoable to me… So how does it actually work, in practice?
Anyway, one thing I thought was interesting is all the kids who grew up on farms know you basically don't name your livestock, and they even told him this, and he does it anyway (naming the pig he's raising for class Pork Bowl). A good chunk of the plot of the first dozen or so episodes is him dealing with the reality that he's going to have to slaughter and break down the carcass of what is more or less a pet.
I think the most interesting part is that the kids who grew up on a farm (I'm halfway there; I spent my summers on my grandfather's farm, but he only had a hundred or so head of cattle. Mostly he farmed the Holy Trinity: corn, beans, and wheat.) didn't even think about it; livestock is livestock, pets is pets. Watching him come to grips with it was very well-done and very interesting.
I had a Korean friend that explained dog meat in basically the same way: pet dogs are pets, food dogs are food.
> Do you not get cognitive dissonance from killing "your children"?
Well, first, they're not my children. I don't mean that flippantly, and it's a great question to ask, it's just that my answer is: my wife is my wife, my dogs are my dogs (and, yes, family), pigs are livestock...and chickens are sort of walking squawking vegetables. :)
I shouldn't joke about chickens tho. The first time I had to dispatch one it put a deep pall over the rest of the day. Taking a life, even of something with a brain the size of a peanut, is a big deal.
The first year on the farm my wife gave all of our goats names, played with them, took them on walks, etc. I cautioned her against it...but I also used their names. Slaughter was ... not fun. Still, I did it. A .22 to the brain, and they dropped like sacks of cement.
My wife ended up not wanting to eat goat, so I ate a fair bit of goat after that. ...and she learned never to name or play with the livestock.
When we started raising pigs, we had learned from our lesson. It also helped that several times pigs escaped from our farm and had to be chased around the block and herded back to the farm, which is a huge amount of work. That put the kibosh on overly warm feelings.
Still, pig slaughter again hit me hard. Sure, I gave the pigs freshly picked apples to eat, and even their last minutes of life were better than the best day of a factory farmed pig's life, but killing is killing.
The way you slaughter a pig is [ squeamish people, please stop reading ] shoot them in the forehead. This gives them a concussion and drops them, but does not kill them. You then roll the pig on its side or back and stick a 12+" knife into its chest until it scrapes the spine, then you pivot the knife to slice the aorta and other arteries.
The pig is still technically alive at this point, although it is insensate. Because of my ethics re animals, if I'm going to take a life, I want to use every last bit of the animal. This meant capturing the gallons of blood in a five gallon bucket.
This is the most visceral thing ( no pun intended ) that I have ever done. I don't want to oversell it and say that it's "spiritual", but there is absolutely no escaping the reality of exactly that you're doing and what's going on. The act of sliding a 12" knife deep into a living, breathing thing is irrevocable, undeniable, and challenging.
Eventually even the neurological echoes stop and the animal is still.
At that point the animal is 100% gone, and you can tell. It still *looks
Photo (again, not for the sqeamish):
At this point you have to slice slots in the pigs rear angles, hook a gambrel through, and then lift it (tail up, head down). You then skin in, disembowel it, and skin it.
I had a dissociative event the first time I did this. I was elbows deep in a creature that was about 4 minutes from having been completely alive, and it was still 98.6 degrees (or whatever pigs runs at), and it was in that uncanny valley between "alive" and "foot". I was quite lucid, and eloquent, as I spoke to people around me, but I felt like I was doing something that was in an entirely different realm.
I realize that lots of people here probably hunt and killed deer when they were 10, or whatever, but this was the first large animal (larger than a goat) that I had ever killed.
Hunters often say things like "I respect the animal and feel a deep kinship with it and blah blah blah" and that's easy to hear and not really appreciate, but killing and processing a large animal really is a transformational event, and one that I'm glad I've had. There is no denying exactly what you're doing, and - to me, at least - this created or strengthened my commitment to (a) raise animals as ethically as I possibly can, (b) use every bit of them without waste.
I think that killing and eating animals is fundamental to who we are (and I don't mean "we've evolved incisors"; I mean "the rituals and process are encoded in our minds". The hand shapes the tool and the tool shapes the hand).
If anything, this belief that humans have a deep connection with raising animals makes my revulsion against factory farming even stronger.
Just as dog fighting isn't merely horrific in its own right, but extra horrific because it is a perversion of something good, factory farming takes something good and inherently human and replaces it with something cruel and inhumane. I see that as a perversion.
I hope this answered your question; I seem to have rambled a fair bit.
I myself would not do this, and therefore (and for a few other tangential reasons), I'm a vegetarian. But I fully respect how you're living. If you're going to be a carnivore, BE a carnivore. Don't be under any illusions to the contrary.
You talk about having a dissociative experience, but it sounds like, on the whole, you're having a far more associative experience than most people. When I see people casually munching on cheap store-bought ham sandwiches, having no particular concept of what they're eating or how it got there -- and who would in fact recoil in horror if confronted with that reality -- then it seems to me like they are the ones who are being fundamentally dissociative. Not you.
Anyhow, ramble ramble, but from a person with a very different approach to life: respect.
I've met people who say "I enjoy meat, but I could never kill an animal".
Fuck you. You kill animals every day by eating meat; you're just too squeamish to face up to the ethics of what you're doing.
So, hats off to all the vegetarians out there. You reached an ethical conclusion and you do the hard work to live it. Mad respect.
It's amazing what some people are willing to do for pleasure. I wish that everyone who consumed animal products had to do it your way. I couldn't do this, so I don't eat animal products. (Yet, I don't suffer a pleasure deficit or any other ill effects, but that's my personal experience.)
(I especially liked the line "Just as dog fighting isn't merely horrific in its own right, but extra horrific because it is a perversion of something good, factory farming takes something good and inherently human and replaces it with something cruel and inhumane.")
If you're going by raw efficiency, you can hardly beat factory farming. Besides the minimization of inputs, even the feathers and shit of chickens are digested to their amino acid components and used for animal feed and fertilizer. There is the unspeakable cruelty aspect... but then, I've bought ridiculously expensive "free range" turkey from a hyperlocal organic poultry farm, but, judging from appearances, the barren, rather crowded turkey yard is a far cry from a cartoon happy-animal sleepy farm.
It's nice that you're privileged enough to run your own hobby farm, but even the most artisanal of commercial farms is a business and their animals are commodities. Many of the worst cases that organizations like Farm Sanctuary encounter are cases of neglect or bankruptcy in small family-run farms.
I buy whole chickens and part them out myself, and I do use every bit of the chicken that comes in the package. The bones are used for stocks, skin gets rendered for fat, etc. So I like to think I (can?) get using every last bit of the animal.
But I'm curious, what use(s) does the blood have? I was of the impression that like the viscera, the blood is something that necessarily must be disposed -- it cannot safely be used. Is that not the case?
[Blood sausage] is made using pork blood. I have never tried it myself though. What I have tried is [Sanguinaccio] made in southern Italy. It's absolutely delicious. I imagine there are plenty of other recipes that use pork blood as an ingredient too.
When I was a kid, my dad used to take me sometimes to a street vendor (this was in a small city in Malaysia, late 60s/early 70s) who ran his business from a bicycle. He had a small gas ring, a crate on the back of the bike with a couple of chickens in it, and some veggies and noodles.
My dad would order a meal and the guy would grab a chicken out of the box, wring its neck, drain the blood into a bucket, burn off the feathers, dismantle the chook and fry it up with mein and veggies. Yum!
But after handing us our food he would boil and eat the then congealed blood (and the other stuff we didn't eat). The food was great (especially since my mum did not approve) but I was always fascinated by this last step.
As I got older I appreciated that he had us pay for the meal and then still got a meal himself out of the deal.
The only danger I am aware of--beyond the risks of eating pork products in general--is iron overdose, which means you have to ration your consumption appropriately.
The viscera may also be used, though not necessarily for food. Whatever cannot be eaten can likely be turned into glue, leather, fertilizer, string, etc.
Pig liver is a popular in dishes the world over: pate, various sausages, etc.
It's surprising how much of a pig is useful as food.
Pig intestines, heart, lungs are all part of traditional cuisine. Even the kidneys and liver are "viscera," and those are completely mainstream organ meat. Brain is also eaten (head cheese).
Photo of making blood pudding
Photo of preparing the heart before marinating it in olive oil and spices, then grilling it.
Photo of pressed, sliced, and fried pig ears as a side to a sausage sandwhich
Photo of head cheese
Photo of dog enjoying pig spine
I use absolutely everything (well, except for the intestines. Not worth my time or energy to wash the feces out and scrape the mucousal lining off).
Curious, what did you do with the lungs? That's one part that I think was commercially banned for human consumption in the USA in the '70s. Even if it wasn't, it's rarely sold fresh as I understand it does not keep well at all even under refrigeration. Pork lungs are used used in Fillipino (bopis, kilayin) and Cantonese cuisine; Europeans certainly use sheep and cow lungs (Greeks, French, Scottish; haggis, anyone), but I'm not aware of western recipes specifically calling for pork lungs.
Pork intestine, on the other hand, is ubiquitous.
I really like that line a lot. I've used a similar phrase to describe the relation between the data you're generating and consuming and the code doing so.
Very eloquent, I'm going to have to remember that one.
For instance, someone might prefer the look of hair on dogs and the feed conversion ratio of swine and thus keep dogs to pet and swine to eat.
So treat the animals like objects to make it easier to kill them? That also works for humans:
> I had a dissociative event the first time I did this.
Dissociation happens for a reason. Slaughterhouse workers get PTSD.
> I think that killing and eating animals is fundamental to who we are (and I don't mean "we've evolved incisors"; I mean "the rituals and process are encoded in our minds". The hand shapes the tool and the tool shapes the hand).
The same argument could have been made for cannibalism, but somehow we managed to get over that.
I'm not a farmer (though your lifestyle is a dream of mine), but couldn't you just use bigger caliber? I'm sure .45 would do the trick. Shooting and killing a pig instantly in one blow is one thing, but putting a knife through a still living creature.. that would be too much for me.
This allows you to collect the blood for some other use, and removes it from the veins and arteries in the muscle tissue.
Disclaimer: I am a vegetarian.
I'm only speaking in hypotheticals because I'm also a vegetarian and don't personally subscribe to that idea, but I think it's not necessarily cut and dry that avoiding killing for food is absolutely the right thing to do. Personally, I think the normalization of dominating animals is what led to a lot of bad behaviors toward humans like slavery and subjugation and that we would be better off cultivating more empathy rather than accepting the order of nature as we were born into it. There was a time before hunting and slaughtering, and I think there will be a time after it, and I think we will be better of once we have moved past it. But I also have to consider that I might be wrong.
We are in the middle of the largest extinction event in this planet's history, and it's our fault as a species. A major causative factor is our dependence on needless animal slaughter to get our jollies. I'd say we are at the opposite extreme to the one you hypothesize, and perhaps some extreme thinking to rectify this is needed. Don't let conciliation become collusion, even rhetorically.
That's a Nirvana Fallacy. I can only imagine you'd never try to apply the same reasoning to humans. That since it's wrong to cause harm to them, you're now responsible to ensuring that no harm of any kind comes to any human anywhere.
EDIT: just saw the email address on your first post.
I ask as someone who eats meat quite regularly, but would prefer not to contribute to the raising of animals for slaughter if I don't have to. I understand that the death of one animal to feed another is part of the natural way our ecosystem functions, but factory farming makes me extremely uneasy. Animals raised in conditions resulting in relatively the same level of comfort or discomfort they might experience in the wild until they are slaughtered is one thing, but being born into an existence that appears to consist of nothing but confusion, fear and pain until death is not something I wish on anything that can feel those.
If my choices are vat ground vs home ground...that's complicated. There's a lot to be said for small scale farming. It brings animals into the world and lets them enjoy life, which I see as actively good. We don't have to go remotely near the Repugnant Conclusion Paradox https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mere_addition_paradox and can just note that the pigs seem to enjoy being alive.
I also think that it's in man's nature to interact with the natural environment. This is really a book-sized topic, not a news.yc comment one !
I'm for farm raised animals, I think that results in a fairly good life for the animals. I understand there's not a lot of incentive for people to raise certain animals without some sort of pay-off at that end, and that's usually eating them. That makes it somewhat complex.
We started growing hops (& more apples) for the brewery and it is really nice. It isn't for everyone but if you like it then there is no reason not to if you are a programmer (which I am). You don't have to go full in with a complete farm, just growing / rearing your food partly is a nice feeling. It also is, at least here in the EU, much cheaper if you don't go full in (and you wouldn't have to if you don't have to make money); everyone wants to live in cities (I feel left out as I hate them :), so the country is empty and land is cheap. As are houses (depending on the location). In a lot of countries you would not even need a house per se; just a container or caravan would suffice (if only I had known this when I was young).
We also grow hops and apples.
Chickens in modern factory farms are stacked deep. Each has < 1 ft^2, and their cages are stacked vertically perhaps 10 deep, so they get around 0.1 ft^2 of farm land each.
We have around 15 chickens in our flock. They share a 144 ft^2 coop and have a little chicken door that gives out onto a 400 ft^2 outdoor run.
That's ~550 ft^2 for 15 chickens, or 45 ft^2 per chicken.
That's 450 times as much space as a factory farmed chicken gets.
That costs money.
This needs to change in order to make humane farming methods more viable, however, it is in direct conflict with the USDA's goals of reducing the price of food for consumers.
It's a tough problem to solve, but I've gotten to the point where I don't even know what meat to buy any more. So-called "grass fed beef" can be any beef, since all cows eat grass during at least part of their lives, even factory-farmed cows, and the rules are so lax that there is zero enforcement. This has to change.
1. a side effect or consequence of an industrial or commercial activity that affects other parties without this being reflected in the cost of the goods or services involved, such as the pollination of surrounding crops by bees kept for honey.
Also, don't underestimate the cost of land. Even if it's just $5,000 per acre, if scheme one packs chickens in at factory farming levels, and scheme two packs them in the way I do (remember: 450 times less densely), then we need an additional 449 acres of land.
That's $2,245,000 in land costs.
Plus, how do you distribute food and water over those 450 acres?
Factory farming may be cruel, but it's not dumb. Farmers are smart micro-optimizers.
Which is the same reason why you see barns going up everywhere instead.
Could you point me towards any resources that you found helpful when you were starting out? One of my concerns is long term storage of the meat. 3 pigs yield a massive amount of meat, even for a large family. Raising some pigs for beautiful meat, it would seem like a shame to lose some of the quality by freezing 90% of it.
We do not have 10 or 50 or 5000 acres of crops.
Basically, large gardens, not real farming.
That said, we ALSO delegate some chores to farm hands. I installed fencing the first year, then realized how stupid this was given comparative advantage. Now I code, code, code, and then get some extra work and code some more, and let farm hands do other work.
Stun gun or that bolt hammer thing right to the brain, over in a flash as far as the animal is concerned.
Far more pleasant than the natural way - 6 of us chasing it round the prairie chucking spears.
I hope I get to go out that easy.
Did you get a govt loan for your farm? If so did they require a certain amount of food to be sold or grown?
I sold a 1,500 square foot house on 0.1 acres of land and traded laterally into a 5,000 square foot house on 56 acres of land.
I've worked in tech for 25 years and never hit a good IPO; I guess this is my one big karma win!
I'm tentatively a fan. I need to dig in deeper.
We should all be able to see what goes on in our prisons, in our concentration camps (Gitmo, etc.), in our Zoos, schools, and factory farms... anywhere there are basic concerns about abuse of power and suffering.
The various industries that support secrecy in these systems (government, entrenched businesses, etc.) will fight to claim that secrecy is needed, mainly so that their practices will not be deemed atrocities.
- prohibits "entering an animal or research facility to take pictures
- crates a "terrorist registry" for those convicted under the law
Fortunately it seems primarily only in the US and in a minority of states.
Why not take those lawmakers to task?
Voters don't seem to care, really.
100% agreed. Of course, this is precisely why we aren't able to see what goes on in prisons and factory farms — the people in power know it would curtail what they're able to do.
That said, it's not like the conditions in prisons and factory farms (and Gitmo, and so on) are a mystery. We know they're horrible. I am legitimately not sure whether greater visibility would actually prompt the average consumer to care.
Watched my dad slaughter cows, chickens, rabbits, goats... watched him put down old / injured horses, dogs, and cats. When I got old enough I helped.
Hardest time was killing and butchering a steer I had trained, and showed in 4H. I think I was like 12 at the time, but you work with an animal all summer... get it trained to follow you around and not pull on the halter... and then the reward is someone buys it to kill it. I ended up being vegetarian for a few years in high school after that.
Anyway my only point here was... nobody, and I mean nobody including the PETA activists, cares more about the animals than the ranchers who raised them. One time we were slaughtering a steer and the guy shooting the animal was a dumbass who shot the animal 3 times in the wrong places. Animal was angry, scared, hurt. Dad saw what was going on, jumped the fence as fast as he could, grabbed the gun from the guy, smacked him hard in the face with the gun handle, and then put the animal down as quickly as he could.
Dad then yelled at the hired man, using the harshest words I had ever heard at the time, and told him to get lost and never come back. Dad pulled out his wallet and threw some money on the ground to settled up with the man, then just turned his back on him. I'm pretty sure Dad broke the guy's nose, the amount of blood coming off his face was a pretty good indicator of how mad Dad was that he wouldn't show respect to the animal.
Similar time, we had been invited over to help a neighbor, and the neighbor's grown son was trying to put a steer down and mistakenly put bird shot in the shotgun instead of a slug -- Dad took the shotgun away from the man. Put the animal down quickly, and then Dad yelled at his neighbor (a man he had known for 20+ years) about what a dipshit his son was. We left and never talked to that neighbor again -- pretty harsh considering we only had about 5 neighbors within 20 miles of us.
Factory slaughter houses are different, but if you can buy meat from a local rancher who slaughtered the animal himself you can be fairly sure he did the job humanely.
The 'typical USA' diet of lots of meat for all three meals of the day doesn't seem sustainable to me. If we all cut back at least some, that will greatly reduce the environmental impact.
This TED talk from Dr. Melanie Joy is a good introduction to Carnism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0VrZPBskpg
There is no going back when you realise how fucked up this industry is. HN fellows, we are willing to make the world a better place, right? How about not taking part in one of the worst crimes in history?
In other words, it won't work until you give people a reasonable alternative (lab-grown meat, anyone?).
Honestly, and not to just be a smart-ass, but what are the acceptable life forms to eat? We've drawn the arbitrary line that "humans aren't ok to eat," but that's really about the only nearly-unanimous thing we can agree upon.
If we move the line further, to say, "no intelligent animals," then we're stuck defining what "intelligent" means, or how complex a nervous system needs to be before we classify it as intelligent.
Ok, we could say "no animals," but why do, say, sponges deserve protection that we don't extend to algae?
Don't get me wrong: I'm fully in favor of re-examining our modern diet and how other living organisms are included in that. It's just an interesting discussion when we move the line further than "no humans".
Intelligence is not a justifiable metric, e.g. some individual humans are less intelligent than some animal species. Yet, we don't use those humans for our own interests.
AFAIK for certain groups of animals (one that comes to mind is sharks) it's very unlikely they feel anything approximating what we would call pain. Still, I imagine few advocates would say that eating shark meat is ethical behavior.
Certain animals could barely be said to do anything approximating feeling pain besides responding to external stimuli, which plants do as well.
It's a fascinating, complex topic though.
Why do you prefer spinach to collard greens? Why do you like Van Gogh more than Matisse? Why do you eat fries more often than onion rings?
I can advance dozens of rationalizations as to why other people should share my opinion that human life is worth more than nonhuman animal life, but most of them will not find traction in any person not already at least slightly predisposed towards that opinion. The value of nonhuman animal life is very much like a religious belief.
If we deconstructed the differing opinions down to their foundations and really examined them, we would likely recoil away in existential horror. The truth is that life has no inherent, objective value at all. The universe is very large, and collides a lot of random atoms and molecules together, and will be entirely unaffected on a large scale whenever some of those random reaction products develop some self-reinforcing complexity.
The only value life has is that which we subjectively impart onto it. And summing up the opinions of 7 billion humans, I generally find that we tend to have a rather higher opinion of ourselves than of any other animal, and the other animals are ranked by some combination of cuteness, cleverness, market price, and deliciousness. But since that's all just subjective anyway, I could still tell the rest of the world to get bent, and just go by my own preferences.
Don't deal in absolutes. They don't have to be equally valuable for both of them to be valuable.
> why do you think that human life is worth more than animal life
which was asking whether value(human life) > value(animal life), not whether value(animal life) = 0.
Your line of thought is the basis for most human atrocities ever committed; you see your own group (species, race, gender, class, nationality, etc.) as more valuable, so you dismiss their own interests in favour of your own.
The point is that many humans have evolved to or desire to becoming more compassionate and inclusive over time, and this, the species difference, is one more barrier to cross. Instead of arguing about what will happen or what will never happen, humans will always continue to look at improving things. That's why even though we still have wars after thousands of years of civilization, we still want those to reduce and stop, and take actions that will help. It will take time to manifest changes in different spheres of discrimination and oppression, but as a species this is an inherent quality that takes us all forward.
You could certainly make the argument that non-existence is preferable to the life of a present-day factory-farmed animal. I wouldn't contest that. But perhaps there is some value of ethical treatment for which "a few years of peaceful farm life followed by a painless death" is preferable to non-existence.
The thing is that the planet can't handle that many beings. You realize that farm animals are a worse contributor to global warming than all cars right?
> But perhaps there is some value of ethical treatment for which "a few years of peaceful farm life followed by a painless death" is preferable to non-existence.
Sure. Would you find this ethical if you replaced pigs with humans? Furthermore you are describing this idyllic, farm life which only a very small fraction of animals get to live. For the most part it's industrial farming. Do you know why? Farms can't scale. Industrial processes on the other hand, oh boy do they scale.
Non sequitur, food isn't synonymous with killing animals
>Almost all life consumes other life for survival
Appeal to popularity, almost all life does all sorts of things that we don't condone or have decided is suboptimal.
>There is nothing more natural than eating.
Non sequitur and naturalistic fallacy. Eating is natural but that doesn't imply killing and eating animals is natural. Even if both are, that isn't in and of itself a valid justification for that behaviour.
I presuppose the need to justify just about everything actually. Your surprise at this approach kind of explains the gaping logical holes in your previous comments. Please though, continue with your "specific" statements, I'm enjoying this.
EDIT: mixed you up with the other commenter, disregard the last 3 sentences, sorry.
If we were a society that was capable of doing this at scale, there would certainly be far less of a reason to be vegan, but I hesitate to say there would be no reason at all.
Sure it does. But eating is not one of those things. And you're going to have to do a lot better than that to convince people that eating shouldn't be condoned or is suboptimal.
"Non sequitur and naturalistic fallacy."
"Eating is natural but that doesn't imply killing and eating animals is natural."
No, but the fact that it naturally happens in nature does.
"Even if both are, that isn't in and of itself a valid justification for that behaviour."
You haven't given valid justification for why it's not justified.
The idea that eating meat is natural is one of the four main reasons people give (the 4n's: natural, nice, normal, necessary).
A few counters:
It is also natural for animals to kill their own. We as humans have decided to rise above this "natural" existence.
It is natural for animals to eat other animals. A balanced predator prey system is a healthy ecosystem. This is not what we humans are doing. We are raising a handful of species simply because meat tastes good. Sure there are some cases where humans must still hunt for survival and I take no issue there. But most of us have the resources to eat a plant based diet. Which is healthier for us and the environment.
Granted maybe less death, but you are still obviously valuing the animals as lesser than humans, as you're saying it's ok if a few field mice or rabbits die so a human can eat a tofu sandwich.
Side note, if you truly believe carnivorous diets are barbaric, than you'd probably also have to kill all the carnivorous animals (especially considering many of them torture their prey, rather than quickly killing it).
> If you value them as the same,
They don't have to be the same value for one to still be valuable.
> a few field mice or rabbits die so a human can eat a tofu sandwich.
This argument is silly. How many of these do you think die from grain production? How many animals in the world are slaughtered every year? Also the ethics are also fundamentally different.
> Side note, if you truly believe carnivorous diets are barbaric, than you'd probably also have to kill all the carnivorous animals
I thought that we as humans accepted the fact that we have something called 'morals' and therefore things like killing and rape are bad. I cannot impose human morals on animals but I can impose human morals on humans.
I replied from a standpoint of assuming you believe a human and an animal have the same value.
Thusly, one can only assume that you if you are against eating meat because the cow and a few field mice will die, you must also be against eating grain because a few field mice will die (and maybe a bird or two).
You certainly can (and we do) impose human morals on animals. We put down dangerous animals (rabies, mountain lions venturing into civilization). We even put down pets if they're deemed dangerous (pit bull bit the neighbor). We neuter our pets, even the "animal lovers" encourage this. We also taken it upon ourselves to kill wolves if there's too many of them and they're about to exterminate the deer.
So, to re-ask your question, what makes you more valuable than the dozens of field mice and birds that die so you can have your soybean sandwich?
I don't understand your logic. If we can't stop all suffering in the world, we should participate and financially support it?
I assume you are against rape, and for this reason, you are not a rapist. The fact that some species mainly use rape as a reproductive strategy will convince you that raping is somehow ethical?
Regarding animals being accidentally killed in the harvesting of plant foods, do some research on veganic farming. We are moving in the right direction, your "all or nothing" argument is not very productive.
They'll defend it in a very ad-hoc fashion, but almost no one's moral axioms coincide with the belief that eating other individuals is morally acceptable.
Do you believe it's ethical to unnecessarily kill another sentient individual?
That's an argument against the current capabilities of the technology, not against the concept itself. Given that I raised the possibility of eating your own cultured meat right after that, I think it's fairly obvious I'm not limiting the discussion to current technology (also since it's not economically feasible at the moment). But given cultured meat grown in a synthetic medium, are there ethical questions that I'm not accounting for? I can't think of any, so this may be a counter to the argument in the GP statement that "the meat industry can't ever be ethical."
You must not be paying attention to how little we care about human fetuses.
>After slaughter and bleeding of the cow at an abattoir, the mother's uterus containing the calf fetus is removed during the evisceration process (removal of the mother's internal organs) and transferred to the blood collection room. (3). A needle is then inserted between the fetus's ribs directly into its heart and the blood is vacuumed into a sterile collection bag. This process is aimed at minimizing the risk of contamination of the serum with micro-organisms from the fetus and its environment. Only fetuses over the age of three months are used otherwise the heart is considered too small to puncture. (4)
>Once collected, the blood is allowed to clot at room temperature and the serum separated through a process known as refrigerated centrifugation.
>It remains questionable as to whether or not fetuses have already died from anoxia (deprivation of oxygen) prior to serum collection. Nevertheless, no anesthesia is given, despite their possible ability to experience pain and discomfort.
Gestation period for a cow is around 7 months. Drawing an analogy to studies of human sentience (I am not an expert though), this is proprtionally well past the 1st trimester point where foetuses can feel pain. To speak in your language, FCS and FBS are essentially sourced from blood sucked out of the hearts of late-stage unanaesthetized 2nd-3rd trimester abortions. In this light it is not very difficult to see why vegans such as myself still have reservations about cultured meat.
There's no way you're going to have a productive conversation if you're going to be a condescending ass like that.
There needs to be more work on such methods even if there are failures or if the initial costs seem higher.
In other words, the industry has been given the power to police itself. What could possible be wrong with that?
The USDA is supposed to be monitoring these guys, but is now working with them to make sure that no monitoring takes place.
In the chicken processing plants near where I grew up, the workers were expendable. You're worked hard until you get injured and then discarded/fired/pushed out and replaced.
Talking only about humans, without changes in habits, there's a lot more human suffering waiting in the future due to environmental issues, health issues, lack of food, lack of fresh water, etc. (many caused by or made worse by animal agriculture). As always, those will affect the poorer people disproportionately. Those who care about humans and are privileged enough to choose things in life could do a lot more, even if it's one habit a day that builds up over time.
I mention this to help people figure out what's going on, and let people that see it make an informed decision whether to visit, not to start a discussion on the merits of this practice.
Please, that discussion has been done to death. People have very strong convictions, strongly held, which is not a recipe for a useful discussion.
There are many different ways to skin a cat, so to speak.