This fishing practice has been banned in New Jersey and South Carolina, and partially banned in Delaware. It remains legal elsewhere in the United States.
Personally, I'd much rather see the fishing-bait use reduced than the biomedical blood use reduced, since the fishing-bait use seems less essential. Of course, I'd love to see the synthetic option reach the same level of trust that the blood now enjoys, at which point both reasons to harvest Horseshoe crabs could be reduced.
If we're killing 175k crabs per year, it'd still be better to use their bodies for bait (if the alternative is to throw them away, and kill another 175k + the rest for bait).
No, non-medical fishing is banned, they are still harvested in NJ for crab blood.
If we switched to using the synthetic alternative, fishing would be allowed again and we'd be catching them to grind into bait and fertilizer like in the old days.
One thing that stood out is that if you looked at the whole experience from the perspective of a Horseshoe crab, it looked quite a lot like the alien abduction stories that some humans tell.
Although the industry may be careful to not deplete the horseshoe crab population, it's the lack of an abundance of crabs that causes problems for migratory birds.
(As explained to me by a birder friend of mine last month.)
There is another method which is arguably worse than bleeding horseshoe crabs that also works. (the rabbit pyrogen test) So even if the entire horseshoe crab population died tomorrow we could still manage to keep everything working without our hands being forced.
Also, the method is old enough that the patent has already expired, and it has been included in the EU pharmacopeia since 2016.
Big ones can be surprisingly heavy.
There is a very slim chance that somewhere in that vast time-scale horseshoe crabs might evolve intelligence and the ability to manipulate their environment such that they eventually build some kind of means of interstellar travel, but given we're using up resources like coal that will never be replenished, mining all the easy accessible metals, etc. I don't believe it will be possible for another civilisation to rise equivalent to humans in technology, let alone a star faring civilisation.
Being smart is what made us the dominant species on this planet, and being smart is the only thing that will get us out of the solar system - really, it's all we have going for us. The crabs might have better immune systems and so on, but I believe that eventually (if we don't destroy ourselves) we'll reach a point where our ability to edit the human body would allow us to patch in a better immune system.
Let me first say that I disagree with the use of horseshoe crab blood: but the industry isn't reliant on it, it's choosing (via lobbying) to continue to use it.
If your scenario came to pass, everyone would quickly agree to use the synthetic alternative. But, they don't have to agree on the basis that your scenario might unfortunately come to pass.
> Some of which die after being returned to the Atlantic Ocean following bleeding.
I'm super surprised that they even bother. I would have thought this were a simple birth->death captivity cycle. Though I wouldn't be surprised if this were only out of necessity; perhaps the crabs simple don't thrive in captivity.
Or perhaps we have less of an ethical standard for the animals we farm just because we like the taste of their milk on our taste buds.
Unfortunately, as far as animal ethics go, it feels like progress is so slow that even etching out a comment is a waste of time. It's like being for women suffrage in the 1700s; people just roll their eyes at you, and you hope the people 100 or 200 or 300 years down the road wake up because it's not happening in your lifetime.
Then again, I admit it's no simple feat for us humans to have gone from bone and fur and tribal technology to a global technological civilization in just thousands of years. And every awakening and enlightenment is always obvious and taken for granted in hindsight. There's probably even a good benefit to having such glacially evolving ethics: taking a bad fork in the road can kill a civilization.
I'd think it's less about ethics and more about trying to minimize the damage to the crab population to avoid a potential depletion.
When you look into the details of how a dairy cow comes into being, the reality isn't quite so charming.
Though there's also the fact that, even if ethical milk existed, for 99% of people it's just a warm thought they have while they buy whatever factory-farmed milk carton their grocer sells, myself included.
She had a calf, so he thought he’d share the milk the mother was producing with the calf. So he woke up at 6am to milk the cow.
The calf started waking up at 5:30.
So he woke up at 5am.
So the calf started waking up at 4:30am.
You see the pattern here. Turns out, calfs aren’t a big fan of having their milk taken, and there’s a reason they’re separated from their mother if you want to milk the cow.
Edit: some people are saying that dairy cows produce more than the calf can drink. I don’t know if this was a dairy cow.
This family treated their cows very well -- they were their livlihood, almost like family. Unfortunately, policy has impacted the small farm to everyone's detriment. I'm sure corporate farms treat cows as well as they treat their people.
Pretty sure we know who the policy benefits.
They eat their employees upon retirement from milking too?
The only way out of this that i see is to make "other things" our slaves. Eg, i don't think we can convince people to always pay for their shirts/phones/etc from ethical sources - even if they had the info to base those decisions off of. However once we get to the point where machines can outcompete slave wages that problem will start to realistically be mitigated.. i hope.
Same is true for everything we're destroying i imagine. Humanity has no moral compass when beyond arms reach.. it seems.
Source: my best friend in elementary school was a "farm kid" and I thought it was fun to help do chores as a "city kid".
I'm not going to sit here and claim that was EVERY farm 30 years ago, but from what I've seen of the mega-farms it was a HECK of a lot better than what's going on today.
I rarely see cows on pastures any more.
And a second is "how much better or worse is this animals life compared to a similar animal in the wild?"
My personal opinion is anything that doesn't meet the first benchmark is evil. Anything that is between the too is in a gray area. And anything past the second I don't need to feel too concerned about, or I'd describe it as ethical husbandry.
It's clear that there are plenty of chickens whose lives are soo terrible that don't meet the first benchmark and their extinction would be preferable to their current experience
The second is also easy. Nearly every animal that is farmed has a much better life as livestock than as a wild animal. Want your last day to be a bolt through the brain after getting to gorge on food for weeks, or chased down and your guts ripped out and eaten while you're pinned down in terror?
If you were a non-human animal, which life would you prefer?
And yes, pig and chicken operations like that should be stopped.
Why is that, though? I would reckon that most animals on the Serengeti (not Bison, mind you) live out their average lifespan. Sure, some percentage of them are eaten or die to drought, but there is a reason that their average lifespan is 15--20 years, or whatever it happens to be. Compare that with the 5--6 year average lifespan of a factory farmed animal. It is hard to give you a more detailed argument without understanding the real reasons behind your value judgement.
I don't think we'll be able to move beyond subjectivity for the morality of this, but I do think we can be more precise.
A cow, a goat, chickens, sheep, whatever you want, managed by the family, free range, decent life before being slaughtered.
That seems like it would fit those benchmarks quite well.
It's how it was done in the past, people were self-sufficient when it came to food. Big agriculture companies could provide food for the people and these animals, so they would still exist and be profitable.
The problem is that land is limited, and spreading out would just result in extremely inefficient fuel usage, with all the pollution that entails.
Plus, some would say it would be a pretty inefficient use of man hours, although I think it would be a better, more "natural" life for humans, as well.
Everything I've read or heard says there was quite a bit of malnutrition and hunger.
I know people who have chickens, ducks and vegetable gardens and work full time - indeed, only possible because they simply buy animal feed and have an automatic irrigation system.
It's still and extra hour of work a day, though, not counting harvest and slaughter time.
Of course, that's nowhere near enough to cover their needs.
But in this context, simply getting rid of the garden and having just an animal farm, while buying everything else from big farms makes a lot of sense.
You still get enough food, you still eat eggs and meat, and the animals live happier, longer lives.
I do think it's important to understand that humans are animals, and that they are not uniquely immoral within the animal kingdom, but the fact that something happens in nature isn't sufficient in order to morally justify it. Humans ARE unique in their capability to reflect on the morality of behavior at a high level.
Where I think your argument is strongest, as I said, is in response to the claims that humans are uniquely malevolent, as if most species aren't constantly maximizing their acquisition of resources within the boundaries of their capabilities. That just doesn't mean that we have carte blanche on all behavior we can observe in nature.
You clearly have no clue as to the intelligence of these animals and the complexity of their desires beyond being "pampered, fed, and protected". If it were you, would you rather take a chance on surviving in the wild? Or being enslaved, separated from your children, shackled, fattened, and eventually butchered is preferable?
There is no good measure tape available.
There's a difference between having moral worth and being a moral agent. Non-human animals (generally) cannot contemplate the ethical character of their actions, so they are not moral agents, nor should we consider them such. This does not mean they are unworthy of moral consideration. What is being evaluated is the ethics of the behavior of people who are moral agents, and there have been guide sticks for the behavior of people for as long as people have been thinking about ethics.
However, I think saying that there is "no good measure tape available" might be intellectually dishonest since we can probably come up with a rough model to optimize for the minimization of global suffering of all beings involved.
Obviously, most mental models have a higher weight biased for humans rather than animals, so a suffering factor for humans would have a higher multiple than for animals. That is where most of the controversy seems to be.
Possibly a wolf, Siberian tiger or large brown bear would predate a cow, similiar to the predators of a moose but it doesn't seem like they are under constant fear of predators any more. Cows are often left to pasture across vast unfenced area of basically wilderness and don't seem particularly afraid nor at risk of predation (otherwise they'd need to be guarded).
For a consistent framework of ethics, these animals should be treated essentially as lobotomized humans.
The path of least resistance and most convenience and least personal sacrifice is hard to leave despite living in violation of my own ethical standards.
There's also something weird about our relationship with animals and food. We use ethical justifications (or avoid them) that we don't use anywhere else. Our eating habits are deep cultural traditions that don't budge in the face of even the most agreeable arguments to change them.
"But it just feels too good to give up! XD" or "But if I stop, everyone else is still going to do it, so why stop!" aren't arguments we'd level at the carnal pleasures of rape, but when it comes to meat, they make everyone's head nod in agreement.
I guess this is a personal moral failing, but I just can't commit to never ever eating meat, cooking with butter, etc. what I can do is stuff like saving meat for special occasions (or when I'm served it at someone else's place), and substituting olive oil for butter. the two things I have a really hard time cutting back on eggs (such a great way to get protein in the morning) and milk for my coffee.
anyways, I feel like "consume less" is a much easier message to sell than "consume none". I wonder if it wouldn't be more impactful to convince a large group of people to consume less than to persuade a small group of die-hards to abstain altogether.
Just like our enlightenment values such as liberty and reason, all progress on this issue certainly does depend on human conversation. However, I'm wary of tasking a single group of people to usher us into an enlightenment. I also think it's all too convenient to go "well, vegans should improve their marketing if they want me to change."
The thing is, we don't need vegans to convince us. They didn't invent animal ethics, they are merely the first practitioners. It wasn't the first human to rethink the ethics of rape or slavery that convinced everyone else nor had to.
We humans came up with animal ethics, slavery ethics, women suffrage ethics, liberalism, and everything else from first principles.
A first principle of animal ethics isn't vegan voodoo, it's "why should a sentient being be grown and killed for my pleasure?" After all, we already hold that standard for other humans and, for most people, even our pets. It's a small leap of reason to extend the courtesy to other animals.
bit of a tangent, but I think this explains a lot of why we don't see much progress with animal rights. exploiting them is pragmatic, and we can't negotiate with them. even if we could, what concessions could they offer? for the minority who currently care, the only viable strategy I see is to make veganism "cool" and to make it easier to join the club (ie, not demand total abstinence).
If you want to continue progress on an issue you care about, you have to tie it into actual material progress. Don't try to ban things or turn them into moral dividers, try to make better things.
Why is it virtuous to breed olives for a human purpose? Why is it immoral to be in a symbiotic relationship with a cow, which wouldn't exist without it?
Perhaps our bovine friends would be able to roam freely, if only we didn't isolate them from their habitats by growing vegetables and grain.
Just eat what you want.
I don't really agree with that. We don't use those ethical arguments when it comes to conduct that has a direct, near-immediate effect on other humans, and we give a handful of animals we have particularly positive feelings about a partial exception, but we do use them basically everywhere else.
> "But it just feels too good to give up! XD" or "But if I stop, everyone else is still going to do it, so why stop!" aren't arguments we'd level at the carnal pleasures of rape
These are exactly the kinds of things people say about why they still fly numerous times a year for leisure, why they're driving a large vehicle they don't need, and basically every other area where what people recognize as the ethical or societal ideal doesn't match up with how they want to behave.
Most people recognize it's not compatible with their ideals, but the vast majority still choose to do it anyway.
Of course, my point is to line up things where there's a short thread from our pleasure to another's immense suffering (rape, death, squalor) and how eating certain animals is the odd one out in our zeitgeist.
The only reason "well I like it" isn't enough to tip the scales on joy-riding our SUV or visiting family by plane or buying some child-labor Nikes is that the impact of the event can't actually be observed nor can we run the equation equation at all. And even if we could observe it, it's possible that the effect is so tiny that we can still largely justify our single trip or shoe purchase in a way that we can't justify raising an animal to adulthood in squalor just to feast on its muscles during a 20 minute meal.
There's always a spectrum of trade-offs at play when it comes to ethics. Ants are my favorite animal but knowing I'm going to step on 20 of them on my way to enjoy a single beer at the bar doesn't keep me home bound.
The question of ethics is surely to maximize the wellbeing of sentience and minimize suffering, so it's inherently a curve of trade-offs in a finite universe. It's hard to find a nihilist who really thinks that the optimal point on the curve is the elimination of all life.
So, barring that, we're left with the impossible task of balancing impossible equations like whether a lifetime of flying home from Christmas produces more wellbeing in the world than suffering. However, some questions are much, much easier than others.
There's no moral superiority of veganism. Vegans eat more animals than someone drinking milk or eating a steak. They just eat parts smaller animals like insects, rodents, etc ground up during harvesting.
Instead of getting your information from silly "documentaries" or vegans who've lived their privileged lives in cities, try going out to a farm.
Is it moral to spray insecticide to kill a gazillion insects? Set up traps to kill/hurt/shock animals from your vegetation? Is it moral to kill a gazillion rodents, insects, etc to harvest vegetation? Keep in mind that no vegan meal is devoid of animals. Everything from spaghetti to salads have animals parts in it.
I know it's counterintuitive, but a person eating a steak is eating less animals than a vegan eating a salad. A salad contains thousands of animals parts in it.
> Our eating habits are deep cultural traditions that don't budge in the face of even the most agreeable arguments to change them.
Our eating habits are derived from our biology and environment.
> "But it just feels too good to give up! XD" or "But if I stop, everyone else is still going to do it, so why stop!" aren't arguments we'd level at the carnal pleasures of rap
It's not only that it feels good, it's that it's the optimal diet for humans. A vegan diet is a suicide diet. No human being can survive, let alone thrive on it. That's why all vegan diets is supplemented by pills.
The best diet for humans, animals and the environment is the hunterer gatherer diet. Unfortunately, that isn't possible with modern civilization. So the current industrialized omnivore diet is the best we can do. If you truly want to destroy the environment and animals, then industrialized veganism will do that.
Also, it's sophistry. We could farm people and kill them for meat by the same argument kill less animals by the numbers.
I trust vegan thermodynamics as much as I trust vegan logic, vegan honesty or vegan diet. So if I am a bit skeptical, I hope you understand.
> Since meat animals neither photosynthesize nor can they convert energy from plants with 100% efficiency, eating meat means you just indirectly eat even more plants.
Because humans can convert energy from plants with 100% efficiency right? Humans are much less efficient than herbivores. So using your logic, we are back to eating herbivores. Sorry.
> We could farm people and kill them for meat by the same argument kill less animals by the numbers.
"The best diet for humans, animals and the environment is the hunterer gatherer diet. Unfortunately, that isn't possible with modern civilization. So the current industrialized omnivore diet is the best we can do. If you truly want to destroy the environment and animals, then industrialized veganism will do that."
If you truly care about the environment and animals, then go live a hunterer gatherer life. It's the absolute best diet you can have for the environment and animals. If you hate animals, environment and humans, be a vegan. I know your lack of nutrient has robbed you of your ability to concentrate and think, but try your best. Even a vegan suffering from vegan mental fog should be able to understand why the hunter-gatherer diet is so good for the environment and animals.
Who do you think harms the environment more? A privileged virtue signaling vegan consuming a globalized industrialized vegan diet or a native living off the land? Which do you think is responsible for more pollution, oil use, animal deaths, etc? The privileged virtue signaling vegan.
But that's just a justification from carnal pleasure, the same reasoning people have uttered over maintaining their harem of enslaved concubines.
That "but it tastes/feels so good" carries any water with anyone is one of my lamentations. I was with you when you said milk, but giving up yogurt and cheese? That's just too much pleasure to lose!
If that argument works with dairy, why doesn't it work with rape and sex slavery? Or keeping a Gattaca clone alive so you can enjoy some spare organs?
Though I don't think we actually believe this argument when we use it, it's so indefensible. I think we usually come up with kneejerk decisions and then make a bunch of splashes trying to justify it, perhaps without even realizing that the decision was made before the rationalization.
Because cows aren’t humans? I don’t think this is the gotcha you think it is.
Some cheeses are supposedly lactose free, but seem to cause the same effects.
In my moral belief system, the highest good is human pleasure and thriving. Eating meat and using animal products and using animals for research advances that.
Veganism tries to sacrifice human pleasure and thriving, and is therefore morally inferior.
Unfortunately the first harm was done by breeding species that ovulate daily or produce so much fur that it would die without human intervention.
Now, they're a small time operation doing a specialty product, so I'm sure that contributes a lot to this cost bump— they justify this mostly by touting health benefits rather than talking about the sustainability of their operation, but I suspect that getting many animal-based food products to a more sustainable place would require a similarly eye-watering bump up in price. Which is, of course, part of the argument for going part-time vegetarian/vegan— get used to the idea of meat and animal products being something we enjoy once or twice a week or a few times a month, rather than multiple times per day.
Even at four times the cost, the industry doesn't look any better.
When considering an ethical question, typically one must have the "ability to have acted differently." To be grotesque: I may be justified in eating a dead relative to survive in some nightmare scenario, however its permissibility here doesn't allow me the opportunity to desecrate human corpses for pleasurable eating. Is it possible there was a point at which humans were required to perform otherwise unethical acts to survive? Yes, absolutely. Does that permit the same behavior when its necessity no longer exists? I wouldn't think so.
>If you think farming animals is bad wait until you see a Hyena eating the guts out of an animal that is still alive, and will be for most of the meal.
Hyena's aren't moral agents, they cannot consider the ethical content of their decisions. Even if they were, the bad behavior of one moral agent usually isn't a justification for another's unethical behavior.
farming animals is bad no matter what hyenas do, that's such a weird counterargument
Neither of which is a very compelling position.
Are you comfortable killing a million people? A hundred million? Do you have a maximum?
The same issues arise in chicken farming, where it's impossible to have eggs or dairy without death.
I saw some image of genetically modified eggs where they supposedly were able to control the sex of the chickens pre-birth, but in general, you need to kill about half of the animals born.
The issue is that mass manufacture of meat has led to many bulls being killed at birth, because it's resource inefficient to raise them to adulthood. That's where we went wrong.