Ethically Eating Meat
As many of you probably know by now, the New York Times launched an essay contest this week, asking writers to make a case for why it’s ethical to eat meat.
I think this is a phenomenal idea. Am I entering the contest? No. But, I think a lot of people will and will make great cases – especially now, a time in our society when people are taking relatively extreme steps toward avoiding meat. Veganism, though popularly accepted and widely practiced is pretty extreme. Though this essay contest isn’t about all animal products (i.e. it’s not about dairy or eggs), it is going to spark some very interesting debate!
I feel very strongly that it is very important to purchase animal products from farmers with happy livestock. To me, “happy livestock” is defined by appropriate feed, comfortable living conditions, and humane slaughtering conditions.
Since I’m not writing a piece for the Times, I’m encouraging you to – and I’ll even give you a few tips to start!
- Harmful to Animals: arguments against drinking cow’s milk baffle me. I’m not talking about people who don’t like the taste or are lactose intolerant. I’m talking about people who believe that drinking milk is morally or ethically wrong. Have you ever met a cow that hasn’t been milked?! I sure hope you don’t because they that will be one uncomfortable cow! I would actually make the case that not milking a cow is unethical.
- Human Nature: We are a carnivorous species, you can opt out of that practice but that doesn’t make it inherently wrong. Humans function on a higher cognitive level than most other species, so we have the ability to make choices and act in a way we believe to be “right”, but when it comes down to it, eating meat is instinctual for self-preservation and survival. Come on, all the animals are doing it.
- Nutrients: There are some vitamins and minerals that can’t be consumed in sufficient amount on a vegetarian or vegan diet alone. That indicates that we evolved as meat eaters, not as herbivores who started eating meat. It’s an important distinction because choosing to be meatless could be damaging to your body. Luckily, we have the food industry to fortify and enrich our food sources and the supplement industry to provide mega doses of vitamins in one tiny pill. Without these, there couldn’t be optimally healthy vegan humans. I don’t want my health depending on supplements – I like to eat food, the nutrients are better absorbed, suggesting that food (over pills) is what the body prefers. Depriving your body of certain nutrients it needs doesn’t seem ethical to me.
So what will your 600 word essay be about?!