6

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NY Times asks "Tell us why it's ethical to eat meat"--Who's game for an essay?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Anyone willing to participate? In 600 words or less, detail why you feel it's ethical to eat meat.

Rules: This is a very specific contest. Don???t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it???s ethical to eat meat.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/magazine/tell-us-why-its-ethical-to-eat-meat-a-contest.html?_r=1

"...those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say. They say, of course, that, well, they love meat or that meat is deeply ingrained in our habit or culture or cuisine or that it???s nutritious or that it???s just part of the natural order. Some of the more conscientious carnivores have devoted themselves to enhancing the lives of livestock, by improving what those animals eat, how they live and how they are killed. But few have tried to answer the fundamental ethical issue: Whether it is right to eat animals in the first place, at least when human survival is not at stake."

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:35 PM

I think there's a strong connection--it boils down to, "is being paleo ethical?" because being paleo means eating meat (for the majority of us). It's related to hacks like this one: http://paleohacks.com/questions/560/how-environmentally-responsible-green-and-sustainable-is-the-paleo-diet#axzz1pl45a229.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 20, 2012
at 10:29 PM

Besides, you guys let a question of "What role did vegetarianism play in Steve Jobs' health?" remain open, despite that not being a hack.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 20, 2012
at 10:26 PM

Who better than Paleo hackers to contribute to an essay that might be published in the NY Times?

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 20, 2012
at 09:32 PM

this is circular. we produce animals for the sole purpose of eating them, therefore it is ethical to produce animals and eat them.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on March 20, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Great answer!!!

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on March 20, 2012
at 08:39 PM

cool info, but not a paleohack. I might enter, but the panel of judges seems quite biased.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on March 20, 2012
at 08:37 PM

I'm all for eating meat, but, wow, this is wildly misguided. So if we bred a race of human slaves that were better suited to manual labor (pretty analagous to breeding wild animals into domesticated ones that are meant to provide meat), that would give us absolute power over their life and death?

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 20, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I agree with you wholeheartedly. A stranger's idea of "ethics" ends where my health is affected.

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5 Answers

best answer

3
0a31b8309ef49bd18cd21d87d3b0b38d

on March 20, 2012
at 07:49 PM

Whether it is right to eat animals in the first place, at least when human survival is not at stake...

Well there's your thesis right there. Our survival is at stake. Our bodies were meant to subsist on a diet that is high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates, and we simply cannot get it without consuming animals. We may be able to survive in the barest terms without it, but our quality of life is diminished and we are increasingly plagued by autoimmune disorders, heart disease, and cancers that are at the very least partially related to a diet that is comprised of foods we were not meant to eat. If we're to continue to exist as a species rather than succumb to a plague of diabetes and heart disease, we have to eat the way we evolved to eat, and that means meat.

Now, if you want to bring ethics into the equation, I'll need to brush up on my reading. John Stuart Mill had a lot to say about sacrificing the environment for the state of corporate gain, but I think that's a better ethical argument for the condemnation of factory farming, not eating meat. The argument needs to be reframed so that we're not talking about the ethics of eating meat but the ethics of mass-manufacturing food.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on March 20, 2012
at 07:51 PM

I agree with you wholeheartedly. A stranger's idea of "ethics" ends where my health is affected.

6670b38baf0aae7f4d8ac2463ddc37c0

(3946)

on March 20, 2012
at 09:20 PM

Great answer!!!

2
E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

on March 20, 2012
at 08:24 PM

I'd like to see an argument for why it's ethical to eat grains, farm them and feed them to your kids. Is it ethical to produce, buy and sell junk food? I know that misses the point, but so does the narrow question of "why is eating meat ethical?" These other questions are never examined, and they are equally 'life or death' questions. Hint: It's not pasture-raised meat that's causing an obesity epidemic, disease and death in children and adults. Where are the ethics police in that debate?

I think @Ambergarrett beat me to this, but if you agree that 'healthy' meat is essential, not for survival (whatever that is..not dying immediately? awesome...), but for optimal human health based on evolutionary biology, then is it ethical to ask humans to survive on a diet that is less than optimal, leading to sickness, death and lower-quality of life on an individual and on a massive scale?

It might be, I'm not an ethics professor.

1
Db4ad76f6f307a6f577e175710049172

on March 20, 2012
at 08:22 PM

Thanks for the heads up. They should get some good responses.

But now I can't sign my essay with my PH name, can I? Haha.

1
D8f58eba263277ec6119293137b85b02

on March 20, 2012
at 07:59 PM

I don't know if I'll come up with anything fit for publishing, but I think, if only for my own benefit, I'll work on an essay fitting those guidelines. What the hell, right?

Edit: so far the most difficult part is the fact that I have so much information to share about how detrimental a vegetarian/vegan diet is to the health of the human race that I have no idea how I'm going to stick to 600 words.

-2
Ef9f83cb4e1826261a44c173f733789e

on March 20, 2012
at 08:26 PM

I think I may enter this, although I don't consider it a contest because it has no real prize ;0P

My short answer is, it's ethical because we are the creators of domesticated animals, or the "god," if you will. We control their lives and evolution. They exist because we created them. We own them. They are property that we produced for the purpose of food. We have the power to grant or deny a domesticated animal's right to life. They wouldn't exist in the first place if beings of superior intellect didn't create them (for any purpose).

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on March 20, 2012
at 09:32 PM

this is circular. we produce animals for the sole purpose of eating them, therefore it is ethical to produce animals and eat them.

4ec0fe4b4aab327f7efa2dfb06b032ff

(5145)

on March 20, 2012
at 08:37 PM

I'm all for eating meat, but, wow, this is wildly misguided. So if we bred a race of human slaves that were better suited to manual labor (pretty analagous to breeding wild animals into domesticated ones that are meant to provide meat), that would give us absolute power over their life and death?

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