Ethical Vegetarianism and "Humane Meat" - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-10-2015, 10:16 PM
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Question Ethical Vegetarianism and "Humane Meat"

For 3-4? years I've been vegetarian for ethical reasons, so I pose my question mainly to those who are also vegetarian based on ethics and not health reasons or preference.

I admit I'm one of those who stopped eating meat after seeing the PETA videos and the animal slaughtering and what not. I literally cried, and I could not handle it. When I saw what they do to male chicks, the beak cuttings, the cramped pens and sores on the animals, I cried uncontrollably. I stopped eating meat and haven't gone back since. I admit, I love meat. Taste wise, I do miss chicken, never cared for much else, but the thought of eating any animal that was treated that way or lived a life on a mass farm amidst other dead animals because their living conditions are horrible, JUST for me to have meat, makes me sick to my stomach, and no matter how much I liked meat, I can't do it. Even though I liked meat, I've had no regrets.

Now, after all this time, my boyfriend who was a vegetarian for 14 years by preference, has started to eat meat again. He understands my stance and doesn't look down upon it, he agrees as well, but his mindset is more along the lines of "What is one person not eating meat reall going to do to stop the industry or save the animals?" Anyway, that's not the point.

Since he started eating meat, he posed the question to me about how I would feel about eating strictly humane meat, preferably from a local form or reputable place like Whole Foods. By humane he means animals that lived on farms their whole lives, not factory farms cramped up in pens, abused, pumped up with hormones and all the other stuff that go along with mass produced meat. I've thought long and hard about it, and I must admit, I am considering it, but I'm not completely sure how I feel. I'm looking for others opinions to help me sort through my thoughts.

My thing has always been, that yes, I do believe that humans were intended to eat flesh, we are by nature omnivores. Some people believe animals were put on this earth to be our servants and sustenance, and that we can do what we will with them. I don't agree that we should treat them however we please, I believe that the animal still deserves to be treated with love and dignity, and should be fed it's natural diet, and not have hormones and other things added to it. It's horrible. I think if I knew that the animal I was eating, which is part of my species' diet, lived and roamed freely and with dignity, and died with dignity, I might be okay...Treat the animal like it's life has value, that's what I think, I could get on-board with that.

ON THE OTHER HAND, now this is the part where my BF thinks I'm being a little ridiculous... I feel kind of bad, because when I think about it, whatever animal I end up eating, was a parent, or a child of another animal. Some people believe animals don't have souls or feelings, but I do... So emotionally, I hate to think that my diet literally caused emotional pain to this animal, made them an orphan or killed their little animal baby. And by eating even humanely raised meat, I'd be contributing to that.

So I'm torn, and I really would like to hear from other vegetarians who've either considered the same thing, or chose to be vegetarians for ethical reasons like myself.
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#2 Old 12-10-2015, 10:32 PM
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" By humane he means animals that lived on farms their whole lives . . . "

Without exception, livestock animals are slaughtered as soon as they reach their mature weight. Their "whole lives" are only 2 to 3 years long (for cows), or even only 2 months long (for chickens). It simply doesn't make economic sense to continue to feed and house an animal that has already reached full market weight.

These animal-raising websites back-up what I'm saying:

Pigs are slaughtered at 6-10 months of age: http://www.thepigsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3697

Chickens are slaughtered at less than 2 months of age: http://www.poultryhub.org/production...farm-sequence/

Cows are slaughtered at no more than 3 years of age: http://www.fao.org/docrep/004/t0279e/t0279e05.htm


Respecting an animal means allowing that animal to live freely. Are there any chicken or turkey farms that allow their birds to fly and migrate, as these birds have done for thousands of years? These are not ostriches! These birds' wings are made for flying!

How is your boyfriend doing in other aspects of his life? Is he happy? Why would a 14-year vegetarian begin eating meat again? I can't help believing that there's more to the story here.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

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#3 Old 12-11-2015, 12:52 AM
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There is no humane way to kill. It's an oxymoron.

Don't let your boyfriend use you to justify his own callousness. Trust your own heart, or else be subservient to someone else's will.

The notion that humans are "intended to eat flesh" is false. We are free souls that can shape nature for a better future. There is wise dominion, and there is foolish dominion. Choose wisdom.
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#4 Old 12-11-2015, 03:18 AM
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I'd suggest visiting this site regarding "humane" farming:

http://www.humanemyth.org/

There is nothing "natural" about animal agriculture. Farm animals have been bred and manipulated for thousands of years to grow bigger, produce more flesh, milk, eggs etc for humans. They have become completely dependent on us and defenseless on their own. Grass fed animals allowed to roam are still subject to breeding, still subject to being attacked by wild predators (and in turn wild predators are hunted and hated for this reason), and still subject to slaughter. They are bought and sold and separated from each other. Their bodies are manipulated. Well cared for or not, they are a commodity to the person/s raising them.

And beyond the treatment of animals, consider the ethics of growing over 40% of of the worlds plant food for farmed animals who will be slaughtered for meat or used for dairy/eggs. The world population is growing and world hunger is a problem. Grass fed "humane" animals can not sustain a planet with over 7 billion people. Consider the ethics of clearing yet MORE land for farmed animals to be raised for food when our natural resources and wilderness are already dwindling, and wild animals have fewer places to roam. Consider the ethics of supporting any kind of animal agriculture when it leads to more pollution of our planet.

Finally, consider that "humane", "grass fed" "organic" animals are often denied antibiotics when they become sick because this would cause them to lose the organic label. Any time you have a large group of animals, humans included, living together there is going to be risk of illness. There are still castrations, clippings, skinning etc.

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#5 Old 12-11-2015, 03:51 AM
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1- Every injustice that's been changed was brought about by a collaborative of single persons
every war was fought by single people. Slavery was ended by single people. It's about having the courage to live your ethics instead of being weak and following the oppressors

2- Have you ever really had the desire to run down an animal and kill and eat it? Or pick insects off plants -which are a large part of meateaters diet-and pop them in your mouth? No? Animals that require meat certainly do. You're programmed by what you've been brought up to believe. All the research that isn't funded by meat/dairy/egg industry at the very least acknowledges proper vegetarian and vegan diets are fine, and most recommend them. Humans formulate what they need from plants unlike real carnivores which need the nutrients formulated through the animals gut. BTW, animals who require meat also eat the stomach contents of the animal.

3- The reason factory farming exists is because demand requires it. If eating meat is really so natural we wouldn't be selectively breeding animals, destroying wild animals habitats to raise these animals, wouldn't have all the contamination involved with all the water used, all the land destroyed by raising the animals food, all the transport involved, the cleaning, the storage. Do you not think about all the other areas where humans have changed their "nature"? How about giving up traveling at speeds faster than humans can acheive on their own? How about the simple facts that all things we do are "unnatural". Why do you use electronics?

4- the reality is that people don't go back to eating animals out of anything but the desire for ignorance. It's why people buy clothes that are manufactured in factories that treat their workers as slaves. Why so many foods are farmed to the point of destroying land and causing extinction. Where are you willing to draw the line and realize that every change is brought about by a collective of single individuals who live the ethics they believe
It's about saying no. It's about being human

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#6 Old 12-11-2015, 03:56 AM
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#7 Old 12-11-2015, 04:08 AM
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I have never heard a convincing reason to eat meat.

My usual answer: I have never heard a convincing reason to eat meat.
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#8 Old 12-11-2015, 05:46 AM
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I don't think there's anything I can add which hasn't been articulated by the posters above me, but let me echo that there is nothing natural or humane about ANY aspect of animal agriculture. There is no such thing as humane meat, unless you're talking about scavenging the bodies of already-dead animals. In order to produce meat, it is necessary to forcibly impregnate sentient creatures, to separate babies from their mothers, to brutally slaughter babies and young adults. Even animals from "happy" farms are sent to the same abattoirs as their factory-farmed cousins. There is no farm in existence that isn't cruel.

The fact that your boyfriend is trying to persuade you to do something which runs counter to your ethics is worrisome.
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#9 Old 12-11-2015, 06:31 AM
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As long as I can live healthily without them I won't eat animal products, even the 'most ethical, humane' ones because 1) I'm against using animals as entertainment and 2) I want to show people that it is possible to be healthy and happy without animal products. Also, if someone is breeding an animal in order to kill it, how humanely would s/he really be treating that animal? Sure, there are people who go above and beyond, but if we can't even trust everyone to treat their own children properly how can we trust that animals brought into existence just to be killed would fair any better?

Another aspect that is really important to me and might resonate with you based on the feelings of the people around you- if we are rearing animals with the best quality of life possible that could take a lot resources. I'd rather (the money for) those resources go to people who are already here and are living and dying in horrible, preventable conditions than be used to bring non-human animals into existence.
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#10 Old 12-11-2015, 09:28 AM
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Thank you to everyone who has responded with your insight, this is what I was hoping for, to gain understanding of other points of view because there'a still a lot I don't know about the meat and farming industry that i need to be educated on. To be clear though, at no point in time has my boyfriend pressured me to begin eating meat or to go against my ethics, he simply asked me how I felt about it and if I would consider it. Not knowing as much as I'd like to about humane farming and considering my own emotional feelings, I told him I was not really sure and that I'd like to research and consider it more before deciding. He understood and did not try to convince me in any way. Also to reiterate, he was not a vegetarian for ethical reasons, though he does sympathize with animal rights, his was by preference and not driven by a desire to not be part of the demand for animal farming.
That aside, I realize that there are many parts of the farming industry and not just meat farming, and that ethically being vegan would be better, but I'm not, as I drew my own personal line there. That's not say I will never be, but at this time I've made the conscious decision not to eat meat, and so the prospect of going back to it in the "humane" sense has me troubled. I appreciate any additional thoughts and I will keep reading and educating myself, looking into all the facts and links you all have provided. Thank you!
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#11 Old 12-11-2015, 11:40 AM
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my boyfriend who was a vegetarian for 14 years by preference, has started to eat meat again. ... his mindset is more along the lines of "What is one person not eating meat really going to do to stop the industry or save the animals?"

Vegan movements are growing. Cultures evolve and move, as this one is. It's expanding. One person does change things, like a raindrop then a thousand raindrops then a million raindrops, eventually create a storm. This is what happens in all human movements that have ever impacted the greater good. His lack of 'faith' may be born of a sense of futility and depression (not exactly uncommon in anyone fighting a big fight), or perhaps a personal loss of desire to adhere to the principles he's adhered to formerly.

Since he started eating meat, he posed the question to me about how I would feel about eating strictly humane meat, preferably from a local form or reputable place like Whole Foods. By humane he means animals that lived on farms their whole lives, not factory farms cramped up in pens, abused, pumped up with hormones and all the other stuff that go along with mass produced meat.

As others have said, there is absolutely no neccesity to eat meat, at all. Whatsoever.
If you choose to eat animals purely for pleasure, then it's your choice. Do you want to have this animal born and bred in captivity and then slaughtered simply so you can enjoy the fleeting pleasure of it's flesh in your mouth? Is its terror and death worth your momentary pleasure?

I do believe that humans --- we are by nature omnivores. Some people believe animals were put on this earth to be our servants and sustenance, ... I believe that the animal still deserves to be treated with love and dignity, and should be fed it's natural diet, and not have hormones and other things added to it. ... I think if I knew that the animal I was eating, which is part of my species' diet, lived and roamed freely and with dignity, and died with dignity, I might be okay.


We may be 'by nature' omnivores. But as foragers, that would naturally include worms and grubs more than farm fattened mammals. How do you fancy those as a part of your 'natural diet'? They would probably be better for your health too
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#12 Old 12-11-2015, 04:39 PM
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IDK - does your boyfriend think that he could be killed "humanely"?
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#13 Old 12-11-2015, 05:08 PM
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Why was he vegetarian for 14 years?
I feel as arno does--there just isn't a good reason not to be veg'n. After that much time I would think it would have become his nature. Is it that it's inconveneint?
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#14 Old 12-11-2015, 09:56 PM
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I think we tend to look for justification when we are planning to do something that makes us uncomfortable. To be clear, meat animals are not euthanized, they are slaughtered. More often than anyone would like, the slaughter process goes wrong and a horrible death follows. Even if the animal had managed to live a year or two as a unconfined cow or pig, would that make the inevitable slaughter process worthy of that animal becoming your next sandwich?

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#15 Old 12-12-2015, 07:06 AM
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With regard to Whole Foods and humane meat:
http://t.wildhorsepreservation.org/m...00-wild-horses


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#16 Old 12-12-2015, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icflyinmonkies View Post
For 3-4? years I've been vegetarian for ethical reasons, so I pose my question mainly to those who are also vegetarian based on ethics and not health reasons or preference.
Hi! I'm as you describe: my only reason for not eating meat (or eggs or milk, although I'm still not vegan) is my care for animals.

Quote:
My thing has always been, that yes, I do believe that humans were intended to eat flesh, we are by nature omnivores. ...... I believe that the animal still deserves to be treated with love and dignity, and should be fed it's natural diet, and not have hormones and other things added to it. It's horrible. I think if I knew that the animal I was eating, which is part of my species' diet, lived and roamed freely and with dignity, and died with dignity, I might be okay...Treat the animal like it's life has value, that's what I think, I could get on-board with that.
I have heard similar sentiments from those who eat meat many times- for decades. And actually, that was what convinced me to go vegetarian: how can one "Treat the animal like it's life has value" and kill them for no other reason than to eat them? Nobody ever answered this coherently.

Now, I think it is true that humans are omnivores insofar as we CAN consume meat without necessarily harming ourselves (I haven't read the China Study, however). But it is also a fact that we do not need to, so I don't.

Quote:
ON THE OTHER HAND, now this is the part where my BF thinks I'm being a little ridiculous... I feel kind of bad, because when I think about it, whatever animal I end up eating, was a parent, or a child of another animal. Some people believe animals don't have souls or feelings, but I do... So emotionally, I hate to think that my diet literally caused emotional pain to this animal, made them an orphan or killed their little animal baby. And by eating even humanely raised meat, I'd be contributing to that.
I don't see it that way, although this may all be true. The only way "humane meat" would make any sense would be if someone believed that animals take no enjoyment from their lives... if the only thing an animal can hope for is to not feel pain, and just squeak through a gray, bland existence without feeling any pleasure or pain. I avoid killing animals because their lives offer them experiences they would want to keep having, if they could conceive of "death" and make a choice whether to keep living or to be painlessly killed and eaten.

Peasant (1963-1972) and Fluffy (1970s?-1982- I think of you as 'Ambrose' now)- Your spirits outshone some humans I have known. Be happy forever.
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