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.