Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Grand Game: Ox y Moron Edition

Really nothing complicated here, folks.  Just have at it.

I do have one question, I guess.  How many pigs would there be in the world if we stopped eating them?  Answer:  very few.  They don't give milk, their skins aren't really useful, and they don't lay eggs.  Is it really obvious that it is better for pigs never even to be born, than to be raised for food?

It is possible to answer "yes," if the quality of life in industrial farming is self-evidently so bad that a reasoning pig would want to commit suicide.  (I should note that, for this reason, Angus generally selects free range meats.  I do sometimes, but Angus is pretty consistent.)  But since the pig would not exist if there were no demand for pork, it can't always be true that the pig would have been better off never being born at all.

The decision to be a vegan really comes down to (1) a choice about the environment, because raising meat uses too many resources, (2) a choice about health, because the person believes animal products are unhealthy, or (3) a choice about the morality of killing animals.  Choices (1) and (2) are at least logically coherent, and though I don't agree I honor people who make that choice.  To choose #3, you have to be profoundly solipsistic.  Your moral vegan smugness is more important than the existence of pigs.  There is no way that it would be better to kill all the pigs forever, and to never allow pigs to live, than to raise them under humane circumstances and then eat them.  Domesticated pigs exist only because humans have been eating them, for five thousand years.

And the oxen in the example above?  How could they have been more free range?  That was humane, friends.  Goodness, people are amazing.  The moral smugness of PETA-philes is more important than the actual lives of animals.

Nod to Anonyman.


Unknown said...

Though I am not myself a vegetarian (as you well know), I should point out you forgot reason (4) the person doesn't like the taste of meat.

Granted, this is sort of close to (2), but without the pretense of assumed nutritional science.

Brn said...

When I read this, I wondered just how many of the people who intimidated the slaughterhouses out of processing the oxen also feel

A) that the government should do everything possible to protect abortion clinic operators from similarly feeling intimidated, and

B) that those who intimidate the operators should be prosecuted for stopping people from exercising a basic human right?

Dirty Davey said...

(1) Domesticated pigs let loose revert pretty quickly to the habits of their wild ancestors, at which point they become a quite succcessful species on their own.

(2) It has always seemed to me that the problem with the vegan argument is that it takes both sides on the question of human species exceptionalism. That is, (a) because we are similar to the animals, killing, eating, and/or exploiting them is obviously wrong, and yet (b) despite the fact that animals in the wild kill, eat, and exploit one another, we are a superior species and have an obligation to overcome our natural instincts in that regard.

Michael said...

"'If this really was euthanasia — mandated and performed by a veterinarian for humane reasons and by humane methods — and they really have decided not to kill Bill, then that would represent a compassionate decision in line with what tens of thousands of people have been imploring Green Mountain College to do,' Ms. Jones said."

I hate to throw around the T word, but threats of violence to stop a business from operating is borderline terrorism. Her remark can be summed up as people acting out of fear of violence are behaving compassionately.

Anonymous said...


That's it.

Tom said...

How strange it is: these people want to eat a cow. Has that ever
happened before?

If you needed any proof that "animal rights" are nuts, here it is -- boldly.

I understand that you don't eat your friends. I don't eat dog, because living dogs work and play with me. But it's not a moral principle; other people may chose different animal companions, so they will have different menus*.

For this reason, you do NOT give names to food animals. The Green
Mountain College admins should have known there would be trouble. "Is Lou tasty?" -- it's the sort of question that can never have a good answer. Those admins could have made a quiet deal with a cattle farmer
to take Lou (and Bill?) to "live out his final days" among others of his kind. (No announcement about Final Day being next Monday, when the "others" also make a run to the slaughter house.) Then Lou never graces
the dinner table of his friends, who knew him. He might wind up on MY plate, but that's okay.

*Hannibal Lecter had VERY different friends (and menu), but that is a different topic.

Brandon Berg said...

There is no way that it would be better to kill all the pigs forever, and to never allow pigs to live, than to raise them under humane circumstances and then eat them.

Not defending PETA, but this particular argument against vegetarianism is pretty weak. If this argument were valid, it would also be okay to raise humans for food. I mean, these particular people never even would have been born if we hadn't bred them, so they can't very well complain about being slaughtered now, can they? Surely it's better for them to have lived well for a while than never to have been born at all.

The response, of course, is that people and pigs are different. But your argument assumes that point without actually making the claim.

Zachary said...

I'm not at all solipsistic. But I am a Vegan. Of course pigs would be fewer if you didn't raise them for food. And there would be fewer old people if we didn't subsidize them too. More is not innately better.

If one can not live within the the rules of voluntary action and self defense, then maybe it is right that that one should cease to exist. No agent, human or non-human, has the right to coerce another.

BTW: I can't stand the attitude and logic of PETA. They don't impress me with their PROFOUND empathy.