Is Eating Meat an Ethical Question?

How eating vegetables is less ethical than eating meat.

How eating meat is currently more ethical than eating vegetables.

No question meat eating has been the way of humans for thousands of years, but is it time to stop eating meat because vegetables are a more humane and ethical consideration?

We’ve all seen video of slaughter houses and the “inhumane” processes that raise everything from eggs to thanksgiving turkeys, but do you know where your vegetables come from? People of color. Migrant farm workers—working full speed everyday in grueling conditions to meet quotas.

Here in the US it’s the Latin American migrant worker, in South Africa (pick any first world country) it’s the Zimbabwean (mostly) selected particularly because he doesn’t know the law, or his or her legal rights. The are routinely abused and grossly underpaid.

Now, because of the sheer volume of people we turn to farm raised everything, and because of the farm raising of everything we can support more people. This will eventually have to tap out, but for now breeding livestock is not nearly as concerning as breeding people. But the two are inseparably linked.

For grain growers only, Americans farm about 61.8million acres of the 2.4 billion acres of land mass. Again, machines do most of the planting and harvesting. 80% of South Africa’s farmland is grazing cattle. Hardly a fair comparison to the slave labor farm owners extract from the vulnerable. At least the cow gets a breath of decency before he dies—not so much for the farm worker.

Fruit and vegetable workers and their advocates tell a story of vulnerable, low-wage employment operating in fear without proper protections. Let alone information about the risks involved in their essential labor, and without hope of any share in expanded unemployment benefits should they fall ill or lose work. Impossibly long hours and bull pizzle for wages, eating meat causes less suffering than eating greens.

From South Africa we read the line, “WHITE AGRICULTURE AND BLACK LABOUR”—from the book, “We Cry For Our Land”. At a $200 (USD) a month, while in the USA it’s easily replaced with “WHITE AGRICULTURE AND BROWN LABOUR”. How many white people have you seen in the orchards or lettuce fields?

So really, eating fruits and vegetables is supporting oppression. A much more personal and grievous, generational situation than eating a cow or a rabbit.

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

111 thoughts on “Is Eating Meat an Ethical Question?”

  1. I don’t know what your personal experiences are with immigration, but in America, a lot of Mexican workers depend on farmwork to feed themselves. Jamaicans also participate heavily in farmwork programs so they can make a better life for their families overseas. So, while I see where you’re going as someone who is likely an outsider, I disagree 100% as an actual immigrant. I don’t think you understand the ACTUAL realities of being an immigrant and what people are grateful for on the journey outside of their countries.

    I am not South African and cannot speak to the realities of South Africa.

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  2. the base problem is too many humans. If killing something to eat is “immoral”, then what is the difference between killing a plant and an animal? And yes, I do know of the few who attempt to eat only the product of a plant and leave the rest of the plant alone.

    There is no such thing as a free lunch. Resources are consumed, no matter what.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are a lot of people to feed, remarkable really, that we’ve pulled this off at this level already. I think the reality when it comes to meat and eating, we are a complex system that does this from top to the bottom. No amount of caring and compassion can change that.

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    1. We do visit the farmers markets but it’s very seasonal. Seems inevitable we wind up at the store.
      We’ve had gardens from time to time but not consistent like In Panama where I had 50 different trees on the property and grew most of our own.
      I am working on a project with my daughter (as soon as I finish this bloody house project) to grow all of our own food here by putting in a greenhouse with a radiant heat floor. Growing year round will take a little technology, and with grow lights so affordable now it may just work out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If you have space, give indoor gardening a try. I’ve had great success growing herbs, leafy greens, peppers and even bush beans indoors using a couple of adjustable 48W x 18D x 72H wire shelving racks from Home Depot and a bunch of cheap 4′ LED shop lights (5000 lumen, 5000k).

        There’s a cornucopia of resources covering practically every aspect of indoor gardening at your fingertips online. The main thing is to start small and build up (pun intended) as you gain experience.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. That’s the spirit! And if you desire a career change, there is a huge projected economic potential for those getting into the microgreens market.

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  3. From the human perspective — sidestepping the meat/vegetable-eating issue:

    Farmworkers experience a range of occupational health injuries and illnesses including musculoskeletal strains, lacerations, falls, trauma, exposure to pesticides and other chemicals, heat and cold extremes, and exposure to sun, irritants, and allergens.
    (https://www.migrantclinician.org/)

    So it’s not only the low wages/fear issue …

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I agree, there is great inequity in the food production industry. Field work is a horrible job. For crops like grains, corn and potatoes, mechanization has saved the day. Crops that have to be picked like fruit and berries present a problem for mechanization, but I have seen Japanese machines for picking strawberries. I certainly agree that field workers must have relief from their drudgery and lowly position on the prosperity ladder. GROG

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  5. inevitably humanity will outgrow eating meat. it’s the evolution of consciousness. even if we wanted to eat it, the body will reject it. but this may still take thousands of years.

    right now, we are still living as “body consciousness” meaning we identify with the body, and consciousness is dense, obscure. as consciousness evolves, it become purified enough to transcend this state of ‘me’ and ‘other’, and meat eating will stop by itself. it’s not ethics. it’s the natural result of seeing clearly how reality works- seeing oneness behind a multiplicity of forms.

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      1. wonderful! it comes and goes with me. at some point i was complete vegetarian and made a mess of it: lost a lot of weight, started losing my hair, my memory started to go… now, where was i going with this?? jk😉

        Liked by 2 people

  6. I try to buy as much of my produce as possible from local farmers (who are not using slave labor, but are perhaps slavishly devoted to their work). I grow a little produce, too.

    I do consume more meat than I should, but do try to buy humanely raised animals and sustainably harvested fish. This is not really a moral question, in my mind. Frankly, I can afford to pay more for my food than many people. Does that make me a better person – nope. People need certain nutrients to survive in a healthful state. I’m not one to judge what it takes to feed a world overpopulated with humans. First, I’d advocate fewer people, more plants and species/habitat preservation.

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    1. Great solutions to just mindful courtesy. Another problem is it is estimated about 40% of the food in the US is wasted. I did a stint as a high school janitor one year and at least half the food went in the dumpster. We have a lot more than we need.

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  7. Ethics is a construct, and almost anything can be analysed in terms of an ethical question. In the case of consumption, I think you can’t just analyse the machinery of production and its cost, but you must also take into consideration animal suffering.
    In both industries there is environmental destruction and quasi-slave labour, but the meat industry is now over 80% industrial, and we can also apply the word industrial there to animal suffering on top of human suffering.
    Then again, creating an ethical outline is incredibly difficult. Just 30 years ago in many parts of the world the height difference between poor and wealthy citizens was nearly 1 foot in great part due to nutrition.

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  8. Very thought provoking piece Jim. Really touched my heart. It brought to my mind the word “sustainable”. Too bad the platform for civil dialog about ethics in most practical matters has succumbed to neglect. For example, the idea of the sanctity of marriage and taboos or even statutes against divorce, in other words, sexual responsibility. Is one’s veganism a virtue signaling fad or part of a drive to find a universally sustainable morality? You’ve brought to light how all areas of life need to be part of the ethics conversation about any one specific area.

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    1. Here the undocumented worker is getting a really bad rap.
      When I was in my teens a friend and I went to Wenatchee to pick apples—$7 a box. We thought that was easy money til we saw the size of the box. It took nearly half a day, which was my last and only day. Granted that was several years ago, now they get $20-28 per bin as a prevailing wage. And you better hustle non stop!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Is this truly a post about eating animals verses vegetables and fruit or a politically/racially motivated post to excuse the eating of other animals?

    In a country such as Japan, a first world nation by most standards, there is not the same disparity in wage/living standards as there is in countries traditionally invaded, conquered (include genocide of locals) and colonised by Europeans, and yet Japan and China consume vast quantities of fish.
    Chinese fishing fleets are being identified as contributing to the decimation of certain fishing grounds. I read a while back that fishing rights have been granted as part of trade deals.

    And of course the Chinese (as do others) partake in a myriad of utterly horrendous practices against animals that would likely turn the stomach of even the most ardent supporter of steak and sausages.

    A phrase such as this is:

    So really, eating fruits and vegetables is supporting oppression.

    is simply asinine and beneath contempt.

    Oh, and while not great, your salary figures are not quite ‘on the money’ either.

    I am going to say that this post was, in all likelihood written as some sort of ‘wind-up’, rather than any genuine attempt at discussing the issue of farming animals for the plate.

    Sorry, old bean, this one fell face first into the cow pat.

    Not one of your best, Mister Jim.

    Ark.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So you have no problem eating produce picked by slave labor? And the wage I suggested was the published minimum wage which inside the camps is not always attainable—same as here in the US where the migrant worker has to make deals and work under the threat of deportation or worse. I’m just not very happy with the choices we have.
      Not every post is a masterpiece Ark, but maybe shelling out a few extra dollars for produce should be fair enough for those who do a job most colonizers are not physically or mentally tough enough to do anymore

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      1. Again, your argument/reasoning is poor.

        Your quoted figure for minimum wage for farm labour in SA is outdated.

        You focus on one aspect and thus try to make an argument for eating meat instead of vegetables, yet conveniently (intentionally?) stayed far away from the decimation caused by over fishing.
        Which you did not touch in this reply either, I note.

        If this is the angle you are going to use then why not have a go at companies who operate ‘sweat shops’ overseas to manufacture ll sorts of goods?

        Sorry Jim. this piece is an attempt at some form of sensationalism.
        A Fox News special sponsored by Texas cattle ranchers or some such.
        Maybe you know people in the agriculture industry and felt the need to tell their story?
        Who knows?

        And I am not a snowflake about this or weep inconsolably at the though of abattoirs , or throw up in the butcher section of my supermarket.
        Your argument is poor and your reasoning flawed.

        If you want to champion the plight of the farm labourer then do so. But not this way. It’s crass and comes across as disingenuous.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. However you choose to see it. That’s fine. I don’t watch the news. I’m certain you see more Fox News than I do.
          Based on our previous conversation it sparked a little interest, that’s all. The outdated wage was posted in 2021. The current is R21.69, or $1.44/hour. Not sure that’s worth celebrating but definitely an improvement. As far as feedlots, gross. Some cattle have it better than others. Range cows live a pretty happy life, like a Japanese farmer.

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          1. Now you’re just being glib and it comes across as petty.

            The way you have tried to put your argument together from an ethical perspective – Oh, let’s rather eat meat ‘cos farm labourers have a tough time than those in the meat industry is just plain silly and I reckon now that the some of other aspects have been pointed out you want to hand wave or ignore to avoid dealing with them.

            Tis your blog, of course, so you can post whatsoever you like, but at least try to maintain a little more dignity if you are going to write something that has the whiff of holier-than-thou to it.
            And what makes it worse is you have stated you don’t even eat meat, so what game you think you’re playing is a little bemusing.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Maybe you should go work a couple days out in the heat picking in an orchard or lettuce farm for $2 an hour. If that doesn’t illustrate it for you I can’t explain it. Better yet, get you whole family in on it and still barely survive or pay your way out of the situation.

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            2. Again, you’re not addressing the issue.
              Suffering for whom?
              Are you now balking at answering the question?

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            3. The people picking you food are suffering and being mistreated. Is that spelled out clear enough? I’ve balked at nothing as you’ve failed to address the wage issue like a champ.

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            4. The people picking you food are suffering and being mistreated.

              Excellent!
              A bit of no nonsense honesty.
              So perhaps you would now like to write a new post addressing the issue of the dreadful conditions and pay structures for farm labourers, especially those in the agriculture sector rather trying to make a pithy nonsensical ethical point between eating meat and vegetables?

              Oh, and I agree, from what I have read, the conditions and pay are, in some cases, deplorable.

              I am ”all ears” to hear your input on this issue. Well, as long as it’s sensible of course.

              Any time your ready ….

              Liked by 2 people

            5. I find it hypocritical that vegan preachers smug in their outrage over meat and processing plants will eat vegetables harvested by people of color living in poverty.

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            6. Pick one argument, Jim for the gods’ sake!
              You’re like a drunk driver trying to figure out which lane he’d prefer to be in,
              Why not defend the Chinese for eating domestic dogs?

              And as you have stated you haven’t eaten meat in years, aren’t you part of that hypocrisy?
              More so in fact, as you are defending something you don’t even partake in!

              Liked by 1 person

            7. I’m defending nothing. You seem unable to see the hypocrisy and in this you are alone.
              Are you in the dog lane now, swerving? How many thousands of word post should I do to encompass all injustice? Nobody would read it.

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            8. I think the term you are looking for is cherry picking. Namely:
              ”How can I skew a blog post that makes me come across as a ”concerned citizen” and ”champion of human rights” and gloss over or justify the slaughter of billions upon billions of animals every year, the rape and destruction of rain forests to raise and graze livestock and the decimation of the oceans (several species are already thought to have gone extinct from over fishing) without coming across as a dick?”

              Well, sorry … you can’t.

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            9. Those are other issues not covered today. I’ve skewed nothing. Oppressing farm workers is more concerning to me than eating meat. I’ve justified nothing but your hypocrisy.

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            10. While it might seem admirable to offer to be a stand-in violinist in the orchestra as the ship is sinking, all you are doing is making a screeching sound and ruining the final overture.

              If you want to champion farm labourers go for it, and I’m with you all the way. But if you want to use the abuse and slaughter of animals and the decimation of much of the natural world merely to make a soap box point for the dreadful conditions of migrant labour in the agricultural sector then you best take your steak tartar and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

              I reiterate. Your argument is poor and your reasoning based on ethics is flawed.

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            11. Well, so far I’m drunk, I’m a dick, and I have no argument making screeching sounds yet here you are, arguing again and offering no solutions.
              Your horse is getting a little high. Maybe come down and mingle with the common folk…

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            12. Ah … now you are asking for a solution from moi?
              Well as your downtrodden fruit pickers might say:
              ”Wow Jim… that’s a bit ripe, dontcha think?”

              Hey, I know. Let’s encourage all the migrant workers to eat twice as much meat and stop eating any grain or fruit?
              Or pay them partly in steak, pork and chicken?
              This way they too will be supporting the meat industry and , oh boy, will they soon begin to enjoy the true benefits that come from eating other animals.
              How can they lose?

              If you truly need me to make an argument then you really haven’t thought this through at all, now have you?

              Take a breather, Mister Jim.
              You’re a smart enough feller to find an answer that doesn’t require the slaughter of even more animals.
              If you truly can’t then maybe this post isn’t a wind up after all and I’ve overestimated the quality of your grey matter?

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            13. Your comment is as long as the post. Maybe the breather should be yours.
              I don’t ask questions I know the answer to. That’s your department.

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            14. Is it in your nature to mock peoples intelligence and grey matter? It’s a quite racist thing to do, but can you be any different than you are? I suppose not.
              For an end user in a complex system that feeds off itself, perhaps your own shortness is in question. You are beginning again to sound like jb.
              Many others have understood the post. The problem seems to be your tribalistic love illustrated by arguing from your heart, not your brain.

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            15. Not in the least.
              You made an argument trying to justify eating meat over eating fruit and veg on the grounds that ….
              ….eating fruits and vegetables is supporting oppression. A much more personal and grievous, generational situation than eating a cow or a rabbit.
              Which is not only load of bollocks but disingenuous and also hypocritical.-

              As I have already said, you want to do a post highlighting the (often) deplorable working conditions of certain aspects of the agricultural labour market, go for it and I will be behind you.

              Your solution merely compounds the problem rather than helping.
              And once again, you did not bother to address that the consumption of animal flesh is also contributing to the decimation of rain forests and much of the destruction of ocean life.
              If you wish to continue posting comments that highlight your wilful ignorance carry on. I’ll play, no problem.

              See, I didn’t even allude to being a dick this time.

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            16. contributing to the decimation of rain forests and much of the destruction of ocean life”. You brought that up, not me. Apparently this somehow supplants human cruelty and injustice?
              You seem to be combining several fallacies, appeal to pity, ad hominem, and the red herring. That is quite an accomplishment

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            17. Eating meat as a way to supposedly show one does not support the oppression of certain workers in the agricultural sector is asinine. Not least because huge areas are cleared solely for grazing cattle or for growing grain to feed them!

              Time you had a rethink and if you want to continue at least try to make an intelligent argument.

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            18. Maybe you have too much emotional connection to understand. Everything you’ve said here “ Eating meat as a way to supposedly show one does not support the oppression of certain workers in the agricultural sector is asinine” is nothing I’ve said. You’ve assumed and stretched it out to what you want. Raising livestock is no worse morally that the way fruits and vegetables are harvested. You apparently have more compassion for livestock than human stock. That’s your own struggle to deal with.
              Maybe you’re just too keyed up over the upcoming MU match to think about anything else right now.

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            19. In actual fact the truth is you’ve simply made an error in your argument and simply didn’t bother to think it through before you hit your keypad. Now it’s posted you haven’t the ‘balls’ to acknowledge it.
              Furthermore, that you would think I’d care a toss about United demonstrates how little attention you paid when you had your ‘brainwave’ to write this post.

              Don’t fret too much; I feel confident you will learn from your mistake and bounce back with a sensible post next time round.

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            20. I’m confident you won’t. In actual fact others have comprehended it just fine. Maybe it’s your complete misunderstanding that is the problem. I never said the things you’re hoping for.

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            21. If you consider the misunderstanding is on my part then please correct such misunderstanding in your next reply.
              We’ve blogged with each other long enough by now and if I’m wrong, I will apologise,of that you have my word.

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            22. I never said eating meat was a way to show support to migrant farmers. You inferred that. The raising of livestock is no more immoral than the way our fieldworkers are treated. I know you read consoled readers comment and my reply? No? So where’s the problem here?
              I am not justifying animal cruelty, nor do I think vegans should be so smug as to think they have the high road, although there are those in both industries that make an honorable effort, it is not the majority.

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            23. Eating meat is currently more ethical than eating vegetables.
              And: The last paragraph in the post states that eating fruit ang veg is supporting oppression which is more grievous than eating a cow or rabbit.
              What is there to misconstrue about what you have written?

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            24. Actually, I think “ethical” is the right word since it references “standards of social or professional behavior.” Personally, I don’t see any connection to meat-eating … ??

              And someone said this about “oppressive” — If you are neutral in the face of injustice, you are supporting oppression. Since Jim was referencing the injustice of field workers, IMO, his use of the word seems appropos.

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            25. The problem is he is making a comparison when no comparison is needed to make the point regarding the working conditions of certain sectors of the agriculture industry.

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            26. That’s fine. If this is what you feel. But suggesting it is currently “more ethical” to eat cows and rabbit, which by extension will naturally include eating any other animal is asinine. It displays a level of callousness that is completely unnecessary.
              This is the point you are missing.

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            27. Ate is fine. My family were James’s and Youngers. Killing your own food is an essential ancestral skill. I’m not sure you have the expertise or experience to really make this judgement call. You’ve done your learning from books and periodicals. That’s a big problem today when one is easily swayed by opinions without practical experience

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            28. You are now shifting an already poor argument to questioning my cultural background on the basis I never had to hunt for my dinner?
              Jesus H. What next? Stop being a fatuous arse, Jim.
              If you had written your post by simply pointing out the conditions under which certain areas of the agricultural sector worked under and suggested that as a means to help workers vegetarians should check with fruit and veg retailers where they sourced their produce to see that ethical work practices were enforced THAT would have made your post commendable.

              In light of this re read your post.
              Maybe you’ll see where the “impasse” really lies?

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            29. I’m ok with you lack of experience or understanding. It fits perfectly with your self righteous virtue signals

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            30. If you say so. Tell you what, you can claim victory. Well done. Award yourself 100 points and a Noddy badge.
              As you probably have to pop out and kill a wild pig with your bow and arrow, and later, rush off to your local fruit and veg farmer to protest I won’t keep you any longer.

              Have a day.

              Ark.

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            31. It would be a good experience for you to kill your own food, (just go easy on the masturbation) or better yet, your families food. It’s a lot to process physically and emotionally.
              I haven’t hunted in several years, but I have a feeling you could find fault in that.

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            32. You mean there was hidden meaning and masking on all your other comments?
              BTW. Do you really masturbate when you kill animals for food?
              Weird.
              I guess it takes all sorts.

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            33. No hidden meanings. That’s why I clarified because you have a habit of finding fault where none is intended.

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            34. Finding fault?

              So, what was the reference to masturbation?
              You have some sort to weird sexual fetish associated with killing and eating other animals?

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            35. Not at all. I was just warning you not to do it. ⚠️ Now you’ve assumed (again) that I have a fetish after making a little joke.
              You seem very serious about everything lately, which is good. Everyone plays the game their way.

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            36. I see. So, when you discuss the killing and eating of animals with people you feel the need (urge?) to warn them against masturbating. And you don’t see this as odd in any way? So how do the others react to your warning?

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            37. So a few years ago I was taking with my wife about my rabbit farm. I decided to get my rabbit raising merit badge, so my dad got me a buck and a doe, but little did I realize how productive these things are. A few months later my brother and I were butchering about 20 rabbits every six weeks. I was getting really tired of it (the killing part) and finally sold off the whole bunch. My wife asked me if I missed it at all, and I told no, just the masturbation part. She looked at me funny for a split second then busted out laughing. She got it as do you.

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            38. Oh, I didn’t take ”in any serious way.” I just thought it idiotic and crass.
              I guess I must have stepped out of the humour line when they were handing out the masturbating-while -butchering-bunnies jokes.
              Phew! Thank goodness’ I got back in line just as they announced the wanking-while -hanging-the-coloured-folk jokes.
              Think of the laughs I would have missed?

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            39. I tend to think Jim was simply trying to lighten things up. Perhaps it wasn’t done in the most tasteful way, but the tension between you two is more than obvious.

              I often wonder why individuals continue to hammer away at certain topics when the chance of finding common ground is remote, if even possible. Jim’s post on “Bioethics” is a prime example.

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            40. I offered him the perfect solution – do a post specifically highlighting the plight of the migrant farm workers. He preffered to try to justify his asinine post that degenerated into crudity and glib remarks over the slaughter of animals.
              I imagine it was coincidence that South Africa was picked (pun intended) and me being vegetarian.
              Anyway, he blew the opportunity to write a worthehile post of substance.
              I’m sure all those oppressed migrant workers are shaking their heads ruefully.
              Moving on….

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            41. Your welcome to post whatever you like. The post is perfect as it is illustrating the hypocrisy of many veganismos. It’s similar to the environmentalists that book private jets and leave a 40% higher carbon footprint.
              I didn’t choose South Africa, it chose me based on our previous conversation, then I did a little premasturbation research. It turns out most countries take advantage of the migrant worker because they can pay desperate people peanuts for hard labor.
              My comments weren’t glib or marginalizing the the plight of suffering animals, but a comparison of what is more morally offensive.
              You seem to get offended at that and was getting nowhere with your misrepresentations, so I through in a little serial killer humor to accent the stigma on raising farm animals. Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dommer would certainly get the value of that humor, but it isn’t how farmers behave even though they are often portrayed as cruel and careless.

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            42. Here, let me give you a bigger shovel. The way your going you’ll be there forever digging your own grave.

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            43. You are the one that insisted on pushing this into your own context. You are impossible to please, but I noticed you were the only one objecting. A wee bullheaded and contrary lately.

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            44. Nearly there, Jim. Only a few more shovel fulls of dirt.
              You can keep the shovel, by the way. You may decide to dig yourself out, hmm?

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            45. Ah, Jim, my boy, you’re sounding somewhat muffled down there in that hole.
              Need a hand up or are you intent on wallowing in the dirt?

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            46. I wonder if you think my post is more glib than some chap promoting healthcare job opportunities to replace COVID-19 dead nurses? The whole tone was quite pleasing to you. But people played along and you had no problem with that?

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            47. Well the vegetarian diet has amazing side effects. You would consider your post of a higher caliber, but as a medical professional it was pretty flippant. Just the title alone. Oh well.

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            48. Perhaps it simply didn’t gel with your unique brand of hands-on wooden humour? Or hand on, at any rate.
              And let’s be honest here, you do tend to rabbit on rather a lot.
              How’s the digging coming along?
              Shouldn’t you be focusing on the plight of coloured fruit pickers rather than trying to pointlessly point-score against me?

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            49. I’ve never seen someone quite so fascinated with masturbation as you. Fixated, Ark? Is that all, besides your textbook narcissism?

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            50. And there I was thinking you had the sense to stop digging.
              T’ra, Jim.
              Please let us know how many thank you letters you receive from the oppressed fruit pickers you are so concerned about.

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            51. Although I am interested in what you found funny about masturbation and slaughtering and butchering rabbits.
              Did I miss something?

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            52. I don’t think I “got the joke” as he thought I did. I just considered it funny that he would insert it in his comment. As I mentioned, I figured he was just trying to lighten things up a bit — which they definitely needed to be!

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            53. Ah, well I’m relieved to hear I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get the joke. But I guess if one us going to lighten the mood then a masturbation reference while discussing the quaint tale of killing and butchering rabbits is definitely the way to go.
              I expect the rest of the ‘audience’ following along were just rolling about in hysterics.

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            54. You’re right. Ethics pertains to more to standards of conduct than it does to moral values. In fact, the former need not incorporate any moral values at all, and might even violate them outright (such as the legal profession’s attorney-client privilege rules instructing lawyers to argue the case in their client’s favor even if those clients have disclosed their guilt in private to their lawyer).

              So in regards to the post topic (Is eating meat an ethical question?), I suppose one could argue that we have established codes of conduct governing how an animal should be treated before, during and after its slaughter, even if we have moral qualms about raising animals for the sole purpose of being slaughtered and eaten.

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            55. Nothing. I think our first attention should be the treatment of our fellow humans. If we can’t do that right, I don’t think we can do the other.

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            56. Well this is the error you have made, and it is one of subjectively. If you are prepared to acknowledge this fact then you should be able to formulate a better argument that is not at the expense of slaughtering other animals solely for the dinner plate.

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            57. This is the impasse. You don’t understand what you misunderstand. We’re pretty much on the same side of things, but you rarely give me space to be human and express mere thoughts. Am I supposed to control those thoughts, or let them flow? I have no agenda. Everything is working as it can.

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            58. I have explained where you are going wrong which is not necessary regarding hypocrisy but your reasons for ascribing a higher level of ethics to eating other animals.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. You should only eat unhappy slaves. That way you’re increasing the average happiness of the human race and winning the approval of utilitarians.

          Oh, and be sure to enjoy it as much as possible. If you can turn yourself into a utility monster Peter Singer will worship you.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. @Jim

        Was your point that we should eat meat instead of a vegan diet because eating vegetables entails more suffering than eating animals?

        Or was your point to show by comparison that many vegans are hypocrites because they claim we shouldn’t eat meat due to the suffering it causes animals, but completely ignore the human suffering and exploitation involved in producing those vegetables?

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you sir! If nothing else it should make one think a little when their superior veganismo is on display. Yes—“ by comparison that many vegans are hypocrites because they claim we shouldn’t eat meat due to the suffering it causes animals, but completely ignore the human suffering and exploitation involved in producing those vegetables?

          Liked by 2 people

          1. So you don’t really want vegetarians and others to starting eating more animals merely acknowledge they are hypocrites because the vegetables and fruit they eat are farmed and harvested by oppressed migrant workers.

            Is this the point you are trying to make?

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  10. In my eyes, Jim, in our present systems, there can be no ethics when it comes to food. There are too many people living on this planet, and the majority of them are disconnected from food sources. Were it possible to balance the population of the earth with the food-producing land where everyone produced their own food, then ethics could enter back into the situation.
    I am not saying I agree with mass producers of food–I completely disagree–but it is what it is. But, I disagree which how our food is proportioned. The few, relatively speaking, have more than they need, while the vast majority cannot get enough to live healthy lives. And that includes people in the so-called developed world!

    Liked by 6 people

  11. Oh yeah. And I try not to avert my eyes from provision of what’s on my dinner plate. I can no more comprehensively trace cause and effect backwards from my decisions than forward, but I’d rather not pretend they don’t exist.

    A meal of meat

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  12. BTW, I’m told baitfish – such as sardines and anchovies – and insects currently have the lowest impact on the environment per calorie of food produced, though I have no way of confirming that and I don’t know how ‘impact’ is measured. Even less than fruit, veg and grain apparently. So if you’re OK with the number of deaths needed to fill a bowl with them I guess they’re pretty sound morally speaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is the number of deaths that concern me. How many living beings had to die to place a meal in front of me, or, alternatively, how many people are being fed by the death of one living being. I really find it amazing that humans are concerned about the deaths of individual humans, yet they are not at all concerned with the individuals of other species. I try to eat a lot of nuts, berries, and seeds, they involve no deaths, just prevented lives. The key word, of course, is try. To live on nuts,, berries, and seeds (which includes most fruits) is not exactly a healthy lifestyle. Other varieties of life do need to die for me to thrive, in our present food supply system.
      But to sum it all up for me, except for the most basic plants (plankton, which lives on sunlight), LIFE lives on life. There is no way around it. But there can be, I think. We just aren’t there yet!

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      1. If it’s just number of deaths, as opposed to say amount of suffering, level of sentience ended, opportunity for meaningful lives prior to death (which are all attempts to quantify and equate subjective experience and are therefore completely invalid in my opinion), then where do you draw the line?

        Taking a course of antibiotics is probably going to cause more premature deaths in a week than results from all the food you eat in a lifetime.

        Personally I respect death in the same way I respect life. They’re two sides of the same coin. Despite being a pet owner who has been deeply attached to several rabbits I would have (and have had) no hesitation in shooting a rabbit for my dinner. But when I consciously choose to end a life – even swatting mosquitoes – I carry out a ritual to maintain my awareness of the subjective universe I’ve just destroyed and my respect for life in general. What would be unconscionable to me would be to deliberately or negligently waste the meat that has been gained at such a cost.

        I reckon turning morality into some kind of numbers game isn’t just hubristically dumbing the universe down into something you can get your head around, it’s alienating you from the intuitions and instincts which, IMHO, are the best guide to moral behaviour. I know that killing an infant who trusts me is infinitely worse than wiping out a house full of roaches and there’s no equation that can tell me otherwise.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I was talking about living beings having their lives ended prematurely to be used for food, but you are right to extend my statement beyond that. I do not kill most beings intentionally unless they are trying to harm me, such as germs. Bugs like mosquitoes can be irritating, but that is no reason to kill them. I would have a big problem shooting a rabbit for food.

          Liked by 2 people

  13. Well, first up I’d reiterate that utilitarian moral considerations are mostly sophistry. You can never know the myriad outcomes of any decision nor the ultimate moral weight you might choose as its measure.

    That said, playing the conditions of oppressed farm workers off against the suffering of abused livestock wouldn’t be a valid comparison anyway. These days a heck of a lot of farmland – especially former Amazon rainforest now under soybeans – is used to keep livestock in feedlots, which tend to be the most abusive way of farming animals as well as pretty nasty to both farm-workers, nearby residents and the environment as a whole (think all those mega-sized pig farms in the US mid-West).

    The only approach that works for me is the one I use for most moral questions. My yuk factor. How bad it makes me feel to do it (or, more often, think about doing it). On that basis I try to keep my meat consumption low (by Australian standards) and avoid paying companies that promote harmful and abusive practices (well, at least the worst ones I know about). So I eat a little beef but would never patronise McDonalds. I don’t just avoid buying battery laid eggs, I avoid any brands that sell them. And I try (with very limited success) to not buy much of my food from retailers who drive the race to the bottom in farm gate prices that keeps wages and conditions low for workers and advantages the big conglomerates that are generally the most abusive of livestock and the environment. Not because I think directing my consumer dollar has a quantifiable – or even definable – objective moral weight, but because I don’t like the feeling that I’m facilitating abuse by funding abusers.

    Liked by 4 people

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