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A quote from Darwin that should be forwarded to PETA
Our familiarity with the larger domestic animals tends, I think, to mislead us: we see no great destruction falling on them, but we do not keep in mind that thousands are annually slaughtered for food, and that in a state of nature an equal number would have somehow to be disposed of.

From an animal welfare point of view, the question is which is better? The method of "disposal" of man, or of nature? I tend to vote man, as the animals slaughtered for food are well-fed, generally healthy, and the actual death is quick. The animals "disposed of" by nature die of starvation and live with fear, illness and injury. A large domestic animal like cattle, horses, etc, if victims of predation are unlikely to die as quickly once attacked as they would in a modern slaughterhouse.

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I completely disagree. Conditions in modern farms are not all that great and lots of animals suffer there, without anthropomorphizing too much they get none of the "joys" of life, are separated almost immediately from any offspring, many are not allowed room to move and have been physically or genetically modified, and are forced to breed.

That's similar to saying... it'd be better to just kill humans because in nature they die of starvation, injury, war, and disease. Are you serious?

Besides - none of those animals would even exist without the farming system. I'm not a member of PETA, but an animal welfare advocate wouldn't argue that these animals should be released into the wild, it would argue that they should never be "created" in the first place.

Edited at 2009-01-19 05:28 pm (UTC)

I'm wondering, given your comment... do you feel that humans choosing to kill themselves instead of being sick is ok?
also/... what about putting down your pets because they will suffer? is that ok with you?

I do believe in euthanasia... clearly pointing out that it's the individuals choice to do it. No one else should be able to say,"you are suffering too much so I'm going to kill you", unless that person has made that choice prior or is unable to make that choice (in a long term coma and the family decides etc).

I do think if an animals is close to the end of it's life and is suffering then killing it with a lethal injection is acceptable.

I do not believe that is comparable with life in a factory farm, nor the killing methods/and conditions in a majority of slaughterhouses. The killing done in that situation is absolutely not for the animals benefit, it's for profit.

so you have a beef withthe farming industry?(*heh* see there I did a punny ;)) would yo feel better about it if getting meat from the grocery weren't so easily done? what about ppl who have jobs raising livestock?

I'm a vegetarian, and I don't need to ever get meat.

I don't even understand your first question, what do you mean "weren't so easily done"?

What about people who have jobs raising livestock? I'm not sure what you are asking here.

I was wondering your reason for being a vegetarian (which I guess btw) was due to the meat industry's treatment of livestock & the slauighter of them

My original reason (10 years) was energy use and pollution. After I read/learned a lot more about the farming/fishing industry it became a combination of animal welfare and environmental reasons. I would say it's an ethics choice.

Now I know I don't have to actively kill animals for food (and yes, I realize that some animals are killing by vegetable/fruit farming/processes), and have no desire to cause additional suffering to animals since it's not a requirement to get the nutrition that I need to live.

I greatly enjoy the diet that I have now as far as taste and variety goes. Become a pretty damn good cook, been healthy and stayed a healthy weight, so I don't feel denied anything by my choice.

Call me a hypocrite perhaps because I care for two cats (rescues), and provide them meat. Mainly because I feel they do need it to live. I do believe in balance.

Edited at 2009-01-19 08:41 pm (UTC)

yeah.. cause being an obligate carnivore is not exactly theirchoice ;)
It sounds like your variety of vegetarianism is much healthier than blaisepascal's *lol*...
I live with him & I see how he eats ;)

yeah.. cause being an obligate carnivore is not exactly theirchoice ;)
It sounds like your variety of vegetarianism is much healthier than blaisepascal's *lol*...
I live with him & I see how he eats ;)

As a bit of context, when Darwin wrote that the "modern farms" of today didn't exist. I don't know what conditions were like then, but I imagine that they didn't have as many of the issues you rail against.

Darwin was talking about "larger domestic animals", not humans. To take my comments regarding the lives and deaths of larger domestic animals in farm and natural conditions and bend them towards a supposed position on my part regarding the lives and deaths of humans is fallacious, either a "strawman" or a "false analogy", or both. The analogy is false because humans aren't larger domestic animals with a large geometric population increase arrested by slaughter for food. If small, furry creatures from Alpha Centauri raised humans for food, then perhaps the situation would be analogous. But they aren't, as far as I know.

It's true that the populations of cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and other larger domestic animals used as foodstock would not be as large (if at all) without the farming system, or domestication in general. But if you wish to eliminate the farming system, you need to specify an "end game". PETA would release into the wild. Darwin points out what has to happen if the populations are to stabilize if released into the wild.

I said it's similar, and I do think it's a similar argument as humans in nature die from those causes as well. And I think it's ethically comparable when talking about this specific aspect of things.

Why do you need to specify an "end game". I doubt PETA would actually suggest you release domesticated farm animals into the wild, but again, I'm not a member and haven't read much of their literature.

IF everyone did slowly become veg over time, ideally towards the end there would be a place much like the current farm sanctuaries where the animals could be cared for by humans until their natural deaths without increasing their populations.

There is no mercy in death in a slaughterhouse. If someone was really so worried about the animals at the end of farming then perhaps the animals, no longer having an environment or instincts to live in the wild would be killed, I think euthanasia without the use of it's body afterwords by humans might be in order.

You believe that humans are equivalent to larger domesticated animals raised and slaughtered for food. Therefore, you believe that preferring slaughter of larger domestic animals for food over letting them starve, get sick, and be preyed upon by wild animals is ethically comparable to preferring the slaughter of humans over letting them starve, get sick, get killed in wars, or be preyed upon by wild animals.

If that is indeed an accurate statement of your position, then we are far enough apart in this discussion that we will never reach common ground and further debate is a waste of both of our times.

No, but I do think that saying that it's somehow merciful to slaughter animals for farming because this somehow reduces their overall suffering is completely false.

And I do think that it's valid to make a comparison to humans to see if such an argument would hold true if its our own species.

I love the idea of a farm sanctuary, but it turns out that, in practice, those are mostly neither healthy nor pleasant for the animals taken in. The folks who run these facilities tend to be underfunded and inexperienced in animal husbandry. I gather the Farm Sanctuary outside Watkins Glen, New York frequently has to call upon nearby farmers (who raise animals for human consumption) for expertise and assistance.

I've given money to these folks because I like the idea behind what they do, and wish they could be more viable at it, but I have no illusion that they, or PETA, will ever succeed in ending the practice of industrial food-animal production. If that practice ever ends, it's far more likely to be because of those of us who participate in and evangelise the locavore movement and do our best to consume only locally and humanely raised meat whenever feasible.

I agree with you, that's why the *IF* is there. I really have my doubts about the long term success of animal welfare advocacy though I think that the numbers choosing different diets will grow over time for various reasons - health concerns/pollution/environment etc.

I don't think we have to ponder the "end game" all that much because it's just not real likely anytime in my lifetime.

I have a community farm share and totally love it... and while I'm not hugely evangelizing I do talk about it a fair amount. I'm fortunate to live in a city/area with a very large locally grown movement.

I do support the movement to make regulations for conditions to be better for animals in farming, while I think it's ideal to be veg (and local) I don't really expect the country (or world) to move to my ideal.

Oh, and I guess I'm slightly biased because I regularly read the blog of someone who currently works at a sanctuary and I've met several people who have been involved in running them. While not perfect - I'm fairly certain they are better off there than in most commercially run farms in the United States.

PETA is an Animal Rights organization, not a Animal Welfare organization.
You should probably keep them out of your discussions. They are a bit extreme.

" I'm not a member of PETA, but an animal welfare advocate wouldn't argue that these animals should be released into the wild, it would argue that they should never be "created" in the first place. "

Logically that means you are in favor of the extinction of domestic animals.

blaisepascal had framed this discussion in terms of PETA which is why I was including them in the discussion.

I am in favor of the extinction of domestic animals raised for slaughter, you are correct. The wild versions of these animals will still exist where there are habitats.

What's the point of keeping an animal alive only to exploit it? How does that benefit that species at all? IMO, it doesn't. I don't expect this to happen btw, but I am in favor of it.

PETA is not convinced by that argument.

“What's wrong with factory farms or fur farms? Aren't animals worse off in the wild, where they die of starvation, disease, or predation? At least the animals on factory farms and fur farms are fed and protected.”

A similar argument was used to support the claim that black people were better off as slaves on plantations than as free men and women. The same could also be said of people in prison, yet prison is considered to be one of society’s harshest punishments. Animals on factory farms suffer so much that it is inconceivable that they could be worse off in the wild. The wild isn’t “wild” to the animals who live there—it’s their home. There, they have their freedom and can engage in their natural activities. The fact that they might suffer in the wild is no reason to ensure that they suffer in captivity.

I'm actually a vegetarian exactly against farmed meat, because the conditions are that bad for farmed animals (I have no problem with wild-caught animals like wild fish or venison). Farmed animals are not well-fed, they are stuffed with corn rather than grass or seed. If you're a cow, there's a decent chance you'll eat other cows mixed into your feed for the protein boost.

Farmed animals are also extremely unhealthy. Both cows and chickens are kept in "walls" of cages, meaning animals on the bottom get a lot of poop on them. If you're a cow, you have no room to turn around or lie down, nor access to sunlight. If you're a chicken, your beak was melted down to a nub by pressing it against a hot iron, so as to prevent you from pecking other chickens nearby you. This sometimes means that your tongue gets caught, and therefore you can't eat and starve. Chickens are kept in cages too small to stand up in. Because these animals cannot exercise and get pooped on regularly (not to mention are crowded extremely densely), disease is rampant. To fight this, such animals are pumped full of antibiotics. To help ensure a high meat return, they also get hit with growth hormones.

Now, opening all the slaughterhouses and telling the animals to run free wouldn't solve the problem, because these animals are so domesticated that they would indeed fall prey to being, well, prey, very quickly. I think the solution is humane treatment of the animals to be slaughtered, not enforced animal freedom (as PETA would like). Organic/grass-fed/cage-free animals are a good start. When I buy meat to cook for red_lynx, that's what I get. When friends of mine go hunting, I try to score some of the meat they bring back. But market demand is not enough for ethical change, as we've regularly seen in American history. So, my preferred solution would be increased legislation regarding the treatment of farmed animals, and to put more of a budget into the FDA for more inspectors to enforce the existing laws.

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