Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

About the Chicken, If You Could Just Tell Us a Little Bit More About It?

The Philosoraptors (H1 G3)
Michele Kelley, Nate Tilton, Matthew Pyles, Jacob Goza, Chloe Madigan
"Peter Singer"

(If you want to understand the title, click HERE! You won't regret it!)

Animal ethics is probably not something the average American thinks about on a regular basis. 

It sounds cruel to say because it makes it seem as though we are perfectly fine with chickens being shoved into tiny little pens and pumped full of antibiotics and hormones, so long as we can still have our pick of wing or thigh for dinner tonight. The truth is, most Americans would rather just drive up to the window and order their food rather than sit and contemplate the morality of their McDonald's trip. 

Peter Singer was very concerned with the idea of animal ethics. He believed we should all be vegetarians because of the cruelty that was being exercised in mass breeding livestock. Americans love to eat but it is a rare occurrence that we consider where our food has been before it arrives to us in that happy little paper bag. 

In our group, it was made clear than none of us believes we must all be vegetarians to be ethical. Kailey (a floater for the day) acknowledged the fact that if we don't have a food "industry" (as opposed to the old way of small farms producing food for local areas), we wouldn't have enough food to feed a nation of 300 million people. 

Michele said that what people consume is their decision. If a person should choose to eat at McDonald's every night of his or her life, then it is that person's fault if they die young from obesity or disease. 

This is true to an extent. While there is little room to argue in favor of the morality of shoving animals into tight spaces and forcing them to live in overcrowded factory farms their whole lives, it is necessary that we address the issue of what chemicals are going into livestock before the slaughter that may affect human beings in the future.

Food additives are an Americans favorite friend that most of us didn't know we had. Most livestock today is pumped up with antibiotics. This might not seem like a big deal but it is hurting the humans who eat it. Antibiotic resistance is a growing problem in our country. We are increasingly incapable of treating disease because our bodies are growing resistance to antibiotics. You may say that you've never been on antibiotics a day in your life. It doesn't matter if you are eating non-organic meat. The antibiotics that were given to the animal before you ate it are being transferred over to you. 

To conclude, the question must be asked: what do we do about factory farming and animal ethics? Is it a regrettable necessity? Or is it possible to change our lifestyles and go back to the days of small, local farms? 

"They Eat What?" (This article talks about what livestock is fed at animal factories) http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/they-eat-what-the-reality-of.html


  1. This seems like a really interesting topic!I wish I could've gotten to take part, or we could've had a mega group to discuss Singer!

  2. I do not think it is plausible to transform back into small farms, for the reasons Kailey stated. Though there should be a stronger movement to clearly state what is in products and to get rid of all harmful additives.

    However since there is not a large enough movement at the moment of "pure" products, it is up to the consumer to find alternates. This is what I meant by the comment about how it is the 'eater's' responsibility for their welfare.

    As far as animal rights, domesticated animals should have protection. Animal cruelty should be a serious of a crime as battery. But as far as ... is the chicken happy? Hmm. Not sure on that one. I used to live on a farm and we had chickens. As long as you feed the things they are pretty content. Animals on that level are survival driven. If you give them what they need to survive, they will be fine.

    FQ: Who is the modern philosopher who is known for his work in animal rights?

    DQ: Are you at all a species(ist) and is there any ground to it?

    1. Haha you crack me up! I'm quite content with a full stomach, so I'm sure an animal is pretty happy, too!

      I also think its important for companies to let people know what's in their products. If they're not willing to put it on their packaging or menus, chances are, they're probably not doing something right.

  3. I really like Kailey's point about how we wouldn't have enough food for everyone if we did not have animals in factories. That means we would probably starve and people would die. I think that also it is the choice we have to decide. We either have to eat meat from animals or not. I agree with Michele that if someone wants to eat something, then let them eat it. (Except for eating humans of course!) We should not tell people what they can and cannot eat. That is very unethical! I think that the solution is to make the factories more animal friendly than they are, but still keep eating meat if that is what a person chooses to do.

  4. I've been thinking about your post Chloe, and I thought of a strange comparison. It made me think of Hannah Arendt and Adolf Eichmann. I'll admit, it's a stretch. But think about it. Adolf didn't question the consequences of his political power; the consumer does not contemplate the consequences of his economic power.

    I'll be honest, I'm a little callous when it comes to animal rights and the food industry. Perhaps that's because I've seen what countries are like without food, and what it does to human rights and human society. But I think you're right, the ends don't justify the means. If we abuse nature and animals to gain progress, that's no progress at all.

    FQ: Singer's approach to moral questions is based upon ______?
    A: Consistency

    DQ: To what extent can people enjoy the financial gifts that they have without the guilt of not using them to help the less fortunate?

    Link: (http://www.hulu.com/watch/255609) Interesting, award-winning documentary, King Corn, that I watched a few years back. It's provides a lot insight into the food industry and the American diet. And it's a fun watch.

    1. Nice connection to the other philosophers, Nate!

      I agree with you and Michele that the consumer has more influence than he realizes. Similarly, in the lecture series that some of us attend on Mondays, one of our speakers, Peter Barile, noted how we did not vote on paper to weaken American job growth — we voted by the way we purchased our goods from other countries. Actions speak louder than words (or checking a box on a ballot).

      I think it really depends on how serious people get in their opposition to the animal factories. If enough people stop purchasing goods produced inhumanely, then companies will quickly realize they need to change their ways if they are going to be successful.

  5. I like where you guys are taking this! Pragmatist believe not in sitting around and discussing the morality of eating their food, but getting up and protesting to know exactly what was put in it! If we want results, the producer will bend to the demands of the consumer. Animals that are at an extremely low intelligence may be content with a full stomach, but it's not the full stomach people are protesting. It's the chickens being jammed into tiny cages where they can't even move. Chickens are really really stupid, and they accidentally strangle, choke, and smother themselves. Americans are committing a comparable holocaust against chicken. We round them up, put them into cages, and then slaughter them. Just because we feel that they are lower than us on the intelligence scale, so they deserve it. Yes, I think it's okay to eat chicken and beef, but pain can be felt by chickens too; and while they may have a full stomach, they can still feel fear and pain. We as conscience beings should try to avoid inflicting any kind of pain on creatures that can't help their situation and eventually will go to sustaining us.

    DQ: Does "might give right"? If we are more intelligent than another species, do we have the right to kill them? If so, can this apply to humans as well? If I'm smarter than you, can I kill you and eat you?

    FQ: What is Pity and Fear as described by Alex Neill?
    (Pity = the painful feeling derived from the sight of someone unfairly or unjustly suffering. Fear = the pain that stems from thoughts of present or possible danger or calamity to oneself or others).