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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Evan Dunne - Animals & Whatnot, Part 1 - Section 8 - Group 3

Evan Dunne
Blog Post #1
Section 8
Group 3 (Philthy Philosophers)

Animals & Whatnot
Part 1 - A mildly cluttered collection of thoughts pertaining to the consumption of animals, and the internal struggles that I may or may not endure as a result of said consumption.

"The time will come, when humanity will extend its mantle over every thing which breathes." – Jeremy Bentham 

I recently found myself in the midst of a Facebook quarrel, in which a friend of mine who identifies as vegan argued against his meat-eating peers over the likes of animal rights. I chose to point out his veganism, as a majority of his argument against meat consumption spawns largely from his pro-animal rights mindset. Perhaps a better term to describe my friend would be an activist for the progression of fauna treatment, rather than a “vegan”. Regardless, his opinions on animal treatment prompt his decision not to consume meat. He fueled his opinions with stories of mass animal slaughter, animal abuse, and comparisons between his perspective on the current state of animal treatment and topics such as the civil rights movement and slavery. Quite frankly, I found this last bit of “support” to be somewhat outlandish. The comments on my friend’s post made it clear that most people found the comparison between meat-eaters and slave owners to be inappropriate, as it seemingly devalued the hardships that oppressed slaves underwent. I could not will myself to believe that a human being who eats meat, and thus suppresses the rights of an animal, is just as bad as a racist that wishes to suppress the rights of another due to his or her skin color.

Perhaps unfortunately, I just don’t view animals as my equals. However, could it be that I’m just as narrow-minded as the racist who looks at his brother with different skin than his, and “just doesn’t view him as an equal”? In the grand scheme of things, if such a grand scheme exists, am I truly supposed to regard animals as my equal and abstain from consuming them? These are the questions that consumed my thoughts as I reflected on my friend’s post, as well as the readings about animals in Philosophy: the basics. Do I think that animals should be slaughtered and abused? Absolutely not, but I also don’t feel any remorse when eating cheeseburgers, ham sandwiches, and meatloaf. I certainly don’t support the consumption of animals that have been domesticated as house pets, because these creatures have displayed the ability to adapt to an environment that is foreign to their species. 

These are a few animals that I won’t eat. 

On the other hand, these are also animals that I will gladly eat. 

I feel like chickens only cluck, eat and poop, so I don’t lose too much sleep over eating them. I don’t believe that eating animals is fundamentally wrong, but I must agree with my friend that I am not fond of animal mistreatment. That being said, I must disagree with his implications that animals, or even vegans, are having their rights suppressed in the same way that men and women of various races have had their rights suppressed throughout the course of history. 

I will continue to eat meat until I am thoroughly convinced that doing so is immoral.

1 comment:

  1. "most people found the comparison between meat-eaters and slave owners to be inappropriate" - well sure... but what did most NON-human animals say?

    "I feel like chickens only cluck, eat and poop, so I don’t lose too much sleep over eating them." Again, that's a pretty blatantly anthropocentric perspective.

    The question I asked in class may not have sounded serious, but I think it is: what if there are aliens who stand as far above us on the intelligence & industry scale as we stand above chickens? Wouldn't they be as contemptuous of our simplicity as you are of the chicken's? But wasn't Bentham right, that those things are irrelevant. What matters is whether an organism can suffer.