Saturday, April 7, 2012

Why is it moral to eat meat?

A contest from the NY Times has just been announced. The task is simply to write an essay of no more than 600 words on the topic of why it's ethical to eat meat. More details can be found here.

This is a very specific contest. Don’t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.

Send written entries of no more than 600 words to Entries are due by April 8; no late submissions will be considered.

The Prize:
The best essay or essays will be published in an upcoming issue of The New York Times.

(Thanks to Brian Leiter's blog for the pointer.)


Heather Costello said...

First, I believe morality is based on two simple ideals, intent and outcome. Therefore,it is not immoral to commit an act out of a natural means to survive. Eating meat to survive without malicious intent is moral.For example I eat red meat,chicken or pork or fish for the nutritional value. I physically cannot eat soy (plant based protein)I am intolerant. I also cannot eat large amounts of beans or nuts due to an intolerance to their structure. There for I need animal protein and all the enzymes that go with animal meat. If I do not eat it I would become sick making my life miserable and possibly die before my time. It would be against my will to thrive if someone band me from eating meat, immoral. Eating meat to survive also provides a positive outcome. THE INTENT IS ALMOST ALWAYS THE INDICATOR IF AN IDEA IS MORAL If we eat meat to stay healthy, to procreate, to live, GOOD morality is intact! On the other hand, if someone consumes meat because they like the killing of animals or lets say killing and eating people like Jeffery Dahmer this would be immoral because the intent would be of a malicious nature to kill, destroying life without the previous spoken "positive return". IF AN ACT HAS A POSITIVE OUTCOME IT IS USUALLY MORAL.

Tyler Winner said...

I agree that it is morally okay to eat meat, because it is a significant part of a well-balanced diet needed to live a healthy life. So, eating meet is keeping me going; it’s needed for my survival. If I’m eating meat for the reason of survival, it has to be morally okay.

Jacob Shepherd said...

I don't know how I feel about this one. I feel that, on the one hand, the NY Times is trying to get us to think about the necessity of eating meat and why that could be good. On the other hand, I feel that they're trying to get us to promote unethical meat in the presence of the heightened public awareness of the tragically unethical methods of meat production goin on.

The NY times, in the second case, may see a benefit in awarding someone to promote "ethical" meat consumption. Perhaps it is a scandalous attempt to made meat look more appealing to bolster the agenda of the meat industry. Or, conversely, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Either answer is possible.

Desiree` Lamer said...

I agree that it depends on the person's intent. If a person eats meat because that is what is readily available to them it is morally ok. If a person eats meat just because they don't like the taste of other food that may not be morally permissible. I think we need to learn to have a balance of meat consumption in relation to other foods. I took this to be about whether any consumption at all is moral and if not we should all be vegetarians. I think that we need to promote as Jesse said ethical meat consumption. Maybe the point of this contest is to show many people all the mistreatment animals are getting at the large meat production farms. Perhaps if there were a way to revert back to the traditional farming where animals could graze and eat and move freely the questions about meat consumption would be reduced. Also if we could stop enhancing our meat with steroids and such perhaps that would help. Overall though the consumption of meat with a good intent is morally permissible.

Heather Costello said...

It is always interesting how an argument evolves and how whether you do or do not eat meat may not be the real issue at hand. I believe PETA and other organizations primarily detest the way our meat is procured. Like Desiree and Jesse have both lead, ethical meat consumption is the big picture.

Kayla Swartz said...

When it comes to the morality of eating meat, for me, it’s really hard to justify it, yet I still eat it. Many people use the argument that Tyler Winner posted, “it’s a part of a well-balanced, nutritional diet,” but I don’t believe this argument is enough to suffice. Eating meat generally is used to add protein to a diet, but what many people don’t understand is that there are so many other sources of protein that can be put in place of eating meat to provide enough protein for the human body. It is actually stated by certified nutritionists and dieticians that eggs (whites) are the highest protein-rich foods to eat, then dairy products (cheese, milk, and yogurt) and fish follow, then meat and poultry is listed. Another thing is that if people are going to use this excuse to justify why they eat meat, for a well-balanced diet, they should actually stray away from a lot of red meats, because most of them are generally high in fat, so that goes contradictory to their argument for why they eat meat.
From a moral standpoint, these animals have done nothing wrong to be tortured, such as the chicken farming we discussed in class; it’s absolutely disgusting. Also, relating to specieism, what gives us the right to declare ourselves the superior species? Yes, we can communicate with each other, so can they; We do the best to fend for ourselves and our families, so do they. A lot of people aren’t willing to see this side of things, but I really feel that in order to make a fair, ethical judgment, one must view both sides. Yes, they can’t argue back, but doesn’t that even make it more unethical, that we’re doing this against their will? The messed up part of this is, after all that I just said, I still eat meat, not a lot, but I still do. I’m hoping one day I can discourage myself from eating it due to these issues.