Thursday, November 5, 2015

Another Argument for Ethical Vegetarianism

* From guest blogger, Arden.*

One argument on behalf of Ethical Vegetarianism that I find to be particularly weak is the argument from the sexual politics of eating meat. This argument states that there is a problematic relationship between men and women in Western and non-Western cultures, in which men are empowered over women. It further explains that there is a cultural connection between the conception of manliness and meat eating that asserts, expresses, embodies, and helps perpetuate this problematic relationship and the associated cultural practices that the relationship creates. Therefore, because eating meat contributes to this problematic relationship, we ought not to adopt a non-meat diet.

I whole-heartedly agree with the argument represented above, in that I believe that we do live in a patriarchal society in which women are routinely objectified, subjected to sexism and gender discrimination, and placed into problematic gender roles, expectations, stereotypes, and unrealistic ideals. However, the reason why I think that this argument is weak is because it is hard to say, much less prove, that not eating meat could affect such a large social concern. I agree with the fact that there is a cultural connection between manliness and eating meat, but I believe that it plays a very minute role in contributing to sexism and sexual discrimination as a whole. I also think that making the claim that people ought to not eat meat, in order to discourage gender inequality, is a fairly radical claim that could have an equally radical counterpart that would argue that one ought to eat even more meat in order to challenge these stereotypes. Therefore, I think that it is important for individuals to challenge the association between masculinity, power, and strength to eating meat, however, I have trouble justifying the claim that we are morally obligated, or ought to adopt a non-meat diet in order to discourage seuxual and gender inequality overall. 

On The Animal Welfare Argument for Vegetarianism

* From guest blogger, Arden*

I found one objection to the argument from animal welfare to be quite interesting because it addresses the fact that the argument has a limited scope, and only shows that certain types of agricultural practices are ethically problematic.

The argument focuses particularly on industrialized farming, and does not discuss traditional herding, pasturing, or free-range animal agriculture. The argument states that we ought not eat meat in consideration to the large amount of suffering that it creates, however these practices mentioned above can be done in ways that are extremely considerate of animal welfare. In addition to these alternative practices of animal agriculture, the argument from animal welfare does not apply to hunting that is done in ways that minimize animal suffering or  to individuals who do not have easy access to nutritionally adequate non-meat diets.

I think that this displays an inconsistency in the animal welfare argument because it does not warrant that people ought not eat meat produced agriculturally. Instead, I believe that it validates the conclusion that people ought not eat meat produced by factory farms or Concentrated Feeding Operations. 

An Argument for Ethical Vegetarianism

* From guest blogger, Arden.*

One argument that supports Ethical Vegetarianism is made on the behalf of animal welfare. Two 
premises of this argument assert that animal agriculture results in large amounts of suffering, and because we ought not cause suffering to others for no apparent reason, we ought to adopt a non-meat diet.

This argument is primarily based on how animals are standardly treated in large-scale farming operations, especially concentrated feed operations (CAFOS), and emphasizes the empirical claim that animals are sentient creatures that have the capacity to suffer and feel pain. This claim is supported by evidence obtained through physiological and behavioral science, as well as evolutionary biology, that justifies that animals have the same underlying physiology- e.g the neurological system- and express the same behaviors as humans when they are in situations that cause pain. Sandler discusses how animals in CAFOS are deemed and treated as parts of an industrial process to produce the most meat possible for the lowest cost possible. These practices along with the high concentration of animals, results in animal suffering.

Causing such large amounts of animal suffering for no apparent reason is not morally permissible. Animals are not choosing to suffer in the same ways in which we do by going to the dentist or getting flu shots. They have no choice in the matter, and  rendered to an unnecessary amount of suffering under the oppressive environmental conditions that are created by concentrated feeding operations. Humans are the only individuals who benefit from animal agriculture. I believe that we ought to not eat meat, especially not any that is produced by an industrialized farm, considering the amount of suffering it causes for mere pleasure of consumption.