In his article “Puppies, Pig, and People” Norcross discusses ignorance, and when it is okay to use it as an excuse for perpetrating the suffering of animals. Norcross explains that there are two types of ignorance: forgivable and unforgivable. Forgivable ignorance is an instance in which an individual has no knowledge of the suffering that they are buying into, and no means of accessing this information, such as a child. Unforgivable ignorance is when an individual may not be informed about the choices that they’re making, but have the resources and capability to be.
I agree with Norcross on this principle. I think that children exhibit forgivable ignorance, and quite frankly shouldn’t be held accountable for worrying about what they’re eating. This is not to say that they cannot make a difference, however. Parents directly control what their children eat, so if a parent knowingly feeds their child factory farmed meat, they are making the decision to perpetuate torture for them and their child.
The concept of unforgivable ignorance, I believe, is more controversial. In today’s society, with the internet and comprehensive food labeling, “not knowing” where your food is coming from is not possible unless by choice. Individuals often assume that being educated about what they eat is a choice they aren’t willing to make. Wrong, it is a choice we make not to seek out the origins of our food, not the other way around.
Under this philosophy, most of us are unforgivably ignorant to most of the food that we eat.