Is it possible to honestly love animals but still eat meat?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by orangetea, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I have been thinking about this a lot recently...do you think it's possible to say that you love animals, care for animal rights, etc. but still eat meat?
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I do think it is, but it's hard. I eat as little meat as possible. I only buy ethically slaughtered meat when available. I try to buy local meat, and organic meat, as well. I buy eggs and milk that come from animals kept in humane conditions, and try to buy those locally, as well. All of my bath products, hair products, toothpaste, etc. are vegan and never tested on animals. I support charities that fight animal testing and corporate farming. I make the best choices I can, and I'm making gradual changes toward being a vegetarian.
     
  4. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think so. Look, it's natural to eat meat. That's what our ancestors did. The reason we have the teeth we do is because we are meant to be omnivores.

    With that being said, I hardly ever eat meat. But it's because I don't really like it. I also don't like the way the meat is treated with hormones, etc. I think it would be perfectly healthy to eat lots of meat if we actually started hunting it again. And I'm not talking with guns. I'm talking running after the animals and taking them down. True hunter-gatherer style!
     
  5. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I gave up meat when I was 15 because I had read just too many things about the treatment of animals before and on their way to being slaughtered. :(

    I gave up dairy when I was in college because, again, I read a bit too much about that industry and what is in the products.

    I 100% with MissCelia, though. We can eat meat or not. Either way, we can survive. But if you do choose to consume meat products, I hope that you at least support farmers who raise and slaughter their animals in a humane manner.
     
  6. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    I agree that humans are meant to eat meat, but in society today it is relatively straightforward to not consume meat, unlike in the past, where hunting was required.
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I don't quite buy the argument that humans are meant to eat meat. And this isn't just because I'm a vegeterian. I am VERY much okay with people eating meat, like Celia said. However, that particular viewpoint has never felt right to me.

    Animal eaters tend to have things humans do not. Claws, good sense of smell (humans have a pretty poor sense of smell), perspire through the tongue (we do it through skin), short intestinal tract (so that meat can move through quickly and not decay, humans are very long, just like other veggie-only eating animals), aaaand so on. Feel free to let me know if I"m wrong here. :)

    ETA: Anyways, yes, we CAN eat meat, but are we MEANT to do so, I'm still on the wall about that. Hence, why we are omnivores and it's okay to do just veggies. :D
     
  8. Securis

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    Wow!! Tough question.

    I'd like to think so. Depends on whether you equate 'animals' to 'pets' or 'animals' to 'food'. I'm in total agreement that slaughter practices should be humane but you'll never get the host as a whole to agree what that means. And we can go into society becoming more disturbed by this or that as we are further removed from the source of our food in other discussions. Interesting topic though.

    Personally, I feel I can distinguish the emotional connection to certain animals which are deemed pet worthy and those deemed food. However, I come from a family one generation removed from farm life. My father never kept a 'farm' but we did keep animals for food. Chickens mainly and some others. I said all that to give an understanding of how I think about animals in regards to them being food. Then you could get into the discussion about what animals fit the bill as 'pets'. Another topic. What about the ugly animals versus the cute ones?

    Personally, I've been shifting my diet towards pescatarianism but not because I dislike other meats for the various reasons already stated. I like good food regardless. Taste is king in my book. I think my dietary choices are more health conscious in motivation. Still I enjoy a good cut of beef or a pork chop every now and again. Which is just my way of being moderate. My SO is also a pescatarian which is extremely helpful in making the shift because the options are readily available all the time. And that just means a mainly vegetarian diet with some vegan leanings here and there, with SHRIMP!

    I've had numerous pets, cats, dogs, snakes, and fish. It's funny how when I lost my dogs or my cats through the years how broken up I became. Tears and all. Snakes and fish, no tears at all. Ironic, that. Then, when it came time to put chickens in the pot, I remember feeling certain and businesslike, void of warmth or malice. A messy job had to get done and it was my chore.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that not all animals are held in the same sense of esteem when people begin talking about animal rights. And really, the issue as I see it is the industrialized, super-efficient methods that mega-meat producers employ to get their product to the market. And with that comes the excessive waste and 'cruelty' that people envision. And they envision that cruelty less vividly than what is reality. I've seen documentaries that illustrate in detail how animals are treated before, during, and after being processed into food. Even that's a biased perspective but accurate for the extremes that are portrayed.

    In the end, I think people can stroke the smooth belly of a cow or scratch the stiff bristles of a pig, comment on how cute they are, and smile the entire time then turn around for lunch and order beef tips with a side of bacon without feeling anything other than joy at having the meal they desired. Again, the big disconnect people have from food and its source or maybe it's a simple distinguishing between food and live animals. Survival instincts might be buried deeply in us but a full belly can hide a load of disturbing acts against animals.
     
  9. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We are lamb producers...I don't eat it, but we do raise them to eat. We at one time raised swine and we did eat our own product. I purchase all my meat alive and have processed myself at a local plant that is run by a wonderful Menonite family. We use snout to tail for our food needs. And yes, I am an animal lover. I currently have five kittens, a dog, and nine sheep at my house. I understand the cats and dog are pets and the sheep are food.
     
  10. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I actually just wrote a research paper about animal rights in ancient Greece and Rome. Some of the common arguments and tactics used by animal rights activists now have been around since back then. It was definitely eye-opening for me.
     
  11. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    What really got me thinking about this was lucybelle's thread on the dog being hit by a car...but I was wondering what is the difference between a dog getting hit by a car and a sheep getting slaughtered. Is there a hierarchy of animals that makes the difference?
     
  12. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    I think it is how you look at the purpose of the animal...our sheep start as show animals, we spend hours in the barn working with them and training them. My kids know that we will only keep them nine months at the most (pigs were even less). My kids understand that while they get attached to the animals, the animals' purposes are not to be our pets. They are for competition, meat, and reproduction. There have been a few that we have cried over and missed tremendously. Our animals are taken great care of. They have custom made blankets, are fed twice a day, given medicine and complete health care...during the winter, we keep their barn warm and we heat their drinking water. During the summer we run fans in the barn and under the shade trees and give them ice water to keep cool. They are treated like special pets. BUT there is never any doubt that they will only be with us less than a year and then their future is pre-determined. My kids have favorites...some we wish we could keep...but we know that they each have a purpose and being our pet isn't one.
     
  13. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    No, I don't think it's possible.

    Most people mean to say "I love cats and dogs" or "I love certain animals".

    People confuse animal welfare and animal rights. And even those who mean they believe in animal welfare make decisions every single day indicating otherwise. The majority anyhow.
     
  14. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I think it is possible mostly because if it is not possible why stop with food? Then couldn't you say that people must not love animals if they wear leather shoes? Or, more importantly, take any drug that has ever been tested on animals (I believe most drugs are tested on animals at some point).
     
  15. Cerek

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    Yes. It is possible to do both.
     
  16. Ranchwife

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    Absolutely possible to do both. It is all about perspective and having a belief about the place and roll of both in this world.
     
  17. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I think it's sort of like how back in the day people used to use every single part of the animal. The hide, the teeth, the bones, the meat, the organs. That's loving an animal and not letting anything go to waste. That's what I'm okay with.

    But, for example, the slaughter of sharks for their fins to make shark fin soup is absolutely disgusting to me. Partially because sharks are becoming endangered because of it. But let me not get on a tangent about shark finning...
     
  18. Portulaca

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    I've been a vegetarian for about 10 years (since I was about 18) and now I'm trying to become as fully animal-product-free as possible, so I've thought quite a bit about this. I did raise livestock (sheep) in high school for FFA, which was one of my reasons for becoming a vegetarian.

    I agree that people have a hierarchy of animals; some are considered worthy of love, others not. Some are considered worthy of being given humane deaths, others not. This has bothered me since I was a very small child. I hate fish writhing and gasping for air, lobsters and crabs being boiled alive, flies getting their wings torn off by kids because they're "ugly" or they're "just ______." I get told I'm letting my feelings run away with me, but then these same people will become extremely upset about the death of their horse or dog. I think it's almost like people think that they have to be ruthless toward certain species in order to prove that they don't just get broken up over "nothing" (which is what I do, supposedly) and that, therefore, their feelings about their pets are perfectly sensible and realistic and objective. I just consider it more ethical to be as consistent as possible, personally.

    On a more positive note, I've been having fun trying to come up with vegan alternatives to a lot of products (especially cosmetics, etc.) Although some products are more expensive, I think in the end I'm saving money because of all the deliberation I have to put into purchases.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Are you vegetarian, orangetea? I know you mentioned wearing a sari for your wedding and I know many of my students from India do not eat any meat.
     
  20. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    Yes.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm a pescetarian, a vegetarian who includes fish in the diet....my eating choices are less about the animals and more about health. I do understand, though, how others have different reasons and rationale for their food choices, including vegetarianism as an integral part of one's religious practices.
     
  22. Peregrin5

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    I eat things that aren't cute. :whistle:
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Celeriac?

    Turnips?

    :D
     
  24. Jeky

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    I agree with this, though not in the way you might expect....

    I can say I "love" animals......what I really mean is that I enjoy them, I see how they are part of God's creation and they have a place in our lives: whether it be for companionship or for food.

    However in the same breath, I don't give animals the same "place", as you will, as humans. In addition, I don't REALLY feel differently for a warm, cute puppy than I do a blue-fin tuna being raised for food. In my eyes they are both just animals, created by God, to be appreciated by humans in whatever form it may be.
     
  25. Resentful

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    I've heard this conversation before. In formal and informal manners. It always amazes me that vegetarians get this holier than thou attitude because they don't eat meat. I have a question for vegetarians. Do you use toothpaste, leather, or anything containing gelatin? Ever? Even in your school or other none home settings? I don't see how refusing to eat meat but using those product and other animal products that I can't think of at the moment makes anyone any better than anyone else.

    This reminds me of any time there is an animal attack, domestic or wild, and people cry because the animal is usually put down. Do you think animals say "Look, that other animal killed a human yesterday. That's so bad/I'm so sad", No, they don't. I realize, we have a conscience, but sometimes we over think things. A human life and an animal life, even pets, aren't the same.
     
  26. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    That depends entirely on your religion/philosophy. Worldwide, approximately 28% of people follow religions that forbid the killing of animals for food or sacrifice. They consider all life to be the same, and to be sacred.

    I know many vegetarians who do not wear leather, or use any meat products. I know many who recognize that if we reduce the demand for meat, or only eat ethical meat, then the large corporate farms will lose their share of the market, or at least think about improving conditions for their animals. There are political and economic factors at play here as well, and this issue is about much more than the treatment of animals.
     
  27. KinderCowgirl

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    I don't think a lot of people even realize (or choose to remain ignorant of) where their meat comes from. The way they "raise" calves to make veal for example. I think both the meat and dairy industries have done a lot of lobbying over the years to make people believe things about eating meat that just aren't true-like you have to have it for protein in your diet.
     
  28. Securis

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    Vegans attempt to use no products developed from animals, so to answer your question, you're asking the wrong subset. Vegetarians do not espouse a philosophy completely devoid of animal based products. However, since vegans do, you would be surprised at the list of products and community support in finding those products that are entirely plant-based. It's incredible and mostly tasty from what I've experienced. The toothpaste isn't that bad either.

    In your opinion, human life is greater than animal life. I tend to agree in extreme circumstances where it's the animal's life versus the human's life. Human life trumps out every time under those extremes. But what I don't think you have accounted for in your equation is that this isn't a thinking issue. It's a feeling issue.

    And since it is a feeling issue, the damage done, tragically to animals certainly, is also done to humanity. It's not a new thing. People do horrible things to people and the fact that people visit those same horrible acts onto defenseless creatures is a reminder that we aren't that far from being out of the cave as we delude ourselves thinking we are. There's a statement about society only being as healthy as the state of it's prisons which I feel could be overlapped onto how society treats animals.

    I guess it's my opinion that it's not so much about saving the animals as it is about saving people. It's more a respect and conserve life attitude than a specific, "Don't eat meat, That's bad". And again, I'm not a vegetarian.
     
  29. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    How far down the chain do we go. Are insects considered animals? I kill many of them each day going to work. Life involves a food chain. Should animals not eat other animals. If we give them the same status as humans then shouldn't they be held to the same standards. Just look in the sea. The big ones eat the smaller ones all the way down to the microscopic. It is part of the cycle of life. Death is part of life. Before modernity sterilized life people knew it. (modernity is a word I looked it up)
     
  30. Securis

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    Insects are animals scientifically speaking. But how does comparing human morality on treating animals respectfully relate to how animals treat other animals? That's too many degrees of separation to be relative, in my opinion.
     
  31. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Humans are animals as well. In fact I just read about a study where they found rats show empathy to each other, even without a reward. That doesn't seem like too many degrees of separation to me.
     
  32. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    We see the holier-than-thou attitude on many issues discussed here. I just smile, realizing those folks will eventually discover their halos aren't as nearly as shiny as they think, no matter how often they polish them. :rolleyes:
     
  33. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I love animals.... in my belly.
     
  34. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    :spitwater:
     
  35. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I had to look up what celeriac is. :lol:

    I eat few vegetables, cute or not. I'm a meatatarian. >__>
     
  36. greendream

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    Of course it's possible to love animals and still eat meat. Give me a break.
     
  37. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    We love animals here, but still eat meat. I do have to say I feel a little guilty when I have just ate some turkey and a wild turkey wonders into our backyard...LOL!!! I remember growing up my family hunting and we would eat venison...my mom made stuff with ground venison all the time, one time she made it with ground beef and I asked why it tasted funny... LOL!!!
    Do you love flowers and ever pick them to bring inside?!?! Do you pick fruits that are "intended" for other animals??!
     
  38. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Give you a break? The OP was asking a though-provoking question. What about the treatment of animals before and on their way to the slaughterhouse (not talking about the farms that take care of their animals, I'm talking about the huge corporate farms). As an animal lover, you feel that their treatment is fair?
     
  39. teachinnola

    teachinnola Rookie

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    I heard a little story once, and I can't remember it exactly, and I couldn't find it online, so I'm paraphrasing:

    A man sees a cow in a cart headed for
    slaughter, and the cow is crying out. The man says to the cow, "do not cry, this is your path and we can't change our destiny." (Now, either another man or spiritual entity appears to put the smackdown on this guy:) the other person says, "the cow's destiny is to go to slaughter, and we should show compassion and respect to the cow precisely because of this."

    Anyway, I think it's entirely possible to love all animals and eat meat. I love cows, and I respect them and the people that care for them. I know that many farm animals are only in existence (as in, each individual is bred, born, and raised) because they are going to be eaten, and I'm okay with that. Personally, I buy buffalo, grass fed beef, and free range chicken, but I don't think that makes me better than anyone else. I don't think I hate animals because of it, either.
     
  40. Securis

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    Yep. Humans are animals. But what is being discussed is love of animals by humans who, ironically or not, eat animals. The OP is suggesting an either/or situation. Either you can love animals yet still eat animal flesh or you must hate animals because you ingest animal flesh. What animal empathy towards other animals has to do with it, other than possibly attempting to elevate animals to something near human status thus removing them from the human food chain, I'm not sure. How animals feel about being eaten is certainly a reason why some people do not eat animals, I agree. Still, I can't see a connection to the discussion about whether people can love living animals yet eat dead ones. I don't see it as the same discussion that's being had within the bounds of the original question. I don't know, show me some reasoning that I may be missing.

    @ Cerek, you've gotten a little smudge of elbow grease or maybe polish on your nose. :angel:
     
  41. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I read a short SciFi story once about this. A man woke up one day in he was in the body of a cow. He was being led into a chute to where the slaughtered cows and he soon realized it. He could not talk anymore. The story was told through his thoughts. As he got to where they would kill he started to scratch out a message in the blood and sawdust on the floor. As one of the workers did the grisly deed he told a co-worker , "hey, its another one of those crazy cows scratching around in the sawdust and acting weird."
     

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