During our studies through Journey Four so far we have seen first hand and learned about how food animals are treated. As I talked about in my first blog post, “My Chesapeake Ethic” and dove deeper in “Balance”, answers are not formed in a quick resolve. The “solution” to the food animal debate is not easy and does not come with a quick answer; it is not a black and white moral decision. This meaning that every person makes their own decision based on experiences and opinions.
Peter Singer argued in A Utilitarian Defense of Animal Liberation that all sentient beings, those that can experience pain or pleasure, should be worth moral consideration. This is a valiant argument and makes a lot of sense. However, if everyone in the world thought this, everyone would be different degrees of vegetarians and vegans. Most people are lucky enough to have access to other sources of protein that they can afford so this is plausible but, all are not. With that being said, if we followed Singer’s thoughts though, we wouldn’t be following our natural diet. I believe that humans should eat meat and animal products because that it has always been in our diet.
“I hold the utmost respect and reverence for the animal, up to and including when I kill it and harvest it.”
I relate to the above quote as I am near and dear to the argument of meat eating and the morals associated to it. I grew up in 4-H and showed market lambs and meat goats. From the age of eight years old I was selling these animals that I spent months raising at an auction with the intent that they were food animals. Aside from this my family has raised lambs for meat for as long as I can remember. I have always been asked how I could bring myself to eat animals I have raised, but for me it is a way of life. I actually prefer to eat animals my family has raised or someone I know has raised because I know what they have been fed and how well they have been taken care of. My whole life I have been taught animal husbandry and I know a lot about animals and I respect them immensely. With that being said, I still support the raising of animals for food.
The question “Where should we draw the line?” always brings me back to a controversial topic. Many believe that horses should not be consumed because they are pets and they are too sentimental. Because I have grown up riding horses you would think I agree, but I don’t. From what I have heard, Montana is the only state in America in which you can legally butcher horses. What about the other states? Growing up in the horse industry I have learned that many old and broken down horses are sent to large sale houses so they don’t have to be put down. However, what ends up happening a lot is that they are bought by brokers and stuffed into trailers and shipped into Canada and Mexico where they can be butchered. I support butcher shops for horses in America so they can be humanely euthanized here and then the meat could be used for by products or to fed the poor and homeless.
The line between what we eat and what we cherish is a balance between morals, need, and nutrition. I have developed my own ethic over the years on food production and animals and this part of the semester has helped solidify it. They are a balance of opinions and facts that every person develops their own ethic on their experiences.