Jesse E. Miller
The Ethics of Eating Meat
A common controversial topic that is debated in many society’s, especially in Europe and North America, is the ethics of consuming meat. There has been a rise in vegetarians, as persuasive journalist and companies such as PETA have introduced their opinion on eating meat and how it is morally wrong. Even with this rise of vegetarians, there is a prediction that the global meat consumption will double by the year of 2020 (Singer). As the need for meat rises, there will be an increase of factory farming, practically an animal torture facility that is a negative contributor to climate change. With the torturing of animals, a negative influence on climate change, and humans having the ability to survive without consuming meat, is it still ethical to consume it? The quick answer is, surprisingly, yes; although, the meat in question has to be different than the factory farmed meat which the majority of Americans consume.
Many writers and organizations, such as Peter Singer, are against the use of meat; they argue “that factory farming of animals – also known as CAFOs, or concentrated animal feeding operations – is morally wrong.” (Singer). This belief is correct, as the way they treat the animals is horrendous. The animals spend most of their entire lives restrained inside sheds, not being able to go outside, ever. Their crates are so narrow that they are unable to turn around and barely move. The animals are restricted in this same position for days on end, and become frustrated from this inactivity and end up attacking one another. For chickens that are seen exhibiting aggressive behavior, producers sear off their beaks which have sensitive nerves in them, in an attempt to stop the loss of chickens. “Chickens, reared in sheds that hold 20,000 birds, now are bred to grow so fast that most of them develop leg problems because their immature bones cannot bear the weight of their bodies” (Singer). With this horrible treatment of these animals, it is surprising they are still able to partake today. Although with the high need for meat, and in order for it to be cheap, companies still continue the awful treatment of these animals.
Factory farming not only is a place where animals are tortured to a point that it is hard to comprehend. Factory farming also has a large negative effect on the environment; these factories contribute large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere, linking to global warming (Pluhar 457). These factory farms store their waste in giant lagoons and cut down a large amount of forests in order to grow crops to feed the animals. This cutting down of the forest has a contributor for fossil fuel emissions, “during the 1990’s, tropical deforestation in brazil, India, Indonesia, Sudan and other developing countries cause 15 percent to 35 percent of annual global fossil fuel emissions.”(Niman). Most of these fossil fuels are put into the atmosphere from the fuel being burned to operate vehicles and equipment. Cattle contribute methane emissions, due to their poor quality food, causing their digestive systems to be out of balance. The farms themselves cannot not take the full blame, as many of the greenhouse gas emissions come from the processing, transportation, storage, retailing and food preparation (Niman). Factory farming is the fuse to the time bomb of climate change waiting to happen.
With the horrible treatment of these animals and the negative effects on the environment, how could consuming meat be ethically right? These animals are tortured by us, yet have the same, if not higher, intelligence than an infant or a severally mentally challenged individual. Yet, we still partake in these horrific events, even though they have a full capability to perceive pain. (Pollan) To even imagine a life where humans are treated much like these factory farmed animals is something out of science fiction and would possibly be our...
Cited: Foer, Johnathan. “Against Meat”. New York Times. December 7, 2009. Web. November 29, 2012.
Pollan, Michael. “The Omnivore’s Dilemma—A Natural History of Four Meals”. Chapter “The Ethics Of Eating Animals”. The Penguin Press, New York. 2006 1st edition: 305-319. Print.
Singer, Peter. “The Ethics of Eating. Project Syndicator. July, 2006. Print.
Singer, Peter. Factory Farming: A moral issue. The Minnesota Daily. March 22, 2006. Print.
Niman, Nicolette, “The Carnivores Dilemma”. New York Times. October 31, 2009. Print.
Pluhar, Evelyn. “Meat and Morality: Alternatives to Factory Farming”. Springer Science+Business Media B.V.23:455-468. Published online: 18 December 2009. Viewed on: 11/27/12. http://0-search.proquest.com.lilac.une.edu/docview/750069225/13AB6E62E1910E024C5/1?accountid=12756. Web.
DEB. “Is a Vegetarian diet healthier?”. Science@home. February 14, 2011. http://science-at-home.org/is-a-vegetarian-diet-healthier/. Accessed on: 11/27/12. Web.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document