Any good MORAL justifications for meat eating?

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elephantcactoo
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Sure, it tastes nice, but that is by no means a moral argument. If one accepts:

p1: Morality should be based upon an equality of the interests of all being (in an attempt to reduce suffering).

p2: The non-human animals consumed by humans (except maybe oysters) have sentience, and by extension interests (ie not to feel pain and a desire to continue living).

c1: Eating meat, at least within this framework, is immoral as if one does not respect the interests of animals they are not respecting their right to an equality of interests.

Some might object to p2, for surely most non-human animals aren't, for the most part, aware of their fate and thus do not really suffer if they are killed quickly. To this I would ask whether, with the same reasoning, it is permissible to kill a human in a coma or brain-dead state, or even asleep, for they also would not have the additional suffering of anticipating their fate. Some might then argue the human life is more valuable than the animal's life, for we are more intelligent. Here, however, is a dilemma, for if the metric we use to judge the moral worth of an entity is its intelligence, why doesn't that then extend to human relations? For example, would Albert Einstein thus have a moral justification for enslaving and ultimately killing me or you because he likes the taste of our skin when barbecued, just because we are both less intelligent than him? If no, then intelligence, and all other arbitrary distinctions like race, gender and sexuality are not a suitable criteria for judging the moral worth of a being. This extends to species, for as aforementioned, they have a capacity for suffering and an interest not to suffer.

Some might then make the irrational claim humans are "intrinsically" more valuable than animals whether based upon some religious justification or out of being a speciest; both of which I am not interested in.
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Parker Tracy
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You could use the Chris Morris argument - "the fox likes it. It's made of string"
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username3941996
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I eat meat cause I want to.
Plus my religion and culture allows me too
Last edited by username3941996; 11 months ago
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j.hdxr
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I'm a meat eater. I don't have a justification for consuming meat.
so why do I eat it? I do it because:
I'm an A level student and don't have much time to cook for myself(the whole family consumes meat).
I can get 2 piece chicken and fries for £2 which fills me up for a good 6hrs. Vegan fare like fruits aren't calorically dense or they are extremely expensive. (the quorn stuff costs like £3 at my local Tesco's and it tastes like **** and you need to cook it yourself.

I don't see a future where I don't eat meat: always have meat at family gatherings so, in my mind, a celebration always involves.

I don't mind eating stuff like super meat/lab-grown meats.

my honest thoughts,
Jeff
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That'sGreat
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(Original post by elephantcactoo)
Sure, it tastes nice, but that is by no means a moral argument. If one accepts:

p1: Morality should be based upon an equality of the interests of all being (in an attempt to reduce suffering).

p2: The non-human animals consumed by humans (except maybe oysters) have sentience, and by extension interests (ie not to feel pain and a desire to continue living).

c1: Eating meat, at least within this framework, is immoral as if one does not respect the interests of animals they are not respecting their right to an equality of interests.

Some might object to p2, for surely most non-human animals aren't, for the most part, aware of their fate and thus do not really suffer if they are killed quickly. To this I would ask whether, with the same reasoning, it is permissible to kill a human in a coma or brain-dead state, or even asleep, for they also would not have the additional suffering of anticipating their fate. Some might then argue the human life is more valuable than the animal's life, for we are more intelligent. Here, however, is a dilemma, for if the metric we use to judge the moral worth of an entity is its intelligence, why doesn't that then extend to human relations? For example, would Albert Einstein thus have a moral justification for enslaving and ultimately killing me or you because he likes the taste of our skin when barbecued, just because we are both less intelligent than him? If no, then intelligence, and all other arbitrary distinctions like race, gender and sexuality are not a suitable criteria for judging the moral worth of a being. This extends to species, for as aforementioned, they have a capacity for suffering and an interest not to suffer.

Some might then make the irrational claim humans are "intrinsically" more valuable than animals whether based upon some religious justification or out of being a speciest; both of which I am not interested in.
The animals wouldn't exist if we didn't eat them.

How do you know all animals have an interest not to suffer? How do you know they can even identify suffering, particularly if they suffer day to day.

Also, morals are completely subjective.
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elephantcactoo
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Point 1: Sure, but that's assuming a bad life is better than no life at all, which you would probably need to support. Also, you need to look at the individual level (or at least generational level) rather than on the population as a whole. The individual pig (or generation of pigs) is, generally speaking, brought into existence only to be confined to a prison after being separated from its mother. Then, it is fattened up until it is large enough for human consumption and is then slaughtered. The pig only 'exists' for the purposes of humans, which, as I will clarify in a second when referring to your later points, is as bad or at least within the same realm as white slave owners exploiting African slaves. Would you raise the same point regarding slaves?

Point 2: A great minority of humans have a real interest to suffer. This is normally the result of some biological defect or societal pressure. Thus, extrapolating to non-human animals, one can assume a great minority of them want to suffer. Therefore, the vast majority of non-human animals have an interest in not suffering.

Point 3: Again, what if I was to say the same about humans? A human being raised from birth in a confined prison, with no contact with other humans or freedom to move its body, would have a comparably lower appreciation of life than say an average human. Does that make it moral to confine that individual, just because they will never experience more happiness?

Point 4: Please refine this. Do you mean to say morals are necessarily subjective between individuals? Or are you making an argument for moral relativism between cultures? If the latter, I would rather direct this conversation towards this topic as I take extreme issue with this stance.
(Original post by That'sGreat)
The animals wouldn't exist if we didn't eat them.

How do you know all animals have an interest not to suffer? How do you know they can even identify suffering, particularly if they suffer day to day.

Also, morals are completely subjective.
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elephantcactoo
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I'm sorry, I'm unaware of this. Please can you elaborate?
(Original post by LiyoS)
You could use the Chris Morris argument - "the fox likes it. It's made of string"
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Hazel Hallwell
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(Original post by j.hdxr)
I'm a meat eater. I don't have a justification for consuming meat.
so why do I eat it? I do it because:
I'm an A level student and don't have much time to cook for myself(the whole family consumes meat).
I can get 2 piece chicken and fries for £2 which fills me up for a good 6hrs. Vegan fare like fruits aren't calorically dense or they are extremely expensive. (the quorn stuff costs like £3 at my local Tesco's and it tastes like **** and you need to cook it yourself.

I don't see a future where I don't eat meat: always have meat at family gatherings so, in my mind, a celebration always involves.

I don't mind eating stuff like super meat/lab-grown meats.

my honest thoughts,
Jeff
(Original post by That'sGreat)
The animals wouldn't exist if we didn't eat them.

How do you know all animals have an interest not to suffer? How do you know they can even identify suffering, particularly if they suffer day to day.

Also, morals are completely subjective.
If you look at slaughter house videos, the animals are always screaming from the pain or trying to escape, I don't think any animal voluntary wants to suffer
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username3941996
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(Original post by Hazel Hallwell)
If you look at slaughter house videos, the animals are always screaming from the pain or trying to escape, I don't think any animal voluntary wants to suffer
Pretty sure they already have, I’ve seen them being killed in real life but it didn’t stop me from eating meat.
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elephantcactoo
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I was the same. I used to love meat and had no issue with the horrors animals experienced when I saw videos of them suffering etc. Weirdly enough it was the ethical argument that got me.
(Original post by Professional G)
Pretty sure they already have, I’ve seen them being killed in real life but it didn’t stop me from eating meat.
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anosmianAcrimony
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(Original post by That'sGreat)
The animals wouldn't exist if we didn't eat them.

How do you know all animals have an interest not to suffer? How do you know they can even identify suffering, particularly if they suffer day to day.

Also, morals are completely subjective.
I agree that most farm animals wouldn't exist if we didn't artificially inseminate them for our consumption. That would be the best state of affairs.

Animals are biologically programmed to avoid pain for the same reason we are - pain is an internal signal that we use to know when our body is being damaged. If you hurt an animal, it gets hurt and doesn't want that to happen. This is obvious to anyone with an ounce of sympathy.

Morals are subjective, but society is still built on them. ''Morals are subjective'' can be used to try to justify literally anything ever. I'm going to flat-out murder someone now because it's not objectively immoral not to.
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elephantcactoo
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Also for anyone interested, Peter Singer's 'Practical ethics' and 'Animal liberation' are must reads.
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nia0306
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I don’t believe we should eat as much meat as we do as a society at the minute but I do believe that as we are part of the food chain we have the right to eat meat. Animals eat other animals so why can’t we eat animals? That’s just how the world works, in my opinion. As I said earlier we do consume way too much and that contributes to global warming and harsh conditions for the farm animals because of mass meat production, so we should reduce our meat intake but still eat enough meat for our diets.
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JustOneMoreThing
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Since when did the world get so sensitive over people eating meat, I eat meat, I just ate meat, I will eat meat tomorrow, and the day after, deal with it, I don't care if an animal is killed for this, I'm not going to invent some fancy excuse and debate for hours because the fact is, as long as the meat I'm eating is healthy, from a clean source and was killed in a relatively humane way, I'm good.
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elephantcactoo
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Other animals do not systematically enslave other animals for the purpose of consumption. By saying it is natural for us to rear animals for consumption on an industrial level we are in dangerous territory, for why does that principle not extend to human society? Why is it wrong to kill and eat another, let's say inferior (in an evolutionary sense) human, the classic example being a severely disabled orphan, yet not wrong to do the same to a pig that is, if we assume that the child is so severely disabled that it has no way of communicating, more sentient and aware than the child?

Evolutionary arguments are dangerous, as by saying the rules don't apply to human society, you are inevitably being speciest, which is according to my premises an inherently bad position both ethically and objectively in terms of the animal's welfare.


(Original post by TheNamesBond.)
Since when did the world get so sensitive over people eating meat, I eat meat, I just ate meat, I will eat meat tomorrow, and the day after, deal with it, I don't care if an animal is killed for this, I'm not going to invent some fancy excuse and debate for hours because the fact is, as long as the meat I'm eating is healthy, from a clean source and was killed in a relatively humane way, I'm good.
(Original post by nia0306)
I don’t believe we should eat as much meat as we do as a society at the minute but I do believe that as we are part of the food chain we have the right to eat meat. Animals eat other animals so why can’t we eat animals? That’s just how the world works, in my opinion. As I said earlier we do consume way too much and that contributes to global warming and harsh conditions for the farm animals because of mass meat production, so we should reduce our meat intake but still eat enough meat for our diets.
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username1539513
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(Original post by elephantcactoo)
Also for anyone interested, Peter Singer's 'Practical ethics' and 'Animal liberation' are must reads.
I've read empty cages. Great read, but not enough to put me off meat eating
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elephantcactoo
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Haha fair enough. Although I do wonder why you're on a philosophy forum if you're not willing to contribute anything other than 'I don't care if an animal is killed for this', or engage with the debate at an ethical level. I want to be convinced it is ok to eat meat, but I can't just do it because it tastes nice.
(Original post by TheNamesBond.)
Since when did the world get so sensitive over people eating meat, I eat meat, I just ate meat, I will eat meat tomorrow, and the day after, deal with it, I don't care if an animal is killed for this, I'm not going to invent some fancy excuse and debate for hours because the fact is, as long as the meat I'm eating is healthy, from a clean source and was killed in a relatively humane way, I'm good.
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username4540078
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Our ancestors invested time and energy over thousands of years selectively breeding domestic animals.

Therefore we have a moral obligation to those that preceded us to consume their tasty masterpieces.

Checkmate vegans.
Last edited by username4540078; 11 months ago
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JustOneMoreThing
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(Original post by elephantcactoo)
Haha fair enough. Although I do wonder why you're on a philosophy forum if you're not willing to contribute anything other than 'I don't care if an animal is killed for this', or engage with the debate at an ethical level. I want to be convinced it is ok to eat meat, but I can't just do it because it tastes nice.
That's my contribution, that I don't care, and that people should get on with their lives instead of being such sensitive little dwarfs.

If you have to have a moral justification for everything you do then you aren't doing life right, do you want to eat meat? Yes, go eat it, no? don't eat it, you don't need a big song and dance about it, but hey, I don't mean to be harsh, I just want people to know that not everything needs a debate.
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JustOneMoreThing
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Exactly, where else will I get my source of protein than lean chicken breast or turkey.

Idk turkey breast is so expensive compared to chicken.
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