Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Carnivore's Dilemma?

Writing for The American Scholar, Prof James E. McWilliams pens what the first commnenter rightly calls "one of the most thought-provoking, well researched and enlightening articles I've ever read" even if its author is ultimately wrong — Loving Animals to Death. A summary:
    Simply put, when it comes to the Food Movement’s long-term viability, could it be that changing what we eat is more important than improving its source? Might the only way to reform our food system—rather than simply providing alternatives—be to stop raising animals for consumption? Pollan has addressed these questions by explaining, “what’s wrong with animal agriculture—with eating animals—is the practice, not the principle.” But what if he’s got that backward? What if, when it comes to eating animals, the Food Movement’s principles are out of whack?
I stick with Michael Pollan on this. While Prof. McWilliams is right that the "slaughter[ing of] sentient and emotionally sophisticated beings" should not be taken lightly, Gene Logsdon, a farmer-philosopher whom I've long admired, is right when he says, "Killing animals for food is nasty, sad work but we think someone has to do it" — Yes, I care for animals and then I eat them. Mr. Logsdon has the last word on this, identifying the real problem as the "severe disconnect between our society today and the realities of the food chain."

The rightness or wrongness of killing aninals for food depends on the answer to one question, posed to Catholic Answers here — Do animals have souls like human beings? The answer: "The soul is the principle of life. Since animals and plants are living things, they have souls, but not in the sense in which human beings have souls. Our souls are rational--theirs aren't--and ours are rational because they're spiritual, not material." Amen.

From the old blog, some thoughts of mine and others on the subject — Against Factory Farming, Pigs Are Pigs, Not Production Units, "Perhaps the Cruelest Industry".

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