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Animals, Cruelty, and Eating


Gul_Dekar
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Here's what I think: If one is not willing to slaughter and butcher an animal, they should not be willing to eat it. Chickens, pigs, turkeys, all types of fish, I've participated in or done by myself. Beef and lamb, I've butchered but not yet slaughtered, and will as soon as I have the opportunity. I think it's hard to appreciate the whole animal and feel ambivalent about wasting any part of it, when you've not seen it alive, or not seen it in whole as it's butchered.

I also can't get all romantic about animals, respect them as I do. I doubt the cows would be curing cancer or turkeys would be doing anything important if we didn't eat them.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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It really is remarkable that a few hundred years ago, one would never have asked your question. We have become so insualted from the real world that we have lost sight of what survival really entails. If you look at pictures of people from the 1930's and earlier, they ll have a drawn look (except for Diamond Jim Brady!) because of the lack of calories in thier diet. They simply did not get enough to eat and your question would not even be academic to them.

Doing in the family chicken for Sunday dinner was common. No problem, kill it, clean it and we eat.

It is only very recently that we have the production of food and goods to allow people to choose what to eat and develop philosophies about what is correct and what is not.

The problem is that the people who believe in these philosophies want the rest of us to do as they do. They have contrived all sorts of reasons and arguements about why we souldn't eat animals and in your case kill mice. Frankly, I wouldn't lose a minutes time worrying about the death of a mouse. Unfortuneatly for the mouse he is low down on the chain and fortuneatly for use, we are at the top. I hunt, fish, process my own animals and eat meat, fish and fowl. I am as humane as possible but realise that the animals still feel some pain. I do not lose sleep over it. There are many more important things to worry about on this earth. -Dick

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It really is remarkable that a few hundred years ago, one would never have asked your question. We have become so insualted from the real world that we have lost sight of what survival really entails. If you look at pictures of people from the 1930's and earlier, they ll have a drawn look (except for Diamond Jim Brady!) because of the lack of calories in thier diet. They simply did not get enough to eat and your question would not even be academic to them.

Doing in the family chicken for Sunday dinner was common. No problem, kill it, clean it and we eat.

It is only very recently that we have the production of food and goods to allow people to choose what to eat and develop philosophies about what is correct and what is not.

The problem is that the people who believe in these philosophies want the rest of us to do as they do. They have contrived all sorts of reasons and arguements about why we souldn't eat animals and in your case kill mice. Frankly, I wouldn't lose a minutes time worrying about the death of a mouse. Unfortuneatly for the mouse he is low down on the chain and fortuneatly for use, we are at the top. I hunt, fish, process my own animals and eat meat, fish and fowl. I am as humane as possible but realise that the animals still feel some pain. I do not lose sleep over it. There are many more important things to worry about on this earth. -Dick

Honestly not trying to be argumentative, or to try influence anyone

else's food habits BUT:

1. did you see the PBS episode of frontier family where the

family guy grew (in his opinion) so thin and gaunt and weak

when the family ran out of meat and he had to eat beans,

that he insisted on calling in a modern doctor...

The doctor came onto the set and pronounced him to be extremely

healthy, at a healthy weight and muscle tone. Doc said that people

were so accustomed nowadays to the overfed look that they often

"saw" emaciation where there was none....

(I am not saying real starvation does not exist; it did, and still does

AND can be relieved by veg as by animal diet)

2. Most of your examples derive from cultures where

the notion of a vegetarian diet perhaps never existed.

(Though was it not Pythagoras who advocated

being vegetarian?) On the contrary

there are examples of cultures where vegetarian diets have been around

for literally thousands of years. It's not a recent development.

And your level of starvation or health did not depend on whether or not

you were vegetarian, but whether or not you had enough resources

to get sufficient food.....

And people HAVE developed a discourse of compassion towards

other animals for thousands of years in Asia......

3. People ALWAYS have chosen what is acceptable or not to eat....

Historically in Europe, dogs weren't eaten - except maybe in times

of extreme famine. Why do you eat the family chicken on Sunday

and not the family pooch?

So, what's your point really? enjoy your food choices,

and let the OP ask their question ....

Milagai

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I don't worry so much about the actual slaughter bit (which from what I gather is relatively quick and painless across the board) as much as I consider the way animals lived their lives. Factory raised animals generally lead miserable lives, and that is where the real lack of respect for the food we eat is apparent.

I agree completely. While I don't have a problem with the morality of eating meat, I have a BIG problem with the way meat is raised. Factory farming is the ultimate form of disrespect for food. That said, if people didn't insist on eating meat with every meal, we wouldn't need factory farming.

I try to eat organic, ethically raised animals and eggs as well as sustainably raised vegetables.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Keeping this thread on topic, basically do you think one should slaughter an animal to feel better about eating meat? The issue of vegetarianism Vs. non has been debated and discussed extensively so let us not dwell on it here again. It’s a personal choice and everyone has their own because of tradition, religion, morals or who knows what else.

I honestly do not have an answer to the question posed above. I personally have dispatched fowl (pigeons, ducks, chickens and numerous smaller feathered animals), I also assisted my grandfather (in Lebanon) whenever he slaughtered a lamb or goat for the family dinner/freezer. I do not lose an ounce of sleep over any of it. In MY opinion animal life is not by any means equal to human life and should not be treated as if it is. Yes, I respect the fact that an animal had to die for me to enjoy a steak but I do not torture myself with guilt over it.

Gul_Dekar, the fact that you are even asking this question means that you have thought about your food, where it comes from and how it got to your plate. Trust me this is more than what most people are capable of doing. If you still feel like you need to slaughter a critter then it’s your personal choice and no one will be able to convince you otherwise.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Keeping this thread on topic, basically do you think one should slaughter an animal to feel better about eating meat?

I wrote a bit about this in the fried chicken cook-off during a visit to a live poultry shop here in Providence, and though it's a bit narcissistic, I'll quote myself, since I seem to have figured out what I thought back then with more insight than usual:

While I left today with three spring chickens that I'm sure will be wonderful to eat, I have to say that I don't ever like going to Antonelli's, exactly. After all, it's hardly a pleasant experience, selecting things to die so you can eat them. Buying rabbit there is particularly difficult for me, for I find the killing of a furry little mammal for my meal more heart-wrenching than that of a chicken.

But I do find the entire process somehow appropriate in a manner I can't quite explain. I've always felt that those who eat meat should be able to see that meat taken from a living animal, and appreciate it as such. Fergus Henderson writes about the respect a cook should show for an animal who died for your belly, and I think I agree. I don't do it often, but it feels like the right thing to do now and then.

So, Elie, I do think that one should be able to slaughter one's meat, at least now and then. I'm not sure that one should slaughter an animal in order to feel better; rather, I think that one should shorten that distance between chicken coop and dinner table now and then.

Of course, my grandfather (who liked to tell stories about snapping chickens' heads off to watch them flap around before plucking and gutting them) would throw back his afternoon shot of Wild Turkey and tell me in his best Maine accent that I wasn't the one doing the slaughterin' heah....

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I also can't get all romantic about animals, respect them as I do. I doubt the cows would be curing cancer or  turkeys would be doing anything important if we didn't eat them.

does this mean it's OK to eat people, as long as they're not doing anything important? :laugh:

I'm a happy little carnivore, but as many here have already said - I try to make sure the animals I eat have lived a peaceful happy life, terminated quickly & humanely. I do think we have a responsibility to the animals we raise for food to make sure they don't suffer. To me that's the price tag for the ability to reason (more or less :wink: ) and the capacity for empathy.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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Personally, I do believe that it could be a very teachable subject in the public schools for each student to have to dispatch and prepare a meat-animal (and exempted from based on parental consent, etc).

I think that we, as Americans, shield ourselves from death entirely too much, and this could be a good method to (in order of importance) 1: educate students about the business and necessities of food, and 1: educate students about death, and 1: educate students about the biologically supported theories that humans are omnivores and eat both autotrophs (plants) and heterotrophs (fungi and animals), and 1: allow students to wrangle personally with their decisions about what they feel about eating meat to allow them to be more informed consumers.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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does this mean it's OK to eat people, as long as they're not doing anything important?  :laugh:

As long as you are doing it in a P. J. O'Rourke proscribed fashion...

The proscription.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Personally, I do believe that it could be a very teachable subject in the public schools for each student to have to dispatch and prepare a meat-animal (and exempted from based on parental consent, etc). 

I think that we, as Americans, shield ourselves from death entirely too much, and this could be a good method to (in order of importance) 1: educate students about the business and necessities of food, and 1: educate students about death, and 1: educate students about the biologically supported theories that humans are omnivores and eat both autotrophs (plants) and heterotrophs (fungi and animals), and 1: allow students to wrangle personally with their decisions about what they feel about eating meat to allow them to be more informed consumers.

That is what a large portion of the FFA program is all about. My kids raise hogs and goats for show. The barrow show in March is the toughest for some kids because during the "sift" if your pig is not selected it is immediately sent to the loading pens for Jimmy Dean.

My daughter will be raising a gilt for the San Antonio show this year and it will be different as the breeding animals are not sold for slaughter, but to breeders.

These are animals the kids have raised since they were babies and have loved and worked with them for hours daily. I come to love each animal they raise as they all have their own personalities and little quirks, and you can't help but love and respect them when you look into their jolly little eyes.

The livestock judging classes and competitions are also of benefit in the learning of the animal and its life-cycle.

If you can't act fit to eat like folks, you can just set here and eat in the kitchen - Calpurnia

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I used to live trap mice and take them to work in Atlantic City and turn them loose. When questioned about this by a co-worker, I told them "I give them a roll of quarters, a comp for the 'all you can eat buffet' and if they're not back by 5:00 when I leave work, they can walk home". The odds of survival for either mouse or man walking down Maryland or Pennsylvania Ave back then was very poor. It probably still is.

As for eating pork or beef, or poultry; I just try to make sure it didn't die in vain. Now, any pig that ended up as a sausage or pork chop my mother cooked, had had its life ended for no good cause. You could say the same thing about green beans, brussel sprouts, or any chicken that had given up its liver for chicken livers and rice.

Evolutionaryly or Intelligent Designly speaking, I don't have the teeth to be an hervbivore. I also don't have the teeth to eat unpitted olives, but that's an entirely different subject. I have (or had ) the teeth of a scavenger with carnivorous proclivities.

Only last night, I wanted to make tabouleh, and the package of bulgar I had bought, said to presoak the bulgar by pouring one cup of tap water over one cup of bulgar, and allow it to sit for 1/2 hour. Which I did, and after 1/2 hour I sampled it, and said to myself "I can't eat this". If I had a mouthful of big flat molars suitable for masticating sugar cane, or baobabs, I could have handled it, but I don't so I poured a half cup of boiling water on the bulgar, and it was much better.

So as a carnivore (but not a scavenger because they have an ordinance in this town about feeding scavengers although it's primarily aimed at seagulls) who's also a member of Green Peace, NJ Audubon, National Audubon, Natonal Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund; I try to make sure that no other creature that died to feed me ends up uneaten in the garbage.

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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personally my belief is that if you can't stand to look at an animal being slaughtered, or have the stomach to kill it yourself, than i think it's a bit hypocritical to say it's ok to eat meat.[...]

Well, I'd find it pretty difficult to be a surgeon, too (not to mention, since I don't have fine enough dexterity, I'd kill people). Should that make me anti-surgery? Many people simply don't like the sight of blood.

For that matter, a lot of people wouldn't want to be farmers, either.

this is totally different. sometimes we are life dependant on surgery. in some cases you may die without it. you don't need to eat meat. so if you get squeamish about it then do an animal a favor and save it's life

bork bork bork

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personally my belief is that if you can't stand to look at an animal being slaughtered, or have the stomach to kill it yourself, than i think it's a bit hypocritical to say it's ok to eat meat.[...]

Well, I'd find it pretty difficult to be a surgeon, too (not to mention, since I don't have fine enough dexterity, I'd kill people). Should that make me anti-surgery? Many people simply don't like the sight of blood.

For that matter, a lot of people wouldn't want to be farmers, either.

this is totally different. sometimes we are life dependant on surgery.

That doesn't mean I have to perform the surgery or even be in the operating room while it's being performed. As a matter of fact, my presence in the operating room would be most unwelcome, as I'd simply get in the way.

you don't need to eat meat. so if you get squeamish about it then do an animal a favor and save it's life

I don't need to smash cockroaches, either, and it's nasty when they go splat. But I do it. And while I've never slaughtered an animal, I have witnessed the process, hated it, and ate the meat anyway. So what does your objection really consist of? How about if we bring in nasty experiments on animals that are absolutely essential to cure human beings of horrible illnesses? I wouldn't want to be the experimenter. So should I reject all medicines made possible through such experimentation? It's one thing if you want to argue that it's cruel to kill animals and unjustifiable to kill them for human consumption because human beings can survive well as vegetarians, but it's quite another to claim that being squeamish about actually slaughtering the animals is itself an argument for "saving" the life of an animal. (Whether an animal bred for slaughter will be killed anyway is a topic for another thread, I suspect.)

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I doubt the cows would be curing cancer or  turkeys would be doing anything important if we didn't eat them.

You can't know that. A turkey could be President if we didn't eat it - this is America, after all! Ok, that was gratuitous.

I'm with Arey and others who say if it died so that I can eat it, let it be worth eating. I was a vegetarian for 9 years, while I tried to get my mind around this whole death-eating thing. I think that in truth I still don't believe in eating meat, but I sure enjoy it. If I think about it too much, I can't enjoy it at all. So I'll be brutally honest and say that I mostly try not to think about it. If I actually had to kill it, no way could I eat it unless I were absolutely starving to death.

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does this mean it's OK to eat people, as long as they're not doing anything important?  :laugh:

Rut-roh, looks like I better get back to work, because I'm surely not curing anything besides bacon these days. :unsure:

Seriously, I don't think it's right for one species to eat its own (cue the vision of the cannibal hamsters that my son and I saw).

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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As far as the mouse goes, I think of killing them as killing in self defense. Although rare, they can carry diseases. They also eat your food. I can think of a few of my neighbors who would kill someone for continuously breaking into their homes and eating everything in their pantry. :)

As far as slaughtering goes, I think even some of the most squeamish around us could kill an animal if they were in a desparate situation where the choices were to kill an animal or allow your family to die of starvation. This situation (thankfully) isn't likely, but I do think many of us are capable should the need to do the killing ourselves arise.

But if you want to know about slaughter without witnessing it yourself, there is always the book Fast Food Nation. That book is enough to make almost anyone vegetarian, or (like me) to start buying organic, farm-raised meat and eggs.

Personally, I think there are two ways to respect an animal you eat. The first is to make sure it comes from a place where it had a normal life, rather than being chained up and never allowed to move or eat normal food. The other is to not let any of the animal be wasted. Do like the Native Americans did -- kill a buffalo and eat its meat, make clothes from its skin, make glue from its hooves, etc.

Tammy Olson aka "TPO"

The Practical Pantry

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But if you want to know about slaughter without witnessing it yourself, there is always the book Fast Food Nation. That book is enough to make almost anyone vegetarian, or (like me) to start buying organic, farm-raised meat and eggs.

Just wanted to say, I completely agree with you. It's now required reading for lots of college freshmen, and I'll bet it's soon up there with The Jungle.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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But if you want to know about slaughter without witnessing it yourself, there is always the book Fast Food Nation. That book is enough to make almost anyone vegetarian, or (like me) to start buying organic, farm-raised meat and eggs.

Just wanted to say, I completely agree with you. It's now required reading for lots of college freshmen, and I'll bet it's soon up there with The Jungle.

But... The Jungle isn't about food... :puzzle:

Also, Fast Food Nation only paints one picture about animals for food production. I know several other business and people who do it much differently than Iowa Beef Processors (now bought up by Tyson).

Speaking of all of this, when your food purveyor says that an animal has been raised conscientiously, how do you know that they are telling you the truth?

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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Seems to me that there are two basic ways of looking at this, and finally one is either in one camp or the other.

The camp you are in has an effect not only on the meat question but on many other things, too.

Camp #1: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. (i.e. "pretty little bunny, I will be sweet and kind to him for I wish the same from him to me")

Camp #2: Do unto others before they do it to you first. (i.e. "I am quite sure that that steer would be trampling right over me and gobbling me right up if he were smart enough to figure out how and knew how good I tasted")

:laugh:

Myself, I travel back and forth between the camps.

Of course I can blame this on Libran indecisiveness or alternately, the search for balance. :smile:

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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But... The Jungle isn't about food... :puzzle:
It exposed the meatpacking industry. It is about food.
Speaking of all of this, when your food purveyor says that an animal has been raised conscientiously, how do you know that they are telling you the truth?

Do you think that some purveyors wiggle around the truth, or out and out fib? :shock: Well, I never.

If you want to be absolutely sure something is done the way you want it, do it yourself. If you can't do it yourself, do your homework before you commit.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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My building has been having a bit of a mouse problem lately and as a result, I've caught two mice using sticky traps. [etc..]

We had a lot of success with humane traps, baited with peanut butter. As for your main question, I'm not vegetarian anymore but I do try to pay attention to where my food is coming from. But seriously: spring-loaded humane traps. If those don't work my former landlord, an animal cardiologist, told me poison was the kinder choice.

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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May I play with your words for a moment, Behemoth? :smile:

. . .I do try to pay attention to where my food is coming from. But seriously: spring-loaded humane traps. If those don't work my former landlord, [. . . ] was the [. . .] choice.

Inserted [. . .] mine. :wink::laugh:

Edited to add: Forgive me, please. The idea of a landlord for dinner just appealed at the moment.

Edited by Carrot Top (log)
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May I play with your words for a moment, Behemoth? :smile:
. . .I do try to pay attention to where my food is coming from. But seriously: spring-loaded humane traps. If those don't work my former landlord, [. . . ] was the [. . .] choice.

Inserted [. . .] mine. :wink::laugh:

Edited to add: Forgive me, please. The idea of a landlord for dinner just appealed at the moment.

Slow day?

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But... The Jungle isn't about food... :puzzle:
It exposed the meatpacking industry. It is about food.
Speaking of all of this, when your food purveyor says that an animal has been raised conscientiously, how do you know that they are telling you the truth?

Do you think that some purveyors wiggle around the truth, or out and out fib? :shock: Well, I never.

If you want to be absolutely sure something is done the way you want it, do it yourself. If you can't do it yourself, do your homework before you commit.

I do my homework. I have read The Jungle. I grew up farming and ranching, and have fabricated both meat and plant foods from their raw materials (cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, fish, corn, wheat, morels, etc).

And, The Jungle was more about the wholesale exploitation and dereliction of undereducated, poor-English-speaking immigrants than about the food packing industry. The meat packing area was just an meme in the book. Since the aim of the book wasn't directly at the meatpacking industry, I look at its uncoverings as somewhat spurious (although, they did hit home with many readers, correctly, or not).

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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