Which Times reader makes the best case for ethical meat? A Vegansaurus voter’s guide »
Remember that contest the NY Times announced last month, calling on readers to “Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat”? The quintet of white dudes have chosen their finalists, and now you can read their six top essays and vote on which one makes the best case for (or against!) ethical meat.
I’ve quoted the best part of each one below, for your giggling/eye-rolling/cheering pleasure.
Contestant No. 1 says:
If it is not morally wrong to kill animals, then it shouldn’t horrify us to do so. That may be right. But this recognition has little tendency to remove the sense of horror we feel at what is going on.
Totally, contestant No. 1. If it’s not wrong, why is it so goddamn awful?
Contestant No. 2 says:
Almost 25 years after deciding it was wrong to eat animals, I now realize that it’s not that simple. There is an ethical option — a responsibility, even — for eating animals that are raised within a sustainable farm system and slaughtered with the compassion necessitated by our relationship.
Totally, contestant No. 2. You owe it to your “hapless chickens” to kill and eat them! If you’re not going to do it, how else will you prove your point?
Contestant No. 3 says:
Eating meat ethically, on this view, requires explaining why we kill by pointing to other things of moral worth. This does not justify the killing — if our situation is tragic, that cannot be our aim — but it does suggest how we can eat meat ethically, albeit wrongly.
Totally, contestant No. 3. On the scale of “murdering your children” to “buying some prepackaged chicken breasts at Costco because they’re already separated into servings and all you have to do is dump one on a pan and broil it and now your kids won’t starve on a busy Thursday night,” buying the dead chicken is less amoral.
Contestant No. 4 says:
For me, eating meat is ethical when one does three things. First, you accept the biological reality that death begets life on this planet and that all life (including us!) is really just solar energy temporarily stored in an impermanent form. Second, you combine this realization with that cherished human trait of compassion and choose ethically raised food, vegetable, grain and/or meat. And third, you give thanks.
Totally, contestant No. 4. We are all made of stars, which means if you say, “Thanks for not being a predator and for being made of delicious tissues, cow,” paying for someone to raise and kill and cut it up for you is like completing the circle of life. Also Native People, and Hakuna Matata.
Contestant No. 5 says:
Aside from accidental roadkill or the fish washed up dead on the shore, [lab-grown, in vitro meat] is perhaps the only ethical meat.
Totally, contestant No. 5. While it’d probably weird me the fuck out, if you really want meat, it’s got to be harmless, lab-grown tissues that were never part of a sentient being. I feel you.
And contestant No. 6 says:
The eating of animals is paramount to the production of food in a system that embraces the whole of reality. This is why eating meat is ethical. To not consume meat means to turn off a whole part of the natural world.
Totally, contestant No. 6. If you don’t eat meat, you might as well be a robot who eats oil, or like, one of those gross poor people who eat nothing but Oreos and Home Run Pies (for the fruit) and never sees the sun. It’s unrealistic not to eat meat!
I don’t know who I’m voting for. Maybe the proponent of the in vitro hamburger, because I like the “roadkill and pre-dead fish are the only ethical meat” argument. Maybe the one who points out that “killing things feels wrong because it is wrong, how about listening to your gut, jerks.” What about you? Who’s got your vote? You’ve only got till midnight tonight, April 24, to do it, so read up.
[Image from NYT by Russell Bell]
The New York Times wants to know why eating meat is ethical, I’d totally like to know too. »
NYT has issued an essay challenge that has had me chuckling all day:
“Tell Us Why It’s Ethical to Eat Meat: A Contest”
I think this is an excellent challenge, because for real, tell me. However, I just can’t imagine a solid answer. Of course if I could, I probably wouldn’t be vegan.
Let’s pretend they don’t call everyone “carnivores” throughout the article, because I think they did that to appeal to the many omnivores who don’t understand what that word means. I cannot however ignore that they called vegans “[vegetarians’] hard-core inner circle.” Vegetarians are more like the soft shell of hard-core omnivores. If we were picking teams, I’d go with all the lactose-intolerant people first; you still have the death, but there’s a little less torture. But again, I guess they are trying to appeal to “carnivores” who only know vegans as The Other.
The panel of judges is my favorite part because it’s like, “let’s round up every white male who writes about why you should go vegan without actually going vegan!” Ta da: Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer and Andrew Light. I think the white male part says more about society than food writing in particular but they could have found at least one vegan judge. Shouldn’t a solid argument be able to sway the opposition? The group we have here is pretty much dudes who are looking for a good reason to eat meat—that seems a little skewed.
I also love the rules:
Rules: This is a very specific contest. Don’t tell us why you like meat, why organic trumps local or why your food is yours to choose. Just tell us why it’s ethical to eat meat.
Because you know they are still going to get a million and one essays about the American right to eat hamburgers and why bacon tastes good. Happy reading, bros!
I for one am really curious to see the winning essay. I’m going to be so disappointed if it’s the same-old bullshit! I would really like to see a proposed reason to eat meat other than “it tastes good” so I can respect my omnivorous peers a little more. What would really be funny though is if no one comes up with a winning essay. I mean, these dudes haven’t found the ethical reason to eat meat, and they’ve been working on that for a while! It would be really funny if the whole thing just dies because they couldn’t get a good enough entry.
What I’m really hoping is that after reading a million awful attempts to justify eating meat, these judges just get totally embarrassed that they aren’t vegan yet and finally walk the walk!
[Image from NYT by Russell Bell]