Gary Francione on Philosophy Bites: Animal abolitionism is the only way »
Humane treatment is a fantasy, it’s on an epistemological par with Santa Claus, bunny rabbits, Easter rabbits and things of that nature—silly. Humane treatment is impossible.
Philosophy Bites is a podcast series of short discussions of philosophical topics (duh). On Saturday, they had Gary Francione come discuss animal abilitionism.
If we take seriously the notion that we ought not to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals, the first thing we ought to do is all go vegan. … There’s something peculiar about discussing the moral status of animals when we’re killing and eating them for no reason whatsoever.
I strongly recommend you listen to the entire podcast—it is just under 17 minutes and it is pretty invigorating. They touch on the delightful (read: obnoxious) mollusk question, how disgusting Francione finds the concept of “happy meat,” and the effectiveness of abolitionism versus humane treatment.
So, let’s get into it: Where do you align yourself? Are you more of an abolitionist, or a welfarist?
One more quote to stoke the fire:
The most humanely treated animals are subjected to treatment which would be torture, which we would call literally torture if humans were involved.
There’s much more! Go listen, and let’s argue about the philosophy behind our vegan lifestyles.
[Photo by Keven Law via Flickr]
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]
SF Green Festival, meatball awards, the miracle of birth, delicious local tofu, Czech dumplings, urban gardening and more in this week’s link-o-rama!GE »
Win a copy of 500 Vegan Recipes! Hurry up and do it by Tuesday, Nov. 17!
The clever fuckers at the California Milk Advisory Board will be filming their latest “Happy Cows come from California” commercials in New Zealand. Torture the local cows, but don’t let the state benefit from production fees: such lovely people they are.
Local chefs discover that tofu is not an abomination against haute cuisine. Color us shocked. And hungry for samples!
Another poor review of Eating Animals, from another Gawker associate. Shut up, Joshua David Stein, you are much too pleased with yourself and your criticism.
For the strong-stomached, the birth of an elephant. Miracles: kinda gross! This goes for every human who records the births of their own young as well.
And in New Zealand, a shark gave birth to four live sharklets, thanks to the intervention of another shark? Freaky, gross, amazing.
Oh delicious: a recipe for Czech fruit dumplings! Yes PLEASE.
Filling closets with clothes for yourself is acceptable human behavior; filling a closet with matching clothes for your cat is NOT. I recognize we’re all guilty of anthropomorphism to some degree, but this not OK.
Watch out, sickies: you can pass on the swine flu to your companion animals.
King of Jerkoffs A. Bourdain says humans are allowed to eat animals because they are “smaller and stupider” than us. Ari Solomon says, intelligence is as intelligence does, bright boy. (Although we should note, Mr. Solomon, that “stupider” is an inflected comparative and most certainly a word.) (Grammarsaurus!)
More meat and more dairy makes Jack an angrier, more hostile and depressed boy; more carbs and less meat and dairy makes him happier and peaceful.
Friend-of-Vegansaurus Graciela has a new blog in which she explores urban gardening in L.A. We are so envious of all her lovely greens!
Check it out, another E. coli outbreak in ground beef!
Kind of pretty, kind of disgusting: your internal organs rendered in produce.
Genetically engineered apples that stay crispy without refrigeration!
An interview with our hero Deborah Madison, vegetarian chef and cookbook author extraordinaire!
Publisher’s Weekly selects this year’s best food books; titles include the bizarro Almost Meatless (“almost”? come the hell on), the revolting Lobel’s Meat Bible, and two books Vegansaurus wouldn’t mind unwrapping this holiday season: Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, and Salt to Taste: The Key to Confident, Delicious Cooking. Neither is vegan, but both seem extremely useful.
Revolting, slightly terrifying tale of a food writer’s giving in to a murderous impulse and shooting a baboon, and the global fallout.
Ours friends at Veg-Table are looking for writers for their city guides. GET ON IT, YOU WRITERLY PERSON.
Taxing meat, hacking Ike’s, saving birds & bunnies, junk science and MORE in this week’s link-o-rama »
I missed you guys! So much, I made this big old link-o-rama just for you! That means extra swears, I know how much you love the dirty stuff.
LATE EDIT, UGH: In Defense of Animals and the SF Vegetarian Society are co-hosting a vegan halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 31! Check out A.Muse Gallery at 614 Alabama St. tomorrow from 7 to 11 p.m. for comestibles (Sugar Beat Sweets!), a silent auction, a raffle, a costume contest, and MORE! The entry fee is a sliding scale starting at $7, and all proceeds “go to the animals.” Not sure what that means, exactly, but if you are into costumes and vegans, this sounds like the place to be.
A dude who owns a fish restaurant was caught hell of illegally fishing, and SF Gate commenters are up in ARMS about it. The way they are all “PUT HIM IN THE STOCKS” [sic] and PROSECUTE TO THE FULLEST EXTENT OF THE LAW and shit, it’s as though the fish were their own mothers (they are their murdered dinners).
“Revival pork products”? FUCKING DISGUSTING.
Hey, selfish first-world lard-ass: Peter Singer is ready for you to grow a conscience, and if it means taxing the hell out of your meat—what with it being both a product and cause of death and destruction—then by golly you will pay $50 a pound for that “organic” “grass-fed” “sustainably grown” piece of a “happy cow.”
Here is an adorable list of San Francisco food firsts. Did you know they invented the martini here? Notably absent is the debut of Greens, the first fine-dining vegetarian restaurant in the U.S. Still, we also invented Chinese delivery! Such a city we have.
We just want to remind you about Daiya Cheddar Biscuits. We’ve made about 15 batches this week and they just keep getting better. So fast and easy and delicious, no reason not to! Make them with this vegan gravy recipe and get ready for worlds. to. collide.
Back to the terrible: An undercover investigation by the Humane Society resulted in the temporary shut-down of an especially fucked up slaughterhouse in Vermont. The best part is that the plant was for killing veal calves, who were horribly tortured before their painful deaths. AWESOME.
But what’s that you say, Ezra Klein, humane veal? No joke, you guys, especially you vegetarians: “If you consume dairy, you should eat veal.” Because otherwise what happens to the bouncing baby boy calves born of the must-give-birth-to-give-milk dairy cows? The onus is totally on YOU THE CONSUMER who already DOES NOT EAT VEAL, duh. The world is so fucking simple sometimes!! [thanks for the tip, Tessa!]
The International Bird Rescue Research Center needs your help! There’s been a big algal bloom in the Pacific off the Oregon and Washington coasts, and it’s covered thousands of seabirds with “an unusual sea slime.” The effect on the birds is similar to that of an oil spill—it’s really awful. What you can do is give the IBRRC your money, to fund its team and local rescue groups. Save the seabirds!
On Monday, Nov. 2 at noon, Go Vegan radio host Bob Linden and the San Francisco Green Party Animal Advocacy Working Group will lead a “peaceful protest” against KPFA for airing anti-veg propaganda, a.k.a. a bunch of dumb lies. The protest happens outside the KPFA studios at 1929 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Berkeley.
Let’s look at restaurant reviews in the Chronicle! Except, hang on, what’s Michael Bauer written about this week? The SFUSD’s gross-ass lunches! The school offers both milk and chocolate milk, which is federally mandated despite having “high fructose corn syrup listed as the second ingredient and corn syrup as the third.” Dang you guys, that is nasty. Help fix things with the Healthy School Lunches program, OK? Because ALL KIDS deserve good, cruelty-free food, and improving our free, mandatory public education institutions benefits all of us. For real.
SaveABunny needs your help! The SF Animal Care and Control shelter is overflowing with rabbits who need foster (and forever!) homes. Please contact Marcy Schaaf at 415.388.2790 or via the SaveABunny website to volunteer. Buns are the sweetest, we swear. Can you deny?
Our BFFs at Sugar Beat Sweets will have fancy, original, super-duper t-shirts soon! Designed exclusively for them by Herbivore Clothing's Josh Hooten! We will take two in every color, please (dinosaurs are notoriously messy eaters).