I just finished putting together a presentation for my Society and Morals class in which I had to present a societal issue and relate it to the philosophers that we have been learning about. I chose vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian but two of my brothers are and I am quite interested in the different motives that people have for that big of a lifestyle change. Little did I know how much of a struggle this presentation would turn out to be….
I presented an article by Micheal Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilema) on his review of Peter Singer’s book “Animal Liberation,” the decision of vegetarianism and his discovery of the “good farm”, Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA. As Pollan went through all the nutritional, environmental, economical and moral issues associated with meat production and consumption I found myself going through the same struggle with my own personal decision to eat meat.
I was disgusted by his horror stories of piglets tails being chopped off and chickens beaks being sawed off so they don’t peck eachother to death from the stress of their entrapment. Iwas thoroughly convinced by his moral reasoning that animals share with us the need to not feal pain and that we have the ability to prevent that as reasoning beings… but still I LOVE a nice peace of steak every now and then and I don’t know if it is a protein source that I can easily give up.
Luckily, at the end of the article Pollan had the same conundrum and concluded that there is a way to enjoy a hamburger without the immoral consequences. This is possible through the use of a “good farm” to produce the meat. The problem with our meat production is that it is industrialized, demoralized and inhumane. Pollan concludes that it is not the eating of meat that is immoral, but rather the way in which we treat the animals before they are consumed that matters. A “good farm” like Polyface Farm in VA gives animals land to graize, proper nutrition, a suitable environment, and a satisfying life before they are humanely killed and consumed. This kind of farming is few and far between in 2009, but is truly the only way to morally consume animals and is what we need to strive for.
Personally, I am relieved that there is way to enjoy my turkey dinner without the harmful effects. I believe that people need to consciously think about where their food is coming from and make a decision about whether or not they want to promote that kind of treatment and then live to change it. (eat less meat, humanitarian meat, or no meat)
Sweat everyday, and remember:
Stay Fabulous, Fit, and Full