Consider the Meat of Ethics

Fodder for Thought

Those who question the ethics of others fail to ask the basis of their own belief systems.

Published on: March 28, 2012

Recently the New York Times announced a contest calling all meat eaters to explain why they believe it is ethical to eat meat. At first I was intrigued by this contest, but after reading further I began to smell a rat.

What they call "a veritable murderer’s row of judges" is no less than just that.

The line-up features the father of animal rights himself, Peter Singer, along with Michael Pollan, Johnathan Safran Foer, Mark Bittman, and Andrew Light.

I find it disturbing and intentional that there is not even one representative of animal agriculture represented in this line-up. No one ever said the New York Times was fair and balanced.

To make matters even more difficult, contestants are asked not to tell why they like meat, why organic is better than local, or why it is even our right of choice to eat meat; only why they believe it is ethical to eat meat. When you narrow it down to that point, the question doesn’t leave many options as to explain why you hold the ethics you do.

In reality though, why should I, or anyone else who chooses to consume meat for that matter, have to explain our ethics for doing so?

Why not have the panel of judges explain why they believe it is ethical to eat vegetables? Plants are living organisms, too.

Ethics are defined as the moral principles of an individual. They are a very personal matter and serve as the foundation for our moral code. Many factors contribute to the development of an individual’s ethics: family, religion, culture, life experiences, and personal reflection. These factors lead to a vast array of differences in ethics from person to person.

Given these differences, is it really ethical for anyone to question another’s person’s food ethics?

In a time when our society is more diverse than ever before it would be more productive to celebrate our diversity in diets, respecting each other’s right to choose the foods we desire?

The New York Times and their "veritable murderer’s row of judges" could use a few words of wisdom from German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche: "You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist."

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You ever hear the old joke: Attorney: Do you still beat your wife? Defendant: Ummm Panel lines up asks a question that puts most people on the defensive when we've been eating meat for 2 million years. Yeah...that's an interesting idea.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Kinda like foxes guarding the hen house

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Jesse. Although I respect your personal decision to not get involved in this one, I disagree that the contest is full of rats or unethical. I strongly believe it's an important one for meat eaters to engage in, and rather than write a really long reply, I posted a response on my blog. http://littleaggeek.wordpress.com/