Carracci - The Butchers Shop - 1583
This thread and many like it.. as well as the reasons i gave above support my conclusion.
If you would prefer soft language like most, and a majority feel free to read that in as you see fit.
If this is about animal comfort then we should start eating as much meat as we can, even buying meat just to throw away, because farm animals live the most comfortable lives of all.
That's just plain wrong. Factory farming is responsible for the majority of the meat we consume. Factory farming does not constitute a comfortable life for the animals involved.
Do you not understand how reproduction works? We force animals to reproduce for our food supply. Not eating meat doesn't mean we'll have billions of farm animals that have to suddenly fend for themselves in the wild -- it means we won't need to force all of the existing animals to reproduce further for our needs. Is that a difficult concept for you to grasp?
So you are still suggesting that we drive them to extinction? How much time have you even spent around livestock? I've spent a significant portion of my life working the production side of our food industry, and the greater portion working the processing side - why don't you go ahead and tell me about all the suffering I have witnessed? That is what you are trying to do, isn't it?
I haven't disputed your claim that you haven't seen much animal suffering in your personal experience. But since you're begging me to argue that claim, I'll point out two major problems thereof:
1. You (despite your extensive experience in the field) have a very small sample size and cannot argue that what you've seen is indicative of most food production in North America.
2. You clearly have a narrow definition for the suffering of animals and have not convinced me that you're qualified to make claims about what constitutes suffering in animals.
You still haven't even come close to addressing my arguments about your claim that you're providing some great service for livestock. Even if we could agree that there's no significant animal suffering problem because of our food industry, it's a giant leap to say that it's better to force breed them for food than to let their populations reduce naturally.
Again, "not being able to survive in the wild" isn't sufficient criteria for grinding something into a burger.
But why should you be prejudiced in favor of your own species? Because they are more like you? Should you be prejudiced in favor of people that live in your block or grew up in the same town as you? Because they are more like you? Should you be prejudiced in favor of people who like the same TV shows that you do or are citizens of the same country? Because they are more like you? You avow that you are a humanist, so I'd suspect that the answer to all these questions are no. So I'm not entirely sure what your point is. Is it that you think that people have concluded that it is unethical to eat meat because they hate humans? Hmm, very doubtful. And so what if a lot of vegetarians and vegans prefer animals to humans? Maybe they do, maybe they don't, but that has no bearing whatsoever on the issue of the question of ethics.
Preferring the human species is a rational outlook for anyone who values civilization. Other animals aren't building libraries, recording the history of life in this planet, or investigation the origins of the cosmos. When they have potential to contribute to the debate of 'why is there something rather than nothing' then I will definitely consider them equals, worthy of determining their own fates. Until then, however, since we are the ones capable of philosophical exchange, I'll maintain my preference for humans.
I value civilization. I am filled with awe at what humanity has achieved and hopefully will achieve. But I don't see why that means that I should have a "preference" for humanity. Humanity is just one of many species, and they are all astonishing, and they are all the result of the same process that brought us into being, evolution. I don't see humanity as inhabiting a separate category from all other things. We are products of the universe just like everything else. Yes, we are a distinct species, but we are a member of a larger family of beings: primates, mammals, animals, and eventually everything. It's not too much of a stretch to look at other creatures that we share so much in common with, and feel sympathy for them that so many people see them only as objects, as having no subjective experience of their own; see them simply as meat.
Well that is exactly why I don't like to see us killing off a species, even though 98% of all species that ever walked the earth are already gone. If we give up meat, however, the domestic species of livestock will be lucky to survive a century - maybe handfuls of them living in remote paddocks with a gene pool too small to ensure their long term viability.
In any event, everything we know of is a product of the universe, and those things that we call 'alive' we will one day call 'dead' and that includes our own species. Individual living things die, that's just the way it is. I don't see that as a reason to avoid bringing fewer living things into being, however.
The irony about your post is that you're doing the very same thing that oneinfinity just remarked about, viewing animals as objects or "things." You're arguing that in the name of preserving species, we should go on breeding livestock and using them for food, even though that means causing the INDIVIDUALS who are members of that species to suffer and die.
Life is, after all, a fatal condition.