Thursday, March 6, 2008

Divine Tapestry

Just read this terrific article by Charles Eisenstein on the Ethics of Eating Meat Here is an excerpt:

"There is a time to live and a time to die. That is the way of nature. If you think about it, prolonged suffering is rare in nature. Our meat industry profits from the prolonged suffering of animals, people and the Earth, but that is not the only way. When a cow lives the life a cow ought to live, when its life and death are consistent with a beautiful world, then for me there is no ethical dilemma in killing that cow for food. Of course there is pain and fear when the cow is taken to the slaughter (and when the robin pulls up the worm, and when the wolves down the caribou, and when the hand uproots the weed), and that makes me sad. There is much to be sad about in life, but underneath the sadness is a joy that is dependent not on avoiding pain and maximizing pleasure, but on living rightly and well."

Be well.


sarah said...

You're right, Luke, awesome article. I think it’s especially important that he goes on to say, "It would indeed be hypocritical of me to apply this to a cow and not to myself.... Not just for animals, but for me too, there is a time to live and a time to die. I'm saying: What is good enough for any living creature is good enough for me." And for him this means living rightly and well--difficult enough, he notes, under current conditions. If those conditions included captivity in which another species had destined us for fodder, would right and good living be possible? We are used to thinking of being bred, raised, and killed for another's purposes as inconsistent with a good human life. If we are right, what might make it consistent with a good animal life?

Karina said...

It's all about getting rid of the factory farms that cram their animals into tight spaces and pump them with all sorts of shit... Getting back to the small, local, organic farms that do it right is key! Giving the animals ample pasture to graze so that they are eating right and being active results in better meat/eggs/dairy for us to eat as well as presumeably happier animals!

And I agree, nice article :)

sarah said...

Hi, Karina... if you were responding to my comment, I understand that argument but was trying to make a point about freedom. Is it okay for others to control us for their own purposes as long as they try to give us everything we'll need for a nice life until they kill us? Or is not being enslaved fundamental to a good human life? Do we have good reason to believe it is not fundamental to a good nonhuman life? I meant to go beyond factory vs. small organic, beyond questions of space, diet, and care, to challenge animal agriculture altogether. I'm actually reading a book now--Waistland, by Deirdre Barrett--about whether any agriculture may have been a mistake for humanity--can't make any claims for it (including whether it addresses any ethical questions) yet, as I'm not very far in.

Karina said...

Hi Sarah! In response to : "Is it okay for others to control us for their own purposes as long as they try to give us everything we'll need for a nice life until they kill us?"

As a vegetarian/vegan(ish), my PERSONAL belief on this topic would be no, I don't think it's okay. But again, I emphasize this is only my personal opinion and the path I have chosen to take my diet. I do see the other side however, if people choose to eat meat, that's great, but they should be smart about it.

The idea that any agriculture being a mistake for humanity is quite the argument, and I would love to know what the book says about that!

Luke Weiss said...

i have MAJOR problems with the anti-agrarian argument, but i guess that means i need to borrow that book from you sarah.

that said, there is a balance, a middle ground.
look at china before the late 19th century - large populations, very high agrarian coverage, yet very little waste and disruption of their environment.

it is the western model that is so destuctive, not agriculture in general.

I believe in balance; not good or evil, right or wrong, etc.