Hello all! Welcome to the NOiG Food Issues Book Club, wherein I read books about food stuff, summarize each book by chapter, and then attempt to apply that book chapter's ideas to the New Orleans food environment and my own experiences. Fun right?! Check out previous installations here. I'd love it if you'd read along and join in! And now, without further ado...
The Ethics of What We Eat, Chapter 17: The Ethics of Eating Meat
Ooooh, Peter. Ooooh, Jim. We are really getting to it now aren't we? This seventeenth chapter of The Ethics of What We Eat, The Ethics of Eating Meat, jumps into one of the most contentious topics in the food movement. I love it.
Early in the chapter you take a definitive stance on which I think we can all agree: there is no ethical justification for eating meat that comes from the industrial food system - at least, not for anyone who can obtain proper nutrition without doing so. The truth is that most Staters could easily opt out of eating factory farmed animal products, but continue to consume them out of pleasure and habit. This is decidedly unethical behavior born of an often willful ignorance.
bad becomes normal. I agree; we should try to change it. And we should also expect extreme pushback. People don't like to be told that something they do every day, that their mothers taught them, that their doctors encouraged, that every facet of their lives tells them is the normal and good thing to do, is in fact wrong. No wonder we vegans are so reviled. Our mere existence points to the idea that there are concerns about what (who) other people are eating.
Again (and again and again and again), we must note that there is more than enough food in the world to feed everyone already, with many calories to spare; the problem is access, not quantity. Creating more food in no way guarantees that everyone who needs it will have it.
The following paragraph is probably the most reasonable approach to the subject:
The choice is not between business as usual and a vegan world. Without factory farming, families with limited means would be able to afford fewer animal products, but the would not have to stop buying them entirely. Nutritionists agree that most people in developed countries eat far more animal products than they need, and more than is good for their health. Spending the same amount of money and buying fewer animal products would therefore be a good thing, especially if those animal products came from animals free to walk around outside, which would make the meat less fatty, and if the reduced consumption in animal products were offset by increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.I have wondered if, were this how we as a culture approached eating animal products, whether I would feel the need to be a food activist. Given the problems in crop production, probably. But would I be vegan?
See you soon to discuss the final chapter!