Farm to Fridge - The Truth Behind Meat Production

We all like to think we're good people, but sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between an accurate description of ourselves and wishful thinking. When you think of yourself as a good person, you're probably thinking that the fact that you've never killed anyone ought to count in your favor... except that there is a very good chance that you are a direct contributor to a system in which innocent beings are treated under cruel and debilitating conditions before they are slaughtered in ways that you would not wish upon your worst enemy. And the justification for these barbaric practices? It's not a question of survival, it's just a question of taste.

I'm not one to stand for cheap appeals to emotion instead of good reasoning. Feelings are unreliable guides to philosophical and empirical questions, and unless you have a decent understanding of when they're reliable and when they're not, feelings have no chance of standing as the criteria of moral judgments. That being said, and as David Hume argued in his ethical theory, reason cannot aspire to have the same motivating impact as sentiments do, so when reasons will not do by themselves what's necessary for us to behave in more ethical and humane ways, maybe it's time to accompany them with some visceral reality.

The following clip illustrates some of the ways in which countless animals are treated by our factory-farming practices (and be warned: there is some seriously disturbing imagery). Terms like cruel and unusual do not apply here, since the usual is the problem.

If you don't have the will-power to become a vegetarian or vegan overnight (and count me in that camp), maybe you can take some gradual steps to lessen your unethical footprint: eat less meat than you do now, consume free-range instead of factory-farmed meat, buy locally grown organic food, etc. This doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing either/or kind of situation. There's always room for ethical improvement, and every little bit counts.

And before you start rationalizing your own meat-eating behavior in the kind of disingenuous ways that Jean-Paul Sartre referred to as bad-faith, just read this classic piece by philosopher Peter Singer carefully first, be honest with yourself, and then we'll talk...

And for more fascinating and important readings, check out the Animal Rights Library.
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