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Good Eats

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Good Eats

A pig isn't dumb. In the old Chicago slaughterhouses, pigs lifted by their hindquarters knew something bad was about to happen. With their throats slit they could unleash a hellish scream. Their lifeless bodies then passed along the rest of the disassembly line. America has moved on from that point in history. In America it could be said that the 20th century was spent recognizing those America had forgotten. America has changed its perceptions about race, sex, and homosexuality however Americans have not been as progressive when it comes to animals. As a result the health of many Americans is questionable. With the number of baby boomers growing older, America could be facing a health care crisis. With our current values of equality, and a respect for all life, it is not ethical moral or even logical to consume the flesh of other animals.

For some the barrier between animals and people will always be obvious. We rule, they serve. Considering the socio-political events of the past century that view of animals should be considered primitive. If surveyed some people would respond that animals are here for our use citing biblical reasons, or stating animals are obviously inferior to human beings using a sort of natural law argument.

True enough in nature other animals eat other animals. That is an undeniable fact that some say justifies meat eating. To a certain extent we are no different from other animals in that we have dietary needs. The only problem is with this natural law argument is individuals often mention how much smarter we are than other animals. Is intelligence what justifies our dominance of animals for our own benefit? I guess if inferiority or superiority is based on the ability to comprehend and practice math, science, and art, then yes animals are inferior. Infants don't develop the cognitive ability to perform such tasks until later in life when they learn from their parents and then eventually school. As persuasive as Jonathan Swift's proposal is, people aren't eating infants and babies. The logic of the inferior argument is essentially a cow is dumb so it is ok to eat a steak. Next time you sit down to a large steak dinner ask yourself, "was this dumb piece of meat someone's dad?" Intelligence is not a good enough reason to ethically justify eating meat. There are sections of the human population who we should then also consider eating. That would be savage and not fitting of an evolved culture of people. There is nothing natural about a law of murder. Respecting life around you is a value most would say they agree with, however most of the American population consumes a mostly meat diet. People have dietary needs like other animals, however as human beings we rationalize about is what right and wrong or what's just. Most Americans believe firmly in a sense of justice but there isn't life in animals that is worth respecting? Animals feel pain. They enjoy each other's company and live in social groups. Some animals even mate for life. Whether or not a longhorn can write a poem is beside the point. This view point is shallow and no responsible ethical person should value another sentient being's life so cheaply to think that is a moral loophole. If it wasn't for animals this nation might not have been built. We depend on animals. How is eating them any kind of repayment?

That line of thinking was use to reinforce the idea that blacks were inferior to justify slavery and later Jim Crow. Many scientists and theologians of the 19th century justified slavery saying that Africans were of no other use than servitude. Mentally, Africans were thought to have the intelligence of a child. Even Abraham Lincoln made remarks regarding the perceived inferiority of blacks as the belief was so common among whites during that time. The bible was also used to hold up those beliefs. Theologians used the section of Noah's son Ham being cursed as justification that blacks were natural to be slaves. According to the bible, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren" (Gen. 9.25). Southerners who tended to translate the bible more literally took that to mean that Ham was black because he was forced to serve. Now this sort of thinking would be considered wrong by today's social mores. Over time we have come to learn that god didn't justify slavery either through his own words or through the laws of nature. How can someone say that life is precious but then eat a Big Mac? Is it ok to pray on the weak simply because you can? Ultimately if one chooses to eat meat they should ask themselves that before they take a bite. Any idea of a natural order that justifies cruelty to any thinking living being is purely an invention of misguided souls.

I would not argue my point if it were a simple question of need. Animals have been a valuable food source. However we don't need to eat meat anymore than we need gasoline cars when there are more responsible alternatives. Why do what's wrong just because that's what we are used to? People may differ on what is right and wrong, but for the sake of our country future we cannot dismiss the health



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