More on animal rights

Do animal rights advocates have a case against free-range livestock and hunting?

Since few animals die of old age in the wild and since humans are evolved to eat meat, I think that animal rights advocates have a case against unwarranted (in a wealthy country, at least) cruelty to animals, but not against the raising of animals that are treated well and slaughtered humanely.

This rather glib statement takes at face value the meanings of “cruelty” and “humaneness”, but I think some sort of working definition can be had. But it will come close to this - that humane treatment of animals is something close to the standards we now use for “free-range” - which standards are exceeded by the taking of animals in the wild by many methods of hunting.

There are some problems even with this, of course - chickens, for instance, when left to their own devices, don’t treat each other “humanely” - which we might expect, since they are not humans and have no notion of human ethics. In addition, we cannot rightly adhere to the behavioral cues given to us by species themselves - do predators treat prey “humanely”? I cannot see how they do. And if they do, it is accidental - no one would suggest that predators have a code of ethics - as do some human hunters, for instance.

Why should humans be held to a higher standard than the animals they eat are? Conversely, why shoud humans be held to any ethical standard in their treatment of other humans, but not in their treatment of other species? One argument for this is reciprocity - we have standards by which we deal with each other as humans out of fear of reprisal, or out of the knowledge that if we treat others well, they are more likely to treat us well. If this is the justification for ethics, then ethics is simply the result of a social contract - a decision by the majority or by whoever is powerful enough to enforce ethical standards. But if morality is simpy a decision, then there is nothing preventing any standard of treatment of animals - nothing except human decisions.

In other words - politics. In a democracy, that means majority rule - theoretically, at least. Within a capitalist system, taken in isolation from political arangements, that means that the marketplace decides. But market economies are always regulated - so we have a mix.

Of the US outlawed factory farming - and also the ability of foreign countries to sell factory-farmed meat in the US, the playing field would be leveled for domestic producers - large agribusiness would be on a more equal footing with small operators than they are now. Meat would be more expensive. Would PETA still be a player? Or would the general public think that enough had been done to protect animals?

Why isn’t hunting (not baiting or trapping) seen as the most “humane” way to acquire meat?

I believe that the big stink comes from the fact that we produce meat at a greater amount than we need. The human diet allows for a very small amount…it’s a 1-3-5 ratio of meat, fruit/veggies/grain…and meat isn’t required to live healthy diet…and humans are supposed to be all intelligent and stuff, as well as empathetic…so we “should” care about the pain and suffering of the chickens.

Logically, people shouldn’t cause a fuss if someone hunts only the meat they and their family “need”…meaning meat to satisfy that tiny portion out diet allows for. But remember, humans are the only animal that really, truely wants to think that it’s evil, so people are going to complain about that too.

I’ve only gone hunting a few times in my life before I knew better (i’d still hunt if i needeed food or whatever) and the fact is that not all shots are kill-shots, and by the time you get to the animal, it could have suffered quite some bit by then, especially when not all shots end in a kill, plenty of times the animals frollick of mortally wounded or badly injured.

I don’t see how thats as humane as knocking a cow out and killing it. Its more humane then throwing a chicken into a blender or maybe even letting the animal die on its own, ,though, but i guess the point is if you’re about to shoot the animal it could live for quite some time after that healthily in the wild.

I don’t know if we produce ‘meat’ at a greater quanitity then we need, we produce red meat at a greater quantity then we need.I eat red meat 2-3times a week, in small amounts (peppironi on a pizza for example), try to stay away from steaks/burger and so forth, not healthy for the stomach etc, causes cancer.

I eat white-meat constantly though. A holocaust of chickens in a month.

I wonder how many animals it took to sustain any human until 20years old, I don’t feel guilty about eating animals, if that many live animals were paraded out in front of me, I might feel pretty bad about it though.

Dozens and dozens of chickens, probably a dozen cows (no idea how much red cow meati’ve eaten) etc.

Good OP. I don’t think ‘factory farming’ is a single thing to be outlawed or not. It’s unfortunately (because I like simplicity) about complex and ever-shifting regulations - at the very least just to define what ‘factory farming’ actually is. In principle I think it might be the case that hunting is the most humane way of getting meat. It increases people’s connection to land and awareness of the importance of the principles of intelligent land use, as organizations like The Nature Conservancy are aware. I do think that imported food should be held to the same standards as domestic food, so that we are not unfairly penalizing domestic food producers for our high governmental standards. This is obviously problematic though…

Well, you don’t NEED meat at all…it’s really just one of those things you can tack on to your diet to add protein and such. What you need is the vitamins and such found in meat, which can be gained through other foods.

Chicken is good for you for the most part, but you don’t need it. If you own chickens yourself and kill one for dinner one night, you’re probably getting your required chicken intake for the week. There is no real need for meat in the diet, but there is a huge demand for it.

Wow, I love the Foe List.

Mayta - what I was getting at was not so much the amount of meat consumed, but the fact that the hunter has no effect on how the animal lived, and kills the animal with relatively little suffering invoved. It’s true that not all hunted animals die quickly, but neither is that true if the hunter is a nonhuman predator. In fact, the hunter sometimes suffers more than the prey (if you believe the stories they tell).

anon - I was using “factory farming” as a broader term than I probably should have been. But I mean livestock farming other than what we (also rather broadly) call “free-range” and/or “organic”. I didn’t want to get too specific because I wanted to leave out concerns for health - human health, primarily. Hormones, and all that. But I did want to introduce economic scale, and thereby more direct effects on the economy.

Maytacera - It’s true that we don’t need meat, but is it true that we don’t need any animal food products? No animal protein at all? I know plenty of vegans (I live in Maine), but I am healthier than they are, so far as I know. I eat too much meat, and I am never sick.

I think this is an important point. I was never all that clear about veganism. Eggs-and-milk-and-such vegetarianism, yes, but veganism, I’m not so sure about.

I need a lot of protein, which is found most easily, and a lot of the time, most efficiently, in meat. Certain acids if i recall correctly as well.

the protein requirements for an average 6foot person is like 2 to 4 ounces of lean meat, for the 30-60gs of protein required.

I see ethics as the codification of one’s love for the other.

Impious - what are the ramifications for those who love animals, then?

Funny isn’t it? People kill other animals and there exists no moral or ethical dilemma in that such displays are seen as the will to survival yet when a person kills another of his own kind out comes the moral condemnation.

They shouldn’t if they don’t want to.

Projection of the future. The most oblivious controlling mechanism of the elite.

And since the social contract is just a value imposed on other people like any other value in contrast it can be torn down upon merely willing it so.

Hunting can be humane, and it can’t. If a huner makes a perfect shot and the deer dies instantly, then it would be more humans than free range deer because the wild deer got to experience the wild. But if the hunter misses a kill shot and the deer runs of wounded, all that free time in the wild will only serve to provide a terrifying contrast before a slow end.

Free range farming with a humane method of slaughter is probably a safer way than to leave it to hunters luck…, Alsso hunting is simply not practical enough since we destroyed the worlds forests…

I would say that killing any animal for anything other than survival is inhumane in itself. Restricting animal slaughter to only what is needed is an obvious step… If we could all survive sufficiently on vegetables then that would be even more humane…

But hunting is the least of an animal rights activists worries… KFC hurts more animals than every hunter in the world…

My adcive is to choose your battles, but i agree that there is a battle to be had.

What does it mean to be humane and unhumane?

What is the difference, connection and parallel between the two?

well inhumane is when for no good reason you infringe on the rights of another being…

Why does it matter in how you kill a deer when the end result of going after the deer in both scenarios is still nonetheless the act of killing?

What is this no good reason you speak of? How can I know?

let’s pretend that to survive you must kill a deer…

would you kill the deer fast and painlessly, or throttle him with a fork?

Why does it matter in how I kill the deer when the goal of my encounter with it is it’s death for my own gain?

If I want to kill the deer it seems to me that it really doesn’t matter what means I use to my own disposal so long as the task of killing it is complete.