When I think about the meat-eating debate, I wonder why it is so hard for meat-eaters to accept that killing animals to eat their flesh is unethical? I can’t think of a single sound argument for killing animals for meat.
The simplest way to put it is that killing animals for meat is a socially acceptable offense. Society’s permission does not make killing ethical, it makes it acceptable. Slavery, too, has been socially acceptable for centuries (despite the fact that there has always been a minority that was against it). Does this make slavery more ethical? I doubt that anyone will answer in the affirmative.
As a pig farmer, I live an unethical life, in the acquittal trap of social acceptability. Even more than just acceptability. In fact, people love the way I raise pigs, because I give pigs a life as close to natural as possible in an unnatural system, I am honorable, I am fair, I am humane – if you do not think about the fact that I am a slave trader and a murderer.
If you look “in the forehead”, you will not see anything. Humanely raising and killing pigs looks perfectly normal. To see the truth, you need to look from the side, the way a pig looks when it knows that you have started something evil. When you look out of the corner of your eye, in your peripheral vision, you will see that meat is murder.
Someday, hardly in the near future, perhaps in a few centuries, we will understand and recognize this in the same way that we understood and accepted the obvious villainy of slavery. But until that day, I will remain a model for animal welfare. The pigs on my farm are the most piggy, perfect pig shape. They dig in the ground, stagger around idle, grunt, eat, roam in search of food, sleep, swim in puddles, bask in the sun, run, play and die unconscious, without pain and suffering. I sincerely believe that I suffer from their death more than they do.
We get hooked on ethics and start to fight, looking for views from the outside. Please do it. See things through the lens of the false correctness of a pastoral alternative to factory farming—an alternative that is really just another layer of mist that hides the ugliness of raising animals to kill so we can eat their meat. See who I am and what I do. Look at these animals. Look what’s on your plates. See how society accepts it and says yes to it. Ethics, in my opinion, unequivocally, unambiguously and firmly says no. How can one justify taking one’s life for the pleasure of the stomach?
Looking from the outside, consciously, we will take the first step in our evolution to beings that do not create systems and infrastructures, whose only task is to kill beings, whose sensitivity and emotional experience we are not able to understand.
What I’m doing is wrong, despite the fact that 95 percent of the American population supports me. I feel it with every fiber of my soul – and there is nothing I can do. At some point this has to be stopped. We must become beings who see what they are doing, beings who do not turn a blind eye to the terrible unethics, do not accept it and do not rejoice in it. And more importantly, we need to eat differently. It may take many generations to achieve this. But we really need it, because what I’m doing, what we’re doing, is terribly wrong.
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