Why is it ethical to eat meat?

The New York Times recently held an essay contest entitled “Why is it ethical to eat meat?”.  A judges panel made up of gentlemen that are either vegetarian or “minimalist” meat eaters was selected to choose the winning essay/essays which will be published in the NY Times.  The essay was required to be less than 600 words and to focus on the “ethics” of meat eating.

My favorite cat loving, essay writing 6th grader...

When I read about the essay contest, I decided that it would be a great experience for my 6th grade daughter to write an essay on the topic.  She did not have school on Good Friday, so was able to use her extra time over the long weekend to put together an essay.  I have blogged many times about the importance of learning the art and the science of expressing your thoughts in written form.  It is something that I am determined for all three of my girls to learn how to do well.  This was a challenging essay topic for a twelve year old as the topic of “ethics” is very complex, but I was proud of what she put together.  You will have to let us know what you all think?!

Why is it ethical to eat meat?

Ashley Grace Burkholder

6th grade, Cozad Middle School

 Some people claim that it is not ethical (morally right) to eat meat because we no longer need it to survive.  Or do we? We are privileged in America to have enough food to go vegetarian, but some people cannot survive without eating meat.  Since we use 98% of every calf that is harvested, cattle provide a lot more than just meat to eat.  From medicines to basketballs, we use everything but the Moo!

Have you ever been really hungry?  I am guessing that for most of you the answer is “no”.  Here in America, we do not have to worry about whether we will get another meal.  When I traveled to Kenya last December, I saw people living in stick homes who had their only source of food come from goats and cattle.  The Samburu people eat and drink only goat meat, beef, milk, milk mixed with cow’s blood, and water.  Their survival is dependent on their livestock because the soil is not fertile enough to grow anything but grass.

As a runner, a well-balanced diet that includes meat helps to ensure that I run fast! Do you know how many minerals and nutrients come from meat?  Beef is a nutrient packed protein source.  A three ounce serving of lean beef provides 51% of your daily protein needs and 38% of your zinc needs. It also provides 37% of your vitamin B12, 26% of selenium, 20% of phosphorus, 17% of niacin and 15%, 14%, and 12% of your vitamin B6, iron and riboflavin requirements. Young athletes like me need these nutrients to excel. Why? Zinc helps power our brains and our immune systems, iron carries oxygen in our blood so we can function and move; and protein energizes our bodies and builds muscles.  Do you know a vegetable that can do all those things in just three ounces?

Close your eyes and imagine a world where no one ate meat.  Think about all of the items that we would lose.  Do you think that you could live a day without driving your car, wearing shoes, or using soap in the shower?  How would you clean your home, since detergents and floor wax are made from animals? If we did not harvest animals, we could not insulate our homes or use candles. I am sure that none of you want to go to work without using soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and mouthwash.  However, if the whole world stopped eating meat, you would. Without leather, I couldn’t do my favorite sport, track! Becoming a vegetarian may seem simple, but if the whole world did, it would impact our lives way beyond our diets.

These are the reasons that I think it is ethical to eat meat: some people (especially in poorer countries) need meat to survive, young athletes like me require the nutrients found in meat to enable us to be healthy and perform well, and all of us need products that come from food animals for everyday items.  Can you imagine trying to travel without antifreeze, grease, auto and jet lubricants, brake fluid, or tires without the stearic acid to hold them together?

Now that I have told you why I think it is ethical to eat meat, I want to ask you a question.

“Why isn’t it?”

40 Comments

Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner and The Chick Project...

40 responses to “Why is it ethical to eat meat?

  1. Ben

    Nice try Ashley. You are a good writer and clearly a very thoughtful person. Next time you’ll need to pose the question that you asked at the end of your essay at the beginning. Then try answering it, and responding to it. If you want to argue that something is ethical (morally permissible), you need to consider reasons why it is not (why it violates some moral standard). Even if someone granted all the controversial claims you make, he or she could still ask: do the ends justify the means? In other words, GRANTED some people need meat to survive, and GRANTED meat is good for you, and GRANTED we use all sorts of animal products in our society to our benefit . . . can we justify those goods at the expense of the harms we do to animals in order to get them? It is great that you have had an opportunity to go abroad and it is great that it made such an impression on you. And I see you are familiar with feedlot operations . . .have you ever visited a packing plant in your homeland, though? You might be more inclined to take into account the harm done to animals in that process if you had. There are good arguments to be made against those practices and you really need to consider them before you make a judgment that all the benefits we get from animals is worth their pain and suffering. Good luck in the contest!

    • Hi Ben:

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I will pass your thoughts along to Ashley Grace. I would share with you that Ashley Grace has seen a bovine harvested. I believe that it is important for my children to understand “where their food comes from”, and she has witnessed first hand where the beef in our freezer came from. I have also been at many packing plants during my 15 years of living in Nebraska and I believe that there is not a lot of “pain and suffering” at the point of harvest. The cattle that I have seen at the packing plants are unaware of what is happening and do not suffer going into the harvest floor.

      This is obviously a highly controversial topic and quite honestly I wanted my daughter to write the essay so that she could think through the question being posed. Learning to question and critically think is very important and I believe that she learned a lot from the process. I did not have her write the essay for the contest, I had her write the essay to encourage her to develop these skills.

      I truly believe that raising cattle for the sole purpose of beef production is ethical. I realize that not everyone agrees with me, and that is the beauty of living in America. I want to raise my children to be thinkers and to always strive to improve the care that we offer to our animals as well as never to take for granted the fact that an animal gave its life so that we could be nourished.

      Thanks again for stopping by,
      Anne

      • Ben

        Hi Anne,

        What a noble goal you have: to teach your children to think critically. In all sincerity I applaud it. I also sincerely applaud you for encouraging your daughter to write a response for her own edification, and not merely to win. That too is a noble virtue to instill in your child. I hope that Ashley embraces it, which I am sure she does.

        I hope you do pass on my response to Ashley, and I would like to reiterate the major point of it to her and to you, which is that when arguing for a position that involves issues of normative ethics, which is what the New York Times asked people to do, one must take into account the opposing arguments. That I do not think Ashley did. But this is a central aspect of thinking critically, not just thinking about ethics. If you want to come to a reasoned judgment on an issue, you really must at least cite relevant opposing arguments, in addition to having a response to them. I think if Ashley can learn this lesson she will be well suited to do excellent work in her English and History and other Humanities classes, in Secondary school and beyond. I also think it will contribute to her ever more substantive responses to real issues of moral importance for her own growth as a thinking person.

        I am interested to hear that you have an experience with the process of farming that you are comfortable with. And I think it is a fine thing to raise a child on a farm. I wonder if you think your experience can be generalized across the entire agricultural practice of the United States?

        I really appreciate your reasoned tone. I also think America is great.

        Best Regards,

        Ben

      • Hi Ben:
        Thanks for stopping by again to continue our conversation. I plan to share your thoughts, along with the rest of the comments, with Ashley Grace this weekend.

        Although I know nothing about you except for your first name, your comments very much remind me of the college professors that I had at Dartmouth. I wonder if you are, in fact, a college professor? You have brought a unique and well thought out critique to our discussion and I thank you for that. It is correct that to have a realistic and thorough examination of the question at hand that one must consider both sides of the issue.

        Ashley Grace and I did have discussions about other people believing that animals should not be harvested for food. In all honesty, because of her upbringing, that is something that she has a hard time grasping. Animals play an integral part of our lives with varying relationships that depend on the type of animal. We have dogs and cats that are pets. But, we also have cattle that are raised as food animals and consequently play a very different role in our lives. The “line” that Mijnheer talks about which seperates animals from humans and, even different types of animals from one another, is something that can be debated many different ways. I do believe that, as a human, I have dominion over animals. I also believe that ultimately harvesting animals for human food consumption is acceptable. That being said, I also think that I have the responsibility to care for those animals while they are under my control. The welfare of my animals is important to me. Pain and suffering are never easy to bear whether they are felt by a human or by an animal, but in reality they are a part of life.

        I am not 100% sure that I understand your question at the end of your reply. If I do not answer it appropriately, please let me know and give me a bit more direction as to what your interest is.

        If you read the “About Me” section of the blog, you will realize that I did not grow up on a farm. I moved to Nebraska in 1997 with my husband when we decided to leave the East Coast and come home to his family farm. My perspective is relatively unique to other farmers because I spent the first 22 years of my life not being involved in agriculture. That being said, I will share with you that I have never met a group of people that are more caring than beef farmers. One of the things that I love most about living on a farm in Nebraska is that my children are growing up surrounded by people that take the time to care about others. I do not mean to suggest that Nebraska or rural America is the only place where people are compassionate, but I have found that the farming culture is much different than what I experienced in either Florida or New Hampshire. It is a culture that is community oriented and based on the innate value of teamwork rather than personal competition. It is a culture that is open to family and full of integrity.

        I believe that your question asked me if the care that I offer to my animals on my farm was representative of the care that other animals receive on other farms across the United States? While I think that it is important to point out that I am only an expert on myself, I do believe that most farmers care very deeply about what they do. Farming is not a job to us, it is our lifestyle. I believe that it is my vocation. The challenges that go along with farming are numerous and it is not any easy life. Farmers have a great passion for what they do—perhaps that is why we tend to get defensive when someone asks us to think differently?

        Are all farmers the same? Absolutely not—we are unique individuals just as you are, and our philosophies are not always the same. That being said, I do think that many farmers share the same core values regarding animal care that I do. Unfortunately what tends to show up on YouTube or the nightly news in regards to agriculture is not an accurate portrayal of my farm and thousands of other farms across the U.S. I have a couple of videos up on YouTube of me handling cattle—they have only had a couple hundred plays—why is that? I believe that it is because good animal care is not sensational enough to spark the motivation to interact and learn. With less than 2% of the population having any direct ties to agriculture, there are a lot of people that are divorced from the source of their food.
        While I believe that most farmers provide good care to their land and their animals, most farmers are not good at reaching out to consumers to tell them how they grow the food that is on the grocery store shelf. This fact combined with the fact that good care is not sensational exacerbates the challenge that we all face of having a good conversation about food. I have seen the same horrific videos of some cases of animal abuse that I am sure that you have, but I do not believe that those videos are representative of most cattle farms in the United States. Animal abuse should never be tolerated. These videos also should not be taken as “the norm” for animal care in United States agriculture.

        We also need to find a way to do a better job of sharing the thousands of stories of good animal care. I hope that you will continue to follow my blog as it will continue to give you insight as to how I care for cattle and raise beef. We are likely to not always agree, but we can most certainly learn from each other. You might want to check out a post that I wrote from last fall entitled “The Conversationalist”–in that post I try to answer some question that a vegetarian reader had regarding raising beef cattle. Here is the link: https://feedyardfoodie.wordpress.com/2011/11/22/the-conversationalist/

        Anne

      • Ben

        Anne it is a pleasure to hear your perspective. I will continue to follow your updates on this website. Thanks for the link and for your civil discourse. I thought I would also say that I am a New Hampshire native and also as you guessed a post-secondary educator and researcher. Best, Ben

  2. Way to go Ashley Grace! What a complex issue to tackle. (So complex that, I, a professional writer failed to get an entry submitted–shame on me!) Thank you for representing the beef business so well at such a young age!

  3. Rex

    Great job Ashley.
    I also wrote two essays. The first sort of followed Ben’s advice. I tried knocking down several of the reasons people argue that eating meat is bad for the planet and decided I simply came off as someone with a chip on the shoulder.
    The second essay I wrote explored nutrition, our own, meat animals and the soil, mostly because I figured we had to leave the arena of preset arguments.

    Since catttle spend part of the life on the range, they have almost the same grain conversion rates as poultry and pork per pound of finished meatt. If you look at the government’s myplate nutrition, you see that it takes a much larger helping of bean than beef to mee the protein requirements in a diet and a huge helping of grain…more than can be eaten. Animals concentrate the protein so well that essentially the same land area is required for a diet of meat compated to a plant based diet.

    Beans are a good source of protein (meatt is better). They add nitrogen to the soil, but nobody talks about the other essential ingredients to a healthy soil. Beans are not good at some of these items. A soil needs roots, residue and lots biologic activity around the roots. This happens with the grain we feed meat animals,

    We have been very busy worring about doing toxic things to the soil and have not taught the general public about how to make healthy soils, so that we can eat.

    Did you know that India has a cow herd three times larger than the US? And exports almost as much meat as Brazil or Argentina?

  4. The slaughter of animals for human consumption is a rather messy process. “…take into account the harm done to animals in that process…” Really? Does a bovine get a little banged up going to slaughter? Might the process be scary to the animal? Probably. We’re killing them. That’s the point. I’m not really worried if a bovine, an animal, gets a good meal and a last smoke before its termination. I am only concerned that we, the humans, are not jerks leading up to that point.

    I don’t see bovines or any other harvested animal as a person, as you apparently do. I see them as a resource. Bovines do three things really well. They eat grass, poop and provide humans food. Animals of all kinds have been and remain a resource for Humanity, whether they are an ox pulling a plow in Zimbabwe or a cow becoming a great tasting steak in Argentina.

    I’m sure there are a lot of vegans out there that love tomatoes. Super market tomatoes are picked green, not red. Once the tomato crates are loaded onto the farm truck, the truck is driven into an enclosed space where it is gassed by methane to turn the ‘green’ tomatoes red. For an interesting take on the U.S. tomato industry, read “The Indignity of Industrial Tomatoes” http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/572-the-indignity-of-industrial-tomatoes. This blogger doesn’t mention the methane, but the methane is the explanation why his ‘indestructible’ red ripe tomato can handle a lot of abuse.

    How about the expertly marketed ‘Baby Potatoes?’ These are the small potatoes that are normally served on the plates at catered meals, usually with a side of some meat product and asparagus. Potatoes are also grown in Florida. They are a huge business for the state since they can be grown almost year around. Unfortunately, there is nothing special about baby potatoes. They are nothing more than immature potatoes with some slick marketing.

    The reality is these immature potatoes are the castoffs of that industry. After separation from the mature potatoes, the Baby Potatoes often sit in tractor trailer trucks in the Florida heat. While there, many of them become putrid. That’s OK, since the entire trailer load will separated good from bad, washed and cleaned prior to serving the consumer. They’ll be de-skinned and maybe stuck in a can, sold for potato chip processing or sold to some caterer as an inexpensive ingredient.

    So what is my point? If you’re a vegan and don’t eat meat, that is fine. Just realize that 99% of the other industrial agribusiness products out there go through insanely similar treatments. (This includes the use of ammonia.) Vegans running around in their headdress and grass skirts are pretty silly screaming ‘fruits and vegetables good; beef bad’ all the time.

    But that is not what burns me. The New York Times is a business, and they’ve faced declining interest in their news products for years. This essay contest is nothing more than an attempt to ‘create’ news that people will want to read. Strangely, it is no different than all the other processing going on.

    The New York Times knows most people are illiterate on most subjects. They can read your thumb messages. They know your world is completely divorced from the reality of modern food production. It is so easy to stir your passion against meat.

  5. Great response! Nutrition is one of the toughest topics to debate and you did an excellent job! It would be fun to see someone young be featured in NYT — let us know if you get picked!

  6. …And nice essay, Ashley Grace. You have a good Mama. You’re being raised well.

  7. Nebraska Farm Wife

    Anne – I don’t know what impresses me the most the fact that you got her to do “school work” on a non-school day, the fact that a 6th grader tackled a topic most grown ups wouldn’t attempt, or the fact that it was so well written!! Not to mention the she is being judged not by her peers but those who don’t believe in the ethics of using animals for goods that alone can be quite scary. Good Luck to Ashley in the contest.
    There are so many things that could have been talked about in the essay on the ethics but to get the whole system down in only 600 words wouldn’t do the topic justice. I think her approach of looking 1 part of the ethics and talk about it well was a great choice!

  8. Paula

    I’m impressed, Ashley! You are on your way to a writing career!

  9. Dawn

    Excellent essay Ashley Grace! Good luck in the contest.

  10. Jeff Meyer

    Excellent essay! Though I am troubled by the apparent need to have a contest regarding the “ethics” of eating meat…but I digress on a big ol tangent that is unnecessary…but their is no “need” or reason to justify personal “ethics” for eating meat. @ Ben…not only have I been to a packing plant, I have worked at one. Also worked at feedlots and hog facilities. I sleep well at night. I also have the habit of killing animals personally to provide subsistence to my family. My “ethics” of doing this need no justification to anyone other than myself.

  11. Kristy Lage

    WAY TO GO ASHLEY! You made my day! BEEF ROCKS!!

  12. Many thanks to everyone for your replies. I very much appreciate your time and effort reading and commenting. Writing the essay was a great learning experience for Ashley Grace—I encouraged her to do it so that she could critically think and question a very intellectual topic. I believe that she learned quite a bit this weekend as she put her thoughts together.

    I want to let you all know that although the essay is published here, I did not submit it to the NY Times. As I researched the judges and the NY Times history in regards to this topic, I made the decision that it would not be in Ashley Grace’s best interest to submit an essay. As a mother, I want to teach my girls the skills that they need to be successful. As a mother, I also want to build their confidence so that they can strive for greatness. As many of you are aware, NY Times online comments (especially those relative to controversial issues such as this) tend to be very caustic and negative in nature. I did not feel that a 12 year old had the confidence or the maturity to deal with the possible fall-out of submitting the essay to the NY Times. Only time will tell if I made the correct decision, but it is my job to always be a “mommy” first and the “mommy” in me did not feel comfortable submitting the essay.

    I hope that this post has encouraged you all to think critically about our food supply. I think that Ashley Grace has taken a very sensible approach to dealing with this topic—her essay reminds me that sometimes, as adults, we make things more complicated than we should.

    Anne

    • Good thinking Mom. Commenting does get amazingly ugly, especially about issues regarding dirt and farming. I’m always amazed at how it seems like the higher brow the publication, the uglier it gets. Maybe it’s a form of sport I just won’t ever understand….

      Ashley Grace did an awesome job!

  13. Mijnheer

    I’m glad Ashley is thinking about this issue and I hope she will continue to explore it in future. One thing she might want to think about is why people often use the euphemism “harvesting” when they’re talking about killing animals. Why not call a spade a spade? Another thing she might want to think about (and this would be a good topic for a future essay) is whether it would be okay to “harvest” mentally handicapped human orphans. Suppose, for example, that we could mass produce genetically engineered humans whose mental abilities were no greater than those of cows or pigs, give them a good life for a few years (till they got nicely fattened up), and then kill them painlessly. Think how nutritious their meat would be! Think of all the products we could make from their bodies! Would that be fine and dandy? Most of us would be horrified at such a prospect. So why aren’t we horrified at doing the same thing to cows and pigs? What’s the difference?

    • Hello Mijnheer,

      I appreciate you leaving your thoughts on the topic. It is obvious that you do not agree with my belief that it is ethical to use animals for human food. That is absolutely your right to believe differently than I do, however, I would ask that you maintain a respectful manner when commenting on my site. The purpose of this website is for respectful dialog regarding caring for cattle and producing beef—I do believe that we can learn from each other if we agree to respect that our views are different, and not judge one another because we believe different things.

      In terms of your question, I do not believe that cows and pigs are equal to humans—It appears that is where we are fundamentally different in our beliefs. Because I believe that humans have the right to raise and harvest (or kill if you’d like) animals for food, then I do not believe that your additional essay topic would be applicable or appropriate.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts,
      Anne

      • Mijnheer

        Hello Anne,
        I’m sorry if my post seemed less than respectful. It certainly was not meant to be. The idea of eating humans (which of course I oppose) was meant to raise the question of just what exactly is the morally relevant difference between humans and sentient (perceptually aware, feeling) animals. It involves what in the philosophical literature is called “the argument from marginal cases”: this points out that wherever we try to draw the line between those who qualify as members of the moral community and those who don’t, between those who should be afforded protection from being deliberately harmed and those who don’t get this protection — whatever quality we point to as morally relevant, such as the capacity to reason, or perhaps just to feel pain — we will find that if all humans have it, many animals will too, or if no animals have it, then many humans won’t have it either. There may be ways around this argument, but they themsevles are open to criticism in turn. However, to say, as Bill does below, that “Cows and pigs are not human beings,” while perfectly true, hardly answers the question of why all humans should have an elevated moral status.

      • Mijnheer:

        I very much appreciate you rewording your comment. I will ponder your question. Thank you for sharing.

        Anne

  14. Cows and pigs are not human beings, Mijnheer. Cannibalism is not acceptable in ethics either, unless of course you think we should eat the people that don’t agree with ‘our’ position. …See I can be silly, too.

    • Ben

      Hi Bill,

      Mijnheer wasn’t being silly. And you implying he was is somewhat unfair. Comparing humans to non-human animals is a common philosophical thought experiment, and a comparitive examination of the their moral status deserves scrutiny, not ridicule.

      Ben

      • Ben,

        Ok. Philosophy. So to complete your own logic, pulling a vegetable out of the ground harms the vegetable. I think we both can agree that plants would rather be in the ground than on our dinner plate, just like a cow would rather not be on the dinner plate. And when your body fights infectious disease, it kills bacteria… which also has a right to live in peace. If you really want to get ‘philosophical,’ then review the Sixth Commandment in the bible… The “Thou shalt not kill” one. Apparently, even the Bible supports your argument. By that rational alone, we should not kill animals. But since animals eat plants, animals eat animals and since humans eat plants and animals, that means the entire Natural Order created by God is a giant killing machine, of which you are a very active participant as a top predator.

        Honestly, how many carrots do we have to kill to keep ourselves selfishly alive? Saving the Bovine is just the tip of this philosophic iceberg, Ben.

        Ridicule is what you get when you don’t have much of a case. Saying “Animals are just like me!” or applying human qualities to non-human things is an invention of the mind. Your strong, passionate feelings on this subject are not based on logic. They are probably based more on your creativity.

        Your feelings have a name, too. It is called Anthropomorphism. And just to be clear, it is not a philosophy.

        Bill

      • Ben

        Re: below . . . Bill, what part of “look at all sides of the case without belittling them” don’t you understand? Your response is really unfair.

      • Ben

        ***I was referring the post above, not below.

      • Please maintain a respectful tone toward one another. I really want this blog site to be a place where differing opinions can be heard and we can learn from each other. There will be times where we must “agree to disagree”.

        Thanks so much,
        Anne

    • Mijnheer

      Bill: I can’t speak for Ben, but I disagree with your claim that “plants would rather be in the ground than on our dinner plate.” Because plants are not sentient, they have no desires. It makes no more sense to talk about what a carrot desires than about what a rock desires. Plants have tropisms and innate tendencies, but they are not conscious of anything. (Science and common sense concur on this.) As for bacteria, they do not have “a right to live in peace” because — like plants — they have no desires, and having no desires, they have no interests, in the relevant sense of that word, that could be protected by rights. (In philosophy, this is called the Interest Principle.) The charge of “anthropomorphism” is typically not very helpful in a discussion; all living things have some features in common with humans, but there are degrees of similarity, and it’s important to understand just what the similarities and differences are, and how those may be morally relevant.

      • Mijnheer,

        So your argument is based on something being sentient, correct? Failing that proof, the back-up is the animal/organism shouldn’t feel pain?

        I think plants and bacteria do have desires. They are extremely simple desires, but are still desires. The fact that they reproduce suggests a desire to procreate. The fact that many organisms keep living after procreation means there is a desire for basic survival. It is striking how you discount several to embrace the mammals.

        Anthropomorphism is at issue, since you’re asking for a comparison between species based on Human ethics. In doing so you actually acknowledge the supremacy of the Human since there is no known bovine ethics with which to compare. Therefore, you have given human traits to the bovine in order to even have a discussion on whether a bovine qualifies for basic Human rights?!

        That’s pretty jacked.

        But for the sake of discussion, I’ll move on and assume you’re correct sentient beings. What is your take on the execution of Human criminals and murderers? That aspect factors into the discussion if we decree bovines have Human qualities.

        Bill

  15. Mr. Gogan

    Mijnheer,

    I feel that your “challenge” of writing a future essay is an excellent one. I feel that you chose a poor topic (I’m sure you got heated as you wrote it and it came out worse than inteneded), so I would encourage you to “continue to look at the question” and answer the following: “What would happen to the United States of America if everyone chose to become vegans?” I would love to read your opinions on this and see the other side of things. I personally do not feel our Nation or the World would survive without meat products. I have tried to look at as much economic and scientific information as I could.

    Note: I have already put the finger to the key and come up with my version of the essay and speaking on Ashley Grace’s behalf, I have already challenged her to do the same and she came up with a brillant answer.

    Anne,

    I loved your euphemism. Look forward to reading future works of Ashley Grace’s.

    M. Gogan

    • Ben

      Mr. Gogan,

      Why imply that Mijnheer got heated? That really doesn’t seem fair. He sounded perfectly reasonable and sober to me.

      I have to say I am amazed that you embrace the label of “euphemism” so rapidly. Perhaps you are doing it ironically? It is, after all, a fallacy that foils thinking critically.

      Ben

  16. A. Smith

    Anne, I enjoy reading your blogs and have recommended it to non farm friends. This one has been an interesting dialog to follow, which seems to be a global discussion. I commend you and Ashley Grace for posting the essay knowing you would have a lot of subsequent reponses.
    Your thoughts and time on this is appreciated.
    Ann S.

  17. Rex

    Gus Cholas, DVM tells a story from his growing up that speaks to the issues of “harvest” and the line between animals and us.
    His family were Greek sheep ranchers on the western slope of Colorado.
    Every year he had to take care of several orphan lambs or bottle babies. One year his dad handed him the knife and told him it was time to harvest the orphan lamb. Of course he burst out crying. His dad responded what is planted in the field. He said “oats” and his dad said “no, it’s harvest”. Then he pointed at the potatoe patch and said “what is that?” Gus replied “potatoes” and again his dad said, “No, it’s harvest.” Then he pointed at the lamb, “That is harvest. Now”.

    Anything that lives for our benefit is “harvest”.

  18. jamie

    I have been to a packing house myself and ever since I was a baby we have harvested our animals that we raised. I can honestly say at the crack of the gun the animal feels no more. So it wont be hurting and as far as it knows its just another day out in the pasture eating grass the animal doesnt know it is going to be harvested and eaten.

  19. Anne, you are a wise and wonderful mother. Ashley Grace, you are mature and thoughtful beyond your years. Ashley, I wonder how many other writers as young as yourself will have written as fine an essay. Good luck.
    Maureen

  20. Meat is neither ethical nor unethical, moral nor immoral. It is how it is raised and prepared that is the issue. The same both for meat, vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, etc. Meat humanely raised on pasture and ‘waste’ goods is highly sustainable, ethical and moral. Even better is when it is raised by small family farms. And for extra karma, support your local, small, family farms raising foods of what ever types fit your fancy.

    Our family raises pastured pigs. Check it out at http://smf.me where you can see a video and get snuffled in the face by a pig out in the field.

  21. Pingback: The Psychologist… | Feed Yard Foodie

  22. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful
    post. Thank you for supplying these details.

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