Thursday, January 14, 2010

Ethics and Animals

I truly care about animals and was offended by a statement on another blog that stated "If you truly cared about animals, you wouldn't consume animal products."

I am a pescatarian. I eat fish, eggs, and dairy but no beef, pork, chicken, etc. I made the switch from meat-loving carnivore to pescatarian during Summer 2009. Yes, part of my reason was that I felt uncomfortable eating chicken and cows who had lived brutal lives. I originally was going to continue to eat humanely-raised meat (free range beef cows are actually treated fairly well) but then realized that wouldn't work with my finances (those products tend to be pricey). I do try to ensure that my eggs and milk come from farms whose practices I agree with and can support. I doubt I'm 100% perfect about this, but I try and that, I believe, is what matters.

I honestly believe that if everyone who "truly cared" about animals stopped consuming any animal products, there would be no incentive for producers to care about their animals or try to treat them any better. We would only have inhumane factory farms because no one but foodies would be buying from the more humane farms. More humane meat, eggs, and dairy are more expensive than factory farmed meat, eggs, and dairy. People who eat the more humane products usually do so because they care about the animals.

I'm a capitalist in that I strongly feel that nowadays the best way to change a business practice is through use of our immense buying power. I think that the majority of businesses will go as far as their consumers allow them to go in degrading animals' lives and destroying the planet. We restrict permission when we buy from other producers who have better practices. That shows the larger producers that there is money to be made from being good caretakers.

I buy what I buy and avoid buying what I don't because I care about animals and I care about our planet. How dare someone claim that I don't truly care about animals because I believe in supporting dairy farmers who are trying to practice more humane methods of raising dairy cows.

I don't think that anyone has a right to judge others. When people in the animal rights camp make sweeping statements like the one that pissed me off, they damage the cause.

I can't tell you how much I wanted to eat a burger when I read that doing so would mean I didn't truly care about animals. I know plenty of meat eaters who do a ton for animals and animal rights. I also know several who maybe don't give a crap. You know what? I know vegans who are that way too--some would do anything to help animals, and others who really only care about judging those of us who love honey and cheese.

No comments: