Why Eat Meat?
Few people would argue for the ethical consumption of all meat. For instance, have you found anyone who would promote the egregious act of eating human meat? Slightly less startling would be discovering the brazen and callous person who would condone consuming rare species like the leatherback sea turtle, kakapo parrot, or the white rhino. However, many would defend the eating of some form of meat. If voting with one’s mouth is an indication, 97% of adults in North America regularly eat at least some poultry, beef, or fish. Being a carnivore is culturally acceptable and widely practiced. Why does the vast majority of the population believe it’s OK to consume some meat choices? From a pragmatic standpoint, meat is one of the best options for acquiring the protein a body needs for a healthy life. The results are beneficial. From a hedonistic standpoint, consuming meat is pleasurable. It’s an enjoyable activity which people often do in a family setting over the dinner table. Adults and children devouring meat while talking, laughing, and loving is a picture of the fullness of life. From a utilitarian standpoint it could be argued that meat eating brings about the greatest good. The pinnacle events in life, like weddings, funerals, Thanksgiving, and picnic baskets would all decline in significance apart from meat. Think of the very richness and variety of life reflected in the bio-diversity found in meat choices. Since things exist such as pickled herring, bacon wrapped scallops, and pecan encrusted tenderloin with juniper berries it could be argued people would be cheated if they were denied meat. Plato would likely suggest the one who does not desire meat is unfit to eat it. Certainly we live on a generous Earth that gives with abundance. As a result, wouldn’t this gracious planet be offended if its best gifts were rejected? Is it not unreasonable to desire one’s gifts be accepted with gladness? Imagine gifting a firm Alaskan Sockeye only to get a snub rebuff, ‘Thank you, but no.’ Frankly, it’s not nice to the giver or the salmon. Rather, meat eating is gratefulness. It’s a way of being thankful to the source and the animals themselves.
Steve Whitlock Highlands Ranch, Colorado 4/2012 In response to the New York Times contest found here… http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/magazine/tell-us-why-its-ethical-to-eat-meat-a-contest.html
My entry into the New York Times writing contest on why eating meat is ethical.