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Animals... Friends Or Food?


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#1 locally pwned

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Posted 27 May 2007 - 08:35 PM

MaraM's thread on animal cruelty brought up an issue that I can't seem to resolve in my head.

I, and practically all of us, are offended and sickened by blatant acts of cruelty toward animals. Perhaps the main reason is that we think of these creatures as innocent and therefore forever undeserving of such harm.

But my question is this: where do we draw the line between which animal is a pet and deserves protection, and which animal is food to be slaughtered without a second though? What are the inherent differences between the animals that are given their respective designations?

Now I will be the first to admit that I enjoy eating meat. Man oh man; steak, chicken, bacon, you name it. But when I am enjoying a burger I rarely reflect on the fact that what I am eating came from a living thing.

What's the difference between a cow and a cat? I would absolutely never condone harming cats, let alone killing and eating cats. But then I am forced to ask myself, why am I so comfortable consuming beef? How can I be so vehemently set against harming one animal and so completely passive about harming another?

If you went into the backyard and found your child tormenting a blue jay, you'd intervene, wouldn't you? Yet chickens are killed en-mass.

My guess on this whole conundrum is that these sort of cultural conventions (ie, which animal is used for what) have developed over many years and are so ingrained into society that we rarely even think about them. However, these conventions have changed over time; most dogs, horses, and even cats were at one time or another kept specifically to provide services rather than companionship. However, as the services these creatures rendered have for many of us become obsolete, we kept the animals around and realized that our lives are greatly improved by the companionship, perhaps the very presence, of other creatures.

Now, I am not arguing that we should not eat meat of any sort. All I am doing is analyzing where and why we draw the lines between different species of animals. For one thing, I don't believe that humans are herbivores. We are omnivores, and if memory serves we are unable to create all the nutrients we require without eating at least some meat. On the other hand, many of us in the western cultures eat far more meat than required. Thus, perhaps we could focus on smaller production of meat products, removing the need for large scale factory-style meat production (the practice of which, I would argue, is inherently cruel to livestock).

If we cut back on the amount of meat we consumed, and focused on organic sustainable farms, we would have healthier diets and the animals would live better lives (not to mention all the other negative environmental impacts of large-scale meat production).

Just thinking out loud here.
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#2 bilko

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Posted 02 June 2007 - 11:14 PM

Firstly, killing of any animal humanely is not a problem for me. The problem lies with how the animal is killed.

Now I dont know why but I see every animal as a potential food source, Ive never been hungry/broke enough to eat anthing, or been in the special forces so this is a little bit odd.

Many people just bury their heads in the sand when it comes to meat. They forget their lovely pre-packed cuts of cow, pig, horse, chicken etc were once living creatures. Most of these so called animal lovers are not vegitarian and should google killing methods for their favorite foods. I wont go into details, but most methods appear to be far from humane. Electocution, bolt guns etc. Apparently many animals know when they are in the slaughter houses and get quite distressed.

What makes it ok to eat one animal and not another?

Here in the UK, beef is eaten no problem, yet you mention eating horses and your are looked at like your a little bit sick. Yet when you goto France horse meat is on sale in the butchers.

On a trip to Thailand I stayed with a family, they killed a chicken right in front of me to make some food. I told people at home and they thought it was disgusting, yet have no problem eating at KFC. (wow, never tasted chicken so good, from it walking round the garden to me eating it in less than an hour.)

How many of these animal lovers think nothing of kiiling rats, squirming saying they are disgusting etc (they carry about 70 disease), yet will be quite happy to through bird seed to pidgeons, ohh arnt they lovely (yet they carry about 60 diseases).

Finally.

Shouldnt animal lovers love all life. If thats the case why are they killing all the little bacteria when they use bleach. This is animal cruelty on a mass scale. :thumbsup:
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#3 BlackSpyder

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:26 AM

Things that taste good: Deer, Cow, Pig, Rabbit, Quail, Dove, Snake, Chicken, Catfish, Squirrel

Things that dont taste good: Possum, Rat, Pidgin, Dog, Cat, Horse,

Things best left unhunted due to various things like lack of meat : Rat, Pidgin, Cat, Possum

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#4 mihangel

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 05:24 AM

I've been vegetarian for a number of years now. I just couldn't see how i could claim to be an animal lover, showing respect and compassion for our fellow animals on this planet, and yet be prepared and willing to eat animal flesh.
I also saw some videos about the treatment of animals in the slaughter houses or abbatoirs. It's horrific, there's a world of difference between your neatly packaged vacuum sealed flesh and how it gets' there.The suffering these animals endure is indescribable. The animals often realise they're close to death and defecate.(Check out my signature). I lasted three minutes before switching it off. But be warned, it's not pretty and may cause some distress.Not as much as the animals endure though.
I suppose it depends on your viewpoint, are they lesser creatures to be ruthlessly exploited, or fellow creatures worthy of respectful treatment.

Edited by mihangel, 03 June 2007 - 05:29 AM.


#5 seafox14

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 06:15 AM

Originally, before sin, humans as well as all animals of every type were vegetarians. Sin and the curse that God placed on the world for mans rejection of Him changed all of that. Still, it was not until after the flood that People started to eat meat. When the Millennial Kingdom of Christ starts after the Tribulation, everything will go back to vegetarian diet.

Until then, I'll enjoy meat while it is available (I love to fish).

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Edited by seafox14, 03 June 2007 - 06:16 AM.

5 So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Donít be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world

#6 cowsgonemadd3

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 12:36 PM

Not eating meat kills thousands of people and animals die even more. That is if we stop eating meat.
Simply saying not eating meat is going to help save the animals is not true. I hear this from celebrities who hate to kill animals and eat them so they go veggie.

By not killing animals they hit us on the road and get over populated and cause disease and sickness in themselves and us. They come into our area looking for food more and more because there population grows and more humans die.

We are carnivores not vegitarians by nature so eating all veggies is not healthy for you.

#7 MaraM

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:47 PM

A good question, locally pwned.

Re: "But my question is this: where do we draw the line between which animal is a pet and deserves protection, and which animal is food to be slaughtered without a second though? What are the inherent differences between the animals that are given their respective designations?"

I think it's truly a cultural thing. As other members have mentioned, different countries consider certain animals food and others either pets or sacred - and some consider all animals 'off limits'. (But suspect if I were on the verge of starving, even a rat would turn into a food source).

I consider myself lucky because I spent summers on a small farm and was taught at any early age that some of the animals were not 'pets' , yet even the animals slated for slaughter were to be treated well until killed - and when killed, where to be killed 'cleanly'. Somehow this makes it easier to accept that food comes from both gardens and animals.

None of this takes away from the fact that our society permits both horrible living conditions and horrible ways of killing our food. I have no answers to this other than speaking out and if given the option, only buying from 'family farmers' rather than the alternative. (Not always possible, I know).

We humans are very good at 'blanking out' our food sources when shopping - and perhaps it's a good thing as the alternative would be for all of us to raise our own food and do our own slaughtering, just as our ancestors did.
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#8 JohnWho

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 02:50 PM

Re: "But my question is this: where do we draw the line between which animal is a pet and deserves protection, and which animal is food to be slaughtered ...?"



That's easy Mara -

Pass/fail question: "Does it taste like chicken?"








Just kidding.

I agree - it's mostly a cultural thing.


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but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#9 BlackSpyder

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 03:00 PM

We humans are very good at 'blanking out' our food sources when shopping - and perhaps it's a good thing as the alternative would be for all of us to raise our own food and do our own slaughtering, just as our ancestors did.


Some of us "heathens" (as my g/f is fond of calling me) still do. There is nothing as good as a freshly slaughtered steak or a home cured Ham (Brown Sugar or Smoked). My g/f cant get past the "wild" taste of many things that I cook like venison roast, deer burgers (very healthy low fat), or rabbit stew. When I was growing up we did it all from the raising, butchering, and cooking. We killed about 50% of the meat we ate in a year.

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#10 MaraM

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 03:01 PM

Why do I suspect chicken is your favourite meat? :thumbsup:

I lived on cariboo for an entire winter (picking off bits of hair from my meal taught me a lot about skinning - grin) - and also learned from a dear old prospector that wild meat that has a pesky 'gamey' flavour (such as bear) can be vastly improved by soaking it over night in a milk and water solution and draining before cooking.

Feeling squeamish about certain meat sources truly does depend on both culture and necessity.
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#11 arcman

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 04:35 PM

We've kept animals both as beasts of burden / companions and hunted them for food according to our purposes for thousands of years.
I think it's important for us to be good stewards of our resources, including animal populations, but when it comes down to it we are still predatory animals. Being squeamish about "meeting the cow" is a really recent development considering how long our species has been carnivorous.
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#12 locally pwned

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 04:39 PM

I consider myself lucky because I spent summers on a small farm and was taught at any early age that some of the animals were not 'pets' , yet even the animals slated for slaughter were to be treated well until killed - and when killed, where to be killed 'cleanly'. Somehow this makes it easier to accept that food comes from both gardens and animals.


Exactly. It seems to me that there is a big difference between a cow that's lived a life free to roam in a pasture and at the end of its life is killed humanely...and the industrialized method so much of our beef actually comes from.

The industrialization of meat production has some interesting side effects. Not only the obvious cruelty to the creatures and the environmental damage such an industry causes; but it actually induces us to eat more meat. Ironic, no? The idea is to maximize profit by producing the most amount of product with the smallest amount of area/resources. Well folks, we live in time when most of us are in a conscious effort to minimize the food we consume!

The point is, why not boycott mass-produced meat in favor of small farms? It's better for us, it's better for the cows, it's better for the small farmer. As was pointed out, we are not herbivores. But large amounts of meat in our diet is not a good thing either. So reduced production of beef eliminates the need for industrialized meat production while improving our diets. It's win-win!

By not killing animals they hit us on the road and get over populated and cause disease and sickness in themselves and us. They come into our area looking for food more and more because there population grows and more humans die



Well, if you are referring to overpopulation of deer, I would argue that the root cause is the changes in the environment humans have caused. Reduced habitat, elimination of natural predators, ect causes deer population to spike. Humans who enjoy hunting use this as an excuse; however I would argue that renewal of ecosystems would be the best way to maintain stable populations of such creatures.

Finally.

Shouldnt animal lovers love all life. If thats the case why are they killing all the little bacteria when they use bleach. This is animal cruelty on a mass scale.


Yar! That's why I am trying to look at this from all angles. There's no way to simply say, "this is right and that is wrong." There is going to be compromise somewhere.

Originally, before sin, humans as well as all animals of every type were vegetarians. Sin and the curse that God placed on the world for mans rejection of Him changed all of that. Still, it was not until after the flood that People started to eat meat. When the Millennial Kingdom of Christ starts after the Tribulation, everything will go back to vegetarian diet.


Did pre-carnivorous carnivores have canine teeth, claws, stereoscopic vision, ect, that we assosciate with meat eaters today? If so, how did they eat grass with canines? :flowers:

By the way, I like to fish too. However, I have found that being outdoors, sitting in a boat, drinking beers all day...is a lot of fun even if no fish happen to be involved in the equation! :thumbsup:
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#13 Animal

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 06:12 PM

I have adopted this philosophy after reading a signature that I saw on another forum I visit.

"There is room for all God's creatures......... Right next to my mashed potatoes." :thumbsup:

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#14 JohnWho

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 06:17 PM

You know,

I really would worry if an animal were to look at us and ask,

"friends Or Food?"


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#15 Layback Bear

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Posted 03 June 2007 - 09:48 PM

Plants are living things until you yank them out of the ground and chop them up. I must admit they are easier to catch.




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