Animal rights and wrongs

I’ve often found it interesting how many of my friends are fierce animal lovers — but only cute animals, the kind you don’t eat.  They’ll protest when someone who mistreats dogs isn’t imprisoned, and they’ll get upset about the treatment of whales and dolphins, but they also talk about how much they love bacon.  Cute-Dog-dogs-33698322-1024-768

I’ve had them explain to me that it’s two different things, because some animals are raised solely for slaughter.  I am not certain why that matters.  If dogs were raised solely for slaughter, then it would be fine to mistreat them, too?  (Many of these same people also scream when they hear about other cultures that eat dogs.)

Some try to do the right thing, by only buying meat from animals that are “free range” meaning that the animals led torture-free lives (well, until they were killed).  Of course, “free range” is one of those phrases like “all natural” — there is no official government agency deciding who can use the term, and there have been plenty of examples of farms claiming their animals are free-range when they’re really only slightly less crowded than the factory farms where the animals can’t even turn around in their pens.

As I posted previously, I am a pescatarian, which means I eat fish — so you can call me a hypocrite too if you want to.  The fish I eat are pretty low on the evolutionary ladder and yes, although they do feel pain, they are usually not raised in inhumane conditions, either.  So I’m not 100% consistent;  at least I am trying to practice what I preach.

I’m really not going anywhere profound with this.  I have no great final comment that sums up everything with wit and insight.  I’m just hoping some of my friends realize that to those of us who don’t eat farm animals, you seem, well, inconsistent.  Discriminating against animals based on whether you eat them or not doesn’t seem right to me.


Vegetarians and cloning

I discovered a few years ago that I am a pescatarian, which means I don’t eat meat except for fish. I had never heard the term before that, and possibly it was made up around that time.

I stopped eating meat when I was in college in the late 70s, so no matter what my mother-in-law thinks, there’s nothing she’s going to say that I haven’t already heard that will make my wife and I change.Spockha

There are two main reasons I don’t eat meat.

First: health. Every reputable doctor will tell you that the less red meat you eat, the healthier you will be. Can’t get much less than zero, right? Seriously, remember those old food pyramids? Meat was at the top because you were supposed to eat it rarely, not because you were supposed to put it on top of your salad. Worse yet, most meat these days is shot up with chemicals and additives that make people sick.

Second: as a protest against factory farms. You know those torture prisons, where the animals can’t even turn around in their pens. I don’t like the idea of my money going to support them.

I also don’t want to be hypocritical about it. I’m not one of those people who cries about cruelty to dogs and cats while munching down on a hamburger. I don’t think we should make a distinction between cute animals and non-cute animals. They all feel pain.

So I’m happy with the announcement that they’re moving closer to cloning meat. If they can do it without additives and chemicals, all the better. We’re not talking about cloning an entire animal from birth (which should be treated the same as any other animal) — this is cloning a side of bacon, absent from the pig. Kind of scary and science-fictiony, but hey, that’s the direction we’re headed.

No animal is harmed, and, like a Star Trek Food Replicator, you can have meat every once in a while without causing pain to anyone.

Even Spock would call that logical.

They eat horses, don’t they?

I see a lot of outrage lately about horses being used in meat.

I do understand the outrage in one respect — If you think you are buying beef and find out that it’s not, you have every right to be mad. That’s just fraud.

But on the other hand, I don’t quite understand how some people can get tremendously upset about certain animals being used for meat and not others. These people cry about cruelty to dogs or horses being used for meat while they’re happily downing their steaks and pork.

Why is it cruel to eat some animals but perfectly fine to eat others?