Is there a place for ethically raised meat at the dinner table? I asked this question in an earlier post, and I will address the issue now.
First of all, I encourage anyone wondering whether to eat meat or not to do their own research. Know where your food is coming from and make an informed decision.
My opinion is based on these assumptions:
1. vegan and vegetarian diets are perfectly healthy for humans.
2. animals are sentient beings with consciousness and emotions.
3. you should treat others as you would want to be treated yourself.
The fundamental thing to understand about eating meat is whether or not the animal is made to suffer involuntarily in order for you to be able to eat it. If the animal is made to suffer, I believe (based on assumption #3 above) that it’s wrong to eat it.
So, let’s define “ethical meat” as meat from an animal that has not been made to suffer in order for you to be able to eat it. I think it’s safe to say that this excludes meat from any animal that has been involuntarily killed, since to be killed against your will would be to suffer.
So, perhaps we could define “ethical meat” instead as “meat that comes from an animal that has voluntarily given it’s life.”
How do you get an animal to volunteer to give it’s life for you? Good question. Well, in short, you ask God to send you a volunteer, and if a volunteer comes, then you give thanks to God and to the volunteer, and then you kill the animal in a way that causes the least amount of suffering as possible. Then you show respect to the animal by not wasting any of it’s body, and at some point along the way you acknowledge on a spiritual level the great sacrifice the animal has made for you, probably via an appropriate ritual, ceremony, or prayer. In this way, you and the animal are in a mutual agreement. There is a balance in the exchange of energy.
I think the above conditions are pretty easily obtained out in nature, as in hunting and fishing for food, as long as it’s in a sustainable way. Unfortunately, today, a lot of species of fish are at risk of becoming endangered or extinct due to over-fishing, but that’s another topic altogether.
Indigenous cultures around the world have established rituals and prayers specifically for this purpose, honed over hundreds or even thousands of years of experience. If you really don’t want to be vegetarian, consider getting your meat from a hunter who follows the local indigenous protocol.
Is there a place for ethical meat at the dinner table? My answer is yes, as long as it is in fact ethical meat.
What’s your answer?