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Meat or Mate

Cows are sometimes referred to as grass puppies. This is an apt description as when left free to roam, they exhibit many of the same behaviours as dogs, such as playfulness and empathy, creating bonds with people and other animals, as well as taking part in activities like playing fetch. Yet we eat them by the millions. Presumably because we don't know them as individuals. As a thought experiment, then, why do we not eat cats - and dogs in particular? As long as we don’t know them as individuals, what exactly is the ethical difference. (A number of cultures do of course but certainly not in the West.)

This somewhat perplexing contrast will be highlighted in a new reality show to be shown in Britain [1]. The format will have four families take care of animals traditionally raised for their meat: chicken, cows, lambs, pigs. The core question: will this make them less palatable to eat? After several weeks, the families will need to make the choice to eat their new ‘friend’ or to go vegetarian. This might seem like a contrived situation but the point that it makes is entirely valid it seems to me. As highlighted in another blog there ought to be no moral difference or valid distinction to be made just because we 'enjoy' the benefit of raising and killing of animals for our consumption at a distance – delegating the gruesome task.

The evidence shows (and this will be highlighted in a future blog) that animal protein is absolutely not necessary to have a healthy body. And we know unequivocally that a vegetarian or vegan diet is much better for the environment; it is inherently a much more sustainable way of living.


Has anyone else noticed that as soon as one mentions that one is vegan or vegetarian meat eaters immediately become defensive even though they haven’t even been confronted or challenged directly. I think this is because deep down many meat eaters know that there is a clear moral disconnect. One that requires notable mental gymnastics to reconcile.


What about you dear reader? Could you kill and consume a cow you have gotten to know as an individual - as I sentient to being with consciousness and an internal world of emotions such as empathy and fear? If not ,perhaps this it is worth considering the next time you are shopping what that plastic wrapped package of beef represents.

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See also:

Cow before slaughter


We therefore have not embedded this short clip here.


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