Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Ethics of Eating Meat

Did you see the SBS Insight show on The Ethics of Eating Meat?  You can WATCH IT HERE if you like.  I have not watched it yet, but I am going to talk about the subject anyway.  I was on the show and I have no desire to see myself on National Television and as such have not watched it yet....

ethic -plural of eth·ics (Noun)

1. Moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior.

2. The moral correctness of specified conduct.

Firstly, I should state that I eat meat.  I always have and I can't see myself stopping at any point in the future.  I believe that growing sheep and beef on good grazing land is the most efficient way to convert the protein from the pasture that we cannot eat into a protein that we can.

Given the majority of the population eats meat, and given the above definition of the word 'ethics' I believe there is nothing wrong with enjoying meat in your diet.

Not all meat is created equal, but it all has it's use.

What is culturally acceptable in some countries is not considered normal here, but that does not make it unethical in those cultures. Is it right (or ethical) to discriminate against a whole culture for it's beliefs in regards to what it is ethical to eat? I don't think so.  Make a personal choice, but remember that others may feel differently.

We grow our own meat here, both beef and lamb.  The sheep we have are meat sheep which are a breed that shed their wool (or hair) and as such do not require shearing, mulsing or crutching.

We slaughter, butcher and package here.  What could be more ethical?  No transport, no stress, no carbon footprint.  Not organic, but carefully managed.  I should mention that I  admire anyone who can make a go of organic livestock production, but that it is not for me.  I believe that organic is not always better.  I would give my sick child antibiotics to ease their pain and illness, and I would do the same for my animals when needed.

I wouldn't eat just anything, but can I judge those that would?

The only times I would consider the act of eating meat to be less than ethical would be if the animal was not treated well during it's life or not slaughtered in a humane way.  This also means different things to many people.  Having been inside around 45 Australian Abattoirs I am glad we have high standards here and I am very glad that Australian farmers are great advocates for animal welfare.  Trust me on that, our animals in many cases are our income, or our ability to feed our family.  Also, I would not eat something endangered, I don't want to be part of a species disappearing.

Edit: I should have said a big thank you to SBS Insight for the opportunity to be on the show.  It was  a wonderful experience and we all enjoyed it a lot.  SBS was wonderful in organising the flights, motel, taxi tabs and someone to look after the children while we were on air.  Thank you :)


TaraMay said...

It was a very interesting show.

Courtney said...

what cute pics!!!

Sally said...

Oh I am so disappointed that I missed the show and this post way back when... ohhh... I just checked the date and I have a good excuse - I had a baby on Aug 23!!! Anyway I digress. What a wonderful experience to have been on Insight. I try to catch it when I can but have to say I missed this episode(probably too busy doing last minute nesting stuff). I'm a vegetarian. Have been since I was eleven years old. I just don't "get" eating meat. I don't even "get" eating non-meat that is made to taste like meat. Weird. My daughter however is totally different - she LOVES the stuff. Eats bacon, sausages, chicken, fish... and I'm sure she'd finish off a steak too when she gets the chance. My son - he is not so keen. He'll eat it sometimes but would rather have a big bowl of fruit salad. Strange isn't it? What kinds of protein we eat - is it all cultural or genetics and culture too? Everyone in my family ate meat and yet the idea even before I became vegetarian just never appealed to me. I think you're so right when you say respecting difference is the key. Life is more interesting when there is difference ... and yes - sometimes that means ethics are different too.