Opinion: When torture and killing is morally accepted

Opinion: College for dummies

Robert Thomas Young

Robert Thomas Young

Robert Thomas Young is a senior philosophy and psychology major and columnist for The Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected]

I have two German shepherds. I would often question how some cultures could eat dogs, something most people in this country consider immoral and repulsive. I started thinking about what attributes give dogs and cats a special status in our society.

Culture is the most logical answer. Our agrarian foundation is based on working with animals for farming, with meat and milk supplying much needed protein to our recent ancestors.

Our system of farming developed long before the science of modern nutrition, and our culture reflects this.

Protein is a necessary part of our diet. It’s not unethical to eat animals if you need them for nourishment. That may sound strange coming from a devout vegetarian, but pragmatism has a lot to do with ethics.

I often use the example that I would start fishing if I was trapped on an island. I’m not on a deserted island; I live in a society with an abundance of protein and vitamin sources that don’t involve killing.

Native Americans had limited farming technology, and their need for animal protein was exactly that:: a need. Not only did they use everything from their kills, they prayed and gave thanks to the animal for its sacrifice.

Do you give thanks to the deceased chicken when you consume its flesh? How about the 1,000 different cows encompassed in a single hamburger?

Most Americans don’t come face to face with their food. This is one reason for the emotional disconnection from animals. Their carcasses are sold, cut, ground and packaged so we don’t have to think about the death of the animal.

Native Americans had to balance the need for life-giving protein and the ethics of the animals they ate. Empathy and thanks are easily acquired when you have to look into the eyes of the animal whose life you take. Empathy is the reason you don’t eat Fido, but Porky’s on the menu.

Not only are we not very thankful to the animals we consume, but there is an even larger ethical issue at hand. We no longer need them for nourishment.

Nutrition and food production has changed drastically in the last century. The entire U.S. population can get its protein and vitamin needs through a balanced vegetarian diet. This is a fact that can be learned in an intro nutrition course.

So, if you can be healthy (arguably more healthy) without eating animals, then shouldn’t you?

If you do not NEED to eat animals, what gives you the right to kill them? Aren’t our morals based on a higher ideal than “might makes right?”

We take baby calves and chain them to the ground to keep their muscles soft for tasty veal while their mothers are enslaved as dairy cows, giving us the milk intended for their soon to be eaten babies.

We ignore the torture, mutilation and killing of billions of animals because we are “mightier.” We invent many reasons and justifications for our lust to taste them.

Contact Robert Thomas Young at [email protected]. [email protected]