Conscientious Omnivore, Vegans vs Vegetarians, and Animals and Other Values
1. Conscientious omnivore
a. One who eats meat, only if ecological consequences are acceptable and animals lived good lives and had painless deaths (e.g., Michael Pollan)
b. Hunting as a way of getting meat
i. Animal suffers less
ii. Less ecological affects than being a supermarket vegetarian
iii. Hunting a sacred way of participating in nature?
iv. Aboriginal hunting?
c. Buying organic food
i. Free-range eggs or non-caged eggs (“happy eggs”)
ii. Organic meat eater (lived good lives and humanely slaughtered?)
2. Jamieson reply
a. In U.S.: Quite uncertain exactly what one is buying when one buys organic meat, milk or free-range eggs
b. U.S. Dept of Agriculture has not fined or prosecuted for violations anyone since adopted its organic standards in 2002 (2008 claim)
c. Much organic food comes from overseas where no oversight
d. Much organic agriculture is industrialized (thousands of animals produced in one farm)
e. Many fed grain (and thus all ecological impacts of factory farming return)
f. Industry that appeals to compassionate omnivores is very different from what people imagine
i. See Pollan’s “Behind the Organic-Industrial Complex”
g. Devising a system of painless slaughter is hard enough for humans, much harder for animals
i. Can’t assume organic animals we eat been painlessly slaughtered
3. Eating sea creatures better?
a. Fish, shrimp, etc. less complex?
b. Bright line?
c. Some fish have substantial memory, ability to learn and cooperate
d. Most scientists think fish are sentient and feel pain
e. Wild caught live better lives, but deaths not great (suffocated as pulled from water or crushed under weight of other fish)
i. % wild caught rapidly declining (now two thirds)
f. Factory farming of sea creatures
i. Pollution from fish farms
ii. Most fish are carnivores and fed fishmeal (which must be fished for)
g. *Eating tuna, salmon, or shrimp involves eating even higher on the food chain than eating pigs or chickens (who are fed grain)
h. 5 pounds of wild fish to produce one pound of farmed fish
i. Most fish sold in NY city advertised as wild salmon were farmed salmon
4. Fallacious reasoning: No animals will be saved if I don’t eat meat (139-140)
a. Little effects are not no effects at all; Imperceptible consequences are real consequences
5. Vegans (no meat, cheese, eggs, or honey) versus vegetarians
a. Dairy industry typically treats animals as badly as the meat industry
b. Egg chickens arguably have worse lives than chickens we eat
Study Questions for Jamieson on Conscientious Omnivore, Vegans vs Vegetarians, and animals and other values (p. 131-144)
1. What are Jamieson’s reasons for worrying about the conscientious omnivore response to the issue of eating animals?
2. Does Jamieson believe it is better to eat sea-creatures?
3. Explain what Jamieson means by imperceptible consequences are real consequences
4. What are vegans and why do they think vegetarianism is not enough?