Killing animals for food
The fact that there is a long tradition involving the slaughter of animals for food does not justify the killing of animals. In a similar manner, one would argue that the fact that Africans had been held in slavery as a tradition did not stop their liberation. A utilitarian argument justifies the removal of pain in the process of killing the animals. A nonconsequentialist will propose the abolition of slaughtering animals for food. The analysis examines the consequence of abolition and the removal of pain as an alternative.
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The utilitarian argues that man has the alternative of eliminating pain in the slaughtering process. However, there is the challenge of removing pain without creating the potential to harm man’s physiological processes. Mankind would need some chemicals to eliminate pain during the slaughtering of animals. There is no better method because in hospitals chemicals are used in anesthesia.
The question that most people would consider is whether man would be willing to consume meat knowing that chemicals have been used to reduce pain. In hospitals, it is done once. Meat is consumed frequently in a person’s lifetime. The impact of the chemicals on the human body can be unpleasant and unwanted. Better alternatives to reducing pain in this manner are rare. The best human beings can do is to make the process to last only a few minutes and to use the sharpest blades that cause the least resistance.
The nonconsequentialist proposal for a complete ban on killing animals would be difficult to enforce in its entirety. What comes into mind is that lions kill other animals for food. If they are denied their kill, they may starve to death.
Killing other animals is cruelty. In contrast, cruelty can be described in relative terms when there is a valid need for survival. Stopping human beings to feed on other animals and allowing lions to hunt may not prevent the suffering of animals. It also shows that the suffering of animals cannot be considered in absolute terms.
The consequences of a complete ban on slaughtering animals for food will be extensive. One consequence is that animals that are kept only for meat may become an endangered species. People will stop rearing animals because most of them are kept for economic benefits. Those that produce milk may still be reared until denying the calf part of the milk is considered animal abuse. The end result may be a situation where it is better not to have them at all than to have them with the intention of killing them.
The impact on animals kept for profit is unknown when they cannot be used to generate profits because of the ban. Where do animals kept for profit go when a complete ban is enforced? Keeping them without pursuing profits is uneconomical. Forcing people to keep them because they already had them may result into massively larger protests than protests for animal rights.
Some of these species cannot survive in the wild because of their long-term association with man. It makes the consideration of an animal in its free state a weaker argument in such a situation. “Animals in their free state” is a weaker argument because some animals in their free state attack each other.
Gathering the animals in a reserve will also result in large numbers that cannot rely on the food available in the reserves. The reason is that keeping animals without the balance of nature soon results in overcrowding. It shows that the consequences of a complete ban will be unfavorable for both human beings and the animals.
Pains and suffering are the basic consideration among all warm-blooded animals. Many philosophers agree that animals are experiencing pain. In cases where there is no proof to state otherwise, animals should be treated as if they experience pain. Slaughtering of animals causes pain and suffering to the animals. As a result, man should use other alternatives.
There is the alternative of using proteins from leguminous plants. Animals are mainly slaughtered for proteins and the taste of meat. Food crops offer alternatives to proteins. However, they fail to provide a substitute to the taste of meat. On the other hand, the taste of meat can be considered pleasure. It is less significant compared to the suffering of animals being slaughtered.
My perception is that the banning of butcheries is likely to cause more harm than good. The impact cannot be assessed completely. For example, cutting off meat supply may cause a high demand on beans and similar products. The prices of the products will rise. The products are the main source of protein for people who cannot afford meat.
If they become unaffordable for people with low income, low protein intake may have an impact in their bodily functions. However, in the long run people will divert resources for the production of alternatives.
Why put more weight on how animals are going to die than how human beings will live if animals are not slaughtered for food? Prolonged suffering may be considered cruelty. Provided that animals are not kept in a manner that causes suffering and their slaughter is reduced to a few minutes of pain, animals for slaughter should not be banned.
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Animals for experiments
The basic consideration of suffering leads to the conclusion that using animals for experiments is based on discrimination against animals. When the question is asked whether one would be willing to perform an experiment on an orphaned child, it becomes clear that it is unlikely to happen. The procedure is unpleasant to the experimenters and the human population. The child has a connection to mankind, even though he may not have a relative.
The intrinsic value of a human being may be considered “high-sounding”, but it has a real impact on human thinking. One may consider the plans that the child might have that some animals lack. However, some animals also show indication of having plans by building their habitat.
The property that the child may have when he becomes an adult may be considered. Animals’ ownership of property cannot be confirmed. The worth of an adult human being and the worth of an adult animal are greatly different. To solve the puzzle of whether animals should be used for experiments, alternatives and consequences of not undertaking the experiments are used.
One of the arguments raised for using animals in experiments is that they help to make millions of people happy or cured from certain diseases. Consider the extent of damage when a child is used. When a child is used, the entire human population may be upset if the information is shared.
When an animal is used in isolation, the other animals are unlikely to be upset. Only a single animal suffers. That is only true if the other animals do not become upset when one of their own is missing. Using a single animal in an experiment does not cause extensive damage as using an orphaned child. Using a child violates a great human population’s sentience by upsetting the experimenters as well as any other human being who is informed.
Another argument is to examine whether experimenters have an alternative to using animals. The only possible alternative is to use human beings. Human beings usually volunteer to become part of experiments after it has passed the initial tests in animals. It will look improper to put more weight on an animal with limited interests than a human being whose rights can be violated in many ways. The argument of moral standing is that each interest has to be considered in separation.
Human beings have many interests that using a single human being violates many interests of the individual and those related to him. Human beings cannot be an alternative. Human beings have no other option than to use animals in the initial stages of experiments. The matter of alternatives also rules out the matter of using experiments for pleasure. Man should not experiment with animals for pleasure because there are not compelled by need.
The consequence of not undertaking the experiments is that new medicine cannot be sold if it has not been tested. Man will have to take the drugs untested or die of certain diseases. How many people will be willing to see their relatives and friends die because animals cannot be used for experiments? Cruelty occurs when animals are caused to suffer unnecessarily. In some experiments, pain is reduced by treating them as if they were human beings.
In most experiments, the effect of the drug under study is unknown. The experimenter is not aware of the amount of pain that the animal goes through as a result of the drug or chemical. The animal has limited ways to express the amount of pain it is going through. Experiments violate the basic consideration of pain and suffering that all animals need to be given.
I think that animals should be used only for compelling experiments. The main reason is that man does not have an alternative to the usage of animals rather than using himself.
The consequence of failing to use animals in experiments is that new medicine to treat animals cannot be guaranteed. As a result, more people and animals may experience a lot of pain when they resolve to use untested medicine. The utilitarian concept of reducing pain is also unlikely because the main experiment is to examine whether it can cause injury and pain to animals.
Crowding animals for profits
The utilitarian argument is that animals should be provided with whatever they need so that they do not suffer. The nonconsequentialist argument is that animals should be given an environment similar to their natural environment. Solving the dilemma uses the same concept as the other two problems. One checks whether there are better alternatives and the impact of applying the alternatives to the lives of mankind.
The crowding of animals reduces the cost of meat. If animals were raised in spacious environments as their natural habitat, the cost of raising them will be very high. Very few people would be able to afford them on a regular basis. The issue of space does not affect only animals.
Human beings as well do not find enough space to do all the things they would want to do for pleasure. In a similar manner, the birds are denied space to bathe in soil. The nonconsequentialist argument that requires animals to be given enough space similar to their natural environment appears weaker because in their natural environment the animals attack each other for food.
A utilitarian argument is that animals should be crowded provided that they do not suffer. There is difficulty in drawing the line on the suffering caused by overcrowding. Some animals seem to indicate that they are not suffering. However, denying animals the space to turn around may be considered a source of suffering. Provided that the crowding does not result in suffering, the animals should be reared for profit.
Crowding animals violates their interests. It violates the fact that animals are sentient. As in the case of birds, they would like to perch on twigs and bathe in soil. The nonconsequentialist argument is that no being should deny another the right to live without suffering.
My perception is that the crowding of animals makes meat affordable to most people. However, there is a certain level of overcrowding that should not be allowed. Animals that need sunlight should be allowed to have it as much as they need food. Any economic interest that leads man to make animals suffer and has an alternative should be banned.
Overcrowding animals is not necessary for human survival. Giving the animals a little more space to allow them turn around will not make the cost of meat unaffordable. Animals should be provided with enough space to eat and rest. The cost of meat may rise, but it will still be affordable. However, to allow them enough space as their natural environment may appear economically unviable.