Should We Eat Animals? Your Thoughts.
Dishcast listeners tackle the question after our chat with vegan activist John Oberg.
A listener does a double-take:
A few minutes into your discussion with John Oberg, I thought to myself, “Are these guys getting shitfaced while they record this?” Both of you were talking slow, slurring your speech. Then I noticed that I had my pod player set on ¾ speed, which I do sometimes when I listen to my French lessons. LOL.
Oberg lost me with his story about trying to protect the deer from being culled at the hands of the evil hunters and DNR [Michigan’s Dept of Natural Resources]. There are rational, legitimate reasons for culling, many of which have to do with the welfare of the deer themselves. If Oberg wishes to alleviate animal suffering, perhaps he should consider the merits of a quick death over a slow death — after a long winter starving because of overpopulation due to the obliteration of any natural predator to keep the herd in check. And what about the numerous other sentient creatures that have had their habitat destroyed by a deer population that has completely razed the forest? I live in NJ, where the deer explosion has wreaked havoc on the local environment.
As for Oberg’s stance on veganism, his overriding justification is to alleviate animal suffering. Yet he frequently sidestepped your questions about humane farming practices by dismissing that perspective as unrealistic. Is that more unrealistic than convincing the planet’s population to abandon tens of thousands of years of cultural reinforcement on the benefits and pleasures of meat?
Look, I can get behind the humane treatment of animals. And eating less meat is not a bad thing for the planet. My family and I try to practice both of these tenets. But abstinence from meat eating is not the only way to do this. Does Oberg really believe that my neighbor’s small flock of egg-layers in his backyard are suffering any more than his dog or his cat in captivity?
My wife was raised on a farm, and they treated their livestock with kindness and care. I suspect that the cows lived a far less stressful life than their natural counterparts, who are always on the verge of starvation or predation. Let’s not romanticize nature. It’s a cruel world.
Humans can raise animals for food and clothing and do so in a manner that provides those animals with an existence and a very decent life.
As for Oberg’s alternative to eating animals, he suggests we consume factory-produced, energy-intensive, highly-processed foods of the most unnatural variety imaginable. How could this possibly be good for the body, the soul or the planet? I cannot understand the obsession of so many vegans and vegetarians with fake-meat substitutes engineered to resemble flesh. If you choose to be vegan, for God’s sake, eat vegetables, not Frankenfood.
Speaking of culling, a quick story — and disturbing:
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial