Why Are Certain Animals Ok to Eat and not Others?

Posted by at 6:59PM

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I came across this BBC article called “Cruelty in the Kitchen” on how some animals are ok to eat (Whales in Japan, and Dog in Vietnam) and others are not ok (In the US/Europe, eating whale and dog meat would be unthinkable).
The author discusses how people argue that whales are endangered species (but not all of them are, and Japan didn’t make them that way, Europe and America did). He also discusses how many people think killing whales with harpoons is cruel.
But what’s not cruel about slicing the beaks off chickens minutes after they are born, or keeping sows in 2″ by 7″ gestation crates for their entire lives? Why is it ok to eat chicken and pork but not whale and pig? I would eat any animal given the right circumstance.
Let me be clear. I love eating meat. A tasty steak makes my mouth water and I’m sure I’ve eaten hundreds of pounds of meat in my lifetime. But I won’t eat it anymore. It’s wrong.
If you think kicking a stray dog in ribs or breaking the neck of a stray cat is wrong; you must realize you do the same thing every time you eat meat that is not locally produced. You are supporting an industry that does horrendous things to living, feeling creatures.


So if I’m vegetarian, how can I say I’d eat any animal given the right circumstance?
If an non-farmed animal died of natural causes and then someone cooked that animal up into a form that is edible and not unhealthy to humans, I would eat it. I’d try any kind of meat- whale, dog, monkey, even human. Yes, I said it, I would eat human flesh given the right conditions.
Generally those circumstances do not exist and so I don’t. If you eat meat – fine. I can’t stop you. But at least recognize that it’s no better than eating dog, or whale or any other living creature.

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10 Responses to “Why Are Certain Animals Ok to Eat and not Others?”

  1. Rebecca says:

    Japan may not have originally made whales endangered, but they fish for them illegaly and so contribute to the problem now.
    From all accounts, then if you’re living in a developed nation and you eat locally produced meat, you’re still supporting the industry. In Australia, our best meat gets exported anyway.
    I guess the best thing to do is eat organic food, that isn’t kept in horrible conditions. Only drawback is that it’s expensive.
    Where I work, we sell ham (it is local too :-)). And I have to cut it (not fun!). But when a pig dies and it is stressed, the meat gets all blood-speckled. So, the emotional well-being of the animals, not just how they were kept when they were alive, but how they were when they were killed, also makes a difference to the quality of the meat.

  2. Jason says:

    Rebecca,
    Thanks for the response. I just wanted to point out the arbitrary differences in how we think about eating different animals. Organically raised animals are probably the least ethically problematic.

  3. Joy says:

    I agree wtith some things you stated…such as how we can put in Jail people who mistreat pet’s or animals.
    But then again we are mistreating them everyday by eating one that are slaughtered for us already.
    But I don’t think its necessary to eat mean, just because they died in a natural way…
    That makes us like scavengers eating anything we find like tasmanaian devils or something…
    We don’t have to rely on meat, since there is many other ways to have a sustainable way to have a healthy lifestyle…

  4. sean joshua says:

    Flawless logic. Well stated.
    Why can’t everyone see that?I

  5. Anonymous says:

    You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!

  6. Asante’ says:

    i dont not find it okay too eat any animal.

  7. Max says:

    I used to be a vegetarian because I am extremely against the incredibly cruel manner in which factory-farmed animals are treated. Now, however, I have decided to return to eating meat, but only 100% organic, outdoor raised, very well-treated meat. The cruel part about meat is not that the animals are killed, but that they are forced to endure a life of torture without any enjoyment before they are killed. If an animal is given a happy, peaceful life by humans, it seems a fair deal for it to have to give its life back to us eventually.
    For anyone interested, I buy chicken/turkey/duck/goose at:
    Yellow House Farm
    and beef at:
    Green Ledge Farm.
    Both are 100% organic, humane, and raise only heritage breeds. They’re both in NH; Google them if you’re interested!

  8. Confessions of a Lifelong Vegetarian: Why I Decided to Go Vegan | Green Talk® says:

    […] she didn’t want to cook meat anymore because she loved animals too much. She didn’t understand why it was accepted to eat cows, pigs, and chickens but not other animals—after all, weren’t they just as worthy of their lives? After some deliberation, she stopped […]

  9. Jang says:

    first of all, i laughed at what “Anonymous” said.
    Second, yea, I still have hard time understand how some animals are ok to eat while others are not.
    Who decided that some animals are ok to eat and some are not?
    why does Dog, dolphin, cats, ETC have special previalages against other animals?

  10. Betty Stewart says:

    I used to eat meat too and told my vegetarian sister that “If James Herriot ate meat it must be allright”, but hearing a little bit about the way the animals were treated, I always intended to go vegetarian someday. Then I read a newspaper column by Donald Kaul, in which he talked about the book “The China Study” in which it showed the scientific proof that animal protein was not only a cancer promoter but also implicated in many other diseases. Between my concern for animals and my own health, I finally decided to become a vegan. It has been more of a process than an event. Giving up dairy products has been a struggle for me, but when I’m tempted to eat them, I remember the poor little male calfs that taken away from their mothers right away and live a short horrible life as veal calfs and the female babies who don’t fare much better on factory farms. When I’m tempted to eat eggs, I think about the way male chicks and hens are treated and find some plant food to eat.

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