An opinion contributor for USA Today, Daniel Payne, gives his views on how to respond to the ever-growing consciousness about animal farming.
“It is true that industrial animal farming is ecologically destructive, that it is cruel and barbarous, and that many if not most of the animals unlucky enough to be a part of it suffer in ways that are difficult to comprehend. All of this is well-documented and undeniable” writes Payne. But in his opinion, it “doesn’t necessarily follow that you have to go vegan”.
He concludes that you “just need to eat better meat”.
Yes, the truth is that most meat found on supermarket shelves is “the end result of a long chain of abusive farming practices”. However it is possible to buy “better, cleaner, more humanely raised and less environmentally destructive meat”. The work is to find meat that arises from locally raised animals that were “allowed to live their lives according to the dictates of their biology, that were happy and content while alive, and that were eventually slaughtered with very minimal suffering”.
Healthier meat is the result of livestock that is allowed to live a healthier life. The writer believes that it is perfectly ethical for humans to eat such meat, whilst understanding that vegans will not accept the ethical basis for that statement.
Meat-eating evolutionary chain
Payne argues that human beings are “part of a long meat-eating evolutionary chain stretching back millions of years” and that there is nothing wrong with this. People should not, he argues, allow themselves to feel shamed by vegetarians. Science is on the side of meat-eaters he says.
This healthier meat also ensures a healthier local environment as local pastured farms turn their backs on the “destructive paradigm” over monocultural agriculture.
The writer acknowledges that vegans raise very valid concerns about the “brutalities and inefficiencies of modern agriculture”.
He believes that it is possible to eat meat and at the same time protect the environment. Producing this meat “entails far less animal abuse than the industrial system. That’s a win-win. You don’t have to go vegan; you should just be a better meat-eater”.
It goes without saying that different thinkers have different opinions. A recent New York Times opinion written by a flexitarian made a strong appeal for society to stop trolling vegans and to start treating them with respect. As a culture, that opinion argues we are far too comfortable with consuming animals and that vegans are “irrefutably on the right side of history”.