sábado, janeiro 07, 2017

Analysis of Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

People are drawn to vegetarianism for various reasons. Pollan's book suggests at least five:

The first would be the fact that many people are against the infliction of suffering on animals led or encouraged by humans, specially in this time of history, given the enormous numbers of animals killed, treated or held in precarious conditions in factory farms or slaughter houses.

A second reason is that some people believe that, as Pollan puts it, “science is dismantling our claims to uniqueness as a species”. On that basis, the moral imperative held by them (that they should treat equals with dignity) is applied to animals, as well. This claim gets stronger when the name “speciesism” (regarded by some as a type of racism) joins the Darwinist theory previously mentioned, adding a sense of guilt to people who will shiver with the notion of being called “somewhat racist”. 

Access to literature such as Pollan's and to audiovisual media such as YouTube videos showing the slaughter of animals also contributes to the “making” of new vegetarians, for that brings the animals into view again (counteracting the market's intent to establish a distance between their animal products and the dead animals themselves). 

A fourth reason is the access to the information that humans no longer need to eat meat to survive. That could make the killing of animals “an unnecessary evil”.

The fifth reason is the lack of dissemination of the information that various animals are also killed in the processing of grains, vegetables and other kinds of vegetarian food growing. If most wannabe vegetarians knew that killing animals is probably unavoidable no matter what they chose to eat, they'd have to face the fact that eating grass-finished steaks might be the option that requires the least number of killed animals a year, as ruminants are the largest possible animals that can live on the least cultivated land.

Most self-labeled vegetarians eat some meat because eating meat is more convenient. Making a satisfying vegetarian dinner sometimes takes a lot more thought and work. They'd probably also say that, in a society where vegetarians still represent a relatively small minority, eating meat is more sociable. They find it uncomfortable to put other people in a situation in which they have to accommodate their unusual preferences, specially when it comes to cultural and family traditions. Some would also say that their meat eating is a deep biological desire rather than a mere gastronomic preference. 

Other reasons for eventual vegetarian meat-eating could be: the notion that domestication is a successful evolutionary development, both for humans and for animals (humans provided the animals with food and protection in exchange for which the animals provided humans their milk, eggs, and their flesh); the notion that some animals are not “sufficiently sentient to suffer” (like some mollusks); the idea that “what is wrong with eating animals is the practice, not the principle”; and, for people who consider eggs to be meat, the notion that eggs can be coaxed from animals without hurting or killing them.

Every human being bears the responsibility for the general treatment of animals that supply milk, eggs, and meat. The books of Genesis and Romans tell us that God commanded mankind to rule over God's creation (and he called creation “good”), making sure the manifestation of His glory and power is well taken care of; not mistreated, nor destroyed. Jesus' words about taking care of lost sheep, fallen oxen and donkeys (even on the Sabbath) and other passages also support this idea. We can all contribute to improve animal treatment in various ways, like fighting against cruel treatment for domestic, wild and farm animals (within the law) and helping improve laws that contribute to this fight; choosing our food wisely; and, most important of all, evangelism, through witch the church will grow and make known their worldview on how to properly treat animals.

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