Conscientious Meat

Powerful Essays
Isabella Weich
Philosophy 101
MWF 10:00

Analysis of “Is It Possible to Be a Conscientious Meat Eater?”

In their article, “Is It Possible to Be a Conscientious Meat Eater?” Sunaura Taylor and Alexander Taylor’s conclusion is that the production and consumption of meat is unethical. Their main arguments for the conclusion are that there is not a sufficient amount of meat to feed everyone in the world and that the concept of equality is based on suffering. In this paper I will analyze these two main points and explain why I believe meat should not be eaten as a staple.
Taylor and Taylor’s first argument is that there is not enough meat to feed everyone in the world. The unstated premise here is that if there is not enough meat to feed everyone, then the consumption of meat is unethical. First, they argue how a large percentage of land is being used for cattle-raising “instead of being used to grow staple crops, which could feed local people directly” (1). They support this by using the fact that it takes approximately 16 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, which would feed one or two people compared to 16 people on grain (1). While many are dying of starvation, it seems unfair that the industrial meat industry benefits from this production. Next, they argue that this meat is high-priced and its production is a less-efficient use of land and resources. For example, “an acre of land used for grain-fed beef could feed 10 times as many people if used for crops” (4). Taylor and Taylor also argue that the concept of sustainability needs to be changed to question if the world’s population can be fed on sustainable animal products (2). They believe that “there is no truly sustainable and humane way to f...

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...ually be overpopulated. However, much of the animals we consume are bred in unnaturally high numbers so that enough meat is produced for us. This issue could be resolved if humans no longer ate meat because then there would be no reason to breed these animals and their numbers would return to normal.
Although I do not believe Taylor and Taylor’s argument is presented well, I do agree with them. They do not always bring up strong points and rarely provide adequate support, but they do have a good overall argument. It is unethical for humans to produce and consume meat. It is not realistic to ask people to stop eating meat, but it is something they can be eased into. The production of meat does not need to stop completely. However, humans should not be eating meat as a staple. By cutting down on meat production, more grain and water can be used to feed the hungry.
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