Religion in the abattoir
#1
In the latest controversy from Dutch shores, the Dutch parliament has approved a ban on ritual slaughter. While it is true that neither Dhabihah nor Shechita seem particularly humane forms of animal slaughter, is an outright ban warranted and can we assume that 'freedom of religion' is limited to 'freedom to worship' and does not extend to abattoirs where national standards must apply?
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#2
(28-Jun-2011, 10:31 PM)arvindiyer Wrote: In the latest controversy from Dutch shores, the Dutch parliament has approved a ban on ritual slaughter. While it is true that neither Dhabihah nor Shechita seem particularly humane forms of animal slaughter, is an outright ban warranted and can we assume that 'freedom of religion' is limited to 'freedom to worship' and does not extend to abattoirs where national standards must apply?
i think freedom of religion applies everywhere even in butcherhouses as long as it does not violate other laws of constitution, regarding this particular case a new law is about to be made(it is not a law yet, still needs approval of upper house), if passed it will override the "freedom of religion" for this particular case .
I think this is the way it goes in most secular countries, freedom of religion only holds as long as it does not violate other laws
In india however it is different for instance, even though polygamy is permitted in Islam it is prohibited in secular law in many countries. Does prohibiting polygamy then curtail the religious freedom of Muslims? In India polygamy is permitted, but only for Muslims. In the USA polygamy is prohibited for all.

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#3
When viewed as an animal rights issue, an outright ban is warranted. If they are going to kill the animals, at least kill them in a way that has the least amount of suffering.

I see this as encroaching upon freedom of religion in the same way as not allowing criminals to be punished as per Sharia law encroaches upon it.
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#4
(28-Jun-2011, 11:29 PM)Lije Wrote: I see this as encroaching upon freedom of religion in the same way as not allowing criminals to be punished as per Sharia law encroaches upon it.
As long as point is encroachment over "freedom to religion" i agree with what lije says, but i am not very fond of these animal right activists , they seem to be very much emotion-driven, they are they same people who want to ban non-veg completely .
I do not think animal credulity should be a parameter, after all we are eating them , can we stop being hypocritic! ,
I think nutritional value should be a more important parameter .
I know this sounds very inconsiderate and all but i see no point in caring for nature beyond the point that caring for nature in turns is helping mankind back, the most common reason given by animal right activists is that we must care for animals as they help in "ecological balance", but we should not care beyond that should we?
We know that life evolved in an atmosphere that had hardly any free oxygen. It is photosynthesis by plants that drastically changed the composition of earth's atmosphere. This change would surely have resulted in extinction of many organisms that had earlier evolved to survive in an oxygen free environment.

The difference now is that the "environment" has human beings possess brains capable of making reasonable predictions about the future based on past trends. The ill effects of global warming, pollution of rivers, deforestation etc are some such "predictions" that man has made.

Once we can foresee the ill effects of some of our activities, perhaps we can do something about it. Not to save nature, but to save ourselves. Nature will get along fine even after human beings and life becomes extinct. To prolong human existence can only be private (and thus "artificial") agenda that we need to set for ourselves! Nature does not care either way.

EDIT-just wish to clarify beforehand that it is not that i disagree with animal right activists because "they are the same....", i just don't like them because of that , the reason i disagree is different.
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#5
(29-Jun-2011, 12:04 AM)lalitmohanchawla Wrote: I know this sounds very inconsiderate and all but i see no point in caring for nature beyond the point that caring for nature in turns is helping mankind back, the most common reason given by animal right activists is that we must care for animals as they help in "ecological balance", but we should not care beyond that should we?

There are reasons other than ecological ones to consider animal rights. I can't find any arguments against Singer's reasoning and it is from those premises that I said that if they are going to kill animals, kill them with least suffering, a point which Singer also makes in that essay.
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#6
I read the article and remember seeing a video by an atheist comedian Pat Condell who makes a point about halal meats and multiculturalism in Britain. at 2:40 in the video it may be relevant to the conversation. May not be advisable to play this on a loudspeaker lest someone be offended. No vulgarity, just strong opinion.
Video here.
As far I'm concerned, I would like the animal to go as painlessly as possible. As an atheist (or a member of any other religion) I would mind if an animal was quite possibly cruelly killed to conform to the standards of a sky-god I don't believe in and served to the public without knowledge or as the only source of meat (without any non-halal methods)

Peace.
"It's alright, I rarely meet anyone who's able to read it properly. Although personally, I never thought that it to be an odd of a name. Once I give people the pronunciation, they tend to remember my name by easily associating me with it. A unique face, a unique moniker."
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#7
(29-Jun-2011, 12:25 AM)Lije Wrote: and it is from those premises that I said that if they are going to kill animals, kill them with least suffering, a point which Singer also makes in that essay.
just so you know i wasn't talking about your post in particularsmile, reagarding my point that i found only the ecological reasons , i said so because i only found ecological reasons valid but ofcourse only upto a point ,
i cannot relate with the moral reasons in general beyond the point that making laws based on morality and condemning cruelty in any form will yield a happy public

regarding the article i have read it and i'll just quote the passage regarding food, it mostly talks of moral reasons, that animals are equal..suffer equally, there are things irrational that we find moral and which are rational but we find immoral,, i don't see a point as to why should moral reasons effect what constitution says beyond the point beyond the point that those moral reasons are also helping in building a harmonic society .


Quote:Animals as food

For most people in modern, urbanized societies, the principal form of contact with nonhuman animals is at meal times. The use of animals for food is probably the oldest and the most widespread form of animal use. There is also a sense in which it is the most basic form of animal use, the foundation stone on which rests the belief that animals exist for our pleasure and convenience.

If animals count in their own right, our use of animals for food becomes questionable- especially when animal flesh is a luxury rather than a necessity. Eskimos living in an environment where they must kill animals for food or starve, might be justified in claiming that their interest in surviving overrides that of the animals they kill. Most of us cannot defend our diet in this way. Citizens of industrialized societies can easily obtain an adequate diet without the use of animal flesh. The overwhelming weight of medical evidence indicates that animal flesh is not necessary for good health or longevity. Nor is it an efficient way of producing food, since most of the animals consumed in industrialized societies have been fattened on grains and other foods which we could have eaten directly. When we feed these grains to animals, only about 10% of the nutritional value remains as meat for human consumption. So, with the exception of animals raised entirely on grazing land unsuitable for crops, animals are eaten neither for health, nor to increase our food supply. Their flesh is a luxury, consumed because people like its taste.

In considering the ethics of the use of animal flesh for human food in industrialized societies, we are considering a situation in which a relatively minor human interest must be balanced against the lives and welfare of the animals involved. The principle of equal consideration of interests does not allow major interests to be sacrificed for minor interests.

The case against using animals for food is at its strongest when animals are made to lead miserable lives so that their flesh can be made available to humans at the lowest possible cost. Modern forms of intensive farming apply science and technology to the attitude that animals are objects for us to use. In order to have meat on the table at a price that people can afford, our society tolerates methods of meat production that confine sentient animals in cramped, unsuitable conditions for the entire duration of their lives. Animals are treated like machines that convert fodder into flesh, and any innovation that results in a higher 'conversion ratio' is liable to be adopted. As one authority on the subject has said, 'cruelty is acknowledged only when profitability ceases'. To avoid speciesism we must stop these practices. Our custom is all the support that factory farmers need. The decision to cease giving them that support may be difficult, but it is less difficult than it would have been for a white Southerner to go against the traditions of his society and free his slaves; if we do not change our dietary habits, how can we censure those slaveholders who would not change their own way of living?

These arguments apply to animals who have been reared in factory farms - which means that we should not eat chicken, pork or veal, unless we know that the meat we are eating was not produced by factory farm methods. The same is true of eggs, unless they are specifically sold as 'free range'.

These arguments do not take us all the way to a vegetarian diet, since some animals, for instance sheep and beef cattle, still graze freely outdoors. This could change. In America cattle are often fattened in crowded feedlots, and other countries are following suit. Meanwhile, back at the research station, scientists are trying out methods of raising lambs indoors, in wire cages. As long as sheep and cattle graze outdoors, however, arguments directed against factory farming do not imply that we should cease eating meat altogether.

The lives of free-ranging animals are undoubtedly better than those of animals reared in factory farms. It is still doubtful if using them for food is compatible with equal consideration of interests. One problem is, of course, that using them as food involves killing them - but this is an issue to which, as I have said, we shall return when we have discussed the value of life in the next chapter. Apart from taking their lives there are also many other things done to animals in order to bring them cheaply to our dinner table. Castration, the separation of mother and young, the breaking up of herds, branding, trans­porting, and finally the moments of slaughter - all of these are likely to involve suffering and do not take the animals' interests into account. Perhaps animals could be reared on a small scale without suffering in these ways, but it does not seem economical or practical to do so on the scale required for feeding our large urban populations. In any case, the important question is not whether animal flesh could be produced without suffering, but whether the flesh we are considering buying was produced without suffering. Unless we can be confident that it was, the principle of equal consideration of interests implies that it was wrong to sacrifice important interests of the animal in order to satisfy less important interests of our own; consequently we should boycott the end result of this process.

For those of us living in cities where it is difficult to know how the animals we might eat have lived and died, this conclusion brings us very close to a vegetarian way of life. I shall consider some objections to it in the final section of this chapter.
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#8
Given the length and diversity of this only day-old thread, it is obvious that this is an issue in which more than one non-partisan consensus is possible, with some uncanny agreements across the fence and unexpected disagreements within the fence as well. Here are some instances outlining how far we may agree with certain partisan groupings in an issue-based way, and where we part company.

1. When it comes to proposed legislations in India against cow slaughter or the one mandating a one-item menu in weddings, we are with those who oppose these legislations as they impinge on civil liberties such as dietary choice, but part company when liberties are exclusively sought or denied on religious grounds.

2. There are those who take a mystical view of Life and the ties that bind us to 'Creation' like the poet Kahlil Gibran who suggests that such a view must be reflected in our treatment of our crops and livestock. We are with them as we too acknowledge our inseparable binding with the biosphere, albeit in a naturalistic sense, and part company with them when they insist that such a worldview must be expressed by ritualistic sanctifying or 'sacrifice' (literally, 'making sacred').

3. We are with animal rights activists so long as their arguments for eliminating avoidable animal suffering are based on known facts about sentience and nociception, and part company with them when they resort to militant activism going as far as issuing death threats to researchers ( http://www.ucla-pro-test.org/#/news/ ) working with anaesthetized animals. Such actions by the animal activism fringe show that some of their most aggressive adherents haven't yet evolved to the stage of humanism let alone outgrown speciesism.

More importantly, here is a couple of questions about the scope, utility and limitations of the legislative approach to this issue.

1. What are the disclosure requirements for manufacturers and packagers in India (like the ones in the US about humane slaughter procedures, free-range rearing and use of growth hormones) to assist meat-consumers who would like to purchase produce with a minimal 'cruelty footprint'?

2. Now that the Dutch parliament seems to have chosen the approach of 'legislating the problem out of existence' instead of the slow grind of 'social reform' and voluntary rollback of obsolete slaughtering procedures, do they realize that two can play at this game ? That is, if the Netherlands are annexed into a Eurabia of the future, then does a legislature in which majority of the members may vote for Sharia seem all that improbable?



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#9
Richard Dawkins wrote an article on animal rights recently: But Can They Suffer?. I had no idea early scientists like William Harvey used to practice vivisection, sickening. (Off-topic/ this is a good example of how our morality - or more specifically our normative ethics - change with time, as we reason things through and uncover new evidence that leads us to change our minds.)
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#10
(01-Jul-2011, 08:03 AM)unsorted Wrote: Richard Dawkins wrote an article on animal rights recently: But Can They Suffer?. I had no idea early scientists like William Harvey used to practice vivisection, sickening. (Off-topic/ this is a good example of how our morality - or more specifically our normative ethics - change with time, as we reason things through and uncover new evidence that leads us to change our minds.)

In Reddit's 'Ask Sam Harris anything', questions like the ones discussed in this thread show up here (Watch from 25m20s onwards).
According to Harris, as and when synthetic meat becomes readily available, it will become an ethical obligation of sorts for meat-consumers to switch to that.
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#11
(01-Jul-2011, 08:03 AM)unsorted Wrote: Richard Dawkins wrote an article on animal rights recently: But Can They Suffer?. I had no idea early scientists like William Harvey used to practice vivisection, sickening. (Off-topic/ this is a good example of how our morality - or more specifically our normative ethics - change with time, as we reason things through and uncover new evidence that leads us to change our minds.)

Here's a couple of related articles.

1) "Charles Darwin and the Vivisection Outrage" (Scientific American) on how Darwin who usually shunned the pulpit and polemics was an outspoken critic of the cruel animal experiments of his time

2) Peter Singer's review of Steven Pinker's latest book 'The better angels of our nature'
Here's an excerpt on how our normative ethics change with time as we reason things through and uncover new evidence that leads us to change our minds.

Quote:Pinker argues that enhanced powers of reasoning give us the ability to detach ourselves from our immediate experience and from our personal or parochial perspective, and frame our ideas in more abstract, universal terms. This in turn leads to better moral commitments, including avoiding violence. It is just this kind of reasoning ability that has improved during the 20th century. He therefore suggests that the 20th century has seen a “moral Flynn effect, in which an accelerating escalator of reason carried us away from impulses that lead to violence” and that this lies behind the long peace, the new peace, and the rights revolution. . . .
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#12
(29-Jun-2011, 12:04 AM)LMC Wrote: i am not very fond of these animal right activists , they seem to be very much emotion-driven, they are they same people who want to ban non-veg completely .
...
the most common reason given by animal right activists is that we must care for animals as they help in "ecological balance", but we should not care beyond that should we?

EDIT-just wish to clarify beforehand that it is not that i disagree with animal right activists because "they are the same....", i just don't like them because of that , the reason i disagree is different.
Emotion-driven? Probably you haven't been to a slaughter-house, or seen an animal get butchered. I assume.

The "emotions" of animal rights activists are the same "emotions" that make you empathize with suffering; it's hard to not feel empathy whether human or animal. Living in denial is one thing and taking the easy way out is one thing, but actually doing something about it is another. The main argument against cruelty and killing is not "ecological balance", but minimizing unnecessary suffering.
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