Andy was surprised to learn that most of the production of meat, eggs, and dairy in America involves intensive, mechanized "factory farming," where animals live virtually all their lives confined to small cages or stalls. As he learned about these conditions, he became worried that satisfying consumers' demand for inexpensive meat, milk, and eggs may condemn billions of animals to miserable lives marked by inhumane treatment and painful, terrifying deaths. Still, he remains uncertain about how seriously to treat these concerns, because these farms also support many families and are giving people what they want while also supplying them with nutritious, safe food.
The claims about factory farming that Andy found the most disturbing included:
• The stress of living in extremely cramped cages often causes egg-laying hens to become aggressive. To prevent them from pecking each other to death, their beaks are routinely sheared off without anesthetic. Evidence exists that this painful procedure leaves the birds in pain for the rest of their short lives.
• Almost all dairy cows are confined to stalls for most of their lives; in a dairy factory, a cow typically lives about four years, far less than its natural lifespan of around 20 years.
• Veal calves are taken from their mothers shortly after birth. They are fed a special formula that deprives them of iron. This causes anemia and diarrhea that leaves the calves weak and sick throughout their lives, but this makes their flesh tender and pale.
• Most female pigs in factory farms spend much of their lives in stalls so small they cannot turn around, a stressful confinement that often cripples their hooves and legs.
• The stress of close confinement in small cages can cause cannibalism in male pigs.
• Transportation to slaughterhouses often occurs under painful and brutal conditions, as does the slaughter itself.
Note: Although these assertions are not universally accepted, Andy's research has convinced him that they are credible. For the purposes of this assignment, use these claims as starting points for ethical discussion. (You are welcome to conduct additional research about this topic in order to become better informed. This additional research, however, is not required.)
How, and to what extent should the concerns about the ethics of factory farming influence Andy Stewart's choice?
How, and to what extent, should ecological concerns about energy and resource consumption influence Andy Stewart's choice?
Environmental philosophers have spent much time discussing the moral status of animals. A crucial philosophical concept is whether or not animals are "morally considerable." Do we have a moral duty to take animals' interests into account when we decide how to act towards them?
In this discussion thread you will discuss the following question:
How, and to what extent, should debates about the moral status of animals influence Andy Stewart's choice?
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