Tuesday, 3 September 2013

the ethics of veganism

It hit me over the past week that the only thing I've been blogging lately is radio playlists. Which is awesome in its way, but a little narrow in focus. So here's a link to an article brought to my attention today - on the ethical questions raised by lab grown meat:

The vegan carnivore? It's made in a lab, no factory farms and no killing, but it's still meat. Looks like we'll need a whole new food ethics...

I have to admit that I recognized my own reactions to lab grown meat in some of the scenarios, ranging from PETA's Ingrid Newkirk saying:
‘Any flesh food is totally repulsive to me ... But I am so glad that people who don’t have the same repulsion as I do will get meat from a more humane source.’
to the idea that
‘Natural’ food feels right, ‘synthetic’ food feels wrong.
As Baggini writes,
Many people cannot distinguish between their ‘all-things-considered’ moral judgment and their unmediated gut feelings, mistaking reflex revulsion for ethical insight.
I noticed this reflex response in myself - revealed only when I was asked why exactly I was ambivalent about lab grown meat.
But what I see as the real major insight here revolves around the way Baggini highlights the complexity of these issues:
The biggest obstacle to a more nuanced view of food ethics might be that it is so difficult to accept that ethics is not just about choosing between the good and the bad, but balancing different, competing goods.

We need to reach a point where we are neither romantically devoted to traditional, small-scale farming methods nor addicted to technological fixes. We have to be able to determine the roles of both.
Read the whole article, as my snippets don't do it justice. And then think about your own reaction to lab grown meat (whatever that reaction might be), and take a moment to consider the 'why'.

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