A Thinking Reed links to a Mother Jones article on the livestock industry’s plan to pre-empt humane farming regulations in Ohio. That article is disturbing enough, but an item on the MoJo sidebar also caught my eye. “Guilt-free meat?” is about the prospect of genetically engineering cows and pigs, e.g., so that they will not experience pain, thus reducing the overall amount of suffering caused by factory farming. It cites an article by Adam Shriver, “Knocking out pain in livestock: can technology succeed where morality has stalled?” which you can download from the journal Neuroethics (click on the PDF icon; as of now, the full-text article is free). Shriver seems to think that factory farms are the only way to keep up with increasing per capita meat consumption, and that one way to address the primary ethical complaint against factory farms – that they inflict unnecessary suffering on animals – is to “replace current livestock with genetically engineered animals who lack the affective dimension of pain” (the dimension we experience as “suffering”), thus reducing overall suffering. Problem solved! And as an added bonus to meat eaters, “creating animals who do not suffer as much would result in higher quality meat” (because stress decreases meat quality, and reducing suffering will reduce stress). Well, this is just a win-win, isn’t it? Unless you get all hung up in that stuff about animals having inherent value, being subjects-of-a-life, each having its own dignity, etc.
I have to keep this short tonight, but you can bet I’ll come back to it.
(Gotta love Google Images; what a find, huh?)