Philosophical Vegetarian Issues

James McWilliams in The Atlantic muses about "in-vitro meat" and the ethical considerations associated it. On the plus side of artificially cultured flesh, if/when the cost comes down enough to be practical, are massive reductions in:

On the other side of the equation, as McWilliams notes, are the disruption of both the large-scale meat industry and small-scale eco-sustainable farms. Interesting that these two groups find themselves allies!

The big issue to me remains the torture of animals inherent in raising and slaughtering them for modern society's consumption. I don't have answers for many associated questions. Would it be all right to eat meat if the animals involved didn't suffer at all, whether because they were never conscious or because they were killed painlessly and unawares? If the animals had enough of a better life before death that any final moments of torment were negligible, on some utilitarian balance-sheet? If the meat came from a consenting rational adult human, or from a peacefully deceased human who bequeathed her/his body to be butchered, or from oneself?

(cf. SufferTheAnimals (2000-06-11), RobertNozick (2002-02-02), CompassionateCarnivorism (2002-11-19), Franklin on Vegetarianism (2008-06-17), Omnivore's Dilemma (2009-05-16), ...) - ^z - 2010-07-15