Author Topic: Ethical milk  (Read 23473 times)

fboab

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Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #50 on: November 07, 2010, 06:13:14 pm »
Normally at this point I get accused of being an over sentimental and ignorant 'Townie' who fails to understand the 'ways' of the countryside.

Either that or someone who works in the animal derived food industry will assure me that the enslavement and killing of numerous other species is all done in the best possible taste and is merely part of the 'natural order'.

The enslavement of animals and killing of other species is all done in the best possible taste and is merely part of the natural order.
Just fulfilling my role, doncha know.
So how would you list the below in order of being most ethical?
Pork, chicken, beef, lamb, tin of tuna fish, tin of mackerel, cod from the chippy, cheese or whey powder mixed with milk. Which are all where I get most of my protien from.

Only you can decide what's most ethical. There is no empiricism in this, it's about your own moral standards.
I'd eat all of those. For me, tuna & mackerel are a bit worse because they're a bit over fished. Cheap chicken is rotten (but cheap) and lamb is the 'best' of the farmed animals.
You may, as Gandalf does, feel differently.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #51 on: November 07, 2010, 10:40:58 pm »
So how would you list the below in order of being most ethical?
Pork, chicken, beef, lamb, tin of tuna fish, tin of mackerel, cod from the chippy, cheese or whey powder mixed with milk. Which are all where I get most of my protien from.

My ethical problems are with the way animals are industrially farmed, not with the concept of killing and eating them.  So I would say

lamb / beef
cheese / milk
pork
tinned tuna / tinned mackerel
cod from chippy
chicken

I currently have a greater ethical issue over mass-produced milk and cheese than over (for example) local, well-raised meat, because the cows milked for dairy products are not happy cows.  I had a soy-milk latte with hazelnut syrup (masks the slightly floury taste of the soy milk) today, and it was quite nice.  It's difficult to utter the words "small soy latte with hazelnut shot" without sounding like a pretentious wanker though.  ;)

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #52 on: November 07, 2010, 10:47:04 pm »
because the cows milked for dairy products are not happy cows.

But the ones killed for beef are ?  Even if raised ethically ?

My view is that both are nasty,  but that it's terribly easy to avoid eating animals and much less so to avoid dairy products.  Ideally I'd be a vegan, but I'll admit that there's a cost-benefit thing going on here for me...

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #53 on: November 07, 2010, 10:48:57 pm »
The problem with masking soy with hazelnut is that hazelnut coffee is itself vile. So my coffee is cruel as nature intended.

fboab

  • It's a fecking serious business, riding a bike
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #54 on: November 07, 2010, 10:59:42 pm »
because the cows milked for dairy products are not happy cows.

But the ones killed for beef are ?  Even if raised ethically ?

My view is that both are nasty,  but that it's terribly easy to avoid eating animals and much less so to avoid dairy products.  Ideally I'd be a vegan, but I'll admit that there's a cost-benefit thing going on here for me...

I'd have to say that beef cows have an easier life than dairy.
Neither are 'happy', they don't have emotions, they're animals.
TSS is not Total Sex Score, Chris!

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #55 on: November 07, 2010, 11:04:01 pm »
because the cows milked for dairy products are not happy cows.

But the ones killed for beef are ?  Even if raised ethically ?

My view is that both are nasty,  but that it's terribly easy to avoid eating animals and much less so to avoid dairy products.  Ideally I'd be a vegan, but I'll admit that there's a cost-benefit thing going on here for me...

I'd have to say that beef cows have an easier life than dairy.
Neither are 'happy', they don't have emotions, they're animals.


That seems highly unlikely.

Dogs are either optimists or pessimists, claim scientists | Science | The Guardian

Salvatore

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Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #56 on: November 07, 2010, 11:11:00 pm »
Seriously though drinking animal milk is a bit pervy isn't it? It is not natural at all - distinctly queasy-making if one thinks about it.
Imagine the scene when mrs caveman enters the cave to find mr caveman taking a furtive curious affectionate suck on the family cow.  I bet he got a right bashing for that act of bestial infidelity. 'But its lovely and will be quite normal in the future' would not have cut much slack with his engaged spouse I don't think.


Drinking cows milk probably arose as a response to environmental stress. It's genetically a Northern European tying and an African nomadic tribe thing. For Northern Europeans it helped cope with a lack of vitamin D due to less sunlight than the environment that humans evolved in and for nomadic African tribes it is a huge source of their protein. It's a recent adaptation though, we only got the genes (if your ancestry is one of those two groups) about 7000 years ago. If you don't have the genetic adaptation then don't drink milk as it will make you  :sick:

There's an article in the current (or very recent) edition of  Der Spiegel which discusses this. It said it wasn't hunter-gatherers who first did this, it was the settled farmers who had long since domesticated sheep, goats and finally cattle. The hunter-gatherers didn't take up farming, they just died out, squeezed out by the successful farmers from the middle east with their newly mutated lactose tolerance.

With the article was a map of Europe showing degrees of lactose tolerance. It is only about 40% around the Med, but over 80% in Britain and Scandinavia.

[This is a very brief précis of what I remember of a 3-page article in German I read a week ago, so may contain omissions and generalisations. Possibly.]
Quote
et avec John, excellent lecteur de road-book, on s'en est sortis sans erreur

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #57 on: November 07, 2010, 11:16:24 pm »
they don't have emotions, they're animals.

My view is that we only think that other people are just as us because we see similarities in behaviour twixt us and them; I can see behaviours in animals of my acquaintance that map just as reliably to what I understand emotion to be.

I'm also not aware of any physiological reason why animals would not have emotions - they're a useful survival set.





Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #58 on: November 07, 2010, 11:18:13 pm »

I'd have to say that beef cows have an easier life than dairy.
Neither are 'happy', they don't have emotions, they're animals.


That seems highly unlikely.

Dogs are either optimists or pessimists, claim scientists | Science | The Guardian


What I've read of research into the way animals' brains work seems to be reducing assumed fundamental differences to degrees of difference.

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #59 on: November 07, 2010, 11:19:54 pm »
What I've read of research into the way animals' brains work seems to be reducing assumed fundamental differences to degrees of difference.

Indeed. It's a continuum, and there's no real justification for a hard line between humans and other animals.

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #60 on: November 07, 2010, 11:37:40 pm »
Animals do have personality traits, and they are inherited. Semen catalogues for cattle will tell you if the Bull's offspring are viscious and qualify it with the nature of the dam, (ie the mother.) Particularly good natured cows will survive for a long time in a herd, as the cowman, or woman  has the say as to which cow is beyond their economic life. The herd is a social unit, which includes the human element. This has been the case for Millennia, the more natural bond is between the herdsman and the herd, rather than between the animal lover and the abstract idea of those cattle.

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #61 on: November 07, 2010, 11:49:56 pm »
the more natural bond is between the herdsman and the herd, rather than between the animal lover and the abstract idea of those cattle.

Different bonds. 

Charlotte

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Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #62 on: November 08, 2010, 08:34:38 am »
I've been a 'vegetarian' ever since my late teens.  I use the term carefully because people's definition seems to vary wildly.  For me, my not eating meat came about purely for ethical reasons and I accepted that wearing leather, drinking milk and eating eggs were merely a convenient place to draw my personal line in the sand.  I always felt that living in the privileged west, there was little actual need to eat meat anyway.  Being a lacto-ovo-veggie is really rather jolly easy.

Problem is, it's a bit crap.

Sure, it's a better position than just troughing your way through lots of mass produced cheap meat (like Julian, I think I'd eat just about anything rather than a fast food fried chicken dinner).  But so much of what we eat contains milk and eggs that are procured in such a way as to inflict the most shocking amounts of suffering on the creatures that produce them that I'm wondering if it's not just as bad as eating the animal anyway.

So I'm cutting back on my milk consumption enormously and only buying it from the most ethical source I can manage.  We used to have our own home-laid eggs until some fox killed all our chooks and I've not bought any eggs since we lost them (although if I do, it'll be the ones from a reputable source).

Here's the bit that's going of piss off all the vegans and veggies:  I'm beginning to think that from both an environmental and animal welfare point of view the protein in my diet could be sourced less from dairy and poultry products and less from soy beans (which often come with their own environmental issues) and more from wild animals.

Consider this; rabbit, wood pigeon and squirrels live wild and in abundance in our countryside.  They are all pest species and all can be freely killed under general licence.  They have been born and have lived entirely wild and will all die anyway, most in ways involving much more suffering than a bullet to the head.

Although I can't deny that I really don't like the idea of eating this sort of food (meat just doesn't appeal to me like, say, cheese does) when it comes to wild food, I now have a growing ethical dilemma on my hands.

Whether it's a rabbit or whether it's a deer, it's much the same issue, I think. Why should I not kill them and eat them?
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #63 on: November 08, 2010, 08:42:27 am »
Why should I not kill them and eat them?

Because they're sentient? Using sentient beings as foodstuffs is not something that sits easily with me, at least.

Charlotte

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Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #64 on: November 08, 2010, 09:04:47 am »
I appreciate the issue of sentience.  But what I'm on about is whether it's better to collude in the industrial maltreatment of animals used in intensive farming methods than it is to cleanly and mindfully kill a wild animal from a pest species in order to eat it.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #65 on: November 08, 2010, 09:05:39 am »
Ethical eating is an quagmire these days, there really isn't any easy answer. For myself (confirmed and happy meat eater) I'd reckon to avoid as many processed foods as possible, and try to make ethical choices at each step.

I can understand the vegetarian perspective, but don't see the difference between wild and ethically farmed animals (except for the balance of  energy conversion, less significant in an organic environment). Farm animals are purpose bred and the care that goes into keeping them is reflected in the quality of meat, IMO. I do wonder what I would think if I was less fortunate and unable to afford the choice, though.

The nightmare scenario would be if people like me switched to being veggie, and the better producers would not be able to make a livelihood; all that would be left would be a nation supplying and buying from Tesco. Good job it takes all sorts, then, isn't it?

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #66 on: November 08, 2010, 09:08:48 am »
I appreciate the issue of sentience.  But what I'm on about is whether it's better to collude in the industrial maltreatment of animals used in intensive farming methods than it is to cleanly and mindfully kill a wild animal from a pest species in order to eat it.

That's a binary choice and a little bit of reductio ad absurdum, no?

Surely the question is more whether you are prepared to behave responsibly in your environment.

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #67 on: November 08, 2010, 09:10:05 am »
I appreciate the issue of sentience.  But what I'm on about is whether it's better to collude in the industrial maltreatment of animals used in intensive farming methods than it is to cleanly and mindfully kill a wild animal from a pest species in order to eat it.

It doesn't have to be either/or; it can be neither.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #68 on: November 08, 2010, 09:17:21 am »
Aye - I understand, Mal.  I suppose I'm just pushing at the edges of my personal logic on this one.  I'm always going to cause suffering to animals through what I eat.  We all are.  The bread that you eat will be made from wheat farmed in such a way that using modern production methods, hedgerows are being eradicated from our countryside.

Voles might have died in the process  (although some species are considered pests, aren't they?)

That's a binary choice and a little bit of reductio ad absurdum, no?

Well yes, I do think it's going to be impractical for everyone to be out there taking pot shots at squirrels for their tea.  Most people don't give a monkeys about where their protein comes from as long as it's cheap and tasty.  Anything I do or don't do is going to be a drop in the ocean.

Surely the question is more whether you are prepared to behave responsibly in your environment.

Quite.  I'd like to think I do more than most people.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #69 on: November 08, 2010, 09:23:35 am »
Voles might have died in the process

Well, yes, maybe, but not as a necessary part of the process.  Maybe we can campaign for vole-friendly bread ;)

I'm not sure there's an equivalence between that and deliberately killing animals to eat.

Manotea

  • Where there is doubt...
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #70 on: November 08, 2010, 09:35:11 am »
Not my area but some questions for Charlotte.

Describing target species as 'pests' is a dubious justification. Rats are universally unpopular I suppose, are you going after those? Spare the fluffly bunnies, why not foxes (bit of a payback there, eh?), stray dogs and cats, politicians?

Are you really the crack shot who can guarantee a safe kill every time?  

Is hunting pests for food scalable? If we all went hunting bunnies soon there would be no wild bunnies, just bunny farms with beaters to drive the bunnies towards the guns.

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #71 on: November 08, 2010, 10:13:34 am »
because the cows milked for dairy products are not happy cows.

But the ones killed for beef are ?  Even if raised ethically ?

My view is that both are nasty,  but that it's terribly easy to avoid eating animals and much less so to avoid dairy products.  Ideally I'd be a vegan, but I'll admit that there's a cost-benefit thing going on here for me...

If raised ethically, yes I think that a cow raised for beef has a better quality of life than one raised for maximum dairy output.  But then I've been quite picky about what sort of cow-meat I will eat (no McCrap burgers, eat a small amount of meat from a butcher occasionally, rather than buying pounds of mince of dubious provenance weekly) whereas I didn't think twice about buying non-organic milk, or value butter, or Pilgrims Progress cheese, or supermarket own-brand yoghurt.  All of those things (IMO) create more suffering than a piece of meat from an organic / free range farm.

Charlotte & I are trying for 'as vegan as possible' at the moment but there is always the temptation to choose cheese over hummous.  :)

Ideally I would be vegan save for what I can raise myself.  Space is a limiting factor though.

border-rider

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #72 on: November 08, 2010, 10:15:05 am »
If raised ethically, yes I think that a cow raised for beef has a better quality of life than one raised for maximum dairy output. 

That's a decent answer -  to a different question ;)

Julian

  • samoture
Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #73 on: November 08, 2010, 10:19:25 am »
"Happy (animal)" is my shorthand for "raised with a decent quality of life."  :)

Re: Ethical milk
« Reply #74 on: November 08, 2010, 10:20:06 am »

Quite.  I'd like to think I do more than most people.

I wasn't implying that you didn't, far from it the question suggests that you do.

However it sounds to me that you are coming to the view that you wouldn't mind meat-eating, if you were prepared to do what it takes to secure it from animals that have low environmental impact. But the choice isn't between that and intensive farming, which is how you were phrasing it.