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  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Killing Dinner with Your Own Hands

Posted by Richard Conniff on September 6, 2015

I’ve only done it with fish and lobster, but according to today’s New York Times, killing your own dinner is now a foodist movement. Here’s the lead of the story by Kate Murphy:

COULD you look through a rifle’s scope into the long-lashed eyes of an elk and pull the trigger if it would be the only meat you ate for the year? Would your conscience be more or less troubled if instead you slit the necks of animals you planned to eat after they were nurtured like adored pets on an idyllic farm?

Does the thought of doing either send you to the grocery store or farmers’ market, where neat packages conceal the violence committed on your behalf? Or do you forswear meat altogether?

While the morality of our meals is not a new debate, the polemics have reached a shrill intensity lately as a growing number of people, in an effort to raise their culinary consciousness, have committed to eating only meat they kill themselves. They are unapologetic, although not necessarily unflinching, about the blood on their hands. And they are the latest dietary tribe in our increasingly Balkanized food culture where people align with those who consume as they do and question the emotional, spiritual and intellectual capacities of those who don’t.

Read the whole article here. But I particularly like this bit. It is so gratifying to have deep thinkers to sort out the moral implications of what we eat:

Nor can you treat all meat eaters as savages, said Mr. Sarnecki, who writes and teaches on food ethics. “It might not be morally problematic to eat lobsters because they likely don’t conceptualize the world at all, whereas you might feel differently if the animal were a mammal that probably has a higher level of consciousness,” he said, duly noting, “I draw the line at lobsters because they are delicious.”

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