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There was a debate on Facebook whether factory farming globally is comparable to chattel slavery and the Holocaust. It didn't get super far. 

Interested to hear cross-x's thoughts on the matter.

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I don't think we can psychologically compare the weights of those things because we're trained to value human lives differently.

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I don't think we can psychologically compare the weights of those things because we're trained to value human lives differently.

Yeah. I'm less looking for an affective response than a substantive one; not "do we feel the same" but "should we"

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Yeah. I'm less looking for an affective response than a substantive one; not "do we feel the same" but "should we"

On the one hand, the main goal of any animal species is to preserve members of that species, indicating we should value human lives above animal lives. On the other, humans are in a unique position of power and have a lot more control of suffering.

 

There's probably always going to be a carnivorous ecosystem - some form of hunting, farming, or factory farming. This begs the question of whether the increased suffering of animals is legitimate based on increased human needs.

 

However, it would seem that humans have an increased capacity for agency and free will over animals. This would seem to make the denial of human agency more significant than the denial of non-human animals' agency.

 

Additionally, it's important to consider the responsibility for each of these things. You can't really blame someone for factory farming - besides the collective development of farming techniques by humanity.

 

However, the blame for the Holocaust can be attributed primarily to anti-Semitism, facism, nationalism, and Nazism. These things created the conditions which made the actions of the Nazi party possible, though there is responsibility to be allocated specifically to the will to commit the Holocaust.

 

It's something similar for chattel slavery - prejudice and systems of thought created the conditions under which the legal justification was created, and there is responsibility to be given for the founding of the state/"civil society" upon whiteness.

 

Finally, it is necessary to consider the consequences of rejecting each of these things.

 

Rejecting genocide seems to be unconditionally good, and rejecting chattel slavery (or any forms of slavery) would seem to be the only ethical option.

 

Rejecting factory farming, however, would significantly limit the possibility of providing food on a large scale and potential inhibit population growth. This feeds back into the question of whether humans are justified in benefiting from the suffering of animals in the first place.

 

Overall, under the assumptions that some forms of animal consumption are inevitable, that humans are more capable of free will, that little individual responsibility can be given for the occurrence of factory farming, and that rejecting large-scale farming practices would be harmful in a utilitarian sense, I would argue these events cannot be compared.

 

However, there is potential for farming to take place on a large scale without poor conditions which is ultimately preferable.

 

These are just my initial thoughts. Let me know if any of my thinking seems problematic.

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Well, even assuming as little anthropocentrism as possible, there's no way to equate factory farming to the Holocaust. The purpose of farming is utilitarian, to use animals for food in a way that values efficiency over reduction in animal suffering. The Holocaust intended to cause suffering and death for the sake of suffering and death. The goal of factory farming is to eat cows, not to exterminate them.

 

Rnivium's history is wrong here in comparing chattel slavery:

 

It's something similar for chattel slavery - prejudice and systems of thought created the conditions under which the legal justification was created, and there is responsibility to be given for the founding of the state/"civil society" upon whiteness.

Chattel slavery long predates the American version, and had its origins in making efficient use of war captives. The racial prejudice aspects of slavery were in large part an attempt to reconcile Enlightenment values with the economic benefits of slavery, which could only be done by assuming that the enslaved races, largely black and Native American, were inferior and subhuman. If you assume animals are morally equal to humans, that's the right comparison; we started eating animals because that's what we as animals do, we developed a philosophy that provided moral worth to animals alongside industrial farming techniques that made acquiring meat much cheaper, and justified it by saying animal life had no moral value to weigh against the benefits of factory farming.

 

But, to actually get as far as equating factory farming to chattel slavery, you'd have to argue that animals, or at least farmed animals, have equal moral standing and an equal right to life and freedom from suffering as humans, and the instinctive recoil at saying that black slaves were the same as chickens and pigs should tell you something.

 

It's tough to make the argument that there's anything wrong with owning animals or with eating animals without rejecting the natural world; humans are omnivores, we evolved to eat meat, and we evolved to use and work with animals (e.g., domestication of dogs, horses, oxen, etc.). There's a reason most people think PETA is insane when they take their philosophy to a logical conclusion and claim that pet ownership is wrong--there are way too many very happy and loved dogs and cats to take the claim that ownership is automatically abuse seriously. So if there's a wrong from factory farming, it's in the balance of allowing excess animal suffering for increased efficiency, not in killing animals for food (usually more efficiently than pre-industrial farming--the idea that Native Americans "used every part of the buffalo" while we somehow just throw out large chunks of dead animal is nonsense on stilts refuted by any visit to a modern meat processing plant). That's an issue of balance more than the categorical wrong of slavery or genocide.

 

And the wrong of slavery is primarily in ownership of people being wrong, so the comparison doesn't work. If factory farming is equivalent to chattel slavery, then pet ownership is equivalent to owning well-educated and cared for house slaves and is just as wrong.

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My view goes something like this:

 

All suffering matters but suffering of conscious life is inherently worse reason being that conscious life allows more understanding and comprehension, they can't feel pain more per say but inherently have a better understanding of the world and the pain they are suffering. This is the reason that most people view human life as more important (that and the fact that we better identify with humans than animals) and thus why we view things like holocaust in a different light from kfc farms.

 

In regards to competition of species and prioritizing your own, it is true that we as humans are in a privileged position but that is only due to humans "winning" the evolutionary race, the question then arises do we continue our existence through the lens that we must do all we can to survive when in all likelihood we don't need to do that in the modern world. Frankly I don't know the answer, my opinion comes down to conscious life > non-conscious life.

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But, to actually get as far as equating factory farming to chattel slavery, you'd have to argue that animals, or at least farmed animals, have equal moral standing and an equal right to life and freedom from suffering as humans, and the instinctive recoil at saying that black slaves were the same as chickens and pigs should tell you something.

Though the argument isn't that black slaves are "pigs" but rather that all humans and all pigs are equal. The implicit hierarchy of anthropocentric thought forms the basis that for a human to be an animal is degrading. That this is repulsive to us is how we are socially cued. The "dirty, filthy animal" trope, if you will, allows us to justify violence against animals as well as maintain relative superiority.

 

You're right I don't give the whole narrative of chattel slavery. I was mainly focusing on it in the U.S. because that's most of what I've learned about, but that was mainly to contextualize the justification for it in terms of U.S. policy/factory farming.

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Though the argument isn't that black slaves are "pigs" but rather that all humans and all pigs are equal. The implicit hierarchy of anthropocentric thought forms the basis that for a human to be an animal is degrading. That this is repulsive to us is how we are socially cued. The "dirty, filthy animal" trope, if you will, allows us to justify violence against animals as well as maintain relative superiority.

You don't need the dirty/filthy aspect to justify human superiority, and I doubt most humans do in practice. In fact, humans tend to avoid eating animals they see as unclean or dirty (e.g., kosher/halal restrictions, Western revulsion at eating insects).

 

Beyond that, the basic question of whether anthropocentrism is correct depends on your moral axioms and assumptions. There is a perfectly self-consistent set of moral values that concludes that animal life is morally equivalent to human life and equally worthy of protection. There are also perfectly self-consistent sets of moral values that justify placing humans above animals. If the consequences of your axioms leads you to results you find repulsive, then either you have to live with that or change your axioms.

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You don't need the dirty/filthy aspect to justify human superiority, and I doubt most humans do in practice. In fact, humans tend to avoid eating animals they see as unclean or dirty (e.g., kosher/halal restrictions, Western revulsion at eating insects).

Beyond that, the basic question of whether anthropocentrism is correct depends on your moral axioms and assumptions. There is a perfectly self-consistent set of moral values that concludes that animal life is morally equivalent to human life and equally worthy of protection. There are also perfectly self-consistent sets of moral values that justify placing humans above animals. If the consequences of your axioms leads you to results you find repulsive, then either you have to live with that or change your axioms.

That's fair enough. I agree it should be decided on an individual, rather than a collective, basis.

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Official Hierarchy of Beings:

Koslow

Muslims

Disabled Queer Women of Color who have been Victims of Landmines

Disabled Queer Women of Color

Disabled Women of Color and Queer Women of Color (with no order)

Women of Color

Disabled Women/ Women of Color (YES TWICE YOU BIGOT)

Muslims

Trans-Women

Men of Color

Anne Frank

Women

Disabled men

Queer persons

Non-human animals

Non-sentient beings (plants, grass, etc)

Painted Physical objects without sentience (walls, canvas)

Physical objects without sentience (rocks, tables)

White Children

 

Yes I am aware white men are not on the list.  

 

Yes the list is satirical.

 

No I did not read any post in this thread.

 

No I do not believe this in any fashion and this does not in any way reflect on me or my own personal convictions.

 

Yes, I am aware people will take this out of context to call me a bigot. No, those people will not know that South Park already did that.

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Nature is just as (if not more) fucked up than humans are, and that cruelty means that animals have no conception of ethical action. 

 

Humans don't like being exposed to that truth, so they ignore it until it gets uncomfortable: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/nation-world/national/article78784122.html is a great example of this. 

 

Anthro good. 

Edited by BernieSanders
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You don't need to defend "animals are identical to people" to defend "both are equally unworthy of slaughter," in the same way that you don't need to (and shouldn't) defend "women are identical to men" to defend women's rights.

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My view goes something like this:

 

All suffering matters but suffering of conscious life is inherently worse reason being that conscious life allows more understanding and comprehension, they can't feel pain more per say but inherently have a better understanding of the world and the pain they are suffering. This is the reason that most people view human life as more important (that and the fact that we better identify with humans than animals) and thus why we view things like holocaust in a different light from kfc farms.

 

In regards to competition of species and prioritizing your own, it is true that we as humans are in a privileged position but that is only due to humans "winning" the evolutionary race, the question then arises do we continue our existence through the lens that we must do all we can to survive when in all likelihood we don't need to do that in the modern world. Frankly I don't know the answer, my opinion comes down to conscious life > non-conscious life.

 

Does this make suffering worse though? Really? Regardless if you can understand why you suffer, don't you still feel just as much pain? In fact I think an argument can be made the other way, that suffering without comprehension is worse than "understood" suffering. When violence has no rhyme or reason, when it just happens, there is no response you can muster. Violence towards animals that humans consider contingent and "necessary," is meaningless and gratuitous for them. Would your suffering really be better if you were unable to articulate and understand it? 

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You don't need to defend "animals are identical to people" to defend "both are equally unworthy of slaughter," in the same way that you don't need to (and shouldn't) defend "women are identical to men" to defend women's rights.

 

To live is to suffer (gg easy argument to win, I got the Shakespeare/Buddha author dream team on my side). The most ethical action a human can do is quickly kill an animal and let their suffering become void. Hierarchy good because animals will kill/inflict pain with only their own desires in mind meaning that net suffering is significantly higher than through human factory farms. 

 

I mean, it's better than watching an eagle feed a house cat to it's young or contemplate other examples of animals intentionally torturing other animals for their own pleasure. 

 

Reverse / Negative Util best ethical FW because it disallows atrocity (by privileging a net 0 of suffering over net positive happiness in all instances). Alt is destruction of all non-humans, impact is orders of magnitude of reduced suffering.

 

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If you're going to shitpost, at least shitpost well.

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if we are to follow the neo-deleuzian take that hierarchies of power are violent and should be circumvented and dismantled, and we find a hierarchy of power between human subjects and non-human subjects with humans at the top, it clearly follows that the process by which we can arbitrarily determine which animals are worth having as pets and household companions and which are simply fuel for us in the form of factory farmed meat products should be interrogated and questioned

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if we are to follow the neo-deleuzian take that hierarchies of power are violent and should be circumvented and dismantled, and we find a hierarchy of power between human subjects and non-human subjects with humans at the top, it clearly follows that the process by which we can arbitrarily determine which animals are worth having as pets and household companions and which are simply fuel for us in the form of factory farmed meat products should be interrogated and questioned

 

Needlessly verbose imo. 

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if we are to follow the neo-deleuzian take that hierarchies of power are violent and should be circumvented and dismantled, and we find a hierarchy of power between human subjects and non-human subjects with humans at the top, it clearly follows that the process by which we can arbitrarily determine which animals are worth having as pets and household companions and which are simply fuel for us in the form of factory farmed meat products should be interrogated and questioned

Wtf is Neo-Deleuzian? 

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if we are to follow the neo-deleuzian take that hierarchies of power are violent and should be circumvented and dismantled, and we find a hierarchy of power between human subjects and non-human subjects with humans at the top, it clearly follows that the process by which we can arbitrarily determine which animals are worth having as pets and household companions and which are simply fuel for us in the form of factory farmed meat products should be interrogated and questioned

Is this legit?

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On the one hand, the main goal of any animal species is to preserve members of that species, indicating we should value human lives above animal lives. On the other, humans are in a unique position of power and have a lot more control of suffering.

 

There's probably always going to be a carnivorous ecosystem - some form of hunting, farming, or factory farming. This begs the question of whether the increased suffering of animals is legitimate based on increased human needs.

In most of developed society there is no need for meat. In fact, it is much more resource-intensive than plant food:

"Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment determined that 36 percent of the calories in crops are being fed to farmed animals. When cattle are killed and turned into food, only 12 percent of those calories make their way into the human diet as meat. That’s a whopping two-thirds drop in the number of calories that would have been available to humans if the grains had been consumed directly by humans in the first place.

However, it would seem that humans have an increased capacity for agency and free will over animals. This would seem to make the denial of human agency more significant than the denial of non-human animals' agency." -Peta

 

Additionally, it's important to consider the responsibility for each of these things. You can't really blame someone for factory farming - besides the collective development of farming techniques by humanity.

You can blame modern speciesism for the continuation of exploitation of animals; people don't seem to care...

However, the blame for the Holocaust can be attributed primarily to anti-Semitism, facism, nationalism, and Nazism. These things created the conditions which made the actions of the Nazi party possible, though there is responsibility to be allocated specifically to the will to commit the Holocaust.

 

It's something similar for chattel slavery - prejudice and systems of thought created the conditions under which the legal justification was created, and there is responsibility to be given for the founding of the state/"civil society" upon whiteness.

 

Finally, it is necessary to consider the consequences of rejecting each of these things.

 

Rejecting genocide seems to be unconditionally good, and rejecting chattel slavery (or any forms of slavery) would seem to be the only ethical option.

 

Rejecting factory farming, however, would significantly limit the possibility of providing food on a large scale and potential inhibit population growth. This feeds back into the question of whether humans are justified in benefiting from the suffering of animals in the first place.

As I reviewed earlier, meat is not a necessity; rather, it is much less efficient than plant products... so it would not inhibit population growth. And of course humans aren't justified to put our lesser interests in front of the larger interests of the non-humans.

Overall, under the assumptions that some forms of animal consumption are inevitable, that humans are more capable of free will, that little individual responsibility can be given for the occurrence of factory farming, and that rejecting large-scale farming practices would be harmful in a utilitarian sense, I would argue these events cannot be compared.

 

However, there is potential for farming to take place on a large scale without poor conditions which is ultimately preferable.

Ummm.. No? What is preferable is for priveleged societies to make a moral decision to end exploitation of non-humans for pleasure. Plants are much cheaper to grow than meat.

These are just my initial thoughts. Let me know if any of my thinking seems problematic.

My view goes something like this:

 

All suffering matters but suffering of conscious life is inherently worse reason being that conscious life allows more understanding and comprehension, they can't feel pain more per say but inherently have a better understanding of the world and the pain they are suffering. This is the reason that most people view human life as more important (that and the fact that we better identify with humans than animals) and thus why we view things like holocaust in a different light from kfc farms.

 

In regards to competition of species and prioritizing your own, it is true that we as humans are in a privileged position but that is only due to humans "winning" the evolutionary race, the question then arises do we continue our existence through the lens that we must do all we can to survive when in all likelihood we don't need to do that in the modern world. Frankly I don't know the answer, my opinion comes down to conscious life > non-conscious life.

http://fcmconference.org/img/CambridgeDeclarationOnConsciousness.pdf

what makes you think that non-humans are not conscious?

Adidas06 also had a good point.

Nature is just as (if not more) fucked up than humans are, and that cruelty means that animals have no conception of ethical action.

 

Humans don't like being exposed to that truth, so they ignore it until it gets uncomfortable: http://www.islandpacket.com/news/nation-world/national/article78784122.html is a great example of this.

 

Anthro good.

as a species that has a conception of morality, it is our responsibility to use it. It's not the animals's fault how they were born.

"In an effort to understand the nature of sympathy in non-humans, in 1963 Jules Masserman investigated how macaques responded to other monkey's suffering in a laboratory environment. How would they behave if they knew that securing food would give an electric shock to another monkey? Masserman's monkeys often prolonged their hunger rather than administer a painful stimulus. One monkey refrained from taking food for twelve days. Responses showed several patterns. Self-starvation was more likely in monkeys that had themselves experienced electroshock as a subject. Sacrificial behavior was not biased towards members of higher dominance rank, but was slightly stronger for cagemates (although not statistically significant). Visual contact, even without auditory cues, seemed sufficient to induce the response. The monkeys' behavior seemed to reflect an understanding of another's pain, as well as strong aversity to causing such suffering. " - http://www1.umn.edu/ships/evolutionofmorality/images/16c.htm

"In another study, a female gorilla named Binti Jua rescued an unconscious 3-year-old (human) boy who had fallen into her enclosure at the Brookline Zoo in Illinois, protecting the child from other gorillas and even calling for human help. And when a car hit and injured a dog on a busy Chilean freeway several years ago, its canine compatriot dodged traffic, risking its life to drag the unconscious dog to safety"

-LiveScience.com

Edited by jsourouh
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^^^^^

 

Factory farming is not a product of "increased human need." Simple biology tells us that if we directly consumed the grain we use to feed animals, we'd have 10x as much energy at our disposal (trophic levels). 

 

Factory farming is not a necessity, it's a result a of our "culture of consumption" that we cherish as uniquely American (although it's spread). Factory farming did not arise from a need for food, it arose from a need for surplus, for excess. Trying to justify factory farming through the lens of hunger is ludicrous. Hunger is not  a product of scarcity, it's a result of unequal distribution. We have more than enough food to feed the world in the status quo,* factory farming is just a form of overproduction that is more necessary to fill our egos than our bellies. 

 

Arguments that try to justify factory farming as "inevitable" or "necessary" kind of piss me off. It isn't in any way key to human survival. For me, this makes the ethical decision calculus a lot easier.  

 

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/world-hunger_b_1463429.html

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^^^^^

 

Factory farming is not a product of "increased human need." Simple biology tells us that if we directly consumed the grain we use to feed animals, we'd have 10x as much energy at our disposal (trophic levels). 

 

Factory farming is not a necessity, it's a result a of our "culture of consumption" that we cherish as uniquely American (although it's spread). Factory farming did not arise from a need for food, it arose from a need for surplus, for excess. Trying to justify factory farming through the lens of hunger is ludicrous. Hunger is not  a product of scarcity, it's a result of unequal distribution. We have more than enough food to feed the world in the status quo,* factory farming is just a form of overproduction that is more necessary to fill our egos than our bellies. 

 

Arguments that try to justify factory farming as "inevitable" or "necessary" kind of piss me off. It isn't in any way key to human survival. For me, this makes the ethical decision calculus a lot easier.  

 

* http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eric-holt-gimenez/world-hunger_b_1463429.html

I whole-heartedly agree that factory farming is not the most efficient. Right now since it makes up a lot of our food, ditching it suddenly wouls be bad in terms of need.

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