The rooster crisis

What with the locavore movement, the organic food craze, survivalism, and the need to pinch pennies, lots of people have started raising chickens.  Even in big cities and suburbia.  Here in the D.C. area, counties and municipalities have revised local ordinances to allow chicken coops in back yards.  I salute those ventures.  But if you breed chickens, you are going to wind up with some males of the species.  Roosters don’t lay eggs; they aren’t cute enough to serve as pets; they tend to be mean; they fight if there are more than one of them; and–worst of all for city dwellers–they crow really loud early in the morning.  So now animal rescue agencies, animal control centers, and the Humane Society are getting overwhelmed by people bringing in roosters.

See Backyard chicken boom produces fowl result: Unwanted roosters – The Washington Post.

I think it’s great that people want to be farmers.  But if you are going to be a farmer, if only on a microscopic scale, you’ve got to think and act like a farmer.  What has been done with unneeded roosters, from time immemorial, is to eat them!

In the immortal words of Stephen Foster, referring to Susanna,”We will kill the old red rooster when she comes, when she comes.”  And then the next verse, “We will have chicken ‘n’ dumplings when she comes.”  [Sorry!  It isn't Susanna or Stephen Foster.  As Todd points out in the comments, "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain" is a completely different song.]  That last point acknowledges that roosters can be tough and so need to be stewed, but they can still be very delicious, and wound count as local, organic, homegrown food too.

I do understand the problem of squeamishness in wringing necks and chopping off heads–something that seems not to have been a problem with our forebears, however gentle and mild-mannered in other parts of their lives (I remember accounts of my sainted grandmother twisting the heads off of chickens)–but this could be an opportunity for a revival of another classic profession that would be local and a humane alternative to the factory-scale meat industry:  namely, the local butcher.

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Instead of getting our feathers ruffled, people need to wake up about this problem and scratch out a solution.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Instead of getting our feathers ruffled, people need to wake up about this problem and scratch out a solution.

  • http://www.the-end-time.blogspot.com Elizabeth Prata

    Many towns have a local who processes deer meat for hunters. Perhaps these businesses should think about diversifying. In Providence RI, Antonelli Poultry Company, if it is still in business, is a live market in the Federal Hill district that processes live birds. So even in a city perhaps there is a poultry processor, somewhere….

    Interesting article about the problem from a different angle. I’ve been keeping tack of the number of towns that have introduced zoning ordinances to control or otherwise regulate chickens. In Windham Maine, the issue was decibels: too many chickens got too loud for some residents. They sought to control the issue with an ordinance limiting the # of chickens (up to 25)- and no roosters allowed.

  • http://www.the-end-time.blogspot.com Elizabeth Prata

    Many towns have a local who processes deer meat for hunters. Perhaps these businesses should think about diversifying. In Providence RI, Antonelli Poultry Company, if it is still in business, is a live market in the Federal Hill district that processes live birds. So even in a city perhaps there is a poultry processor, somewhere….

    Interesting article about the problem from a different angle. I’ve been keeping tack of the number of towns that have introduced zoning ordinances to control or otherwise regulate chickens. In Windham Maine, the issue was decibels: too many chickens got too loud for some residents. They sought to control the issue with an ordinance limiting the # of chickens (up to 25)- and no roosters allowed.

  • Pete

    Reminds me of a great story I heard when we lived in San Francisco. A petite Chinese grandmother boards a bus having just come from the market in Chinatown, with a live chicken under her arm. Bus driver shakes his head, “Sorry ma’am – no live animals permitted on the bus.” She nods, wrings the chicken’s neck and gives him her fare and takes her seat.

  • Pete

    Reminds me of a great story I heard when we lived in San Francisco. A petite Chinese grandmother boards a bus having just come from the market in Chinatown, with a live chicken under her arm. Bus driver shakes his head, “Sorry ma’am – no live animals permitted on the bus.” She nods, wrings the chicken’s neck and gives him her fare and takes her seat.

  • Tom Hering

    Let the roosters be. I’ll take a neighbor with a rooster over a neighbor with a leaf blower any day. And if given a choice of necks to wring …

  • Tom Hering

    Let the roosters be. I’ll take a neighbor with a rooster over a neighbor with a leaf blower any day. And if given a choice of necks to wring …

  • Matthew

    As someone who raises chickens (out in rural Indiana, where no one complains about roosters crowing), I can tell you that we take our chickens to an Amish butcher about 45 minutes away to have them processed. I have slaughtered and prepared a few birds myself, and the real problem I have with it is not squeamishness about the killing. Plucking those birds, unless you have a plucking machine (which can run $500 or more) takes *forever*! Killing is unpleasant, cleaning out the guts is a bit of a nuisance, but I hate plucking them!

    As for squeamishness, sometimes it’s about motivation. Three years ago, when we had our first flock, the rooster attacked my daughter, who was eight at the time. The next day, he was dinner.

    Now if I can just find someone to process meat rabbits…

  • Matthew

    As someone who raises chickens (out in rural Indiana, where no one complains about roosters crowing), I can tell you that we take our chickens to an Amish butcher about 45 minutes away to have them processed. I have slaughtered and prepared a few birds myself, and the real problem I have with it is not squeamishness about the killing. Plucking those birds, unless you have a plucking machine (which can run $500 or more) takes *forever*! Killing is unpleasant, cleaning out the guts is a bit of a nuisance, but I hate plucking them!

    As for squeamishness, sometimes it’s about motivation. Three years ago, when we had our first flock, the rooster attacked my daughter, who was eight at the time. The next day, he was dinner.

    Now if I can just find someone to process meat rabbits…

  • Michael B.

    I remember a few weeks back my wife was sick and as I was cooking meals for everyone. As I was cutting up the chicken, I had this thought that people in 100 years might witness this scene as absolutely barbaric. Sometimes the same thing happens when I see someone order crabs. One wonders where the zeitgeist will go in the future. 100 years ago would have predicted the changes in how we view race, gender,and sexual orientation?

  • Michael B.

    I remember a few weeks back my wife was sick and as I was cooking meals for everyone. As I was cutting up the chicken, I had this thought that people in 100 years might witness this scene as absolutely barbaric. Sometimes the same thing happens when I see someone order crabs. One wonders where the zeitgeist will go in the future. 100 years ago would have predicted the changes in how we view race, gender,and sexual orientation?

  • Joe

    We are a hunting family and my dad raises roasting chickens and rabbits. I learned to do basic butchering when I was about 12 years old. It is really not that hard. All you need for a chicken is a good boning knife and a little time. Also, if it is the plucking that is really what is stopping you, you could skin it. A good stew doesn’t need skin anyway.

  • Joe

    We are a hunting family and my dad raises roasting chickens and rabbits. I learned to do basic butchering when I was about 12 years old. It is really not that hard. All you need for a chicken is a good boning knife and a little time. Also, if it is the plucking that is really what is stopping you, you could skin it. A good stew doesn’t need skin anyway.

  • Dan Kempin

    As a farm kid, I’m tempted to write this off with a snort and a remark about “city folks.” (We all like to feel a little superior, and how often do you get the chance to look down on people because you know how to butcher chickens? No, seriously–other farm folks back me up–how often does that chance come along? I can also shoot, shovel, and run a wheelbarrow full of liquid through an obstacle course, but I haven’t yet found a team that will give a trophy for those skills.)

    Nevertheless, I think there is something going on here that is well beyond a squeamishness to kill the rooster or eat an animal that you “know.” Those impulses are natural, even for farmers.

    What we have here is a playing out of the new morality. (Pretend I put those last two words in italics) In the new morality, animal life is not to be considered less sacred than human life.

    That is now an ethical premise.

    As such, you can raise chickens for eggs, so long as you are kind and, quite possibly, loving, but the surplus of roosters creates a dilemma: You can’t kill them, and you can’t just give them to someone else to kill. You have to provide for them, or at least acquit yourself of your obligation to them in a moral fashion. Thus the humane society.

    Of course, like any other ethic, it easily becomes a pharisaical game. Never mind the that humane society ends up putting them down (and also wasting the meat) . . . I, myself, did what I could. And never mind the meat that I bought in the store. I didn’t kill it. It was already dead. I just made sure it didn’t go do waste.

    You may laugh at my take, but I am completely serious. And the humane society (which I refuse to capitalize) is a part of the new morality.

  • Dan Kempin

    As a farm kid, I’m tempted to write this off with a snort and a remark about “city folks.” (We all like to feel a little superior, and how often do you get the chance to look down on people because you know how to butcher chickens? No, seriously–other farm folks back me up–how often does that chance come along? I can also shoot, shovel, and run a wheelbarrow full of liquid through an obstacle course, but I haven’t yet found a team that will give a trophy for those skills.)

    Nevertheless, I think there is something going on here that is well beyond a squeamishness to kill the rooster or eat an animal that you “know.” Those impulses are natural, even for farmers.

    What we have here is a playing out of the new morality. (Pretend I put those last two words in italics) In the new morality, animal life is not to be considered less sacred than human life.

    That is now an ethical premise.

    As such, you can raise chickens for eggs, so long as you are kind and, quite possibly, loving, but the surplus of roosters creates a dilemma: You can’t kill them, and you can’t just give them to someone else to kill. You have to provide for them, or at least acquit yourself of your obligation to them in a moral fashion. Thus the humane society.

    Of course, like any other ethic, it easily becomes a pharisaical game. Never mind the that humane society ends up putting them down (and also wasting the meat) . . . I, myself, did what I could. And never mind the meat that I bought in the store. I didn’t kill it. It was already dead. I just made sure it didn’t go do waste.

    You may laugh at my take, but I am completely serious. And the humane society (which I refuse to capitalize) is a part of the new morality.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Occasionally there are roosters listed on our local freecycle list that someone wants to be rid of . We happily take them (but we don’t let on as to why we want them)…

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Occasionally there are roosters listed on our local freecycle list that someone wants to be rid of . We happily take them (but we don’t let on as to why we want them)…

  • Tom Hering

    So basically, Dan @ 8, you’re arguing that our ethical treatment of animals shouldn’t grow along with our scientific understanding of animals (not that the case for a growth in ethics can’t be made on a scriptural basis alone), because (A.) there will be trade-offs and (B.) we’ll always be hypocrites. Huh.

  • Tom Hering

    So basically, Dan @ 8, you’re arguing that our ethical treatment of animals shouldn’t grow along with our scientific understanding of animals (not that the case for a growth in ethics can’t be made on a scriptural basis alone), because (A.) there will be trade-offs and (B.) we’ll always be hypocrites. Huh.

  • EricM

    I wonder if the folks who want chickens think about what they really want. If they only want eggs, they don’t need roosters. They could get hens (you can even mail order the chicks if you don’t have a local TSC or Southern States) and raise them for eggs.

    If they want the chickens for meat, they could also order chicks and butcher them when they are the right size (usually way before roosters get annoying).

    Also…if they are looking for “organic” they have more work to do as they will have to find organic feed.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the manure. We have chickens and we also have a huge compost pile and fields where the manure can be spread out. If you live in the city, you will need to find something else to do with it. A garden can help but you will need to compost it first.

  • EricM

    I wonder if the folks who want chickens think about what they really want. If they only want eggs, they don’t need roosters. They could get hens (you can even mail order the chicks if you don’t have a local TSC or Southern States) and raise them for eggs.

    If they want the chickens for meat, they could also order chicks and butcher them when they are the right size (usually way before roosters get annoying).

    Also…if they are looking for “organic” they have more work to do as they will have to find organic feed.

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned the manure. We have chickens and we also have a huge compost pile and fields where the manure can be spread out. If you live in the city, you will need to find something else to do with it. A garden can help but you will need to compost it first.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    As one of those “city folk,” I recently learned how to butcher chickens myself. One of my confirmation students raised chickens for me, and then on a Saturday afternoon, we pulled them from the yard, cut off their heads, scalded, plucked, and butchered the chickens. (By the way, if the scalding water is just the right temperature, it doesn’t take more than five minutes to pluck a chicken.)

    The experience was quite illuminating. For me, the newbie, it was a bit grotesque. As I held the decapitated chicken by the feet (if you let it flail around, it will bruise the meat), some of its blood sprayed onto my boots and pants. I couldn’t help but think of the Day of Atonement, and the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat and the altar. “The life is in the blood” — indeed.

    What also struck me about the experience was how, after caring for these chickens every day for nearly 8 months, there was no incongruity for my confirmand to chop their heads off. This is a kid who truly respects his animals. He gives most of them names. They’re important to him. Even as he captured them and brought them one by one to the butchering block (more of a stump, actually), he still handled them with respect. His care for those animals convinced me that respecting an animal and taking its life are not mutually exclusive actions.

    I’m sure that could be extended to a Christological application somehow …

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    As one of those “city folk,” I recently learned how to butcher chickens myself. One of my confirmation students raised chickens for me, and then on a Saturday afternoon, we pulled them from the yard, cut off their heads, scalded, plucked, and butchered the chickens. (By the way, if the scalding water is just the right temperature, it doesn’t take more than five minutes to pluck a chicken.)

    The experience was quite illuminating. For me, the newbie, it was a bit grotesque. As I held the decapitated chicken by the feet (if you let it flail around, it will bruise the meat), some of its blood sprayed onto my boots and pants. I couldn’t help but think of the Day of Atonement, and the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat and the altar. “The life is in the blood” — indeed.

    What also struck me about the experience was how, after caring for these chickens every day for nearly 8 months, there was no incongruity for my confirmand to chop their heads off. This is a kid who truly respects his animals. He gives most of them names. They’re important to him. Even as he captured them and brought them one by one to the butchering block (more of a stump, actually), he still handled them with respect. His care for those animals convinced me that respecting an animal and taking its life are not mutually exclusive actions.

    I’m sure that could be extended to a Christological application somehow …

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting take JJ, and I’m sure very much akin to the ethic prevailing during Dan K’s childhood. Eating animals does not necessitate cruelty in raising or dispatching them.

    By the way, Murray McMurray Hatchery notes that even their egg layers make good stew hens once their peak laying years are done. My neighbor bought about 25 straight run chicks from McMurray and got about 8 roosters. He kept one and sent the other 7 to a guy he knows, who raised them as meat birds.

    Finally, if you want to know where to go for processing chickens or rabbits, ask the local gun shop where the game processors are and if they specialize in poultry or meat; they’ll often do poultry (think turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasant) or meat (deer, elk, rabbits) exclusively, but sometimes both. You sometimes have to actually call them and find out.

  • SKPeterson

    Interesting take JJ, and I’m sure very much akin to the ethic prevailing during Dan K’s childhood. Eating animals does not necessitate cruelty in raising or dispatching them.

    By the way, Murray McMurray Hatchery notes that even their egg layers make good stew hens once their peak laying years are done. My neighbor bought about 25 straight run chicks from McMurray and got about 8 roosters. He kept one and sent the other 7 to a guy he knows, who raised them as meat birds.

    Finally, if you want to know where to go for processing chickens or rabbits, ask the local gun shop where the game processors are and if they specialize in poultry or meat; they’ll often do poultry (think turkeys, geese, ducks, pheasant) or meat (deer, elk, rabbits) exclusively, but sometimes both. You sometimes have to actually call them and find out.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #10,

    I don’t think I followed you there. Can you help me along? I’m not sure where the science comes in, what the trade offs are, or if you think I am arguing against the ethical treatment of animals. I’m not, by the way. I’m pointing out that the ethic is definitely changing, and not for scientific reasons.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #10,

    I don’t think I followed you there. Can you help me along? I’m not sure where the science comes in, what the trade offs are, or if you think I am arguing against the ethical treatment of animals. I’m not, by the way. I’m pointing out that the ethic is definitely changing, and not for scientific reasons.

  • Dan Kempin

    I will share a personal story for the sake of those who might benefit:

    When my daughter was about four (maybe five), she had the chance to spend a couple of weeks with her grandparents on the farm. When we came to pick her up, she proudly showed us everything she had learned of the farm life. She fed the chickens and collected the eggs, and introduced us to all of the animals by name, from the pair of Llamas to the beautiful and docile steer, “Buddy.” (She was not quite big enough to feed him.).

    Later that winter, my parents came for a visit, and much to my delight brought a Christmas present of home grown beef for our freezer. I excitedly thawed some of the steaks and grilled them for dinner, and as we ate, we discussed (as was our custom) the quality of the steak, the characteristics of the meat, and the particular animal it came from. (There can be quite a variation depending on breed, feed,and other factors as well.)

    My bright eyed daughter was eating her steak and not really paying attention to the adult conversation . . . or so I though, until she interjected a question,

    “Do you mean Buddy the cow?”

    I paused, and she added, “Are you talking about Buddy, the cow at grandma and grandpa’s?”

    “Yes, honey,” I said, a little unsure as to where this was going. Grandma and grandpa had explained the idea that buddy was being raised for food, of course, but it didn’t seem to sink in until this moment. She set her fork down, looked right at me, and said in an incredulous voice, “You mean we are EATING Buddy?”

    What could I say, but “Yes, honey. We are eating Buddy.”

    She paused for a moment, with a look on her face that was difficult to read. Then she turned and said thoughtfully,

    “Buddy tastes good.”

  • Dan Kempin

    I will share a personal story for the sake of those who might benefit:

    When my daughter was about four (maybe five), she had the chance to spend a couple of weeks with her grandparents on the farm. When we came to pick her up, she proudly showed us everything she had learned of the farm life. She fed the chickens and collected the eggs, and introduced us to all of the animals by name, from the pair of Llamas to the beautiful and docile steer, “Buddy.” (She was not quite big enough to feed him.).

    Later that winter, my parents came for a visit, and much to my delight brought a Christmas present of home grown beef for our freezer. I excitedly thawed some of the steaks and grilled them for dinner, and as we ate, we discussed (as was our custom) the quality of the steak, the characteristics of the meat, and the particular animal it came from. (There can be quite a variation depending on breed, feed,and other factors as well.)

    My bright eyed daughter was eating her steak and not really paying attention to the adult conversation . . . or so I though, until she interjected a question,

    “Do you mean Buddy the cow?”

    I paused, and she added, “Are you talking about Buddy, the cow at grandma and grandpa’s?”

    “Yes, honey,” I said, a little unsure as to where this was going. Grandma and grandpa had explained the idea that buddy was being raised for food, of course, but it didn’t seem to sink in until this moment. She set her fork down, looked right at me, and said in an incredulous voice, “You mean we are EATING Buddy?”

    What could I say, but “Yes, honey. We are eating Buddy.”

    She paused for a moment, with a look on her face that was difficult to read. Then she turned and said thoughtfully,

    “Buddy tastes good.”

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 14, I agree that the ethic is definitely changing, but disagree that advances in the scientific understanding of animals has nothing to do with it. We have evidence, now, for things that were once (and are often still) denied: that many animals love, think, feel pain, grieve, and even – we’re discovering – engage in ethical behavior themselves. (Behavior without a survival purpose. Even behavior that runs counter to survival purposes. Which all non-Darwinists should be happy to hear. ;-) ) The literature is out there for anyone who’s curious.

    Yes, I misunderstood you. Don’t misunderstand me. Though I choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons, I’m supportive of the “compassionate carnivore” movement, mainly because the eating of meat is something God has permitted (though we don’t think about everything permission implies). I’d much rather see animals treated well before they’re killed and eaten. I’d just ask that you consider whether those animals are aware of death, and want to escape it. They cry out and run away from you for a reason.

  • Tom Hering

    Dan @ 14, I agree that the ethic is definitely changing, but disagree that advances in the scientific understanding of animals has nothing to do with it. We have evidence, now, for things that were once (and are often still) denied: that many animals love, think, feel pain, grieve, and even – we’re discovering – engage in ethical behavior themselves. (Behavior without a survival purpose. Even behavior that runs counter to survival purposes. Which all non-Darwinists should be happy to hear. ;-) ) The literature is out there for anyone who’s curious.

    Yes, I misunderstood you. Don’t misunderstand me. Though I choose not to eat meat for ethical reasons, I’m supportive of the “compassionate carnivore” movement, mainly because the eating of meat is something God has permitted (though we don’t think about everything permission implies). I’d much rather see animals treated well before they’re killed and eaten. I’d just ask that you consider whether those animals are aware of death, and want to escape it. They cry out and run away from you for a reason.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #16,

    I respect your view and your choices, Tom. It seems to be very sound reasoning.

    My only real point was that this rooster dilemma was not one of farming, but of ethics. My comments about hypocrisy were an aside, illustrating that it behaves like any other ethical issue.

  • Dan Kempin

    Tom, #16,

    I respect your view and your choices, Tom. It seems to be very sound reasoning.

    My only real point was that this rooster dilemma was not one of farming, but of ethics. My comments about hypocrisy were an aside, illustrating that it behaves like any other ethical issue.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, we are Omnivores. Thus, an omnivorous diet is not unethical. Sure, we can do it decently, or not – like all things.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom, we are Omnivores. Thus, an omnivorous diet is not unethical. Sure, we can do it decently, or not – like all things.

  • helen

    My daughter’s neighborhood has a resident rooster.
    Nobody owns him; chickens are illegal in that town. :)
    Since there is an adjacent lake and the neighbors put out feed for wild ducks, the official pronouncement from the police (who have not been able to catch him) is, “That bird thinks he’s a duck.” He has so far survived three snowy winters; he sleeps under one neighbor’s deck with a rabbit. :)

    Jeremiah, next time keep the chicken’s neck on the chopping block, directed away from you, till it’s done bleeding.

  • helen

    My daughter’s neighborhood has a resident rooster.
    Nobody owns him; chickens are illegal in that town. :)
    Since there is an adjacent lake and the neighbors put out feed for wild ducks, the official pronouncement from the police (who have not been able to catch him) is, “That bird thinks he’s a duck.” He has so far survived three snowy winters; he sleeps under one neighbor’s deck with a rabbit. :)

    Jeremiah, next time keep the chicken’s neck on the chopping block, directed away from you, till it’s done bleeding.

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie, I’ve never argued that eating meat is unethical, because I’ve never dared to condemn what God permits. Though I’d argue we (and all other creatures) were originally herbivores, and permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

  • Tom Hering

    Klasie, I’ve never argued that eating meat is unethical, because I’ve never dared to condemn what God permits. Though I’d argue we (and all other creatures) were originally herbivores, and permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    In the immortal words of Stephen Foster, referring to Susanna,”We will kill the old red rooster when she comes, when she comes.”

    You need a fact-checker. Foster wrote “Oh! Susanna”, it’s true, but he did not write “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”, which is the song that refers to old red roosters and chicken ‘n’ dumplings. That latter song is actually based on an old Negro spiritual called “When the Chariot Comes”, which — and I just learned this from Wikipedia — is actually about the second coming of Christ.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith said:

    In the immortal words of Stephen Foster, referring to Susanna,”We will kill the old red rooster when she comes, when she comes.”

    You need a fact-checker. Foster wrote “Oh! Susanna”, it’s true, but he did not write “She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain”, which is the song that refers to old red roosters and chicken ‘n’ dumplings. That latter song is actually based on an old Negro spiritual called “When the Chariot Comes”, which — and I just learned this from Wikipedia — is actually about the second coming of Christ.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Sorry for garbling and confusing my old songs!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Sorry for garbling and confusing my old songs!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, keeping chickens is all the rage here in Portland, but even here you’re not allowed to keep or breed roosters for personal use. Problem solved. All the eggs and manure you want (and, likely, then some), but the neighborhood noise ordinance is still largely abided by. And, without a rooster in their midst, it seems the odds are good that none of those eggs will go on to produce a rooster themselves. Or anything but a tasty breakfast.

    Dan, I laughed at your story (@15), but I think your premise (@8) is off. I might even wonder if you’re playing out some country-mouse angst. Regardless, I know lots of non-farm* folk who eat meat, and know, at some level, that the meat came from the killing of an animal. But they’re still squeamish about the actual killing. You know, blood, guts, etc. I mean, I have no qualms about killing certain creepy-crawlies that get inside my house, but I still really hate the crackle of their exoskeletons under the tissue. Or the smear of whatever it is they left behind on the wall. You know.

    It’s not surprising that people would recoil at things they are ignorant of (the old saying isn’t just about the making of sausages, but also of laws, after all). And modern people can be ignorant to a great degree about the nature of their food. But I bet they’d find plenty to find revolting even in the manufacture of their substitute meat products.

    *I suspect that there are lots of people in small towns who are equally squeamish about killing animals, given that modern food production and distribution is found equally there as in the big cities.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anyhow, keeping chickens is all the rage here in Portland, but even here you’re not allowed to keep or breed roosters for personal use. Problem solved. All the eggs and manure you want (and, likely, then some), but the neighborhood noise ordinance is still largely abided by. And, without a rooster in their midst, it seems the odds are good that none of those eggs will go on to produce a rooster themselves. Or anything but a tasty breakfast.

    Dan, I laughed at your story (@15), but I think your premise (@8) is off. I might even wonder if you’re playing out some country-mouse angst. Regardless, I know lots of non-farm* folk who eat meat, and know, at some level, that the meat came from the killing of an animal. But they’re still squeamish about the actual killing. You know, blood, guts, etc. I mean, I have no qualms about killing certain creepy-crawlies that get inside my house, but I still really hate the crackle of their exoskeletons under the tissue. Or the smear of whatever it is they left behind on the wall. You know.

    It’s not surprising that people would recoil at things they are ignorant of (the old saying isn’t just about the making of sausages, but also of laws, after all). And modern people can be ignorant to a great degree about the nature of their food. But I bet they’d find plenty to find revolting even in the manufacture of their substitute meat products.

    *I suspect that there are lots of people in small towns who are equally squeamish about killing animals, given that modern food production and distribution is found equally there as in the big cities.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@16), I’d be really surprised if we actually had “evidence” for the things you say we do:

    that many animals love, think, feel pain, grieve, and even – we’re discovering – engage in ethical behavior themselves.

    It sounds to me like you (or possibly some other people) are projecting human thoughts onto animal behaviors. We can have evidence of behaviors. I do not see how we can have evidence of what the animals think about such behavior.

    For instance, I have seen evidence that elephants are capable of holding a paint brush and moving it around. I have not seen evidence that elephants are capable of producing and admiring art for its aesthetic or symbolic qualities.

    But perhaps you have links for your claims about animals loving or being ethical.

    You also said (@20):

    permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

    What’s curious is that you apparently tie this assertion to the fact that you have chosen not to eat meat. Do you find that the two concepts are related? Can one move closer to the pre-Fall condition by choosing to act as they did before the Fall?

    If so, what should we say about the wearing of clothes? And is this why your avatar here is not a picture of yourself? :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@16), I’d be really surprised if we actually had “evidence” for the things you say we do:

    that many animals love, think, feel pain, grieve, and even – we’re discovering – engage in ethical behavior themselves.

    It sounds to me like you (or possibly some other people) are projecting human thoughts onto animal behaviors. We can have evidence of behaviors. I do not see how we can have evidence of what the animals think about such behavior.

    For instance, I have seen evidence that elephants are capable of holding a paint brush and moving it around. I have not seen evidence that elephants are capable of producing and admiring art for its aesthetic or symbolic qualities.

    But perhaps you have links for your claims about animals loving or being ethical.

    You also said (@20):

    permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

    What’s curious is that you apparently tie this assertion to the fact that you have chosen not to eat meat. Do you find that the two concepts are related? Can one move closer to the pre-Fall condition by choosing to act as they did before the Fall?

    If so, what should we say about the wearing of clothes? And is this why your avatar here is not a picture of yourself? :)

  • trotk

    Don’t watch if you are squeamish, but as a hunter, fisher, and keeper of a backyard chicken flock (who enjoys cleaning and butchering all of the above), I find this guy’s demonstration excellent:

  • trotk

    Don’t watch if you are squeamish, but as a hunter, fisher, and keeper of a backyard chicken flock (who enjoys cleaning and butchering all of the above), I find this guy’s demonstration excellent:

  • dust

    sorry to bring this up, but it’s worse in Germany! Of all places?

    WARNING: the article is pretty disturbing by US standards and just plain unbelievable as well as a sad :(

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/germany-to-ban-sex-with-animals-report/story-fnddckzi-1226524544281

    makes me appreciate the work of animal rights activists even more!

  • dust

    sorry to bring this up, but it’s worse in Germany! Of all places?

    WARNING: the article is pretty disturbing by US standards and just plain unbelievable as well as a sad :(

    http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/germany-to-ban-sex-with-animals-report/story-fnddckzi-1226524544281

    makes me appreciate the work of animal rights activists even more!

  • Joe

    Tom – I have to disagree with you that the allowance to eat meat is a reminder of our fallen state. What God says in Genesis Chapter 9 is that meat is now given “just as” the plants were previously given to us, and it is given as part of a blessing bestowed on Noah and his sons:

    “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

    Unless we can argue that the eating of plants was somehow a reminder of the fall — that had not yet occurred, I don’t see how the giving of meat “just as” (or in the ESV “As I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”) the giving of plants can be anything other than a blessing bestowed upon those few who were found righteous. Death had come into the world through the fall and here God’s gives us a blessing (a new food source) through this death. This is Mercy not a reminder of our fallen state.

    That said, I agree with you that we can eat meat in an unethical manner.

  • Joe

    Tom – I have to disagree with you that the allowance to eat meat is a reminder of our fallen state. What God says in Genesis Chapter 9 is that meat is now given “just as” the plants were previously given to us, and it is given as part of a blessing bestowed on Noah and his sons:

    “Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.”

    Unless we can argue that the eating of plants was somehow a reminder of the fall — that had not yet occurred, I don’t see how the giving of meat “just as” (or in the ESV “As I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”) the giving of plants can be anything other than a blessing bestowed upon those few who were found righteous. Death had come into the world through the fall and here God’s gives us a blessing (a new food source) through this death. This is Mercy not a reminder of our fallen state.

    That said, I agree with you that we can eat meat in an unethical manner.

  • Joe

    I forgot to clean up a section in the above — I am not trying to argue that we are righteous (apart from Christ); I meant to edit this sentence to read, thusly:

    Unless we can argue that the eating of plants was somehow a reminder of the fall — that had not yet occurred, I don’t see how the giving of meat “just as” (or in the ESV “As I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”) the giving of plants can be anything other than a blessing.

  • Joe

    I forgot to clean up a section in the above — I am not trying to argue that we are righteous (apart from Christ); I meant to edit this sentence to read, thusly:

    Unless we can argue that the eating of plants was somehow a reminder of the fall — that had not yet occurred, I don’t see how the giving of meat “just as” (or in the ESV “As I gave you the green plants, I give you everything.”) the giving of plants can be anything other than a blessing.

  • helen

    Dan @ 8
    how often do you get the chance to look down on people because you know how to butcher chickens? No, seriously–other farm folks back me up–how often does that chance come along?

    LOL! It’s been decades since I did it! ;)

  • helen

    Dan @ 8
    how often do you get the chance to look down on people because you know how to butcher chickens? No, seriously–other farm folks back me up–how often does that chance come along?

    LOL! It’s been decades since I did it! ;)

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #23,

    If my premise is off, and the problem is really that meat eating people are squeamish about butchering, then why are they placing the roosters with shelters that do not euthanize (at least the one reference in the Wa Po story did not) rather than giving them to someone else to eat or to process? Sorry, but while I think the majority of people are in the place you describe, I think there is a growing number of people who have a different view of animal life, making it equal, at least, to human life.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #23,

    If my premise is off, and the problem is really that meat eating people are squeamish about butchering, then why are they placing the roosters with shelters that do not euthanize (at least the one reference in the Wa Po story did not) rather than giving them to someone else to eat or to process? Sorry, but while I think the majority of people are in the place you describe, I think there is a growing number of people who have a different view of animal life, making it equal, at least, to human life.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Dan & Helen:
    I know how to butcher a chicken. I even know how to butcher a great big turkey that’s around 60 pounds heavy. I always find it slightly amusing that people are squeamish about things like that. “I don’t think I could do that,” they say. Their grandparents would be amused too.

    However, if it’s something big, like a steer, I’ll let someone else look down their nose at me.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Dan & Helen:
    I know how to butcher a chicken. I even know how to butcher a great big turkey that’s around 60 pounds heavy. I always find it slightly amusing that people are squeamish about things like that. “I don’t think I could do that,” they say. Their grandparents would be amused too.

    However, if it’s something big, like a steer, I’ll let someone else look down their nose at me.

  • SKPeterson

    Todd is coming from this perspective on chicken. :)

  • SKPeterson

    Todd is coming from this perspective on chicken. :)

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@30), it just seems like you’re reading your hypothesis into the article.

    If my premise is off, and the problem is really that meat eating people are squeamish about butchering, then why are they placing the roosters with shelters that do not euthanize … rather than giving them to someone else to eat or to process?

    Because that’s what most people think of doing when you find a lost animal? You take them to the local shelter? And I’d be willing to bet that the average person isn’t aware of whether their local shelter euthanizes or not.

    Of course, there are some people like you describe. But your premise seems entirely unwarranted from the article itself.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@30), it just seems like you’re reading your hypothesis into the article.

    If my premise is off, and the problem is really that meat eating people are squeamish about butchering, then why are they placing the roosters with shelters that do not euthanize … rather than giving them to someone else to eat or to process?

    Because that’s what most people think of doing when you find a lost animal? You take them to the local shelter? And I’d be willing to bet that the average person isn’t aware of whether their local shelter euthanizes or not.

    Of course, there are some people like you describe. But your premise seems entirely unwarranted from the article itself.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #33,

    Well, I guess I found Dr. Veith’s takeaway from the article more compelling than the article as a whole. I was talking about roosters that are the surplus of raising chickens, not stray animals that are turned in by strangers.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #33,

    Well, I guess I found Dr. Veith’s takeaway from the article more compelling than the article as a whole. I was talking about roosters that are the surplus of raising chickens, not stray animals that are turned in by strangers.

  • Gerald

    I was watching a tv program about processing chickens for market, and they never showed a picture of a live chicken nor did they show them being killed in mass. The first time you saw the chickens was after they had been cleaned and plucked. No wonder young people are disconnected from the sources of their food.

    I, too, had laying chickens in my backyard, even though they belonged to a neighbor. Those fresh eggs tasted great with freshly dug new potatoes and herbs…

    I also remenber, as a child, visiting my great-aunt’s farm on a Sunday and she prepared a chicken dinner literally from “scratch”. That was the first time I saw a chicken killed. It made a lasting impression on me, but it did not dull my appetite.

  • Gerald

    I was watching a tv program about processing chickens for market, and they never showed a picture of a live chicken nor did they show them being killed in mass. The first time you saw the chickens was after they had been cleaned and plucked. No wonder young people are disconnected from the sources of their food.

    I, too, had laying chickens in my backyard, even though they belonged to a neighbor. Those fresh eggs tasted great with freshly dug new potatoes and herbs…

    I also remenber, as a child, visiting my great-aunt’s farm on a Sunday and she prepared a chicken dinner literally from “scratch”. That was the first time I saw a chicken killed. It made a lasting impression on me, but it did not dull my appetite.

  • Tom Hering

    Todd @ 24,

    Moral behavior in animals – an easy introduction:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html

    A little more “meat”:

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/041612.html

    If you’re interested in academic papers, you’re famous (here) for knowing how to find stuff online by yourself. ;-)

    We can have evidence of behaviors. I do not see how we can have evidence of what the animals think about such behavior. (@ 24)

    If I see you, Todd, do something good for someone else – without you gaining anything by it – I have no certainty about what’s going on in your brain/thoughts, but I can rightly conclude you’re a moral being, i.e., a being created by God with the capacity to act morally. I can also make a pretty good guess about the feelings involved in your behavior, based on the range of physical expressions you exhibit at the time. The same goes for animals when they act altruistically, or rather, when they are tested for altruism and observed by researchers familiar with the expressions employed by particular species. What more could you want in the way of evidence – in the absence of a language shared with the tested species? Along that line, when God gave Balaam’s ass the ability to speak, what did it say? Yup – it made a moral argument.

    Can one move closer to the pre-Fall condition by choosing to act as they did before the Fall? (@ 24)

    Absolutely not. (Don’t know why you’d wonder if that’s my motive.)

  • Tom Hering

    Todd @ 24,

    Moral behavior in animals – an easy introduction:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/frans_de_waal_do_animals_have_morals.html

    A little more “meat”:

    http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/041612.html

    If you’re interested in academic papers, you’re famous (here) for knowing how to find stuff online by yourself. ;-)

    We can have evidence of behaviors. I do not see how we can have evidence of what the animals think about such behavior. (@ 24)

    If I see you, Todd, do something good for someone else – without you gaining anything by it – I have no certainty about what’s going on in your brain/thoughts, but I can rightly conclude you’re a moral being, i.e., a being created by God with the capacity to act morally. I can also make a pretty good guess about the feelings involved in your behavior, based on the range of physical expressions you exhibit at the time. The same goes for animals when they act altruistically, or rather, when they are tested for altruism and observed by researchers familiar with the expressions employed by particular species. What more could you want in the way of evidence – in the absence of a language shared with the tested species? Along that line, when God gave Balaam’s ass the ability to speak, what did it say? Yup – it made a moral argument.

    Can one move closer to the pre-Fall condition by choosing to act as they did before the Fall? (@ 24)

    Absolutely not. (Don’t know why you’d wonder if that’s my motive.)

  • Tom Hering

    What God says in Genesis Chapter 9 is that meat is now given “just as” the plants were previously given to us, and it is given as part of a blessing bestowed on Noah and his sons … (@ 27)

    Joe, yes, “just as.” But not everything is “just as.” While Genesis 9:1-3 parallels Genesis 1:28-29 – as a second beginning – there’s a striking difference. Man was originally made a ruler (given dominion). Now he is made a thing of fear and terror. How is that included in the reaffirmed blessing, just because it immediately follows it? How is being a thing of fear and terror (Hebrew chath from chathath – “shattering, dismaying”) a blessing for either man or beast?

  • Tom Hering

    What God says in Genesis Chapter 9 is that meat is now given “just as” the plants were previously given to us, and it is given as part of a blessing bestowed on Noah and his sons … (@ 27)

    Joe, yes, “just as.” But not everything is “just as.” While Genesis 9:1-3 parallels Genesis 1:28-29 – as a second beginning – there’s a striking difference. Man was originally made a ruler (given dominion). Now he is made a thing of fear and terror. How is that included in the reaffirmed blessing, just because it immediately follows it? How is being a thing of fear and terror (Hebrew chath from chathath – “shattering, dismaying”) a blessing for either man or beast?

  • larry

    While the choice to eat or not eat meat is fine in and of itself, its when it enters into a religious realm that is the problem. So too as Klassie well points out one should not treat animals wrongly even if they are intended for food later. That’s a given.

    But Tom’s pietistic subtly is not so subtle and I’m sure he does not intend it. It’s an easy trap to fall into. One cannot feign freedom “because God permits” then seeks to rebind the conscience using the scriptures and pretending to peel apart a pre fall post fall scenario concerning eating meat as basically a Divine permissive compromise “for now”. Something that is akin to “papers of divorce” due to your sinful nature/weakness. Such arguments remind me of some of the Baptist arguments against drinking fermented grape juice, a.k.a. wine and such. To wit: God “permits” such weaknesses in the post fallen world but it’s not a “good thing” otherwise…hint hint, it is a sin in reality but a permitted one.

    Much like those arguments conveniently forgotten are other scriptures such as:

    1 Tim. Chaptper 4: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, Who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

    And God tells Peter in Acts 10 that, “”Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.” Not a divine interim permission but that God made them clean and to eat them and strictly commanded Peter to do so, not a divine permission due to Peter’s weakness or need of meat for Peter was easily ready to reject eating them.

    Of course speaking of the marriage feast in eternity (i.e. post fall, post church militant, i.e. eternity) we find in Matt. 24 “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ This feast is mentioned many times by Christ the Lord, not to mention in the parallel parable of the “Prodigal Son”.

    Feast is mentioned NUMEROUS times by Jesus in all the four Gospels.

    Or most notably that Christ Himself ate meat before and after His ressurrection, Who of Himself never sinned not a single time and needed no divine permissiveness for a weakness he had. “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them” (Luke 24)

  • larry

    While the choice to eat or not eat meat is fine in and of itself, its when it enters into a religious realm that is the problem. So too as Klassie well points out one should not treat animals wrongly even if they are intended for food later. That’s a given.

    But Tom’s pietistic subtly is not so subtle and I’m sure he does not intend it. It’s an easy trap to fall into. One cannot feign freedom “because God permits” then seeks to rebind the conscience using the scriptures and pretending to peel apart a pre fall post fall scenario concerning eating meat as basically a Divine permissive compromise “for now”. Something that is akin to “papers of divorce” due to your sinful nature/weakness. Such arguments remind me of some of the Baptist arguments against drinking fermented grape juice, a.k.a. wine and such. To wit: God “permits” such weaknesses in the post fallen world but it’s not a “good thing” otherwise…hint hint, it is a sin in reality but a permitted one.

    Much like those arguments conveniently forgotten are other scriptures such as:

    1 Tim. Chaptper 4: “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, Who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

    And God tells Peter in Acts 10 that, “”Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.” Not a divine interim permission but that God made them clean and to eat them and strictly commanded Peter to do so, not a divine permission due to Peter’s weakness or need of meat for Peter was easily ready to reject eating them.

    Of course speaking of the marriage feast in eternity (i.e. post fall, post church militant, i.e. eternity) we find in Matt. 24 “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ This feast is mentioned many times by Christ the Lord, not to mention in the parallel parable of the “Prodigal Son”.

    Feast is mentioned NUMEROUS times by Jesus in all the four Gospels.

    Or most notably that Christ Himself ate meat before and after His ressurrection, Who of Himself never sinned not a single time and needed no divine permissiveness for a weakness he had. “They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them” (Luke 24)

  • Tom Hering

    Jeepers, larry. How many times do I have to say that if God permits something it’s not a sin? Yeah, Jesus eating fish is kind of proof of that.

    Nowhere have I argued that permission to eat meat was given in deference to a weakness of ours. It was given, I said, to remind us of how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition. Disagree with that interpretation if you like. But accuse me of an interpretation I actually hold to, okay? ;-)

    I guess it’ll fall on deaf ears too if I assert that the eating of animals at feasts in eternity is obviously metaphorical. I mean, if you want to take it otherwise, then who are the slaves sent out to the invited, and clearly distinct from the invited? Angels are never referred to that way. Only people. And there won’t be any unsaved people in God’s presence. Problem, eh? (If you take it all as literal description.)

    And the Peter thing was concerned with which animals could be eaten, not whether the eating of animals was itself permitted. That’s a given, as I’ve repeatedly affirmed.

  • Tom Hering

    Jeepers, larry. How many times do I have to say that if God permits something it’s not a sin? Yeah, Jesus eating fish is kind of proof of that.

    Nowhere have I argued that permission to eat meat was given in deference to a weakness of ours. It was given, I said, to remind us of how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition. Disagree with that interpretation if you like. But accuse me of an interpretation I actually hold to, okay? ;-)

    I guess it’ll fall on deaf ears too if I assert that the eating of animals at feasts in eternity is obviously metaphorical. I mean, if you want to take it otherwise, then who are the slaves sent out to the invited, and clearly distinct from the invited? Angels are never referred to that way. Only people. And there won’t be any unsaved people in God’s presence. Problem, eh? (If you take it all as literal description.)

    And the Peter thing was concerned with which animals could be eaten, not whether the eating of animals was itself permitted. That’s a given, as I’ve repeatedly affirmed.

  • larry

    I understood your interpretation and I think you miss the point entirely Tom by inferring “how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition” in deferrence to that preferred condition.

    It’s the same subtle argument anti-alcoholic grape juice people make concerning that. You say its not a “sin” but that God “permits” it because its an outcome of the fall. That’s just avoiding using the term “sin” or more positively stated “the opposite of the preferred way”.

    It misses the point that God created things to be enjoyed and not for simple utilitarian purposes. Technically speaking since before the fall there would have been no death of the man since no sin occurred, thus, one did not have to eat to avoid starving to death either.

    You are over asserting the “metaphore”. Because there will be a marriage feast and the metaphore, if it is that, its not obviously a metaphore at all (unless you are purely gnostic), but we can allow that for sure, the metaphore itself implies that its not a negative to slaughter the fatted X. If anything, like all metaphores, they understate the reality to which they point or refer. That’s the point of ANY metaphore.

    Yea, angels are referred that way. “Slave” is not always the Americanized negative term. A slave is a servant, the very point and use this the term in this passage. And angels ARE referred to as servants. In fact the the term ‘angel’ means messanger and a messanger is a servant and a servant is a slave. Take Hebrews 1:7 for example, “In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Servants and slaves are also understood as ministers. And ministers are often called slaves of Christ as in, “Paul a bond servant (or slave) of Christ Jesus…bound…”

    And you miss the obvious thrust of Timothy chapter 4 which explicitly speaks of creation:

    “…foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

    You make the assumption that the eating of meats came about due to the fall of man.

  • larry

    I understood your interpretation and I think you miss the point entirely Tom by inferring “how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition” in deferrence to that preferred condition.

    It’s the same subtle argument anti-alcoholic grape juice people make concerning that. You say its not a “sin” but that God “permits” it because its an outcome of the fall. That’s just avoiding using the term “sin” or more positively stated “the opposite of the preferred way”.

    It misses the point that God created things to be enjoyed and not for simple utilitarian purposes. Technically speaking since before the fall there would have been no death of the man since no sin occurred, thus, one did not have to eat to avoid starving to death either.

    You are over asserting the “metaphore”. Because there will be a marriage feast and the metaphore, if it is that, its not obviously a metaphore at all (unless you are purely gnostic), but we can allow that for sure, the metaphore itself implies that its not a negative to slaughter the fatted X. If anything, like all metaphores, they understate the reality to which they point or refer. That’s the point of ANY metaphore.

    Yea, angels are referred that way. “Slave” is not always the Americanized negative term. A slave is a servant, the very point and use this the term in this passage. And angels ARE referred to as servants. In fact the the term ‘angel’ means messanger and a messanger is a servant and a servant is a slave. Take Hebrews 1:7 for example, “In speaking of the angels he says, “He makes his angels spirits, and his servants flames of fire.” Servants and slaves are also understood as ministers. And ministers are often called slaves of Christ as in, “Paul a bond servant (or slave) of Christ Jesus…bound…”

    And you miss the obvious thrust of Timothy chapter 4 which explicitly speaks of creation:

    “…foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.”

    You make the assumption that the eating of meats came about due to the fall of man.

  • Tom Hering

    You make the assumption that the eating of meats came about due to the fall of man. (@ 40)

    Of course I do. What you don’t recognize is that you too make an assumption – that meat was eaten before the Fall. When Genesis doesn’t say either way. The only thing it says about man’s diet before the Fall is that God gave us every green plant for food. Which, I’d argue, is more of an evidence for my assumption than it is for yours. So there, Mr. Pietybuster. :-P

    Now, I don’t miss the thrust of 1 Timothy 4:3-5 at all.

    … foods which God has created …

    Nothing exists that God hasn’t created.

    … to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

    Yes, we’re to be grateful for everything we eat. Meat, vegetables – everything.

    For everything created by God is good …

    Yes, He said so Himself in the beginning.

    … and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude …

    Absolutely.

    … for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

    What I see in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 is that we’re to be grateful for everything we eat, and we can eat everything with a clear conscience, because God created everything, and everything God created is good. That’s the whole of Paul’s plain and simple argument. I see nothing that says God originally created animals to be our food. Not one word.

  • Tom Hering

    You make the assumption that the eating of meats came about due to the fall of man. (@ 40)

    Of course I do. What you don’t recognize is that you too make an assumption – that meat was eaten before the Fall. When Genesis doesn’t say either way. The only thing it says about man’s diet before the Fall is that God gave us every green plant for food. Which, I’d argue, is more of an evidence for my assumption than it is for yours. So there, Mr. Pietybuster. :-P

    Now, I don’t miss the thrust of 1 Timothy 4:3-5 at all.

    … foods which God has created …

    Nothing exists that God hasn’t created.

    … to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

    Yes, we’re to be grateful for everything we eat. Meat, vegetables – everything.

    For everything created by God is good …

    Yes, He said so Himself in the beginning.

    … and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude …

    Absolutely.

    … for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

    What I see in 1 Timothy 4:3-5 is that we’re to be grateful for everything we eat, and we can eat everything with a clear conscience, because God created everything, and everything God created is good. That’s the whole of Paul’s plain and simple argument. I see nothing that says God originally created animals to be our food. Not one word.

  • dust

    So how did meat eating animals like lions and tigers and bears (oh no!) ate prior to the fall?

    If they did indeed eat meat, did they kill their prey “humanely” or did God have some other method back then? Maybe they did not have those nasty fangs or talons before the fall?

    Perhaps their hunting skills were different than they are today, so as to preclude or minimize the pain and suffering associated with being eaten alive? All things are possible….

    So is there something wrong with an animal being treated this way by an other animal, or is it just a problem when man does it?

    Am guessing it doesn’t make a difference to the animal targeted as for someone’s dinner?

    cheers…and bon appetite!

  • dust

    So how did meat eating animals like lions and tigers and bears (oh no!) ate prior to the fall?

    If they did indeed eat meat, did they kill their prey “humanely” or did God have some other method back then? Maybe they did not have those nasty fangs or talons before the fall?

    Perhaps their hunting skills were different than they are today, so as to preclude or minimize the pain and suffering associated with being eaten alive? All things are possible….

    So is there something wrong with an animal being treated this way by an other animal, or is it just a problem when man does it?

    Am guessing it doesn’t make a difference to the animal targeted as for someone’s dinner?

    cheers…and bon appetite!

  • Joe

    Tom — do I really have to spell out the benefit of being feared by animals in a fallen world where animals have the ability to kill humans?

  • Joe

    Tom — do I really have to spell out the benefit of being feared by animals in a fallen world where animals have the ability to kill humans?

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, now you’re limiting the argument to animals capable of killing men?

  • Tom Hering

    Joe, now you’re limiting the argument to animals capable of killing men?

  • Joe

    No – I think it is a blessing in general because the entire nature of the world and our relationship to it changed after the fall. At the time Noah and his boys got off the boat, they could not be restored to the position of Garden Caretaker originally envisioned in the pre-fall days because Creation will not be restored until the second coming.

    Unfortunately, the position of strength or dominion now necessarily need to include fear (even we fear God) and in order to establish dominion over some animals — terror. God provides even in the midst of the imperfection of the fallen world.

    Also on a broader scale, there is a thematic problem of reading a curse into a blessing. It seems to run counter the entirety of the Bible where we continually see God giving blessings — even in the midst of the curse.

  • Joe

    No – I think it is a blessing in general because the entire nature of the world and our relationship to it changed after the fall. At the time Noah and his boys got off the boat, they could not be restored to the position of Garden Caretaker originally envisioned in the pre-fall days because Creation will not be restored until the second coming.

    Unfortunately, the position of strength or dominion now necessarily need to include fear (even we fear God) and in order to establish dominion over some animals — terror. God provides even in the midst of the imperfection of the fallen world.

    Also on a broader scale, there is a thematic problem of reading a curse into a blessing. It seems to run counter the entirety of the Bible where we continually see God giving blessings — even in the midst of the curse.

  • Joe

    Coincidence of the day. As soon as I hit post I checked Drudge and saw the link to this article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-poster-boy-for-vegetarianism–hes-just-fathered-a-child-at-96-8360464.html

  • Joe

    Coincidence of the day. As soon as I hit post I checked Drudge and saw the link to this article:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/indias-poster-boy-for-vegetarianism–hes-just-fathered-a-child-at-96-8360464.html

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@36):

    If you’re interested in academic papers, you’re famous (here) for knowing how to find stuff online by yourself.

    Yes, well, I’d like to also be famous as the guy who expects people making specific claims to be able to back up their claims with evidence. Ahem. Someone who makes a specific claim is — or at least ought to be — able to find evidence much faster than I.

    If I see you, Todd, do something good for someone else – without you gaining anything by it – I have no certainty about what’s going on in your brain/thoughts, but I can rightly conclude you’re a moral being, i.e., a being created by God with the capacity to act morally.

    Tom, like you, I’m a human. A chimpanzee is not a human. While I cannot be 100% sure that I understand what your actions mean, we humans possess language, with which we are able to communicate what we are thinking, wholly apart from what we do. We do not possess this insight into other species. (Even if you want to argue that other animals possess kinds or degrees of language, I think you will agree that they’re not yet telling us about the underlying motivations of acts that look to humans like love or morality.)

    And, while Scripture may tell you that I am “a being created by God with the capacity to act morally”, I do not see that it has told you the same about other animals. So, again, what you may assume about me, your fellow human, you do not appear to be able to assume about a bonobo.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom (@36):

    If you’re interested in academic papers, you’re famous (here) for knowing how to find stuff online by yourself.

    Yes, well, I’d like to also be famous as the guy who expects people making specific claims to be able to back up their claims with evidence. Ahem. Someone who makes a specific claim is — or at least ought to be — able to find evidence much faster than I.

    If I see you, Todd, do something good for someone else – without you gaining anything by it – I have no certainty about what’s going on in your brain/thoughts, but I can rightly conclude you’re a moral being, i.e., a being created by God with the capacity to act morally.

    Tom, like you, I’m a human. A chimpanzee is not a human. While I cannot be 100% sure that I understand what your actions mean, we humans possess language, with which we are able to communicate what we are thinking, wholly apart from what we do. We do not possess this insight into other species. (Even if you want to argue that other animals possess kinds or degrees of language, I think you will agree that they’re not yet telling us about the underlying motivations of acts that look to humans like love or morality.)

    And, while Scripture may tell you that I am “a being created by God with the capacity to act morally”, I do not see that it has told you the same about other animals. So, again, what you may assume about me, your fellow human, you do not appear to be able to assume about a bonobo.

  • Joe

    Tom — I watched the Ted video (good information presented in an accessible manner, still processing it all) and lead me to this question. The presenters thesis was that morality is an evolved attribute. This would suggest that certain animals have it, some don’t and the level of morality would be dependent the level of evolution the animal has achieved. So, in your ethically based vegetarianism, would it be more acceptable to eat less evolved creatures? Is there a sliding scale?

    I ask this in seriousness and I know (at least, I think I do) that you don’t believe in evolution but I think the question is still there — is it less problematic to eat animals with a lesser sense of morality?

  • Joe

    Tom — I watched the Ted video (good information presented in an accessible manner, still processing it all) and lead me to this question. The presenters thesis was that morality is an evolved attribute. This would suggest that certain animals have it, some don’t and the level of morality would be dependent the level of evolution the animal has achieved. So, in your ethically based vegetarianism, would it be more acceptable to eat less evolved creatures? Is there a sliding scale?

    I ask this in seriousness and I know (at least, I think I do) that you don’t believe in evolution but I think the question is still there — is it less problematic to eat animals with a lesser sense of morality?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oh, stop it, tODD!
    We all know that animals have emotions and intentions just like humans.

    Haven’t you ever seen Bambi?

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Oh, stop it, tODD!
    We all know that animals have emotions and intentions just like humans.

    Haven’t you ever seen Bambi?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But, to your apparently main point, Tom, I still share Larry’s concern. Or perhaps confusion.

    You said (@16):

    the eating of meat is something God has permitted (though we don’t think about everything permission implies). I’d much rather see animals treated well before they’re killed and eaten. I’d just ask that you consider whether those animals are aware of death, and want to escape it. They cry out and run away from you for a reason.

    And again (@20):

    I’ve never argued that eating meat is unethical, because I’ve never dared to condemn what God permits. Though I’d argue we (and all other creatures) were originally herbivores, and permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

    I can’t help but notice your preference for adding a qualifying statement (“though …”) every time you say it’s okay to eat meat.

    I still don’t get your “permission” argument, but I do get the distinct impression from it that I’m supposed to feel guilty every time I eat meat. (“This is allowed, I guess, though things weren’t always this way.”)

    It was given, I said, to remind us of how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition.

    I mean, one could argue that even prior to the Fall, the existence of food demonstrated creation’s need for God as a provider. But I don’t see how you’re tying the existence of meat-food to the Fall. They correlate, yes, but where in the text do you see causation?

    In fact, the more I read Genesis 9, the more I realize it’s not phrased as “permission”. It’s phrased as a gift: “I now give you everything.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    But, to your apparently main point, Tom, I still share Larry’s concern. Or perhaps confusion.

    You said (@16):

    the eating of meat is something God has permitted (though we don’t think about everything permission implies). I’d much rather see animals treated well before they’re killed and eaten. I’d just ask that you consider whether those animals are aware of death, and want to escape it. They cry out and run away from you for a reason.

    And again (@20):

    I’ve never argued that eating meat is unethical, because I’ve never dared to condemn what God permits. Though I’d argue we (and all other creatures) were originally herbivores, and permission to eat meat, which preceded/accompanied the covenant sign of the rainbow, was itself a lasting sign to us … of our fallen state … of our own and all creation’s need of a Savior.

    I can’t help but notice your preference for adding a qualifying statement (“though …”) every time you say it’s okay to eat meat.

    I still don’t get your “permission” argument, but I do get the distinct impression from it that I’m supposed to feel guilty every time I eat meat. (“This is allowed, I guess, though things weren’t always this way.”)

    It was given, I said, to remind us of how far we’ve fallen from creation’s original condition.

    I mean, one could argue that even prior to the Fall, the existence of food demonstrated creation’s need for God as a provider. But I don’t see how you’re tying the existence of meat-food to the Fall. They correlate, yes, but where in the text do you see causation?

    In fact, the more I read Genesis 9, the more I realize it’s not phrased as “permission”. It’s phrased as a gift: “I now give you everything.”

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away.

    Just sayin’……

    (Deploys personal Iron Shield, awaiting the missiles ;) )

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Of course, if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away.

    Just sayin’……

    (Deploys personal Iron Shield, awaiting the missiles ;) )

  • dust

    “Of course, if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away.”

    as well as many of the “arguments” from Jesus :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    “Of course, if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away.”

    as well as many of the “arguments” from Jesus :)

    cheers!

  • Tom Hering

    … if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away. (@ 51)

    Klasie, that’s correct. Though I’ve run across people who take Genesis literally, but also argue for the pre-Fall existence of death (human and/or animal), predation, and meat-eating. (They’re usually Christians who hunt for sport, and sometimes belong to Christian hunting groups who expound a “theology of hunting.”) So don’t blame my views on literalism alone. ;-)

    … is it less problematic to eat animals with a lesser sense of morality? (@ 48)

    Joe, I’ve thought about your idea that the fear and terror of man would be a blessing in a fallen world filled with predation. It has some merit, though no species preys on man as a regular food source, and those that attack men usually do so out of fear – which brings us back to the probability that the fear and terror of man is a curse. As to your question, no, killing isn’t justified by the level of moral development in the one killed. This is true between men – and true between men and animals, I’d argue. But shouldn’t the evidence for moral behavior in animals give us pause?

    I still don’t get your “permission” argument, but I do get the distinct impression from it that I’m supposed to feel guilty every time I eat meat. (@ 50)

    Todd, no. I’m not the least bit interested in making you feel guilty. What I’m interested in is making you feel empathy. What I’m interested in is seeing you practice mercy. Toward animals as you do toward men. I’ve made it clear that I think “compassionate carnivore” is a valid alternative to vegetarianism.

  • Tom Hering

    … if you do not have a literal view of Genesis 1 -10, a lot of Tom’s arguments fade away. (@ 51)

    Klasie, that’s correct. Though I’ve run across people who take Genesis literally, but also argue for the pre-Fall existence of death (human and/or animal), predation, and meat-eating. (They’re usually Christians who hunt for sport, and sometimes belong to Christian hunting groups who expound a “theology of hunting.”) So don’t blame my views on literalism alone. ;-)

    … is it less problematic to eat animals with a lesser sense of morality? (@ 48)

    Joe, I’ve thought about your idea that the fear and terror of man would be a blessing in a fallen world filled with predation. It has some merit, though no species preys on man as a regular food source, and those that attack men usually do so out of fear – which brings us back to the probability that the fear and terror of man is a curse. As to your question, no, killing isn’t justified by the level of moral development in the one killed. This is true between men – and true between men and animals, I’d argue. But shouldn’t the evidence for moral behavior in animals give us pause?

    I still don’t get your “permission” argument, but I do get the distinct impression from it that I’m supposed to feel guilty every time I eat meat. (@ 50)

    Todd, no. I’m not the least bit interested in making you feel guilty. What I’m interested in is making you feel empathy. What I’m interested in is seeing you practice mercy. Toward animals as you do toward men. I’ve made it clear that I think “compassionate carnivore” is a valid alternative to vegetarianism.

  • Joe

    Tom — I think we’ve probably run the course of this conversation and it appears that neither of us has convinced the other. I have a better understanding of your position and it has given me an opportunity to reflect on my position. These are both good things. Thanks for the good conversation.

  • Joe

    Tom — I think we’ve probably run the course of this conversation and it appears that neither of us has convinced the other. I have a better understanding of your position and it has given me an opportunity to reflect on my position. These are both good things. Thanks for the good conversation.

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s exactly the subtle concern, all that pietistic qualifying language. It is exactly the same qualifying language I’d hear from my old Baptist days when one would run into anti-wine folks that knew the more absurd arguments were flat out stupid. They’d then retreat, because they couldn’t imagine God giving wine with alcohol as good, to these subtle qualifying adjectives and adverbs. That way they could on one hand say, “I’m not saying it’s a “sin”…buuuuut…permits, weakness, not meant to be, etc…”.

    Actually a literal understanding of Genesis very much militates against Tom’s irrational arguments. That’s the point he misses or rather willfully ignores concerning 1 Timothy 4. One has on one hand men created ex nihilo with incisors to eat meat and the digestive system and body to accept and utilize said meat as an energy source. This is in opposition to the fancy of man evolving slowly from various species of non-meat eaters, +time, +time, +time to mixed omnivores. In reality Tom’s argument is a very evolutionary based argument in form minus actually saying “evolution”. We see the same thing as Dust above alludes to concerning lions and tigers, created ex nihilo and thus as is on the day of, versus some over time progression from ingesting one form of energy that is based more on exchange of carbon, +time, +time, +time to plants, then +time, +time, +time to meat based or mixed. It’s not at all surprising that the majority of vegetarians are largely in some form or another secular evolutionist and in days past the epicureans (similar baseline philosophy concerning observation and how things came to be).

    Now again there is nothing wrong with just eating and having a diet of basically no meat, perfectly fine personal choice as it is to eat meat, drink wine or not, chew gum or not. But its when the conscience is either overtly, or worse covertly religiously that it must be resisted. It would be like argue something like this to make it neutral as to our specifics here concerning food. If I liked wine but you said, “I’m not saying it’s a sin, God “permits it”, but before the fall (a.k.a. sin) it was not intended” the conclusion is obvious as to what is meant. One is calling it a sin without saying “sin” and even denying in the label that it is a “sin”. It goes back to the reality that a doctrine (true or false) is a concept and may be expressed in many differing ways, with or without the most familiar words to that doctrine. All it takes is redefining some words, then, to express an opposing doctrine (the concept) even using the same words such that now we have an opposite doctrine that can say, “I’m not saying its sin and say in fact its not sin…buuuut before the fall it was not intended”. Or by example: “where there is forgiveness, there is life and salvation” Vs. “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness”, exact same words two opposing doctrines, two opposing religions, one Christ the other anti-Christ. Same thing here. It’s why Paul says guard the form of doctrine and warns of other Christ’s and not the obvious warning against Buddhas.

  • larry

    Todd,

    That’s exactly the subtle concern, all that pietistic qualifying language. It is exactly the same qualifying language I’d hear from my old Baptist days when one would run into anti-wine folks that knew the more absurd arguments were flat out stupid. They’d then retreat, because they couldn’t imagine God giving wine with alcohol as good, to these subtle qualifying adjectives and adverbs. That way they could on one hand say, “I’m not saying it’s a “sin”…buuuuut…permits, weakness, not meant to be, etc…”.

    Actually a literal understanding of Genesis very much militates against Tom’s irrational arguments. That’s the point he misses or rather willfully ignores concerning 1 Timothy 4. One has on one hand men created ex nihilo with incisors to eat meat and the digestive system and body to accept and utilize said meat as an energy source. This is in opposition to the fancy of man evolving slowly from various species of non-meat eaters, +time, +time, +time to mixed omnivores. In reality Tom’s argument is a very evolutionary based argument in form minus actually saying “evolution”. We see the same thing as Dust above alludes to concerning lions and tigers, created ex nihilo and thus as is on the day of, versus some over time progression from ingesting one form of energy that is based more on exchange of carbon, +time, +time, +time to plants, then +time, +time, +time to meat based or mixed. It’s not at all surprising that the majority of vegetarians are largely in some form or another secular evolutionist and in days past the epicureans (similar baseline philosophy concerning observation and how things came to be).

    Now again there is nothing wrong with just eating and having a diet of basically no meat, perfectly fine personal choice as it is to eat meat, drink wine or not, chew gum or not. But its when the conscience is either overtly, or worse covertly religiously that it must be resisted. It would be like argue something like this to make it neutral as to our specifics here concerning food. If I liked wine but you said, “I’m not saying it’s a sin, God “permits it”, but before the fall (a.k.a. sin) it was not intended” the conclusion is obvious as to what is meant. One is calling it a sin without saying “sin” and even denying in the label that it is a “sin”. It goes back to the reality that a doctrine (true or false) is a concept and may be expressed in many differing ways, with or without the most familiar words to that doctrine. All it takes is redefining some words, then, to express an opposing doctrine (the concept) even using the same words such that now we have an opposite doctrine that can say, “I’m not saying its sin and say in fact its not sin…buuuut before the fall it was not intended”. Or by example: “where there is forgiveness, there is life and salvation” Vs. “where there is life and salvation, there is forgiveness”, exact same words two opposing doctrines, two opposing religions, one Christ the other anti-Christ. Same thing here. It’s why Paul says guard the form of doctrine and warns of other Christ’s and not the obvious warning against Buddhas.

  • dust

    What Larry says….as usual :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    What Larry says….as usual :)

    cheers!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Larry – you are actually right with the literal comment. I should maybe say something about a “nit-picked” literalism.

    But you’re off with the evolution part. Paleontology tells us that we have been eating meat for 2 million or so years – recent studies on Australopithecus indicate an omnivorous diet. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808132711.htm)

    As to vegans – they are generally unable to make any coherent argument, whether from evolution, or on religious grounds (Iève had my run-ins with them). They typically pick and choose, and add lots of Bambi-fueled emotion… must be the lack of meat in their diets :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Larry – you are actually right with the literal comment. I should maybe say something about a “nit-picked” literalism.

    But you’re off with the evolution part. Paleontology tells us that we have been eating meat for 2 million or so years – recent studies on Australopithecus indicate an omnivorous diet. (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808132711.htm)

    As to vegans – they are generally unable to make any coherent argument, whether from evolution, or on religious grounds (Iève had my run-ins with them). They typically pick and choose, and add lots of Bambi-fueled emotion… must be the lack of meat in their diets :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Also, recent paleo-anthropological research indicates that hunting was a major evolutionary impetus – spear-making requires technical communication, and a consistency of vocabulary, especially for teaching the required skills.

    Thus we evolved, because we ate meat. Now what does this say about vegans….

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Also, recent paleo-anthropological research indicates that hunting was a major evolutionary impetus – spear-making requires technical communication, and a consistency of vocabulary, especially for teaching the required skills.

    Thus we evolved, because we ate meat. Now what does this say about vegans….

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I blame vegan-ism on Saturday morning cartoons and the many Disney (and other) movies that anthropomorphize animals.

    As I wrote above, our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    I blame vegan-ism on Saturday morning cartoons and the many Disney (and other) movies that anthropomorphize animals.

    As I wrote above, our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@55), I actually think you go too far in your accusations. You seem to be jumping straight to accusation, rather than trying to suss out what Tom is saying (which, for the record, I still really don’t get, but whatever).

    One has on one hand men created ex nihilo with incisors to eat meat and the digestive system and body to accept and utilize said meat as an energy source.

    Now hold on. Where does Scripture say that? You can’t have it both ways. You’re reading into Scripture based on your inferences from science. Scripture doesn’t tell us anything about how human bodies looked or functioned, before or after the Fall. All we know is that before the Fall, God gave man all the plants to eat, and after the Flood, he gave man all the animals to eat, as well.

    Myself, I think the most obvious reading therefore is that there was no meat-eating before the Flood — at least by man. I have no opinion on what the animals were doing, because I see nothing in Scripture to that effect.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Larry (@55), I actually think you go too far in your accusations. You seem to be jumping straight to accusation, rather than trying to suss out what Tom is saying (which, for the record, I still really don’t get, but whatever).

    One has on one hand men created ex nihilo with incisors to eat meat and the digestive system and body to accept and utilize said meat as an energy source.

    Now hold on. Where does Scripture say that? You can’t have it both ways. You’re reading into Scripture based on your inferences from science. Scripture doesn’t tell us anything about how human bodies looked or functioned, before or after the Fall. All we know is that before the Fall, God gave man all the plants to eat, and after the Flood, he gave man all the animals to eat, as well.

    Myself, I think the most obvious reading therefore is that there was no meat-eating before the Flood — at least by man. I have no opinion on what the animals were doing, because I see nothing in Scripture to that effect.

  • larry

    tODD,

    “You seem to be jumping straight to accusation” not at all, this is just a debate no accusation. Words mean things…always. Tom and I are generally on the same page and I don’t think he means what his implications lead to anymore than do those that make similar lines of arguments. Just a debate, I promise you, I’m not loosing sleep over this or gritting my teeth. Tom’s not upset with me either.

    “Now hold on. Where does Scripture say that? You can’t have it both ways. You’re reading into Scripture based on your inferences from science. ”

    Of course I am, I thought that was painfully obvious. And that’s the point whether its Tom’s inference or mine. That’s why I diliberately spelled that out and followed up with it doesn’t matter other than personal choice whether one eats meat or vegan only, no more than I like chocolate ice cream and you like vanilla, or vice versa if you wish. It’s a non-issue, that’s the point, its a non-religious issue entirely. Scripture doesn’t say X.

    However when you caveat it and say, “in the original intent of creation…” you’ve just made it a religious law issue to bind consciences. It matters how little you say, “Now I don’t mean sin”. Because if its not God intended, its sin no matter how many times you say, “I don’t mean sin”.

    That’s entirely the issue, and why I’m NOT asserting a “meat eating defense” via scripture. If we say, I like chocolate ice cream and you champion vanilla, its neither here nor there. But if then suddenly I say, “but before the fall vanillia ice cream was not meant to be eaten, God only permits it…”. I’ve just attempted to bind your conscience, rightly or wrongly, intentially or innocently. When you say God intended X, whatever X is, whether you call it sin or not you’ve created a religious situation. For what Christian does not wish do what God intends, right. That’s the tention you yourself are sensing in Tom’s comments, the subtle “permits” and so forth. It’s exactly the same form of argumentation I heard about wine in the Baptist churches.

    So you are incorrect, I didn’t say Scripture SAID that, you’ve constructed that after the fact. I made a scientific statement about the existence of incisors and our ability to ingest and digest meat as opposed to a deer or cow that cannot. I never said, “Thus saith the Lord” you constructed that. I simply stated God created us out of nothing as we are, we didn’t evolve incisors and a digestive tract that after the fact could eat meat.

    Tom’s correct when he said I’m saying things scientifically, but is incorrect when the implication is that I’m saying “The bible says you must eat meat”. I’m not having it both ways, I’m distinguishing the two. That’s the entire point of the conversation, or at least I thought so.

    I’m simply saying the bible speaks of eating meat as nearly causual way of talking, not setting forth a religious setting under it. It’s kind of like the anachronistic argument about infant baptism. Some baptist point to the fact that since its not explicitly stated, “baptize babies” or argued in the Scriptures (NT) or early church this is “proof” it wasn’t done. When the facts are such that because it was not an issue and so assumed to not be an issue, there’s of course no record of arguments regarding it. It would be going back to the 1500′s and say, “See there’s no historical record of anyone anywhere arguing that one should use Microsoft’s operating system over Apple’s…therefore Microsoft is the only OS.”

    So if you ask of me, “Does Scripture support meat eating or veggy eating only, at least as to the original prefallen intent of creation”, I say it doesn’t speak to that issue at all either way…eat what you want. At the same time I say that man was created ex nihilo as is and didn’t evolve his meat eating capacity and physical characteristics for such much later. The later doesn’t make a religious argument for the former either. God created us “as is” ex nihilo and simultaneously the Scriptures do not prescribe as sinful or a prefallen preference meat or vegetables only.

    There’s no tension in that whatsoever.

  • larry

    tODD,

    “You seem to be jumping straight to accusation” not at all, this is just a debate no accusation. Words mean things…always. Tom and I are generally on the same page and I don’t think he means what his implications lead to anymore than do those that make similar lines of arguments. Just a debate, I promise you, I’m not loosing sleep over this or gritting my teeth. Tom’s not upset with me either.

    “Now hold on. Where does Scripture say that? You can’t have it both ways. You’re reading into Scripture based on your inferences from science. ”

    Of course I am, I thought that was painfully obvious. And that’s the point whether its Tom’s inference or mine. That’s why I diliberately spelled that out and followed up with it doesn’t matter other than personal choice whether one eats meat or vegan only, no more than I like chocolate ice cream and you like vanilla, or vice versa if you wish. It’s a non-issue, that’s the point, its a non-religious issue entirely. Scripture doesn’t say X.

    However when you caveat it and say, “in the original intent of creation…” you’ve just made it a religious law issue to bind consciences. It matters how little you say, “Now I don’t mean sin”. Because if its not God intended, its sin no matter how many times you say, “I don’t mean sin”.

    That’s entirely the issue, and why I’m NOT asserting a “meat eating defense” via scripture. If we say, I like chocolate ice cream and you champion vanilla, its neither here nor there. But if then suddenly I say, “but before the fall vanillia ice cream was not meant to be eaten, God only permits it…”. I’ve just attempted to bind your conscience, rightly or wrongly, intentially or innocently. When you say God intended X, whatever X is, whether you call it sin or not you’ve created a religious situation. For what Christian does not wish do what God intends, right. That’s the tention you yourself are sensing in Tom’s comments, the subtle “permits” and so forth. It’s exactly the same form of argumentation I heard about wine in the Baptist churches.

    So you are incorrect, I didn’t say Scripture SAID that, you’ve constructed that after the fact. I made a scientific statement about the existence of incisors and our ability to ingest and digest meat as opposed to a deer or cow that cannot. I never said, “Thus saith the Lord” you constructed that. I simply stated God created us out of nothing as we are, we didn’t evolve incisors and a digestive tract that after the fact could eat meat.

    Tom’s correct when he said I’m saying things scientifically, but is incorrect when the implication is that I’m saying “The bible says you must eat meat”. I’m not having it both ways, I’m distinguishing the two. That’s the entire point of the conversation, or at least I thought so.

    I’m simply saying the bible speaks of eating meat as nearly causual way of talking, not setting forth a religious setting under it. It’s kind of like the anachronistic argument about infant baptism. Some baptist point to the fact that since its not explicitly stated, “baptize babies” or argued in the Scriptures (NT) or early church this is “proof” it wasn’t done. When the facts are such that because it was not an issue and so assumed to not be an issue, there’s of course no record of arguments regarding it. It would be going back to the 1500′s and say, “See there’s no historical record of anyone anywhere arguing that one should use Microsoft’s operating system over Apple’s…therefore Microsoft is the only OS.”

    So if you ask of me, “Does Scripture support meat eating or veggy eating only, at least as to the original prefallen intent of creation”, I say it doesn’t speak to that issue at all either way…eat what you want. At the same time I say that man was created ex nihilo as is and didn’t evolve his meat eating capacity and physical characteristics for such much later. The later doesn’t make a religious argument for the former either. God created us “as is” ex nihilo and simultaneously the Scriptures do not prescribe as sinful or a prefallen preference meat or vegetables only.

    There’s no tension in that whatsoever.

  • Tom Hering

    Todd, sorry I’m bad at explaining myself. Larry, sorry I’m burdening your conscience (though I’ve tried not to). So let me go at this a different way. My main concern is with the suffering of animals, and my hopes are that more of us will become conscious of their suffering (especially what they suffer in our industrialized food system), and that more of us will insist that mercy be shown to them – in life as well as death. So my main problem is with the attitude expressed @ 59 …

    … our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

    Our ancestors in the faith wouldn’t be …

    A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal … (Proverbs 12:10)

    Because God has regard for the lives of animals. He saved them all from the flood, saying …

    … I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh … (Genesis 9:15)

    And though God allows us to kill and eat the animals, they always belong to Him (this is where permission comes in) …

    … every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. (Psalm 50:10-11)

    And they are more than just things created for man’s use …

    The wild beasts will honor me … (Isaiah 43:20)

    Let everything that has breath praise the LORD … (Psalm 150:6)

    And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)

    So, as we kill and eat what God permits, we ought to remember that God is always aware of, and cares very much about, the suffering of animals …

    … the wild animals cry out to you … (Joel 1:20)

    “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6)

    But most of us are, I think, agreed that all animals should always be treated well.

  • Tom Hering

    Todd, sorry I’m bad at explaining myself. Larry, sorry I’m burdening your conscience (though I’ve tried not to). So let me go at this a different way. My main concern is with the suffering of animals, and my hopes are that more of us will become conscious of their suffering (especially what they suffer in our industrialized food system), and that more of us will insist that mercy be shown to them – in life as well as death. So my main problem is with the attitude expressed @ 59 …

    … our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

    Our ancestors in the faith wouldn’t be …

    A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal … (Proverbs 12:10)

    Because God has regard for the lives of animals. He saved them all from the flood, saying …

    … I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh … (Genesis 9:15)

    And though God allows us to kill and eat the animals, they always belong to Him (this is where permission comes in) …

    … every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. (Psalm 50:10-11)

    And they are more than just things created for man’s use …

    The wild beasts will honor me … (Isaiah 43:20)

    Let everything that has breath praise the LORD … (Psalm 150:6)

    And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13)

    So, as we kill and eat what God permits, we ought to remember that God is always aware of, and cares very much about, the suffering of animals …

    … the wild animals cry out to you … (Joel 1:20)

    “Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.” (Luke 12:6)

    But most of us are, I think, agreed that all animals should always be treated well.

  • Stephen

    Thanks Tom for bringing those scripture passages to light. We just lost one of our dogs quite suddenly a couple days before Thanksgiving. We continue to struggle with how to talk to our 4 year old about it. We chose to euthanize our dog who was suffocating internally as her liver failed from unexplained (likely cancer) internal bleeding. It seemed merciful, though I don’t know that I can truly have peace about it. I know that somewhere I learned that animals are “different,” perhaps in Sunday School. But then again our dog had her own personality, and she felt things and expressed empathy. I felt in my body the moment she died before the doctor announced that her heart had stopped.

    It occurred to me as I have been reading along that if we limited our extension of mercy, per tODD, only to those beings who use language we can understand, I think an argument for the life of the fetus might also lose ground. What then can be known about fetal pain? Isn’t it rather the case that the life of the fetus matters simply because it exists? I digress.

    What you’ve offered with these texts is what I was looking for – the sense that animals are worthy of mercy simply because they “have breath.” In other words, there is some intrinsic worth they possess a priori to their usefulness to humans.

    What seems to be at stake is some anxiety about distinguishing human from animal and where or on what terms that line needs to be drawn. It seems to me we anthropomorphize animals based on cultural norms as much as anything. There’s a reason “dog on a stick” in Vietnam is abhorrent to a westerner. We don’t eat our pets for heaven’s sake! Haven’t you read Charlotte’s Web?

    It seems clear to me that humans have duty to other creatures if for no other reason than we are meant to steward what we are given. If only on those terms I think a good argument can be made for abstaining from meat. In the largest study ever of a population and its diet (the China Study) it has been shown to be unhealthy. given our current food industry, it also wastes resources like water, pollutes, and, as you have pointed out, is pretty harsh in its treatment of animals. In themselves, those realities seem like they ought to give pause. Though we cannot be expected to know everything, we are responsible for what we know. If we know certain things to be harmful, things we have a choice about, conscience demands we do something about it. Ethics have no integrity without such responsibility it seems to me. If I know how to do CPR, it behooves me to act when someone drops to the ground unconscious in front of me. Why else would ignorance be bliss?

    I think what may have rang alarm bells for Larry was what seemed to be the need to drag vegetarianism into the first table of the law – it somehow is prelapsarian and therefore ethically “better.” That’s a reduction, and feel free to correct me Larry, but the point is that all we do here on earth is second table righteousness. If we choose to be vegetarians or vegans, it is because conscience/law demands that we do it. We consider our neighbor in all that we do. If I have all vegetarians to my house for a meal it would be wrong for me to make steak. And likewise, if I am invited to a meal and find it heavy on the animal products, it would be wrong for me to demand something else. That is all law and earthly concern for the neighbor. I think St. Paul agrees with this when he speaks of weaker brothers. But, in doing so and following our conscience in this regard we have in no way ceased to sin.

    So I think it is right to think that there is something we owe to animals simply as beings that have breath and are given to us to steward and care for. If you were to look for “dominion” in the OT you would find it attached in the prophets also to descriptions of what sovereign ought to do. Be merciful. Animals serve a range of needs, not just food, and in some cases, not even primarily as food. They are in some ways to be considered our first companions. Insufficient perhaps, but still companions. The naming of animals is not just an act of objectification, but of granting animals their status as created beings. That’s one of the ways I read it.

  • Stephen

    Thanks Tom for bringing those scripture passages to light. We just lost one of our dogs quite suddenly a couple days before Thanksgiving. We continue to struggle with how to talk to our 4 year old about it. We chose to euthanize our dog who was suffocating internally as her liver failed from unexplained (likely cancer) internal bleeding. It seemed merciful, though I don’t know that I can truly have peace about it. I know that somewhere I learned that animals are “different,” perhaps in Sunday School. But then again our dog had her own personality, and she felt things and expressed empathy. I felt in my body the moment she died before the doctor announced that her heart had stopped.

    It occurred to me as I have been reading along that if we limited our extension of mercy, per tODD, only to those beings who use language we can understand, I think an argument for the life of the fetus might also lose ground. What then can be known about fetal pain? Isn’t it rather the case that the life of the fetus matters simply because it exists? I digress.

    What you’ve offered with these texts is what I was looking for – the sense that animals are worthy of mercy simply because they “have breath.” In other words, there is some intrinsic worth they possess a priori to their usefulness to humans.

    What seems to be at stake is some anxiety about distinguishing human from animal and where or on what terms that line needs to be drawn. It seems to me we anthropomorphize animals based on cultural norms as much as anything. There’s a reason “dog on a stick” in Vietnam is abhorrent to a westerner. We don’t eat our pets for heaven’s sake! Haven’t you read Charlotte’s Web?

    It seems clear to me that humans have duty to other creatures if for no other reason than we are meant to steward what we are given. If only on those terms I think a good argument can be made for abstaining from meat. In the largest study ever of a population and its diet (the China Study) it has been shown to be unhealthy. given our current food industry, it also wastes resources like water, pollutes, and, as you have pointed out, is pretty harsh in its treatment of animals. In themselves, those realities seem like they ought to give pause. Though we cannot be expected to know everything, we are responsible for what we know. If we know certain things to be harmful, things we have a choice about, conscience demands we do something about it. Ethics have no integrity without such responsibility it seems to me. If I know how to do CPR, it behooves me to act when someone drops to the ground unconscious in front of me. Why else would ignorance be bliss?

    I think what may have rang alarm bells for Larry was what seemed to be the need to drag vegetarianism into the first table of the law – it somehow is prelapsarian and therefore ethically “better.” That’s a reduction, and feel free to correct me Larry, but the point is that all we do here on earth is second table righteousness. If we choose to be vegetarians or vegans, it is because conscience/law demands that we do it. We consider our neighbor in all that we do. If I have all vegetarians to my house for a meal it would be wrong for me to make steak. And likewise, if I am invited to a meal and find it heavy on the animal products, it would be wrong for me to demand something else. That is all law and earthly concern for the neighbor. I think St. Paul agrees with this when he speaks of weaker brothers. But, in doing so and following our conscience in this regard we have in no way ceased to sin.

    So I think it is right to think that there is something we owe to animals simply as beings that have breath and are given to us to steward and care for. If you were to look for “dominion” in the OT you would find it attached in the prophets also to descriptions of what sovereign ought to do. Be merciful. Animals serve a range of needs, not just food, and in some cases, not even primarily as food. They are in some ways to be considered our first companions. Insufficient perhaps, but still companions. The naming of animals is not just an act of objectification, but of granting animals their status as created beings. That’s one of the ways I read it.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Except, Larry, that vegetarianism will not cut it on your grounds either. What would help is to care more for the animals that we eat. To stop stuffing ourselves.

    But the idea that that means that we should not eat meat at all, because that means killing animals, is entirely and absolutely wrong, and based on fuzzy-wuzzy Bambism.

    It might help to read Michael Pollan on the issue.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Except, Larry, that vegetarianism will not cut it on your grounds either. What would help is to care more for the animals that we eat. To stop stuffing ourselves.

    But the idea that that means that we should not eat meat at all, because that means killing animals, is entirely and absolutely wrong, and based on fuzzy-wuzzy Bambism.

    It might help to read Michael Pollan on the issue.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    >> … our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

    > A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal … (Proverbs 12:10)

    Well, yes of course, Tom. But I was referring to the kind of empathy that leads to veganism. Which is why I put in scare quotes.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    >> … our ancestors would be amused at our “empathy” for animals.

    > A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal … (Proverbs 12:10)

    Well, yes of course, Tom. But I was referring to the kind of empathy that leads to veganism. Which is why I put in scare quotes.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sorry, in #64 I was addressing Stephen, not Larry.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Sorry, in #64 I was addressing Stephen, not Larry.

  • Stephen

    I don’t get it KK. Isn’t there a point with anything in creation that its use becomes prohibitive when and if it causes harm to the neighbor. Sex is not bad in itself, but pornography, prostitution? A little wine is good for the stomach, but a lot of wine makes for a wife beater.

    If it is the case that eating animals the way that we do has become extremely wasteful, and it is also proven to be unhealthy, as well as largely inhumane, then why would it not behoove one to consider whether eating meat is contributing to those things or not? Why couldn’t it be considered a moral choice to become a vegan at that point? Should I feed unhealthy food to my kids? Should I teach them that it is okay to be wasteful of precious resources that we all rely on like water and clean air? Should I teach them that animals are here for us to do as we will?

    Sure, caring more for animals we eat would be nice, but like I said, that’s not the only terms upon which to make the decision to abstain. We don’t do that as far as I can tell. So then perhaps one ought to stop contributing to it in the meantime. Just a thought. I mean, if that really is your concern, then why do you participate in a food system you know to be inherently unhealthy, wasteful, not to mention inhumane? I can understand not feeling like one has much choice in the matter, but when it comes to meat, we actually do. No one needs it.

    Not everything in life is to be used only if we need it. I agree with that. But let’s say for the sake of argument that meat is actually a luxury, at what point does this thing we do not need come under more moral scrutiny? I’d say that things like waste, health problems, inhumane treatment might indicate that it should. That does not seem so touchy-feely. It seems like a valid concern.

    And remember, I never said it was intrinsically wrong to kill and eat. That was never my point. I did suggest, however, that animals do have some intrinsic worth beyond the purely utilitarian needs of people. So what are the terms upon which you will or will not eat meat based on the fact that you say we should treat the animals we eat more humanely?

  • Stephen

    I don’t get it KK. Isn’t there a point with anything in creation that its use becomes prohibitive when and if it causes harm to the neighbor. Sex is not bad in itself, but pornography, prostitution? A little wine is good for the stomach, but a lot of wine makes for a wife beater.

    If it is the case that eating animals the way that we do has become extremely wasteful, and it is also proven to be unhealthy, as well as largely inhumane, then why would it not behoove one to consider whether eating meat is contributing to those things or not? Why couldn’t it be considered a moral choice to become a vegan at that point? Should I feed unhealthy food to my kids? Should I teach them that it is okay to be wasteful of precious resources that we all rely on like water and clean air? Should I teach them that animals are here for us to do as we will?

    Sure, caring more for animals we eat would be nice, but like I said, that’s not the only terms upon which to make the decision to abstain. We don’t do that as far as I can tell. So then perhaps one ought to stop contributing to it in the meantime. Just a thought. I mean, if that really is your concern, then why do you participate in a food system you know to be inherently unhealthy, wasteful, not to mention inhumane? I can understand not feeling like one has much choice in the matter, but when it comes to meat, we actually do. No one needs it.

    Not everything in life is to be used only if we need it. I agree with that. But let’s say for the sake of argument that meat is actually a luxury, at what point does this thing we do not need come under more moral scrutiny? I’d say that things like waste, health problems, inhumane treatment might indicate that it should. That does not seem so touchy-feely. It seems like a valid concern.

    And remember, I never said it was intrinsically wrong to kill and eat. That was never my point. I did suggest, however, that animals do have some intrinsic worth beyond the purely utilitarian needs of people. So what are the terms upon which you will or will not eat meat based on the fact that you say we should treat the animals we eat more humanely?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stephen – that’s the problem: You say –

    I never said it was intrinsically wrong to kill and eat

    But at the same time

    Why couldn’t it be considered a moral choice to become a vegan at that point?

    .

    So you are trying to say that though it is not intrinsically bad, at some point it will become immoral. Having your cake and eating it, ja?

    Furthermore, vegetarianism is not the de facto healthier option. That is simplistic propaganda.

    Just as the existence of drunkenness does not invalidate alcohol use, the existence of abuse and gluttony does not invalidate meat-eating.

    We, as a family, tend to buy local, naturally raised (ie, no antibiotics excpet for illness, grass fed etc) meat – some of it directly from farmers. Someone else on this thread raises healthy, free-range turkeys and other animals for the table. I refuse, point-blank, to eat at McDonalds. Free-range animals taste better. Sure, they cost more, so we eat less meat. Although that is primarily a culinary choice, only secondary health and morals, that is what it is.

    Just because some people present immoral sexual behaviour, does not mean that we should all be abstainers. The opposite of a wrong is not an abstention. That is the most ridiculous argument ever.

    I won’t even get into the science here. Or the ecological arguments. Or the agricultural arguments. Or …

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Stephen – that’s the problem: You say –

    I never said it was intrinsically wrong to kill and eat

    But at the same time

    Why couldn’t it be considered a moral choice to become a vegan at that point?

    .

    So you are trying to say that though it is not intrinsically bad, at some point it will become immoral. Having your cake and eating it, ja?

    Furthermore, vegetarianism is not the de facto healthier option. That is simplistic propaganda.

    Just as the existence of drunkenness does not invalidate alcohol use, the existence of abuse and gluttony does not invalidate meat-eating.

    We, as a family, tend to buy local, naturally raised (ie, no antibiotics excpet for illness, grass fed etc) meat – some of it directly from farmers. Someone else on this thread raises healthy, free-range turkeys and other animals for the table. I refuse, point-blank, to eat at McDonalds. Free-range animals taste better. Sure, they cost more, so we eat less meat. Although that is primarily a culinary choice, only secondary health and morals, that is what it is.

    Just because some people present immoral sexual behaviour, does not mean that we should all be abstainers. The opposite of a wrong is not an abstention. That is the most ridiculous argument ever.

    I won’t even get into the science here. Or the ecological arguments. Or the agricultural arguments. Or …

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 63, I’m very sorry for your loss. The loss of a pet is one of the most painful experiences in life. For many, it’s the most painful.

    I’ve never been completely at peace with euthanasia myself. But the power of life and death over animals has been given to us by God, and our stewardship of His creatures sometimes requires us to exercise it. Mercy being the key thing in all our relations with animals (as in all our relations with people). I wish I could have exercised that power myself a couple of months ago, when my best buddy in the world, who’d been with me for twelve years, suddenly started dying late at night. (The vet figures it was a brain tumor or infection.) He suffered horribly, but there was nothing I could do, except pray that God would take him quickly. And He did. (My buddy only suffered for an hour.) So, a natural death is often the worst thing for an animal, and euthanasia is a mercy that’s nothing but painful. For us. Everything about death is terrible.

    … there is some intrinsic worth they possess a priori to their usefulness to humans.

    Yes. I mentioned this on another thread, but when God saved every last kind of creature from the flood, 99.9% of them would be of no practical usefulness to man after the flood. They weren’t even necessary as parts of an ecosystem that could sustain man. They were saved because God loved them.

    What seems to be at stake is some anxiety about distinguishing human from animal and where or on what terms that line needs to be drawn.

    I’ve wondered if that’s the case. And I smile when I remember Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? I especially like the way the question at the end asks us to doubt the assertion that animals don’t have souls, and won’t share eternity with us.

    If you were to look for “dominion” in the OT you would find it attached in the prophets also to descriptions of what sovereign ought to do. Be merciful.

    Check this out if you haven’t already. It’s my favorite book about animal welfare. Yeah, it’s by a Christian who’s also a prominent Republican, but hey, nobody’s perfect. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Stephen @ 63, I’m very sorry for your loss. The loss of a pet is one of the most painful experiences in life. For many, it’s the most painful.

    I’ve never been completely at peace with euthanasia myself. But the power of life and death over animals has been given to us by God, and our stewardship of His creatures sometimes requires us to exercise it. Mercy being the key thing in all our relations with animals (as in all our relations with people). I wish I could have exercised that power myself a couple of months ago, when my best buddy in the world, who’d been with me for twelve years, suddenly started dying late at night. (The vet figures it was a brain tumor or infection.) He suffered horribly, but there was nothing I could do, except pray that God would take him quickly. And He did. (My buddy only suffered for an hour.) So, a natural death is often the worst thing for an animal, and euthanasia is a mercy that’s nothing but painful. For us. Everything about death is terrible.

    … there is some intrinsic worth they possess a priori to their usefulness to humans.

    Yes. I mentioned this on another thread, but when God saved every last kind of creature from the flood, 99.9% of them would be of no practical usefulness to man after the flood. They weren’t even necessary as parts of an ecosystem that could sustain man. They were saved because God loved them.

    What seems to be at stake is some anxiety about distinguishing human from animal and where or on what terms that line needs to be drawn.

    I’ve wondered if that’s the case. And I smile when I remember Ecclesiastes 3:19-21, For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? I especially like the way the question at the end asks us to doubt the assertion that animals don’t have souls, and won’t share eternity with us.

    If you were to look for “dominion” in the OT you would find it attached in the prophets also to descriptions of what sovereign ought to do. Be merciful.

    Check this out if you haven’t already. It’s my favorite book about animal welfare. Yeah, it’s by a Christian who’s also a prominent Republican, but hey, nobody’s perfect. ;-)

  • Stephen

    KK -

    “So you are trying to say that though it is not intrinsically bad, at some point it will become immoral. Having your cake and eating it, ja?”

    Um excuse me . . . you say morals are secondary, but you do agree that there are moral considerations. And so you choose to buy local, free-range, grass fed, etc. That’s great. And it means you eat less of it. And it means as well that on some level, you’re conscience is troubled enough to make a choice. Good for you. I think that was Tom’s point. Things need to move that way. Mine was to add that meat is not so healthy as we think, and that this has been shown scientifically – it is not only unnecessary but harmful – and that in general, the production of meat products is incredibly wasteful of resources.

    Also, I never said the opposite of a wrong is abstaining. Neither did I invoke gluttony. That was you. Straw men my good free ranger.

    So I am not campaigning for some absolutism here. What I did was to contextualize quite deliberately to make that point. I laid out the conditions under which abstaining could/would be a better moral choice. You disagree with those conditions because you say, for one thing, it is based on propaganda. Well, I guess then one man’s propaganda is another man’s science in this case. Why eat free range at all if all it is is propaganda?

    And you agree also that eating meat in a given context, at least to some degree, can be unhealthy. You also agree that there are situations where it is also inhumanely produced. The only thing left is how wasteful it is to produce. And I’m talking about our food system in general, not individuals who are (for ethical reasons) deciding to buck that system. Not everyone can afford that, and the fact is that none of us need it to be healthy while at the same time the production of meat products on a mass scale is extremely (morally) problematic. Read Micheal Pollan indeed.

    What I hear is that abstaining is not a moral option at all and mere emotionalism. Is that what you want to defend? What you missed in my argument which you quoted is where I say “at that point.” I said this more than once. There is a point where things get out of hand. All kinds of things. Sex. Alcohol. They do so in our use of them. That is the sin of it and the need for both repentance and some attempt to turn from those things. We all must do a cost benefit analysis I guess. But if your left hand causes you to sin, use it less? No. Cut it off. That is there as well. There are times to actually stop doing something.

    Why not get into the science, by the way. I cited the China Study. What have you got? I’m interested.

  • Stephen

    KK -

    “So you are trying to say that though it is not intrinsically bad, at some point it will become immoral. Having your cake and eating it, ja?”

    Um excuse me . . . you say morals are secondary, but you do agree that there are moral considerations. And so you choose to buy local, free-range, grass fed, etc. That’s great. And it means you eat less of it. And it means as well that on some level, you’re conscience is troubled enough to make a choice. Good for you. I think that was Tom’s point. Things need to move that way. Mine was to add that meat is not so healthy as we think, and that this has been shown scientifically – it is not only unnecessary but harmful – and that in general, the production of meat products is incredibly wasteful of resources.

    Also, I never said the opposite of a wrong is abstaining. Neither did I invoke gluttony. That was you. Straw men my good free ranger.

    So I am not campaigning for some absolutism here. What I did was to contextualize quite deliberately to make that point. I laid out the conditions under which abstaining could/would be a better moral choice. You disagree with those conditions because you say, for one thing, it is based on propaganda. Well, I guess then one man’s propaganda is another man’s science in this case. Why eat free range at all if all it is is propaganda?

    And you agree also that eating meat in a given context, at least to some degree, can be unhealthy. You also agree that there are situations where it is also inhumanely produced. The only thing left is how wasteful it is to produce. And I’m talking about our food system in general, not individuals who are (for ethical reasons) deciding to buck that system. Not everyone can afford that, and the fact is that none of us need it to be healthy while at the same time the production of meat products on a mass scale is extremely (morally) problematic. Read Micheal Pollan indeed.

    What I hear is that abstaining is not a moral option at all and mere emotionalism. Is that what you want to defend? What you missed in my argument which you quoted is where I say “at that point.” I said this more than once. There is a point where things get out of hand. All kinds of things. Sex. Alcohol. They do so in our use of them. That is the sin of it and the need for both repentance and some attempt to turn from those things. We all must do a cost benefit analysis I guess. But if your left hand causes you to sin, use it less? No. Cut it off. That is there as well. There are times to actually stop doing something.

    Why not get into the science, by the way. I cited the China Study. What have you got? I’m interested.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Thanks so much for the book recommendation and for those kind and helpful words – yet more scripture to cling to. As far as putting my dog down (I’m getting a little teary) it seemed like the hard reality of being her owner (what a weird title that seems). Sort of like we took that on from the beginning, the fact that we had been given, along with all the great stuff, also the power of death over her. I just never realized it until I was there with her when she died. It was my duty to her (or so I rationalize now), but I was unprepared for how it would be, and I’m still reeling a bit. It’s all very weird and it happened very fast. One morning she could barely move and we watched her suffer for three days, completely incapacitated and gasping. There was nothing to be done. We still wonder if we missed something. I sure miss her. She was 12 and half and a real lover.

  • Stephen

    Tom,

    Thanks so much for the book recommendation and for those kind and helpful words – yet more scripture to cling to. As far as putting my dog down (I’m getting a little teary) it seemed like the hard reality of being her owner (what a weird title that seems). Sort of like we took that on from the beginning, the fact that we had been given, along with all the great stuff, also the power of death over her. I just never realized it until I was there with her when she died. It was my duty to her (or so I rationalize now), but I was unprepared for how it would be, and I’m still reeling a bit. It’s all very weird and it happened very fast. One morning she could barely move and we watched her suffer for three days, completely incapacitated and gasping. There was nothing to be done. We still wonder if we missed something. I sure miss her. She was 12 and half and a real lover.

  • Stephen

    KK-

    If it is any consolation, I worked in the gourmet food and wine business for 6 + years. If there is anything that should disturb us (westerners) about food, it’s the degree to which we waste it so that we can have (exactly) what we want. Add animals into that equation and the situation is appalling. Efforts by independent farmers to correct that are to be commended. I support that. I suggest we could go one further and eliminate what is unnecessary in this realm because it is so very wasteful, unhealthy, and, dare I say it, inhumane. Both are moral options.

  • Stephen

    KK-

    If it is any consolation, I worked in the gourmet food and wine business for 6 + years. If there is anything that should disturb us (westerners) about food, it’s the degree to which we waste it so that we can have (exactly) what we want. Add animals into that equation and the situation is appalling. Efforts by independent farmers to correct that are to be commended. I support that. I suggest we could go one further and eliminate what is unnecessary in this realm because it is so very wasteful, unhealthy, and, dare I say it, inhumane. Both are moral options.

  • larry

    Klasie @68 bingo and homerun!

  • larry

    Klasie @68 bingo and homerun!

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. A moralistic background seems to make some people – who’ve rejected that background – rather reactionary when it comes to an expansion of ethics. Which is understandable. But still reactionary. ;-)

  • Tom Hering

    Hmm. A moralistic background seems to make some people – who’ve rejected that background – rather reactionary when it comes to an expansion of ethics. Which is understandable. But still reactionary. ;-)


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