This recent article in The Atlantic takes a look at the mindset that enables farmers to raise and kill thousands of animals and still consider themselves happy.
It outlines how ranchers raise thousands of head of cattle “in a way that typifies industrial animal agriculture. Cows are numbered, not named. Animals don’t eat food, they convert feed. The ultimate goal couldn’t be more straightforward: raise cows as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible; transform them into well-marbled cuts of beef; and, throughout the process, minimize inputs while maximizing outputs.” And it explores the idea that many people in the business have on the ethics of industrial agriculture; the idea that the cows they fattened and slaughter are “of no more moral worth than the iron grates that enclosed them.”
But what do you think, oh wise and wonderful Skepchick reader?
Could you do this type of job and be a “happy person”? Did working with animals in closer proximity, as was required before say 1850, have a different effect on the ethics of raising animals for food? Is the factory farming of animals ethically justified?