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Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

Thought I'd pose a philosophical vegan question out of pure curiosity. I've run this by my vegan wife and would like to know other's take on it.

In that farm animals are raised for the sole purpose of consumption, do you think they would prefer a limited life span with eventual slaughter or would instead choose non existence? Now in this scenario we will presuppose (I realize this is not reality) that all animals are treated with kindness and humanely and enjoy a life, albeit limited, of sunshine, fresh air, green pastures and the company of their fellow animals. In addition, slaughter would be as quick, painless and stress free as possible. It should also be noted that the animals will never have an inkling of their eventual demise at any time throughout their life.

Knowing that the vast majority of these animals would never exist apart from the need for human consumption, I have often wondered what path I would choose if I were an animal with these 2 options.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Responses (5)

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    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 04/07/14 07:25:22

    By that logic it would not be wrong to kill and eat your dogs if you treated them well before the day of slaughter. Or your children...

    The question might be, "Do we really need to kill other animals and eat them?"

    The answer is very subjective. In today's world some people have little choice because of where they live, or because of the ravages of war. For most Americans, there is no need to kill any animals for food.

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    Posted by Kimberley J at 06/03/14 09:16:38

    This is an interesting philosophical question however, as we all know, that is not the reality that animals face. However, with the parameters given, I guess the question is 'is it better to have a life, shortened by another? or no life at all?' I suppose that, as people, we would chose the shortened existence because that is all we know. We don't have any usable insight into what it means to not exist (perhaps that knowledge is in our brain / consciousness somewhere but we can't access it) - we have some concrete beliefs based on our day to day life but what, philosophically, would it mean to not exist? Does it mean that you don't have a physical body? Does it mean that you are condemned to some other place (add in whatever fits with your religious beliefs)? Would we understand that we don't exist? Would we want to exist or would we be content not existing? Did we exist in some other form prior to our birth? Will we return to some other form after we stop existing here (i.e. after we die)?
    Interesting theoretical concept.

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    Posted by Jonathan2712 at 07/17/14 02:53:49

    Probably impossible to answer seeing as we can't rationalise something that has no knowledge base at present, but I'm pretty sure if animals raised on slaughter farms could talk they'd simply wish that they could fall asleep and never wake up again. Or they'd wish that they could just live out their lives like the rest of us, following their natural instincts, enjoying the beauty of their surroundings, socialising with others, being healthy and happy.

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    Posted by DIN8 at 07/17/14 05:14:42

    I don't think that this type of question makes any sense. The assumptions made do not have anything in common with the reality. (Indeed, I'm am really fed up with these "what if" arguments.) Farm animals do not have an enjoyable life and their death is not painless and stress free. End of story!

    Besides: It is impossible to choose inexistence. Because if you don't exist you cannot make a choice at all. :-)

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    Posted by StephenS at 07/17/14 13:37:43

    I'd be interested to know the reverse;
    Let's suppose that Humans were given a short life in which they were bred solely for the purpose to feed another. At birth we were taken from our Mothers and Fathers, kept in small, unnatural housing. We were fed from the scraps and refuse of other food industries, including often times the offal of other Humans. Females were yearly raped, while males not of breeding capacity were castrated, and as numbers grew to large, killed and processed. Confinement was subject to sickness and injury. Treatment was brutal and abusive. In short, life was one of horror, pain and subjugation. Would Humans then choose Life?

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