Why I’m a Vegetarian

English scientists have discovered that so-called farm animals are much brighter and more aware than meat eaters would prefer to think.

ABC News:

One sheep who got a reward every time she recognized a human face correctly on a video screen scored a perfect 50 out of 50.

“If it was a monkey, no one would have any problems, possibly even if it was a dog,” said Keith Kendrick, a neurologist at Babraham. “They would say, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s expected.’ But a sheep, no one really believes.”

And it’s not just sheep.

Hamlet the pig is a computer wiz. He gets a reward every time he uses a joystick designed for a chimp to move a cursor into a blue area on a computer monitor. A Jack Russell terrier couldn’t achieve such a task after a year of trying.

…chickens can be taught to run the thermostat of the chicken coop, and even the lowly cow has a surprising inner life.

Cows have been known to form lifelong friendships, and one recent study found that they actually show excitement when they’ve learned something knew “as if they’re saying, ‘Eureka, I found out how to solve the problem,’ ” said Donald Broom, a professor at the University of Cambridge.

The reporter goes on to wonder if it’s therefore wrong to eat animals, and gets the obligatory views from both sides, with pro-carnivores taking the day with the tried and true, “Huh-huh, yeah but” argument.

Insisting they are just dumb animals with no thoughts or feelings is necessary to be able to tune out the cognitive dissonance that comes from loving animals but eating them. Anyone with a backyard bird feeder knows animals have complex lives and relationships, and problem-solve better than some humans (hey squirrels, I’m talking to you).

The argument that God put animals here for people to eat is right up there with “God put women here to serve men” and “God put black people here to ride in the holds of ships and serve white people on the other shore.”


2 thoughts on “Why I’m a Vegetarian”

  1. It’s great to at the top of the food chain. I’m not afraid to say that I eat meat, but I also eat vegetables, dairy products, fish, fruit and some things in Japanese dishes that I cannot unidentify. I understand the personal choice that vegetarians make for whatever reason they choose to eschew meat.

    I know, for instance, that 70 percent of the grain in the United States goes to keep chicken legs, pork ribs and steaks on my plate. As the son of a veterinarian, I also can empathize with people who empathize with animals and don’t want to kill them. But that doesn’t mean I approve of anthropomorphizing them into cartoon characters, much as I like Bugs Bunny and don’t want to see him made into hassenfeffer.

    It’s simply a personal choice — whichever choice one makes.

    Frankly, I’m going to continue to eat some of everything.

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