In his creative and provocative paper Norcross contends that there is no need for humans to continue consuming factory-farmed meat. He starts his article by giving an example of the fictional Fred and the quest for a chemical that will allow him to have the gustatory experience, akin to that of tasting chocolate. Unfortunately, Cocoamone can only be retrieved from the brain of an abused puppy following prolonged torture and an excruciating death. Just as one would condemn an individual who carries out this sort of treatment on puppies, so we should also condemn those who derive gustatory pleasure from the consumption of factory-farmed animals. The author gives some differences between Fred and an average consumer of meat, as well as possible defenses that one could use to justify their meat eating habits as being different to Fred’s fetish. He follows each of this method of reasoning with an objection. The first difference that he brings along has to do with the fact that Fred does the torturing himself while a majority of Americans consume meat from creatures tortured by others. His second difference is that most consumers are not aware of the treatment meted out on these animals before they get to the supermarket. His first defense of the carnivore is that even if the individual did not consume or buy the factory-farmed meat, the animals would not be spared a life of cruelty. Agri-business is a vast market and changes to the eating habits of one individual cannot cause much of a difference. This Norcross refers to as causal impotence; the belief that refraining from meat consumption does not alter the amount of suffering the animal experiences. He objects vehemently to this defense by offering an example of a chocolate mousse that has Cocoamone. Norcross argues that once a person is informed on the methods of attaining Cocoamone, a morally upright person would then not order for the mousse. Consequently, this should be similar for a morally upright person who is given information on the methods used to obtain factory-farmed meat. His second response is that while there is a tiny chance that one’s behavior is harmful, the harm that is risked is even extra harmful. A chance of one in a thousand to save two hundred and fifty chickens is the same as, the certainty of saving twenty-five chickens a year by a person electing not to consume chicken. Norcross continues to show an even more disturbing scenario where there is no change in breeding in the factories until ten thousand people turn to vegetarians. The faster the threshold is attained, the sooner the difference will be made; therefore, an individual’s behavior does result in a difference. The point of this fictional story is meant to raise a pertinent question; is Fred’s behavior really that different in a moral sense from the behavior of millions who buy and eat factory-sourced meat? Norcross does not think so and rejects various ways that could be used to distinguish the two. Relevant differences include the following: for any individual, who consumes factory-sourced m
This paper is a discussion of two arguments based on the article, “Puppies, Pigs and People eating meat and marginal cases”. This paper has strived to show that it is hard to deny the fact that eating factory-sourced meat and the torturing of puppies for gustatory pleasure are morally equivalent…
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