22 September 2004

From the Mailbag


I have read your interesting wrestle [see here] with the question if it is good for a vegetarian to feed your dogs meat-products.

You say that the meat in dogfood is a by-product of the meat industry for human consumption. You are right. But this doesn't implicate that since they will slaughter animals anyway, you might as well use the remainders. If you buy dogfood made of meat, you will finance an industry that slaughters animals for human consumption, an unethical venture in your and my eyes.

I think your argument that, because your dogs are carnivores you should not restrain them from meat products otherwise their happiness will be in danger, may be relevant. But if they can survive without meat you should restrain them from it. The great utilitarianist Jeremy Bentham wants the suffering in the world minimised. So if you want this too, you can take into account what kind of dogfood minimises this suffering in the world. If dogs really need meat to survive (I don't know), you should try to find the most animal friendly meat (ecological or road kills) for your dogs. Because in these cases you don't spend money to the intensive farming industry. You can weigh the suffering of pigs, cows, chicks against the happiness of your dogs. Happy meals for your dogs versus horrible lives and deaths of pigs, cows, chicks etc.

By the way, many people think that leather is a by-product of animals slaughtered for human meat consumption. It is not. Leather is one of the most expensive parts of an animal. The slaughtering industry cannot exist without the revenues of the leather business.


Danny Friedmann
The Netherlands

No comments: