Rejecting the Evidence

I eat meat (and foie gras) but many of the chefs in this video come off looking smug, petulant, and idiotic. I believe I've said this before, but I think in 50 years time, the idea of people eating animals will be widely viewed as wrong and barbaric, akin to how many feel about fur and animal testing now.

—Jason Kottke (my emphasis added)

Writing on the production of foie gras over at his eponymous website, Jason Kottke gives us a classic example of unexamined thinking. Why say that you think future generations will judge you as "barbaric" and continue to engage in that exact behaviour?

It's probably a question best answered by Jason himself, but it's not like the information isn't out there. It's more that we've dismissed the evidence of why this is a damaging and harmful lifestlye choice. Yes, I'm aware that for some it isn't a choice, but for the majority of people in the Western world, it would be radically easy to not eat meat.

So why, then, do we reject vegetarianism, veganism, or even a reduced meat intake?

First thing we do is shoot the messenger; dirty, unwashed, animal loving hippies trying in a desperately earnest fashion to change our minds, too easily dismissed by the broad swathe of society for whom carnivorous behaviour is an integral part of their lives. Even the writer of the above linked article feels a little bit that way.

The second thing we do is argue against the evidence presented; that its a small, isolated number of cases that don't represent the reality or the ideal of meat production. This is just like the farmers in the video Kottke linked to.

And thirdly, I think we find it difficult to estimate the impact individual decisions have on a broader scale, especially when the cost of meat is just so low.