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Lecture 20

PHLA11H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 20: Intensive Animal Farming, Taste, Veal

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Julia Nefsky

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PHLA11 – Lecture 20 – Treatment of Animals
Norcross: Fred’s Basement:
In Fred’s basement the police find “twenty-six small wire cages, each
containing a puppy, some whining, some whimpering, some howling… Many
of them show signs of mutilation. Urine and feces cover the bottoms of the
cages and the basement floor.”
“Fred explains that he keeps the puppies for twenty-six weeks, and then
butchers them... During their lives he performs a series of mutilations on
them, such as slicing off their noses and their paws with a hot knife, all
without any form of anesthesia. Except for the mutilations, the puppies are
never allowed out of the cages, which are barely big enough to hold them.”
(Norcross, p. 229)
oFred had an accident that ruined his ability to produce “cocoamone
oOnly known source of cocoamone: the brains of puppies who have
been subject to severe stress and suffering
oFred feels that “his life would be unacceptably impoverished without
the experience of chocolate.” (p. 230)
Norcross on Fred and Meat-Eating:
Fred’s desire for chocolate doesn’t justify the severe suffering he is imposing
on puppies
Eating factory-farmed meat is wrong for the same reason that Fred’s behavior
is wrong
Over 95% of the animals raised for food in Canada are produced in factory-
“No decent person would even contemplate torturing puppies merely to
enhance a gustatory experience. However, billions of animals endure intense
suffering every year for precisely this end. Most of the chickens, veal, beef,
and pork consumed in the US [and Canada] comes from intensive
confinement facilities, in which the animals live in cramped, stress-filled lives
and endure unanesthetized mutilations.” (Norcross, p. 231).
Are there any morally relevant differences between Fred and those who
consume factory-farmed meat?
Proposal 1: Others are doing the Dirty Work
Fred was torturing the puppies himself
Most meat-eaters don’t do the torturing – the people working at the factory-
farms do it
Norcross’ Reply:
oThis is not a relevant difference
o“What if Fred had been squeamish and had employed someone else o
torture the puppies and extract the cocoamone? Would we have
thought any better of Fred?
Proposal 2: Ignorance
Fred knew that the puppies were suffering
Most consumers are unaware of the horrendous treatment of the animals
raised for food
Norcross’ Reply:
oTotally ignorant people might have an excuse
oBut the number of totally ignorant consumers is getting smaller and
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