There’s an article in the Townsville Bulletin today guilty of the same fallacy that Pamela Anderson’s PETA protest committed. It is never “humane” to eat another being. If, as I suggest, the word humane means to treat compassionately or to treat as human. Historically the word was used as an equivalent to “human”.
The soldiers in the story were given live chickens to turn into food – without instructions for how to appropriately end their feathery lives. They are in trouble for allegedly treating the chickens inhumanely.
“A Defence spokeswoman denied claims the chickens had been treated inhumanely.”
Well. They ate the chickens. Regardless of how they treated the chickens beforehand I’d say that’s a pretty long bow to draw. You can’t have your chicken, and eat it too. That is to say – it’s one or the other. Either chickens are a food source and killing them is killing them – or chickens are to be venerated like cows in India.
To use the word “humane” in the context of things we’re eating is kind of stupid.
To start with chickens aren’t human. I know that the current definition of “humane” is to show human qualities of kindness and compassion… I still think that’s wrong. How can you eat something compassionately? You’re ultimately saying “my life is worth more than yours” – and if, like me, you regularly eat meat, you’re saying “my life is worth hundreds or thousands of you” (and more if you eat lots of eggs).
Sure, you can kill them gently. But that’s still killing them to eat.
Thus ends my rant.