April 16, 2009

The Moral Question of Dinner

Re “Humanity Even for Nonhumans,” by Nicholas D. Kristof (column, April 9):

Thank you for this inspiring and enlightening article. Animals raised for food suffer miserably.

The meat and dairy industries want to keep their operations away from the public’s discriminating eyes, but as groups like PETA and the Humane Society have shown us in their graphic and disturbing undercover investigations, factory farms are mechanized madness and slaughterhouses are torture chambers to these unfortunate and feeling beings.

The overwhelming passage in November of Proposition 2 in California, which banned tight confinement of many of the animals raised for food, is a fine example of the power of publicity to educate people about the atrocities we commit to those animals who have no voice of their own.

Laura Frisk
Encinitas, Calif., April 9, 2009

To the Editor:

In making the personal decision of where to place ourselves in our ethical relationship with animals, it is important to evaluate the reality of our words. If human beings were confined, mutilated and killed, would we call it “humane” if the cages were a few inches bigger, the knife sharper, the death faster? Would we say these people were slaughtered in a “people friendly” manner?

Confinement is confinement, mutilation is mutilation, and slaughter is slaughter. Animal agriculture is inherently inhumane.

Animals rescued from so-called humane farming establishments have been found in horrific condition.

Our relationship with animals should be based on respect and caring, and that begins with not eating them.

Irene Muschel
New York, April 9, 2009

To the Editor:

Nicholas D. Kristof’s column brought back an image of my father dropping live lobsters into boiling water. I was 4 or 5, and I cringed.

At 14, as I started making my own choices, my eating habits began to change. After time in the Marines, I veered strongly away from eating creatures, thinking of their suffering. In my 40s, I became a vegetarian because I was saving sick and injured birds, and I just couldn’t eat them and save them.

My doctor says my tremendous health and strength are due to my being a vegan. Push-ups, sit-ups, carrying 50-pound bags of bird seed — and I will be 71 in May. I still have the same six-pack stomach I had in the Marines.

Every meal, for me, is a celebration of life. That’s right, for me — but it may not be for others. Being “kind” to the animals has been great for my quality of life.

Buzz Alpert
Chicago, April 9, 2009

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism