Recently, the New York Times held a contest for readers to write an essay explaining why they think eating meat is ethical. The judges included a variety of meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters, including Mark Bittman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Andrew Light, Michael Pollan and Peter Singer.
As you can imagine, there was much debate about this question/essay topic. Many thought this question was pro-meat propaganda or, on the other extreme, a form of satirical propaganda in favor of vegetarians and vegans. The winner, Jay Bost, argued that eating meat is ethical because of three reasons:
“For me, eating meat is ethical when one does three things. First, you accept the biological reality that death begets life on this planet and that all life (including us!) is really just solar energy temporarily stored in an impermanent form. Second, you combine this realization with that cherished human trait of compassion and choose ethically raised food, vegetable, grain and/or meat. And third, you give thanks.”
In the end, this contest doesn’t seem as if it were about a cookie-cutter answer to the question. It seems as though the intention of the New York Times was to get its readers to think about the food we put into our mouths. Whether the readers choose to change into a die-hard vegan or remain a meat eating machine is obsolete; the part that counts is the thought behind that decision.
Take a look at the winning essay here: