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Thanks for the comments,
Since I wrote the piece you are commenting on, I would like to respond to some misunderstandings.

First of all, you are not convinced that I show the wrongness of the "happy meat" position in principle, and neither have I ever claimed to. The moment you truly embrace a utilitarian ethic, as we both seem to do, there is *nothing* that is wrong in principle, i.e. in and of itself. It all comes down to what is wrong in practice -- down to the consequences, and what I argue is simply that, in practice, "happy meat" is always wrong, by which I mean never the best we can do. As I actually hint in the piece, you may be able to defend it in some very narrow, thought-up instance, but that would be a misleading focus in the real world we happen to be living in -- a world where billions of animals happen to suffer and die, exactly because of the "happy meat" position.

Regarding what you write about killing: I don't understand how you can conflate killing beings with the fact that they die. That is very different. Surely, you must have heard of people who died without getting killed by someone? Do you not see the crucial ethical difference between bringing a child into existence who dies a natural death, and then bringing a child into existence in order to kill the child at a ripe age? There is clearly an important difference, and what I am saying, quite obviously I think, is that we would never accept the latter, and never should.

"I've now read the whole piece, and despite some interesting points I find it on the whole unconvincing." Unconvincing or not, you seemed to agree with the point I was trying to make from the outset, namely that "happy meat" is always wrong in practice -- or practically always, if you like. "Real world" always, which is what I care about, and what I think we should care about. The second point I was trying to make, which I don't know whether you agree with, was that rejecting the "happy meat" position probably is the most important thing of all if we are to end the abuse of animals, as it serves as a lazy rationalization of our abuse of them -- the one it all rests upon as far as I can see.

"The “we can do better” argument seems puzzling. It seems to argue that we could do better than raise animals and kill them, since we could raise animals and let them live, in a sanctuary for instance, and so should not raise animals and kill them. But the practical conclusion is that we should not raise animals and kill them, period; the obligation to do better - to raise them and let them live - somehow vanishes."
Yes, I conclude that we should not raise animals and kill them, because it leads to terrible consequences for animals, thereby not said that we should not raise animals and not kill them. By "vanishes", I assume you mean that I do not write about it. That is right, because that was not the subject of this short essay, which dealt with the "happy meat" question in as focused a manner as possible. Do I think we should raise animals and not kill them? It seems to me that we generally should not, given that there are countless animals in the world already who need our help and care desperately -- beings we have brought into existence already, as well as beings who live in the wild, so why bring more animals into the world whom we are responsible for when we already have countless animals who desperately need our help? Another point against bringing animals into existence whom we do not intend to kill is that even when we do that, we are still often not doing it for their sake, but for our own, and consequently we are often not doing what is really best, or even good, for them.

You misread the conclusion of the essay completely. I do not argue for enduring personal identity. Surely, there is no such thing — there are continually changing brains that somehow give rise to continually changing states of consciousness. What I argued for is the attribution of personhood: that we actually see a person, a being, a “him” or “her” rather than an “it” when we look at other animals. There is no conflict between knowing that there is no personal identity, and then seeing personhood in other beings — seeing them as beings rather than things. What I then argued with my flurry rhetoric was that the “happy meat” position essentially is the antithesis of such personhood attribution ultimately, which is critical, because such attribution is vitally important in relation to our ethical cognition, our moral sense, with regard to other beings. Remove such personhood, and the way to a holocaust is paved. And that is why it is so important to reject the “happy meat” position because in my experience it is exactly what is paving the way for such a holocaust right now.

Best regards, MV

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