Painless Meat?

by Dish Staff

Rhys Southan suggests it’s possible to raise and slaughter animals “without causing them any more suffering than what we might expect a well-off human to experience”:

The first premise might seem hard to accept, given the brutal realities of modern animal farming. Most farm animals are raised on intensive factory farms where they suffer for the majority of their short lives. Even small, high-welfare farms tend to subject their animals to at least some painful procedures like castration without anesthetic, dehorning or the separation of mothers and their newborn children.

Yet ultra-high-welfare animal products are a possibility, not a fantasy. Consider the highest level of the “5-Step” animal-welfare rating program at Whole Foods Market. For beef, this prohibits branding, castration, ear notching, separating mothers from calves for early weaning and long trips to the slaughterhouse. For pigs, this ensures they are never separated from their littermates, which is important because of how social pigs are. For chickens, it means they have plenty of space and don’t have to endure physical alterations like debeaking.

Almost no farms meet these standards, but if more of us were willing to compromise on the price, taste, quantity and texture of the meat we eat, more farms like this could exist and thrive.