Would more people become vegetarian if they interacted with the animals they were eating?

I asked in the philosophy section if they would eat cats if they tasted like chicken, and had the same nutrition as chicken. One person said yes, cats would be bred to be eaten. Nobody would have the compassion for the cats the same way they don’t have the compassion for chickens, cows, sheep… etc…


It’s a good question. I actually went vegetarian when working on a farm because I saw the suffering firsthand. But that is because I experience deep empathy for any kind of suffering. Most people don’t give a ****. If you go and put vegetarians on a farm it won’t change too many minds, look at farm sanctuary for example. To be honest I think most vegetarians are way more educated and connected to food production than omnis, who never even think about it. But there are some who just quit meat and don’t know the first thing about livestock production.

Of course you are only considering the vegetarians who are interested in the treatment of animals, rather than all the others as well who have other reasons. The environmental impacts alone should be enough to have all our leaders to be following the UN’s lead and encouraging more people to go veg. Then there are those who do it for health reasons, in fact a new report from the World Cancer Research Fund released this week reiterates their previous findings that red meat should be avoided to reduce risk of colorectal cancer. And then there are those who avoid animal products for spiritual reasons. None of these people will be influenced by interacting with the animals directly.

No, I don’t think there is much of a connection. And I completely disagree that farmers are any exception. Many MANY people around the world raise and interact with the animals they later eat, and have for hundreds of years.

And I disagree with the “taste” factor. A pig tastes much the same in Israel as it does in the United States, a cow tastes much the same in India as it does in the United Kingdom. The reason that some animals are eaten and other are not are because of cultural factors, it has nothing to do with taste or nutrition.

I have pets at home (dogs and cats). I wouldn’t eat my pets, but I would have no moral qualms about trying dog meat or cat meat.

To insist that you must personally slaughter an animal to have the “right” to eat meat (as opposed to the convenience of simply buying it from a shop) makes no more sense than to insist that you must personally climb a tree or dig up a root to have the “right” to eat fruits and vegetables (as opposed to the convenience of simply buying it from a shop).

I’m vegetarian and i’m the only one in my family. I have been for 2 and a half years (I’m 20) but when i first went veggie my older sister was talking to me about how they kill cows and she said “They shock them and then they’re dead arent they?” and i said “No they don’t die instantly they stun them and then cut them” and she started crying and got angry with me. So i always thought if she interacted with the animals she’d probably think twice about eating meat because i think she already feels guilty about it (Not that you should its up to you if you eat meat) Anyway my mum bought some chickens for her back garden for eggs and ever since they’ve had them neither my mum or my older sister has eaten chicken! I predicted that would happen! However my dad and my younger sister still eat chicken so it depends on what kind of person you are, like how you feel about eating meat in the first place. If theres any guilt there then its likely they wont eat the meat from the animals they interact with. Farmers 99.9% of the time being the exception. I did see a programme on TV about a lady who kept sheep as pets because she didn’t want them to be eaten and a farmer fell in love with her and helped her get the sheep and ended up going vegetarian! So i guess it totally depends on the person. But i do think more people would be vegetarian if they kept the animals for pets.

I have a simple rule, I don’t eat anything unless i’m willing to kill it, coincidentally Cat is the only animal i don’t feel too great about eating but i’d be willing if i was offered it in foreign country!

Also, i’m fairly sure that farmed cat does taste like chicken and is a very lean meat which makes good jerky… i’m not sure where i heard that though, dog is good, tastes like a cross between pork and beef!

Your question is flawed. I live in the U.S.A. I was brought up to view cats as a pet and companion animal. They are not, and never have been a food animal for me.

Now how about goats? I raise meat goats. I’ve watched hundreds of goats being slaughtered right here on my farm, by my customers. Yet I have some goats in my herd who are pets. Two of them are even males who should go for slaughter, IF I were only concerned about making money. Goats are smart, affectionate, and make better pets than dogs do, in some ways. I absolutely love the ones I keep as pets, and yes, they are the same breed as the other meat goats. So I’m not talking about having large meat goats, and a few smaller, cuter pet goats. There are pet goats I absolutely would not slaughter. Of course the majority that I raise do go for slaughter.

How about sheep? Growing up I never really thought of sheep as a meat animal, but rather an adorable, cuddly, cute, woolly animal, who produced wool for spinning. Then I actually owned sheep. I now think of sheep ONLY in terms of meat. I found out that in real life, sheep stink, are the 2nd dumbest domesticated animal (turkeys being first), are not at all friendly (even bottle raised ones).

I wouldn’t eat one of my dogs, or horses, ever. They are companion animals for me. Yet there are lots of horse people around me, selling their horses directly to kill buyers, so they can be transported into Canada, slaughtered and end up on the dinner table in France, or Japan. They are not eating them, but they know exactly what is happening to their horses.

Even if you have compassion for animals, it is the circumstances people are in which ultimately affect their choices. If you had no food, and your three year old child were crying because they were hungry, you would slaughter your cat to feed them.

On the other hand, if you lived in a very poor country, and your three year old daughter were crying for food, you would probably allow the child to starve to death, rather than going and slaughtering your water buffalo you plow your fields with every year. You can always have another child, girls are worthless, but your water buffalo helps feed you, your family, allows you to do tremendously more work. Your buffalo is also the most wealth you own, aside from your land. If you slaughter if, you’ll never be able to afford another one.

It’s all about your personal life circumstances.

Permaculture homesteading/farming over 20 years

I think this is why the McCartneys went Vegetarian, they had a farm, interacted with the sheep and chickens, then had a realisation that they were eating their ‘pets’.

We had sheep and chickens/goats at school and you do realise up close they have their own characters. (like cats and dogs – though they too are eaten as food in other countries)

I think it depends on your personality whether interaction with animals would effect you & stop you killing them. I’m sure there are some people who wouldn’t think twice about killing humans for food.

Hi, I answered your question in Philosophy about the cats, and I said no, I wouldn’t do it. Some people have compasion. I think the ones who said they’d eat cat were jst trying to piss you off. If I’m not mistaken others also said no. I also thanked you for the question, too. I’m not a vegetarian but its for reasons too complicated here. But not everyone is cruel…


Hey V: The problem I have with omnivores is not that they eat meat, but that they assume all vegetarians are preachy and want to convert them.

Personally, I think if you are going to eat any animal you might as well eat all of them. There is no moral difference between eating a cat and eating a cow. It is all cultural, I completely agree with you. Eating carnivores also seems like more of a taboo than eating herbivores.

But I’m not really sure it makes a difference to farmers, as they generally are omnivores. Maybe cows and sheep aren’t as “personable” as a cat if you see what I mean. Though pigs definitely can be, if the popularity of pet pigs is anything to go by.

People who farm animals for food and people who hunt for food make a distinction between pets and livestock. If they do not, they are fools. You can name your pig, feed it, worry about it when it is sick, and play with it, but still slit its throat when the time comes. The difference is that, from the day it was born, you knew that piglet would end up as bacon. Knowing that makes the disposition easier.

That said, a starving man can eat anything, even his cat.

“I will tell you what gets me going is vegetarians who seem to think vegetables don’t scream when cut for eating. They tend their veg in the garden as though precious family then eat these. Sorry I don’t hold an opinion but will say when people are hungry enough they will eat their pets.”

Strange this is that the other day I took an apple from a tree and didn’t hear a thing.
Now, if I cut the leg off of a cow I’m sure I would hear it scream.
I would rather watch someone picking berries any day to pigs getting their throats cut in a slaughterhouse.
Oh, and “veggies” are preachy? Funny, in my experience I usually find if it comes up in conversation that I am a vegan it’s usually the meat eaters who start preaching towards me about how wrong I am, and all of a sudden they have become nutritional experts. Weird that – I’m certain that the majority of veggies would say the same thing. The majority of us don’t give a damn what YOU eat, but it seems to become your business what WE eat and then it becomes sport to try and prove us to be hypocrites – kinda as if it’s YOU trying to justify to yourself eating something that is not necessary to survive..
I betcha none of y’all would go upto a Muslim and call him/her a hypocrite because they choose not to eat pork…..

I would guess some would, but DEFINITELY not everyone. I, for one, wouldn’t hesitate to eat pets if there weren’t other options (I’d still pick traditional meat for convenience and so I could keep the companionship with my pets). Given harsher circumstances and anarchy, I also wouldn’t hesitate to consume fellow humans for my own survival (assuming it was healthy to do so).

I disagree with your hypothesis in your second paragraph though. Humans would have consumed animals anyway (through hunting) before they started herding and farming them for convenience. My grandmother used to buy live chicken, wring their necks, skin them and cook them herself back when supermarkets weren’t around in my birth country. Convenience matters, but it won’t stop people from consuming animal products.

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