10 May 2010

Ethical Eating

This is the preparation I put together for my Covenant Group's discussion of Ethical Eating this month.

Definition: Ethical eating, like ethical living, is not about absolutes. It's about doing the best you're willing and able to do—and nurturing a will to keep doing better.—eatkind.net

Princeton University professor and founder of the animal liberation movement, Peter Singer, believes that if alternative means of survival exist, one ought to choose the option that does not cause unnecessary harm to animals.—Wikipedia

'' . . . in my first voyage from Boston . . . our people set about catching cod, and hauled up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my resolution of not eating animal food . . . But I had formerly been a great lover of fish and when this came hot out of the frying-pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between principle and inclination, till I recollected that, when the fish were opened, I saw smaller fish taken out of their stomachs; then thought I, 'If you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you.' ''—Benjamin Franklin

Technological advances and organizational changes affecting agrifood systems in recent years have been radical and rapid; the repercussions, however, will be felt for a long time to come and the consequences may be irreversible. Whether these changes be as specific as individual food production techniques or as broad as the effects of globalization, they have refocused attention on age-old human values and fundamental human rights, including the right to adequate—and safe—food.—fao.org

"Should I assume that I have a God-given right to access the entire earth's bounty, however far away some of its produce is grown? . . . If you send it halfway around the world before it is eaten, an organic food still may be 'good' for the consumer, but is it 'good' for the food system?"—ethnobotanist Gary Paul Nabhan in Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods

Questions for Reflection

What does ethical eating mean to you?

Do you know how your eating habits effect your environment? The global environment? The economy? Your heath?

How do your food choices reflect your personal ethics? Do you have a code of ethics that helps you choose what foods to buy/eat?

When choosing food, do you focus more on taste, nutrition, production style (eg organic), locality, or something else?

Are you ever conflicted between ethical food choices and convenient, economic, nutritious, or tasty choices? Which factor usually wins out over the others?

 I'll post my own thoughts, based on the above questions, as a comment. Please share yours as well. Maybe we can get a discussion going.