1st June 2011
Cows (and other animals we use for food) must be killed without cruelty
The problem with libertarians is this: that they refuse to acknowledge that left to its own devices, the market will often take short-cuts in its reckless pursuit of wealth. These short-cuts can cause people to die (that's why we need regulation of workplace health and safety), and animals to be brutally treated.
While we need the broad principle of laissez faire to start all discussion of policy, we do need good regulation to underpin the market. The classical liberal insists on good regulation: which is neither excessive nor too little.
A case in point is the recent discovery by Australia of the brutal way cows are slaughtered in some of Indonesia's abattoirs. The full documentary (45 minutes) is found here (click on the left) [I have not seen it]. A brief summary video is provided below, announcing the halt of live exports to these abattoirs from Australia:
I first thought that this might be a halal method, but it is not, as an Indonesian cleric has since confirmed (here).
In other words, the concerned abattoirs are not compliant either with world-best practice on animal welfare, or even the Islamic tradition of halal.
This confirms clearly that a civilised society MUST have in place a good regulatory framework that ensures that world-best practice is enforced. As I note in the draft manuscript, The Discovery of Freedom:
"animal and plant life is our food (and in many cases, our medicine). The use of other life forms as sources of our life energy is based on basic biological reality – provided we don’t eat an entire species into extinction (which can’t happen with privatised ownership of such life forms). But note that no justification exists for inflicting undue pain on any creature. Animals that are consumed should not be treated with unnecessary cruelty."
I also know for certain that similar things occur in India, where animals are treated and slaughtered in a barbaric manner. That's unacceptable. I have called for the proper regulation of India's abattoirs earlier, and I think this is a wake-up call for India as well. Such brutality can give rise to great abhorrence for meat eating. The adverse health consequences of that can include an increase in anaemia. Lean red meat (in moderation, of course) also reduces the risk of heart disease.