Bacon and Bad Arguments

I’m a big fan of Dan Benjamin and his many varieties of content on the web. But today he posted an entry on his blog that he calls “Help for The Potential Vegetarian.” I think he wisely disable comments on his post, but I wanted to say something about it, and my own blog is the ideal venue, so here goes. From his (short) post:

“For those of you on the fence about becoming a vegetarian, just watch this video showing how bacon is made…”

The YouTube clip is from the show How It’s Made and shows how bacon is produced on an industrial scale.

Okay, I have no problem with Dan Benjamin or anybody else that is a vegetarian. It’s a personal decision, and while I don’t always agree with everybody’s reason, I see no moral problem in one’s electing to keep meat out of one’s diet. But how is this supposed to help a person on the fence about vegetarianism make a decision?

Is a person considering vegetarianism because of health reasons? Then you don’t need to see a bacon facility to make up your mind. What about vegetarianism for the sake of the animals? Well we don’t see how the pigs were raised/fed/slaughtered in this video, so no help there. And if you just don’t think it’s right to kill an animal, you’d avoid bacon (or other meat) before watching this clip anyway. I mean, frankly, if you didn’t know bacon wasn’t healthy or that it came from an animal before watching this clip, you’re probably not intelligent enough to make the call on vegetarianism anyway. Just keep eating your Cheerios, and somebody will take you to nap time shortly…

Dan’s post bugs me because it seems to say, “Look at this gross industrial process. Are you sure you want to eat that?” If this video grosses you out and you’re not already a vegetarian, I think it makes a stronger case against commercial meat processing than it does against meat in general. In fact, I’d say that commercial food production for some vegetarian or vegan foods might look just as unappetizing.

So again, no disrespect to Mr. Benjamin. I simply wish his post was a bit better…um…fleshed out. Now I’ll go on waiting for the next episode of Tack Sharp 🙂

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