Rhys Southan in Modern Farmer:
I have no farming background. I was born and raised in the suburbs, and I spent more time in a shopping mall playing video games and eating fast food than I did outside. “Animals” meant cats and dogs. Of course I knew the McDonalds hamburger I ate came from a cow, but that cow had no real existence for me. It wasn’t until I started farming that livestock animals became real and individuated. And that’s when my ethical struggle began.
I pursued a PhD in political philosophy for a number of years. I focused on postmodernist and poststructuralist philosophies, and this and identity, power and symbolization are very much at the root of my ethical crises.
Watching the pigs shows me over and over again, in countless and sometimes very subtle ways, that there is much more to the life experiences of animals than most of us know or are willing to believe.
One morning, I woke up absolutely certain that killing animals to eat their meat was wrong. So it might seem like I’ve sided with animal-rights advocates, but the long view that I’m taking on this makes my position more complicated than that. My feelings about the ethics of livestock farming ebb and flow. I have no plans to stop eating meat or raising animals for slaughter. But I believe that we as a species need to evolve into the sorts of beings that do not kill to eat. For now, I justify non-industrial farming as a necessary compromise that will gradually shift how we think about using animals as food.
More here. [Thanks to John Ballard.]