The NYTimes "Ethicist" column initiated a contest a few weeks ago for 600 word essays about why it's ethical to eat meat. The topic inspired lots of emails to the Ethicist, including remarks about the judges for the contest who were all men. Today they printed excerpts from several replies and the winning essay as well as a column four times as long as usual. Like a great many respondents, it seems, I cannot think of a reason why it is ethical to eat animals. Once, and still in a few societies, I believe humans needed to eat animals because they lacked sufficient nourishment otherwise. That is far from true for most of humanity today. Many people cited the inhumane, greedy and ecologically destructive methods used by "factory farming" of animals. Some optimists seemed to think this replusive practice is waning, I don't think so. Animals are treated as if they were plants, not sensate creatures. That is greedy, ignorant, and horrible.
From the article I learned only that NYTimes readers, as I knew anyway, tend to take the ethical high road. There were, apparently, plenty of wisecrackers who point out that carnivorous animals don't think about ethics. Duh! The wonderful, late Wislawa Szymborska wrote a poem saying that only animals live with a clear conscience -- because they are incapable of ethical questioning. Taken a bit further it seems to suggest that those who eat meat without compunction are, in some respects, no better than, say wolves or hyenas. I love these tempests in a teapot that are now and then set to boil in editorial sections of the Times.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!