Can you really be a compassionate carnivore?

Cowabunga.JPGNew York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof recently wrote about his experiences growing up on a farm and how they shaped how he feels about factory farming.

In my opinion, Kristof doesn’t do a very persuasive job of revealing his caring, compassionate side. Quite the contrary: He seems to me to be a less compassionate person for his experiences.

If, as he says, he grew to admire some of the animals in his family’s care, how could he go on to enjoy eating the animals he admired?

While living in North Carolina, I got to know some cows and calves firsthand. They were my neighbors, and very much thinking, feeling creatures with unique personalities. It was a revelation to me how attached and emotionally invested I became to the calves. After just one summer watching the calves being born and growing into frisky children, it became repugnant to me to think of beef being served as food.

In his op-ed, Kristof mentions California’s upcoming referendum on Proposition 2, which would “ban factory farms from raising chickens, calves or hogs in small pens or cages,” and describes the distinctive personalities of the farm animals he grew up with, especially geese. But he says he still loves a good hamburger and goose liver pate (I guess he doesn’t know that California has already banned foie gras because its production is so cruel).

What do you think: Is it possible to be a compassionate carnivore?

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Farm-animal abuse makes me ashamed to be human