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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

If animals could talk, would we eat them or would we all be vegetarians?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (21749 points ) October 11th, 2011

Seeing the Gieco commercials, and the online commercials for Aulani (or something like it) in Hawaii where they have singing birds and fish, not to mention Aflac. If animals could really speak to us like that with understanding, we would as people have the heart to eat them? Would it not be easy to have a conversation with a chicken then tell him, ”Well, Hank, time for you to put your head on the block….I have to, you know, it is not personal”.

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28 Answers

Soupy's avatar

I would not be surprised if we did still eat them, so long as we were removed from their suffering. We ignore the suffering of talking human beings every day, I don’t see why we’d suddenly start taking notice of animal suffering if animals could talk.

The people we willingly exploit for frivolous products like chocolate and coffee can talk. The people in poor nations we test our products on can talk, and the majority of us don’t care enough to stop the suffering there. If chickens could scream for help, we’d most likely just make sure we never went close enough to them to be guilted.

And something I’ve just thought of… We’ve found that apes can be taught to speak using sign language. In some cases it might be simple mimicry, but in other cases the apes have learned to make sentences, apply meaning to their signed words, ask questions, and figure out concepts that are somewhat abstract in nature. Last time I checked, we were still testing products and procedures on apes, which can cause great pain and suffering. We’re still clearing their land to make furniture and to get palm oil for our processed foods, and people are still hunting them.

Long story short, it’s pretty evident that most people wouldn’t give a damn if animals could talk – they’d keep exploiting them regardless.

rooeytoo's avatar

The only animals that most people seem to find abhorrent as food is whales. They can’t talk but somehow killing and eating them is a crime whereas cows, pigs, chickens, etc. are fair game.
Someone said it was because they are almost extinct, but only certain varieties are, most are not in danger. I actually think they are a much more humane food source than farmed fish or domestic livestock, they roam free and happy in their natural habitat until they are killed in a fashion quicker and more humanely than the average steer.

Soupy's avatar

@rooeytoo I do agree that whales have a better life than captive food animals, however their slaughter is not faster nor is it more humane. A factory farm animal can take seconds to die of killed correctly, or minutes if not. A whale often will take around an hour, sometimes longer, to die after being repeatedly shot and harpooned.

zensky's avatar

I think that if animals could talk, they, in many cases being far stronger and faster than us, would eat us. Maybe keeping a few in cages for study and recreation.

whitenoise's avatar

We would probably eat them still. (And find an explanation we that would be no issue at all.)

rooeytoo's avatar

@soupy – Australia just had an embargo on live exports to Malaysia and other countries because of the horrendous methods of killing the cows in order to comply with religious rituals. Also even in country and USA as well, the killing practices vary from abattoir to abattoir (by the way the very origin of the word is offensive it is from the french abattre – to beat down). There is the paradox in my mind, factory farmed animals are not killed correctly or quickly in way too many cases. But no one seems to care, guess they have never seen the terror in the eyes of a cow on a road train or heard their bellows of fear or had a cow or pig or chicken as a pet. It seems as if you have to be endangered or have a free willy movie made about you before you have any value.

perspicacious's avatar

We would eat them, but we would not listen to them.

JustJessica's avatar

I would still only eat jellies!

Soupy's avatar

@rooeytoo I know about the embargo, however our live export embargo has now been lifted. Slaughter without pre-stunning is happening within Australia’s borders, and today a motion to require stunning prior to slaughter was changed to “encourage” stunning. I definitely understand that slaughters in abattoirs in all parts of the world violate regulations.

While I feel that the way we treat factory farmed animals is unethical to the extreme, I can’t help but feel that the way whales are killed is worse than factory slaughter. Cows and pigs don’t have explosives forced under their skin after being shot repeatedly in the face, all the while suffocating under their own body weight and being forced to shut down their organs to stay alive. That said, have a far better quality of life than farm animals.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Some wouldn’t care, and would for their own survival and concerns listen to the screaming and happily eat away and find means to silence their kill. Rabbits scream when you kill them you know? Never stopped a good rabbit stew now did it?

Personally, I wouldn’t but plenty of people would find a way to justify it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@rooeytoo you’re forgetting that whale meat is also very high in mercury as well as many other pollutants . So even if we could kill a whale quickly and humanely it still would do us no good to eat it.

cookieman's avatar

We would simply gag them.

OpryLeigh's avatar

To be honest, I think I would find it much more difficult to eat meat if animals could communicate with us by talking. This makes me feel quite bad about the steak I had on Saturday night.

mattbrowne's avatar

I’ve heard of people eating parrots.

Ayesha's avatar

Honestly, I think it would change things for most people.
Good Question!!

Scarikah's avatar

I would be a vegetarian, for sure. I already think about becoming one sometimes though, so maybe I’m the wrong person to answer this question.. I’m only not a vegetarian because I love steak so much.

janbb's avatar

I think it would change things. Now – what if plants could talk too? We’d be screwed!

Hibernate's avatar

At some point I’d start eating them even if they could talk .. I can’t get full just from vegetables and stuff ^^

rooeytoo's avatar

@Soupy – you are proving my point, whenever this subject comes up, someone wants to tell me how much worse it is to kill a whale. I don’t get it????? I have been to slaughterhouses (a much more realistic but not as pc a term as abattoir) and they are not humane.

But it’s no use going on, you are not going to change my mind and I know from experience that the whale people never change their mind either.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I know I probably would. I’d single out the bad seed animals and tell myself I was doing something to alleviate the annoyance of the other animals from just that one while filling my tum.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@mattbrowne That’s okay though because Parrots eat chicken cutlets (I’ve seen it with my own two eyes)... They have it coming for being cannibalistic!

Although that being said how much harder would it be to eat something that screams “Oh heck no with the fork, please, help, help, pretty bird, owner want a happy meal?”

lloydbird's avatar

I don’t eat animals.
But I do eat meat.
Coz that’s not “animals” right? It’s just meat.

Now, if meat started talking to me…..

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Rabbits scream when you kill them you know? Never stopped a good rabbit stew now did it? I guess in part because the rabbit wasn’t able to say each time they were fed, ”This is not the day you are going to kill me, is it? I was the 15th child of my mother, although I am not the best hopper I still have a lot to give. You know chicken _is better. If you let me live I promise never to nibble your flower garden.”_

martianspringtime's avatar

I’m already a vegetarian, but I think it would at least turn some more people into vegetarians.

But the human race is notorious for being cruel; we’ve acted barbarically to other humans, so I really don’t think animals speaking would create a worldwide change.

It might make it more difficult for a lot of people to ignore the fact that animals can feel pain as well, but I’m sure there would still be plenty who wouldn’t really change anything. If people can find a way to maintain their ignorance, they will. I mean, how many people encounter cows and chickens on a daily basis anyway? Out of sight, out of mind.

lillycoyote's avatar

I suspect that if animals could talk, one of the first things they would say to us would be “Please don’t kill me just so you can eat me or use my hide or fur for clothing. And the medical experiments? For the love of god, please don’t.” I think that would certainly put a lot of people off the whole eating animals, using them for shoes and clothing, and conducting medical experiments on them thing.

Linda_Owl's avatar

The thing that would turn a lot of people into vegetarians would be having to kill, skin, gut, & butcher whatever animal they decided to eat. Since we (rarely) have to do this for ourselves, we have pushed this thought out of our minds. However, if we did not eat cows, pigs, & chickens, there would be no reason for most of them to even exist. It comes down to a ‘catch-22’ situation.

AshLeigh's avatar

I’m already a vegetarian… But only because I don’t like the texture.
If they could talk, it would be because I felt bad…

wundayatta's avatar

We would eat them… raw. So we could have dinner conversation even if we dine alone.

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