Is eating a fish the same as eating a goat? I would eat both, but the way I relate to these two foods is very different. Food is definitely more than just macronutrients or a list of foods we evolved to eat. Food has social, ethical, spiritual, and psychological aspects too.
Arguing that meat is nutritious doesn't hold much weight to someone who is sentimental about animals. And I don't use sentimental in a derogatory way. Most of us do have sentiments about animals whether it's because of pets or Disney.
Even I have trouble slaughtering animals. The Vegetarian Myth argument that eating grassfed animals leads to higher net welfare doesn't hold much water when you realize that the adorable baby male goats on your professor's farm that are so friendly are going to die. This video addresses the ambivalence even farmers hardened by rural life have about slaughter. Though personally I feel much of the problem comes because the government has regulated large animal slaughter off the farm, which is harder on both people and animals.
At this point I've done slaughter myself. It's not fun, but I was perfectly comfortable eating animals after the slaughter. However, some of the other people in my class told me that it confirmed their desire to be vegetarians.
I read both Eating Animals and The Face On Your Plate. I definitely agree they both obscure the truth about the economics of agriculture AND human nutrition, but it's hard not to react negatively towards the sting videos of slaughter house abuse.
It's also hard to see a dog as a pig as a rat as a boy. There are definitely differences in the way we psychologically and spiritually relate to other animals that in my opinion are above net welfare calculations.
Both fish and meat have protein, but I relate to these two foods very different. When I buy meat I am careful to buy it from a local farmer I know. I ask what it ate and where it lived. I use the meat with reverence, making sure note to waste anything. When I buy fish I do research on mercury and environmental impact, but I could care less about how it lived or died.
just isn't this.
You have to do some fancy counterintuitive ethics to prove otherwise. And this fact does effect how I think about my food.
I'm reading a few good books about man/and woman the hunter and I will definitely post more on this subject.