食べることの倫理

世界における肉の消費量は、2020年までに、2倍になると予想されている。しかしヨーロッパと北アメリカでは、肉や卵の生産方法について、倫理的な関心が高まりつつある。いわゆる「白」-実際には薄ピンク色-と呼ばれる子牛肉が、生まれたばかりの子牛を母牛から引き離し、わざと貧血にさせ、租飼料を与えず、歩くことも向きを変えることもできない狭い牛舎で飼われる、という方法で生産されていることが広く知られるようになってから、子牛肉の消費は急激に減った。

ヨーロッパで、狂牛病が多くの人にショックを与えたのは、牛肉の安全で健康的な食材としてのイメージが崩されただけでなく、牛に羊の脳や神経組織を与えていたという、病気の原因が判明したからであった。牛が食べているのは草だと純真に信じていた人たちが、飼育場の肉牛に与えられるのは、トウモロコシから魚粉や鶏のクズ(フンまで入る)、畜殺場のゴミまで何でもあり、ということを悟ったのだ。

牧畜の扱い方に関する懸念は、ベジタリアンやあるいは動物性の食材を一切食べないベガンなど、数パーセントの人だけに限られるようなものではない。菜食主義に関する説得力ある倫理的議論にもかかわらず、それはまだ主流にはなっていない。より一般的なのは、動物が、殺される前まではまともな生涯を送っている限り、私たちが肉を食べることは正当である、という考え方である。

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