(from Dandavats.com)

By Satyaraja Dasa

Animals, Consciousness and the Problem of Meat-Eating

In an article entitled “Born to Bun: Labels to Tell Meat’s Life Story” (New York Daily News, April 4, 2013), journalist James Warren informs us about the Obama administration’s recent move to get new information on food labels in the supermarket, specifically on meat products. They now want to let consumers know where the animal was born, raised, and slaughtered. Might this be too much information?

The USDA argues that such labeling is a step toward transparency, benefiting consumers on many levels. It carries on in the tradition of “people want to know,” the same tradition that gave us the now common product information labels with nutrition facts, calories in food, fat content, and so on. But not everyone agrees that this is desirable, at least not in all cases. At least not in this case. Concerned parties in Mexico and Canada, for example, who are primary beef exporters to the U.S., say that the labels would cause more harm than good. Bill Watson of the Cato Institute, a public policy research organization, says, “Do consumers really want the word ‘slaughtered’ on their meat? No. The consumer information argument is pure baloney. . . .” But the question should be Why? Why wouldn’t consumers want as much detail as possible on meat labels?

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