I don’t think there is an ethical argument for killing and eating animals… other than divine authority, of course. For those of us who get their values from sources more earthly in origin, killing and eating animals is tricky philosophical ground and, our reasons for their continued slaughter fall into any of these three categories: utility, convenience, or selfishness.
Selfishness is something I don’t say facetiously. I am guilty of personal aesthetics guiding my behaviour. I like eating meat. It feels good. It tastes good. I like preparing it. I also understand convenience. It’s easier, or at least simpler, to put together meals with meat as the main dish, especially in Iceland. The only strong-ish reason for eating meat is utility. You get the nutrients quickly and cost effectively, with the added bonus of convenience and deliciousness. This doesn’t mean that it’s black or white, none or all. If we insist on murdering animals for their flesh, we should strive towards the more ethical, the more humane, the more environmentally friendly.
Kill The Wabbit
Birgit Kositzke started farming rabbits here in Iceland in 2011. She’s owns a hutch, with over 400 rabbits, in Syðri Kárastaðir (5 kilometres north of Hvammstangi). She provides rabbit meat to restaurants around Iceland and the meat is available for purchase at Matarbúrið, a new butcher and deli in Grandi–Reykjavík’s currently trendy area.
Birgit, originally from Germany, runs the entire hutch on her own. She cares for the rabbits from birth until slaughter–doing so with care and attention. Once the rabbits are old enough to leave their mothers, they are separated into age-groups or kindergartens (how cute!).
Just watch this video (or go check out the farm yourself, which is open to the public for one weekend at the end of May):
Rabbits are far more eco-friendly than sheep or cattle; they require less energy to raise, and produce less waste. Fur is very fashionable in Reykjavík and synthetic and acrylic fur is made from coal, limestone and petroleum–not very green. By using the rabbits for meat and clothing, almost nothing goes to waste.
In Iceland, vegetables come at a high-energy cost to begin with. I don’t have the numbers, and feel free to correct me, but rabbit meat might be more environmentally friendly than most vegetables in Iceland, when comparing calorie to carbon footprint.
We could all stop eating meat entirely, but if you continue to, it seems only ethical to reduce the amount of harm you’re causing. Replacing sheep and cattle with rabbit is the ethical decision.
Maybe we’ve become numb to the slaughter of sheep, pigs and cattle, but lets not get caught in the false logic of “well, we’ve always done it this way.” Rabbits are cute, cuddly and cost effective carcasses for our dinner table. Not to mention, a dazzling addition to our wardrobe.
That’s all folks?
Birgit has recently run into financial trouble. She’s had difficulty developing a customer base that can support her hutch, one she built entirely on her own. There’s a Karolina Fund for it now, and she needs to raise 3,000€ in the next 26 days. She’s currently at about 30% of her goal.
If she can’t keep the farm running, she’ll be forced to kill all the rabbits and try and recuperate her losses.