Dolphin1Few modern anti-meat-eating hand wringers reflect upon the fact that the philosophical farther of animal rights, Jeremy Bentham, was a carnivore. The English philosopher defended his meat consumption on the basis of the eatee having had a “happy life and merciful death.” An animal’s death, he goes on to say, “is and always may be, a speedier and, by that means a less painful one, than that which would await them in the inevitable course of nature.”

Bentham, who died in 1832, would have been hard put to justify our contemporary industrial corn-based meat agriculture from the farm to the slaughterhouse, of course. But by extension we should view as hypocritical the self-congratulatory stance of modern vegetarians and vegans who look away from the combine-shredded, tractor-crushed creatures rendered by producing the grains they eat, or the song birds dropped by the pesticides utilized growing the fruits and assorted plant life they consume.

What should be eaten, what should die—and how it does—is far more than simple shrilling argument. It is something deep rooted in cultures both brought to this country and endemic to the rest of the world. I only bring this up having viewed a recent disturbing (by our standards) video of dolphin (the mammal) slaughter for consumption. It has garnered responses ranging from calls for murder of the perpetrators to cool-headed analysis.

As a warning, the short clip is brutally hard to watch, but something that deepens the reality of roles that we as omnivores take regardless of whether we glean our feed from the waters, woods or grain fields.