What role should the government play when regulating food production/consumption?
Sustainability is a matter of choice that is determined by necessity, and according to Michael Pollan's article (An Animal's Place), for the earth to realize sustainability, one life has to be lost to serve as food for the others to survive. The author is disappointed that although it is justifiable that man should eat, it is not morally right to kill animals for food (Pollan, 2002). The purpose of the study is to understand the responsibility of the government concerning food production and consumption and how the practice is regulated.
Pollan argues that the superiority of the human race has made people consider the act of killing animals as right while at the same time considering themselves to be morally right. Ironically, while their actions can be seen as unjust, it is important to appreciate that the condition is morally unjust yet ecologically, it is acceptable for sustainability objectives to be achieved. Naturally, for the food chain to be complete, animal species have to depend on each other for food, management of their population level and regulation of the quantity of food levels. Animal rights is a matter that has gained popularity in the recent past, although it is ethically accepted to use animals for food, it is not right to allow for animal suffering at people's farm an aspect that has led to the establishment of the policy tool to regulate the behavior.
Although it is evident that animals are not aware of their rights, it is not enough to rule out that they don't have rights because they cannot identify what is wrong or right in the modern society setting. Apparently, it is not also right for the human beings to misuse the rights of the animals but should take the responsibility in their hands to ensure that animal rights are observed whatsoever. Pollan, in his article, argues that equality is a matter that is yet to be achieved even in the human race but their set plans to realize the concept (Pollan, 2002).
Pollan argues on the ethics behind eating meat and processing a debate that faces a lot of arguments from different stakeholders. His concern is however diverted to the processed meat which is packaged in a manner to look like that of a real animal. Although various reasons are stated as to why people should not take meat, it is important to appreciate the fact that for sustainability to be achieved and full closure of the food chain, meat is necessary. While other organisms depend on plants for food, others are ecologically made to depend on animals for food, an aspect that leads to loss of life.
The argument on the rights of the animals is there to ensure that they are offered a sense of entitlement. Hence, the prejudice to opposing animal's rights to meet the human needs should be eliminated hence freeing them from captivity and any form of maltreatment whatsoever. Moreover, they should not be discriminated because of their difference in species or inferiority when compared to humans but respected. Furthermore, Pollan points out some of the activities that should be eliminated or regulated that lead to animal suffering such as hunting, animal farming, and testing.
Past research studies have indicated concerns that most people across the globe are in support for the enforcement of animal rights as they wish the animals to live free of any form of suffering. To realize the above problem statement on stating the role of the government in food production and consumption, it is required that although meat is ethically accepted as food for humans, its use should, however, be regulated. People should, therefore, be controlled by the type of animals to feed on, for example it is illegal in most countries for people to feed/kill wild animals for their benefits or other domestic animals like dogs that are not ethically considered as food. Furthermore, according to the animal rights, it is required that the domestic animals that are kept by human beings either for food purposes, or other benefits like farming should not be subjected to any form of suffering whatsoever (Pollan, 2002).
However, it is important to appreciate the fact that Polland does not deny that eating meat is cruelty to the animals, but he is concerned with how we treat the animals when they are alive. The thesis statement on the government responsibility comes clear in Pollan's article when he cites two examples of factory farms in America that produce food (Pollan, 2002). He is concerned that animal farm company should be accepted although the practices that are carried out there should be ethical in that the animals are treated with respect and not subjected to much suffering at people's expense. The above objective is further clarified in his argument that most people who depend on the processed food from animals do not come into contact with the animals, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of the government to control and ensure that the producers are transparent and follow the ethical regulations as required.
The above thesis statement is further reflected in the article when the author gives an example of a farm in America that subjects animals to a lot of suffering. In the first case, chickens are used and according to the example, chicken is subjected to a lot of suffering so as to experience more productivity a concept that is applied to various animals. However, it appreciated that not all farms subject animals to such harsh conditions, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of the government to ensure that food producers follow the necessary regulations during food processing and type of meat that they offer people to consume. For example, people should not be allowed to feed on sick animals because of health concerns as well as consideration of the animal rights (Pollan, 2002).
The governments of most countries set laws and regulations, in which the food operators should follow in controlling food production and consumption. However, problems occur where various laws concerning food exist, are not updated with time, or there are irregular amendments over time (Food safety, n. d). It is the government responsibility to correct this vice, and ensure that everyone, especially less learned people, understands the law concerning food that is operating at a particular time. Also, the government should have policies that are supply-driven, which encourage production feasibility and export, as well as demand-driven reforms, which focus on quality production methods.
The article reveals that animals experience a lot of suffering in factory farms, and it is the responsibility of the government and people to manage the condition. However, he does not effectively justify that by feeding on the processed food from the factories people contribute to increased cruelty to animals, but he is concerned that the farms should consider human treatment and be transparent with their practices. Hence, the thesis statement for the above study on the responsibility of the government in managing food production/consumption is consistently repeated by the author throughout the article as he argues that it is our responsibility as humans with set minds to consider that animal cruelty is brought to a halt.
Food safety and quality: Food regulation. Retrieved 23 Jan 2016 from http://www.fao.org/food/food-safety-quality/capacity-development/food-regulations/en/
Pollan, M., Whitten, J. C. (2002). An animal's place / by Michael Pollan ; photographs by William Wegman. New York : The New York Times