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Comment on The Utility of Categories by erica

As I dive into the readings this week and after read this post, utilizing Bulliet’s categories for understanding our individual and collective relationships to animals is becoming a particularly interesting understanding with ever-growing flaws. The unintentional decisions and following logical ethical deductions that led to the adoption of your vegetarian diet (both with support for and against Bulliet’s post-domestic paradigm of influence by guilt) are different from my ethical reasons to discontinue eating (most…) industrially processed meat.

Our relative decisions of how often, what kind, and for what reasons meat is or is not individually consumed can gain some validly from Bulliet’s categories, as we essentially agreed upon in class. What is maybe a more useful framework in our meat-eating habits, however, comes perhaps from understanding these environmental relations, as described in “From trust to domination” as manifestations not only of human relationships to animals but also in those relationships that position individuals in society. Bulliet discussed cultural paradigms for understanding human-animal relationships but fails to acknowledge the apparent importance of our social relationships and experiences that contribute to individual transformation of environmental-relations. Or in this case – the rationale for a reduction or increase in personal meat consumption.

For the moment let’s not consider important reactions to the changing human-animal relationships as indicators of our behavior to meat eating. Instead let’s think about the influence of social relationships. Do our meat eating habits reinforce our personal spiritual and moral standings? Or are our habits based more on collective social norms? Or if it is from the duel influence of both ideas (and also human-animal relationships) what factors play the most important role in determining our meat eating habits today and for humans throughout time?

From what I have read of this week’s readings the way we eat is dependent on how we relate to our environment and that relation is, for the sake of space, contingent on many cultural and individual beliefs that have and will continue to change throughout time.