The dilemma of The Food Movement: Can we be “conscientious carnivores” by humanely raising animals if the end result means butchering the animal for our own consumption?

Some skeptics have wondered whether any of the Food Movement’s reforms are even remotely achievable if reformers continue to ignore the ethical considerations involved in eating meat. Simply put, when it comes to the Food Movement’s long-term viability, could it be that changing what we eat is more important than improving its source? Might the only way to reform our food system—rather than simply providing alternatives—be to stop raising animals for consumption? Pollan has addressed these questions by explaining, “what’s wrong with animal agriculture—with eating animals—is the practice, not the principle.” But what if he’s got that backward? What if, when it comes to eating animals, the Food Movement’s principles are out of whack?