Do we have to boycott factory farming?

Factory farms do unnecessary evil to animals. Pope francis says it’s a moral act to boycott them. However, is it OK and not a sin to not boycott? Since I assume my cooperation in it is remote? And I am not agreeing with the evil?

Joanna, you are scrupulous. Please, get off this forum and speak to a priest and psychologist about your disorder. Only they can help you stop worrying about the sinfulness of these minor matters. I urge my fellow forum members to refrain from replying. You have our prayers in your struggle with this problem.


I think that’s a good question. The ethical treatment of animals is not a minor issue.

It’s difficult to find out exactly how animals are treated by any given farm or rendering facility. Doing a little research is good. I think today’s Catholic has a responsibility to find out, as best they can, where their food is coming from.

As an aside, when I see milk in the grocery store for less than $1.50 per gallon, I think that we are not giving cows a fair deal. Of course that’s a little silly; the big milk producers would take the profits and treat the cows the same even if they charged more for the milk.

But I know small farms have to charge more for milk because they don’t deal in volume. So I look for stores that carry products such as milk, eggs and meat from smaller farms. The milk from small producers tastes better too, a lot better. Sometimes it’s so thick and rich it tastes like a vanilla milk shake.

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I’m not sure that the ethical treatment of livestock is a ‘minor matter’, and nor do I think that worrying about the ethics of the production of our food counts as scrupulosity. Some of Joanna’s other concerns do seem minor and suggest scrupulosity, but in this case she seems to have a very valid concern. Personally, I would always try to purchase animal products that I believe have been produced as ethically as possible.

The underlying issue of Scrupulosity is regardless of the issue.

Yes, it is. The mods have asked us to flag posts by those suffering from scrupulosity as they have a method of responding to them. Done.

Yes, she does seem to be scrupulous, and I guess she will examine moral questions in a scrupulous way, but I’m not sure that it’s a good idea to dismiss all of her questions as scrupulosity. Worrying about the ethics of food production isn’t necessarily scrupulous. Her thread about working for a company that produces a treatment for erectile dysfunction was scrupulosity pure and simple, because it’s not her concern whether the person using the ED treatment is married, single, homosexual, masturbating, having an affair, etc. But worrying about the ethics of livestock welfare is a perfectly good question. Of course, it could be taken to an unhealthy extreme, but wanting to avoid purchasing food that is not ethically sourced is basically a good thing. For example, I am also careful about buying products containing palm oil because a lot of palm oil production endangers various species.

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Even if it’s a legitimate question, we are not helping her by giving her online answers. Scrupulous people will need to learn to direct all questions to their regular confessor. By answering, we encourage the idea of CAF as a substitute for that in person human counsel. We may mean well, but it’s counterproductive.

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How else can we realistically feed humanity?

Where are you buying milk? If I’m buying it, it’s generally $3.50-$4/gallon, unless I catch a sale. (The best I can do is about $2.50/gallon.) If I buy the good stuff straight from the dairy, it’s closer to $8-$9/gallon. :slight_smile:

I do get my eggs from the local homesteaders, though. Not because the chickens have a better life-- that’s certainly an awesome thing! --but because backyard eggs from chickens who get to be chickens are a thousand times better than the battery-cage egg farms.

Support your local agriculatural CSA’s. Or your local farmer’s market. If you have a chest freezer, buy a half or a quarter of a calf from your local butcher or rancher.

If you want to garden, start a garden. They’ll probably be the most expensive tomatoes you eat this year—! But at least you gave it a go.

It’s good to understand where your food comes from. Up until about 50-60 years ago, it was normal for a large chunk of the population to be personally involved with their food. But you also don’t want to anthropomorphize your food.

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