Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Animal Instinct: a wild PETA bashing

By szoth in Culture
Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 02:11:49 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

After reading the comments to this story posted by the coose on Kuro5hin Wed Oct 4th, 2000, I was a little concerned to see that many well educated people are unaware of the philosophical position espoused by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals(PETA). PETA is a militant organization with a goal that I feel is absurd. Now, I'm all for radical activism; I'm all for fighting for what you believe in. I don't fault PETA's core membership for having ideas that sound fruity to me. What concerns me is that they are effective at deceiving the general public into thinking that their aim is to minimize animal suffering. A more accurate description of their plan might be "to end all human use of animals."

Let me be clear that my intention in posting this piece is to try to convince you that PETA, does not deserve your support, sympathy, or tolerance. I accept that many people hold philosophical beliefs that are very different from my own, and I have no problem with people disagreeing with me because of personal convictions; what I don't like to see, is people supporting PETA, without knowing much about the organization, because they like cuddly animals, and don't want to have to imagine them suffering.

The PETA FAQ (worth a read) describes their position on the violent actions of the ALF:

"How can you justify the millions of dollars' worth of property damage by the Animal Liberation Front (ALF)?"

Throughout history, some people have felt the need to break the law to fight injustice. The Underground Railroad and the French Resistance are both examples of people breaking the law in order to answer to a higher morality.

"The ALF," which is simply the name adopted by people acting illegally in behalf of animal rights, breaks inanimate objects such as stereotaxic devices and decapitators in order to save lives. It burns empty buildings in which animals are tortured and killed. ALF "raids" have given us proof of horrific cruelty that would not have been discovered or believed otherwise. They have resulted in officials' filing of criminal charges against laboratories, citing of experimenters for violations of the Animal Welfare Act, and, in some cases, shutting down of abusive labs for good. Often ALF raids have been followed by widespread scientific condemnation of the practices occurring in the targeted labs.

So PETA supports the Animal Liberation Front(ALF), they are comfortable with the fact that the ALF commits criminal acts, and have been found guilty of racketeering in their support of the ALF (though perhaps not recently, I couldn't find a link). I'm not a big fan of the US legal system, but my point is that PETA isn't about empathy, it's about influencing other peoples lifestyles. I don't give a damn what you eat, although I suspect your diet is too high in carbohydrates, and I think we'd all live better if everyone would drink plenty of water. PETA on the other hand seems to care a great deal about how I eat, they mention the issue of influencing other people's diets in their FAQ as well. To bring this home, think about other aspects of your lifestyle that are important to you. Whether you're straight or gay, I'm sure you don't appreciate people trying to coerce you into switching; whether you're Christian or Buddhist, or Agnostic, I'm sure you don't want to be forced to change your religion. And the sort of folks who like to go around telling people to change their religion or sexuality often say they are answering to a "higher morality."

The most damning information about PETA comes directly from their leadership, I found a couple of lists of quotes here and here.

What I found lacking in the previous discussion about PETA here on kuro5hin, was a lack of external information. It came down to a big flaring of individual opinion, so I hunted down some meaty links:

I found the animal welfare group naia online while searching for more information about PETA, they have a very distinct view from PETA, so if you're interested in making sure that animals are not needlessly harmed, please give them a try before enlisting in PETA's war on my lifestyle.

Many people are concerned about animal testing. I personally support animal testing and experimentation for the purpose of medical advancement, as well as for the improvement of our basic biological knowledge. If you disagree with me here, I can certainly sympathize. PETA's opinion on the matter came across as fairly crude to people suffering from AIDS. This article in what appears to be a journal of AIDS issues, points out some hypocrisy and general stupidly on the part of Hollywood stars--no surprises there.

The Internet encyclopedia of philosophy provides a short summary of philosophical trends in the human relationship with animals.

Perhaps the best defense of animal research available online comes in this Scientific American Article.

Another Scientific American Article that is pertinent to this discussion can be found here; it's a very balanced article covering the moral issues involved in animal research.

I don't remember seeing a link to the new home of People for the Eating of Tasty Animals(the other PETA):

PETA is opposed to any use of animals whatsoever. Think about the implications of this philosophy . . . no meat, no leather, no milk, no wool . . . I don't know of any plant fibers that keep me as warm and cozy as wool does. The kind of disrespect for humanity that supporters of PETA display, leaves me somewhat suspicious of just how respectful of animals they really are.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Kuro5hin
o this
o here
o here [2]
o naia
o This
o short
o this [2]
o Also by szoth

Display: Sort:
Animal Instinct: a wild PETA bashing | 129 comments (112 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
Scary (3.91 / 12) (#2)
by spiralx on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 09:32:39 AM EST

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear... We should cut the domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering and more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to exist"

In a perfect world, animals would be free to live their lives to the fullest: raising their young, enjoying their native environments, and following their natural instincts. However, domesticated dogs and cats cannot survive "free" in our concrete jungles, so we must take as good care of them as possible...

Erm, WTF? Whilst the domesticated dog is very different from their wild ancestors, many, many varieties of "domesticated" cat are nearly identical to feral and wild cats and survive perfectly well on their own.

Scary people, the lot of them. You can imagine the Earth First bloke setting off biological weapons aimed at ridding the Earth of the "human cancer".

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey

Re: Scary (4.25 / 4) (#10)
by Simon Kinahan on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 11:55:03 AM EST

Its rather bizarre to suggest domesticated animals are "forced" to rely on humans. You might as well suggest that humans are enslaved by the animals and forced to supply their economic needs.

There are some rather interesting theories about the origins of domesticated animals, including those that suggest dogs and cats first started hanging around humans because they found the clutter of human society to help with their own lives: cats hunted rats which hung around human food stores, dogs probably scavenged from animals killed by early humans. Only later did humans discover the animals were useful (dogs as hunting companions, and cats for pest control) and start to breed them. From such a theory it almost makes more sense to suggest the animal, not the human, is the main beneficiary of the relationship.


If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]
Re: Scary (4.16 / 6) (#34)
by Quark on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:50:52 AM EST

From such a theory it almost makes more sense to suggest the animal, not the human, is the main beneficiary of the relationship.

Let's see. After having worked for 8 hours, cooked dinner, done the dishes and all of the most exciting menial tasks in life the only cooperation I require from my cat is that it does not ruin the couch. Now who's the beneficiary in thisrelationship?

So much bandwidth, so little time...
[ Parent ]
Re: Scary (3.33 / 6) (#36)
by vinay on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 02:26:04 PM EST

That's just about the most horrible thing I've ever heard.

Basically, because we helped 'create' these cats and dogs, we should neuter them?? I mean, really, because they're a human creation, they feel less pain or are less worthy than other more 'natural' animals?

What a crock.



[ Parent ]
Re: Scary (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by magney on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:44:44 PM EST

I don't know about the domesticated dog, but your basic domesticated Felis cattus is really not terribly far from its wild ancestors, and is perfectly viable as a wild predator. Almost too good - one of the common issues that cats present to an environmentalist is that they have a way of hunting and killing endangered bird and small mammal species.

If some rogue virus or other cataclysm wiped out the human race tomorrow, cats and dogs would quickly settle in. Some of the current "breeds" of dogs would die out, having been pushed too far away from a viable ecological niche by artificial selection pressures, but most would survive just fine.

If you really want to name animal species that would be hard put to survive without human management, look to the livestock. Cows, pigs, chickens - these are the species that would have trouble in a post-human world.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Re: Scary (5.00 / 4) (#56)
by ronfar on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:52:37 PM EST

In Ulthar it is the happy law that no man may kill a cat...
Cats are no more dominated by humans than any other animal. Cats become feral when they live in wild places.

Interestingly, by PETA's own reasoning, they are advocating genocide and sexual abuse against an animal species. It think that this shows they do not give a damn about any living creatures, animal or human.

But then, the truth is, by their disgraceful, absurd, and sick behaviour, they actually undermine truly moral vegetarianism. Some people really do become vegetarians because they view killing animals as a sin. However, these people (I'm referring to Buddhists) don't advocate violence, because that, too, would be a sin. Then again, these people are trying to reduce the amount of suffering in the world, whereas it seems PETA advocates suffering for both humans and animals (neutering is cruelty, if you don't think so ask yourself how you'd enjoy it.)

Here's hoping that the hypocrits from PETA end up like the old couple in "The Cats of Ulthar" after the cats were through with them...

Note: Dogs also become wild, and are capable of interbreeding with both wolves and coyotes. Unfortunately, the only story I could reference for that would be "The Hounds of Tindalous" by Lovecraft circle author Frank Belknap Long. While I'd love to see a Hound of Tindalous sicced on people who would like to wipe out Earth's dog population, the creatures from the angles of time aren't really much like Earth dogs, anyhow...

If this is a true quote, then PETA really do resemble Nazi's. Think about it, they claim to love animals, yet clasify some animals into "sub-animals." if they ever get any political power, I could see them rounding up pet owners animals and exterminating them.... So much for Ethical Treatment!!! After all, the Nazi's started by advocating sterilization, and later moved to extermination when they got the power...

[ Parent ]

Gotta disagree on one point (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by speek on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 07:18:49 PM EST

You're comment about moral vegetarianism is excellent, and I see your post has a 5 rating, so that's good. However,

neutering is cruelty, if you don't think so ask yourself how you'd enjoy it.

I think either you haven't thought this through, or you're uninformed about animal population problems. What is crueler - neutering your dog, or euthanizing thousands of dogs every day? Arguing that it's cruel to neuter a dog because "how would you like it", is a poor argument. You are not a dog. A dog is not a human being. If you think a dog is self-aware enough and intelligent enough to have a clue, you are giving dogs way too much credit. And in any case, a dog will be driven more nuts by his own balls than he would from their absence.

al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
[ Parent ]

Re: Scary (none / 0) (#92)
by luethke on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:24:47 AM EST

In a perfect world, animals would be free to live their lives to the fullest: raising their young, enjoying their native environments, and following their natural instincts.

I would assume the animals enjoying thier native environments would consist of being in the cold/heat of the environment (as opposed to the controlled temperature of a house when they want it), being in a state of husnge most of the time because food is hard to gether (as opposed to a regular meal every day), fighting predators (as opposed to us fending them off), and all the other harsh realities of nature as oppsed to our semi controlled environments. Most animals are able to come and go from our house (controlled environment) as they wish and come back when they wish. I know our cats have stayed out side for several weeks in the fall and spring, we ditfully put food out for them at the same time every day (they expect it and if we forget they remind us by making noise). They are more pampered than I am (lets see, I have a chioce of food/vet for my cat or a playstation 2, they cat will win).

[ Parent ]
Just wait a minute... (none / 0) (#122)
by santeri on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 03:45:17 PM EST

You can imagine the Earth First bloke setting off biological weapons aimed at ridding the Earth of the "human cancer".

Good idea. Got to get back to my lab now.

[ Parent ]

Enough PETA, leave them be (1.25 / 12) (#7)
by NKJensen on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:35:25 AM EST

BTW, it is only a North-American problem. Who cares :-)
From Denmark. I like it, I live there. France is another great place.
Re: Enough PETA, leave them be (3.00 / 2) (#8)
by Holloway on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 10:51:02 AM EST

North American only? Am I missing something?

PETA (or rather, people who call themselves PETA members) are active here in New Zealand. I know they occasionally do publicity stunts in Australia too.

== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

Re: Enough PETA, leave them be (2.66 / 3) (#35)
by Shoddy on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 12:03:09 PM EST

Animal liberation movement is a global phenomenon.

The names must just be changed to protect the innocent.

'They' should not stop until the last vivisectionists blade is snapped !

NT = Nuisance Technology !
[ Parent ]
comments like this torque me off (3.80 / 5) (#11)
by Anonymous 242 on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 12:35:52 PM EST

TW, it is only a North-American problem. Who cares :-)

Yeah, I know the smiley indicates that the remark is meant half in jest, but I could care less if it was meant half in jest because that means it was also meant half-seriously and I've seen many similiar remarks in other stories that were not meant in jest at all.

BFG, you don't live in the US. Instead of complaining about how the story doesn't apply to you post an interesting submission from the land of the Danes.


Aside from that, PETA is all over the planet.



Well, I doubt there is a branch in China. Yet.

[ Parent ]

Much better effort made this time... (2.22 / 9) (#9)
by bugeyedbill on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 11:25:37 AM EST

Granted this article is a much better effort than was made last time, which was written somewhat hysterically without making much of an argument. I voted -1 that time. In fact I am strongly inclined to vote +1 to the front page. Except I like animals and I don't find your arguments against that militant action to protect them very convincing. That's just me now, flame as you wish. I guess what compels me to say this is it wasn't that long ago black people were considered the equivalent of animals, so why should we trust human judgement now? Of course there is no animal quite like man, but then again there is no animal quite like a cheetah that can burn a porsche from a sitting stop. Every animal including man has special qualities, I don't know why ours is so much more important than every other species. So I'm going to vote +1 to the sections. I might forgive myself, I really kinda wanted to give it a zero, but you did make a good effort.

Re: Much better effort made this time... (3.50 / 4) (#13)
by szoth on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 02:32:05 PM EST

Actually, I fully support your opinion. I'm just concerned that PETA is misrepresenting itself. I also agree about the human judgment issue, and I love animals--having two cats whose company I value greatly. It's not animals I have a problem with, it's the theory of Animal Rights that I don't agree with--I don't believe in innate human rights either by the way. So, I think we probably differ in a matter of degree. Respect for animals is important to me, but my moral framework places human beings, their needs, their customs, before concerns about the lives of animals.
-- Listen and be Heard http://PopularVoice.Org
[ Parent ]
Re: Much better effort made this time... (3.50 / 4) (#14)
by the coose on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 02:37:21 PM EST

Jeez, I'm sorry I ever submitted that story. It started as an MLP with a little opinion. Someone suggested that it was borderline rant, so I re-wrote in rant-style. I never expected it to get voted to the front page though. My whole rant was that PETA used the NY Mayor's cancer and the Shroud of Turin as a means to get publicity. Sorry but that bothered me.

Had I known their were such feelings about PETA here, I would've not even bothered with it because, quite frankly, I don't care that much or even really listen to PETA. If their is to be serious discussion about PETA then this story is the one that should be posted.

[ Parent ]
Our life would be hard without domesticated animal (3.71 / 7) (#12)
by gosh on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 02:21:06 PM EST

I always get the impression that groups like PETA forget that when you get right down to it humans are animals too. There's no chance that that Lion looking you in the face is going to have a moral dilema about offing you. We evolved in this environment and became the apex predators. As far as domesticated animals are concerned. We domesticated them because they could do a job for us. Oxen were good for pulling stuff, dogs were selected (and created by us) for certain jobs, cats keep vermine from our food supply. PETA would have us stop using domesticated animals. If we did, I don't know if we could survive. We've made it impossible for hunting and gathering to be a viable method to feed ourselves. You can argue about whether that is good or bad, but you can't change the fact. Raising livestock in a world without dogs and horses to herd would be hard. But then again, livestock is by definition domesticated, so that would mean no meat for most people. Not having cats to keep the rats out of the grain would reduce yeilds significantly. Are we supposed to make up for that by using more poison in our food? Being cruel to animals is always wrong. Just what cruel is is debatable in some cases. I can't see anything cruel in using a dog to do a job that it was bred to do (herding, hunting, search and rescue), in fact using a dog for something it wasn't bred to do borders on cruel. An example of that is a husky as an appartment pet. Domesticated animals with a purpose have fufilling non-boring lives. Boring an animal is cruel, as it is with people (when's the last time you saw a highway flagger looking like they loved their job? The difference is that they get to do something else after work is done). Just because some people are cruel to domesticaed animals doesn't mean we should stop using them.

Re: Our life would be hard without domesticated an (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by memfree on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 08:24:10 PM EST

PETA would have us stop using domesticated animals. If we did, I don't know if we could survive.

There would be no problem feeding the planet without domesticated animals (if that was our goal). If you didn't mind being a linen wearing, non-prescription drug using Vegan, we could get more food production from the land (and sea) by growing crops than raising animals.

PETA doesn't mind huge agribusiness's -- just so long that harvests don't disturb any cute little field mice houses. Maybe insecticides kill most the mice, but honestly, I never ever see cats in crop fields. I have seen occasional cats around silos, but I seriously doubt that they play a measurable factor in controlling vermin damage.

Personally, it happens that I like eating the occasional piece of meat, wearing leather, and having my drugs tested on animals before I take them.

Oh. And as long as I have to work, I see no reason why animals should get away with lazing about.

[ Parent ]

Re: Our life would be hard without domesticated an (none / 0) (#91)
by Barbarian on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:19:42 AM EST

"I have seen occasional cats around silos, but I seriously doubt that they play a measurable factor in controlling vermin damage."

The reason they're around the silos is because the silos are quite attractive to the mice...

[ Parent ]
PETA is necessary (3.30 / 13) (#15)
by dchinyee on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 02:37:23 PM EST

Radical organizations such as PETA are necessary to keep everyone on their toes. Nowadays, sensationalism is what gets the attention of the masses and PETA does much to expose the unethical treatment of animals.

I personally don't have any moral reservations about killing animals so long as it serves a worthy purpose. Often it doesn't. This is where PETA can play a role. Although they may have some extreme views, they do enough good that they can't simply be dismissed.

Another realization that we all must come to is that the old maxim of 'live and let live' becomes less relevant as the population grows and technology increases the influence of the individual. Surely I shouldn't be able to tell you what sexual preference you should choose, but I'd like to have a say in what type of fuel you put in your car, or where your garbage ends up (hint: not in my back yard).

Take the case of farming animals for example. It is widely accepted that the amount of grain required to feed a single cow would be put to much better use if fed straight to the mouths of humans. This isn't a problem when the scale is small. But increase the scale by a significant amount and the waste becomes a burden. The situation arises where the 'meat-eating aristocracy' is allowed its flesh at the expense of everyone else.

That may seem an extreme view to take, but it is at least deserves to be heard. PETA represents a viewpoint. Like it or not, you should at least thoughtfully consider it.

Re: PETA is necessary (4.50 / 2) (#48)
by inri on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:33:39 PM EST

Radical organizations such as PETA are necessary to keep everyone on their toes. Nowadays, sensationalism is what gets the attention of the masses and PETA does much to expose the unethical treatment of animals.

I think this misses the point of the article, and in fact that your reasoning damns PETA as much as the author's does. To wit, PETA misrepresent their beliefs. They believe that animals should not be used for any purposes, that animals are an end, not a means; that they are equal (or superior?) to humans. This is a tenable viewpoint, though it has consequences that many people (myself included) find abhorant. If they represented that view and defended it publicly, ... They do not do this; instead, they lie (beer is healthier than milk, for instance) and misrepresent themselves as `People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals', people who care about treating animals well when they are being used. I.e., it would appear based on their ads etc. that they would have no problem with a cow being raised, leading a happy cow life, then being slaughtered painlessly and eaten. They consider this to be slavery followed by murder.

There is a place for radical viewpoints in democratic debate; if PETA honestly presented their views, they would have a place in this dialogue. As it is, they are instead willing to undermine the dialogue to suit their goals, because they know they would lose if they played by the rules (i.e., respected other people).

[ Parent ]
What is "OK"? (3.60 / 10) (#19)
by Thaniel on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 03:12:18 PM EST

Testing AIDS vaccines on pigs... good cause, big gain... maybe that's ok.

Testing hair products on rabbits... not a big gain, many of the rabbits suffer for intolerably long... maybe that's not ok.

Policemen on Horseback... protecting us is good... but horses in a city is generally not good... is this ok?

When is it ok to hurt an animal? What is "ethical treatment"? It's all in your opinion and the way you look at the situtation.

My view is this: cows, pigs, sheep... these animals are raised so we can feed the hungry masses. As long as they are kept in a reasonably healthy environment (a pasture to roam around in with proper food and grooming), I have no problem eating hamburgers every day of the week.

You want to test vaccines on animals so we can cure cancer and AIDS? That depends. If the animals are given a decent life and aren't suffering, I don't care. But if you put 10 rabbits in a 2' square box and inject them with all sorts of chemicals that leave them in pain 24 hours a day... yeah, I have a problem with that.

Radicals will always be radicals. The nice thing is, they get the message out to everyone loud and clear. Most people aren't going to want to stop wearing their leather Nikes and eat salad and tofu for the rest of their lives. But maybe that bit of sensationalism will stop companies from making Nazi death camps look like summer camp.


The fact is... (2.77 / 9) (#21)
by mrjake008 on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 04:27:06 PM EST

To "feed the hungry masses", the meat industry does not keep cows, pigs and sheep "in a reasonably healthy environment". They do not have "a pasture to roam around in with proper food and grooming". Far, far, far from it. The meat industry today is nothing like the cozy image of some country farmer's pasture with black and white cows roaming freely and munching on grass all day. I don't know whether you believe that this is the case or just stating that if it were, you wouldn't have a problem eating a hamburger every day of the week (in which case I do believe you would have problems with the rapidly diminishing diameter of your artery walls).

Either way, take a look at <a href="http://www.vivavegie.org/vv101/101reas98.html">101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian. This is NOT, I repeat, not vegeterian propaganda, simply some enlightening factual information mostly about the horrible cruelty of the meat industry.

[ Parent ]

Re: The fact is... (5.00 / 1) (#50)
by dalek_of_god on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 08:43:17 PM EST

As a sometime cattle rancher, I'd like to both agree and disagree with this point. Up until a point there is such a thing as the country farmer's pasture. But of course, the animals then go to feedlots. In my opinion, the increase of "factory farms" is a major ethical issue - as well as a threat to a way of life I hold dear. Grass fed beef (or pork, I suppose) converts land that would never grow grain into food for people. The animals are not made to suffer (although they are made to die at some point), and the net results are all positive.

Unfortunately, we have feedlots and factory slaughterhouses. The worst part of this situation is not that the animals are penned-in in crowded feedlots, or fed grain instead of grass, or killed at the start of an assembly line. The worst part is that the animals are trucked alive from farm to feedlot to slaughterhouse. I can tell you, the only thing harder on an animal than keeping it penned indoors is keeping it penned in a moving vehicle. If you want to make a statement against the meat industry, buy your meat directly from the breeder. It's the middlemen who do the bulk of the damage. (Except to river riparian zones, that's our fault - building fences around rivers seemed so pointless, I apologize.)

[ Parent ]
Re: What is "OK"? (4.20 / 10) (#37)
by Alarmist on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 02:32:35 PM EST

But maybe that bit of sensationalism will stop companies from making Nazi death camps look like summer camp.

Er, no.

I'll admit it up front: I'm biased in favor of humans. I like cute and fuzzy animals as much as the next guy (not that way, you pervs!), but given the choice between letting a rabbit go free and me eating my next meal if there's nothing else around, the rabbit buys it.

What I object to is the blatant hyperbole involved in many extremist groups' rhetoric. A slaughterhouse, no matter how nasty and brutish, DOES NOT compare to a Nazi death camp. Period. End of paragraph.

I like animals. I like eating them and wearing their skins. I try to make sure that I don't abuse them, and I'd be happier if I knew that the cow whose muscles I'm eating or skin I'm wearing died quickly after being reasonably well-treated. I'd probably even be willing to pay more to make sure that was the case. But the bottom line is that it's a cow. Cows are not people. I don't eat people, and I certainly don't advocate wearing their skins. That's probably because I'm a person, but it's also because I recognize that there are fundamental differences between cows and people that make it acceptable to my conscience to kill a cow for reasons that I wouldn't kill a human. Does this mean that I want cows tortured? No. Does it mean that I want them beaten and left to die of their injuries before being dismembered? No. Does it mean that I advocate unnecessary animal testing, or cruelty of any kind to animals? Absolutely not. But I have no problems with killing animals so long as it is done for a good reason and in a humane way.

This absurdity of comparing animal laboratories and stockyards to Nazi death camps is, frankly, sickening. It cheapens the value of human life to compare them to animals that are killed for purely commercial reasons. It diminishes the evil that was perpetrated.

Ask yourself this: would you make a comparison like that if you'd seen the films of what went on at those death camps, of what took place and why? Killing animals to test cosmetics, torturing them to make sure that your eyeliner won't hurt you is questionable and in my mind wrong. But it is not wrong to the same magnitude that starving people to death is. It does not compare to watching people stripped naked in the dead of winter and forced into an icy river to freeze to death. It does not compare to seeing emaciated bodies of indeterminable sex stacked like firewood. It does not compare to seeing footage of experiments in which people were murdered in vacuum chambers, or children who had organs and limbs grafted on from other bodies, or fillings in teeth melted down for gold, or seeing pictures of people forced to dig their own graves before being shot into them.

Making such comparisons debases both sides: it wrongly inflates the injustice of killing animals for dubious purposes and it diminishes the wrongness of murdering humans in the name of injustice and evil ideologies. Such comparisons are wrong.

Fight the Power.

[ Parent ]

Re: What is "OK"? (2.00 / 3) (#47)
by gas on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 07:02:29 PM EST

I would like some more reasons than "Period. End of paragraph." why humans and no one else has these special values. (what about neanderthals? aliens in flying saucers? half human, half gorilla?) After all the nazis said about the same thing about aryans vs everything else and therefore did, well, pretty much the same things that we today does to other animals to other races (and other animals).

[ Parent ]
Re: What is "OK"? (5.00 / 2) (#109)
by Alarmist on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 10:35:51 AM EST

This is a good question, so I'll try to answer it:

why humans and no one else has these special values. (what about neanderthals? aliens in flying saucers? half human, half gorilla?)

Honestly? It's because I'm a human. That's the only real reason. Humans are a subset of what I recognize as sentient life and are worthy of respect on that basis alone.

Now, as for what else constitutes sentient life....

Neanderthals. Aliens. Gorillas. Human/gorilla chimeras, if you could get one to exist. Most primates. Dolphins. Most species of whale. Dogs, to some extent. Cats, again to some extent. I'm sure there's more, but that's all that I can think of off the top of my head. If they made a broad-spectrum AI with anything approaching human-level intelligence, I would regard it as sentient if it could be shown to my satisfaction that it was self-aware.

As a result of all of this, I grant these forms of life (extant or hypothetical) the same basic respect I would grant to a human: I won't kill them for no reason, I'll make at least some effort to stop it if I see them suffering, and I'm opposed to the idea of exploiting them for no good reason or killing them wholesale without a very compelling reason to do so. I'm still biased in favor of humans, which means that to some extent I'm discriminatory, but only in so far as my dealings with other species are concerned. (I try very hard not be prejudicial on inherent characteristics in humans, but that's another story.)

I realize that the Nazis were fond of using similar arguments to support their genocidal ideas, and that's fine with me. The way to fight a bad idea is with a better idea; guns and bombs shouldn't enter into matters except as a last reasonable resort. IMO, the Nazis posed an incredible threat to the human race, and I'm generally against such things, be they ideas, organizations, or individuals. I don't believe in mindless genocide, and I don't believe in killing people if they can be reasoned with instead. But sometimes there isn't much time to have an intelligent discourse with someone else; sometimes they're busy trying to kill you or someone that you care about, and it's at times like that that they must be stopped and discussion goes out the window.

Time to cut this one short. Thanks for the question.

[ Parent ]

Re: What is "OK"? (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by davidduncanscott on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:13:46 PM EST

It cheapens the value of human life to compare them to animals that are killed for purely commercial reasons.

If it makes you feel better, commercial exploitation of the labor was a feature in some death camps. Personally I find that makes it worse, but there's no accounting for taste...

[ Parent ]
Re: What is "OK"? (none / 0) (#110)
by Alarmist on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 10:37:13 AM EST

If it makes you feel better, commercial exploitation of the labor was a feature in some death camps. Personally I find that makes it worse, but there's no accounting for taste...

It doesn't. Killing people is bad enough; robbing them before (or, in many cases, after) they're dead makes it that much worse.

[ Parent ]

Embarrased sheep? Huh? (3.72 / 18) (#20)
by Zane_NBK on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 03:22:43 PM EST

From the quote link in your article:

Never buy wool again. Choose only cotton, synthetics and other non-animal fibers. The sheep are embarrassed when they are shorn, sometimes they are nicked during the process, and they get cold afterward.

I suspect that animals find being naked a little less emberasssing than humans do. Hell, dogs will go at it (with each other, inaminate objects, legs, other animals, etc...) right in front of you but sheered sheep are humiliated? :)

God help us if you nick one. Last time I nicked myself shaving I was in a coma for months.


Re: Embarrased sheep? Huh? (none / 0) (#82)
by OmniTurtle on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 09:34:06 PM EST

Actually they are correct to a fashion there. I was raised on a sheep farm and if you take a sheep out and sheer it without sheering its pen mates, the sheep will act embaressed (goes to the corner of the pen and generally mopes around). However if you sheer all the sheep at one then everything is fine. It's not a big deal at all though, as the embaressed sheep gets over it in anywhere from a few hours to days. As to the nicks they are rare, and if the sheep is nicked, the sheep doesn't even notice, as they do not have good nerve endings on thier skin or something. The nick is promply treated with disinfectant, and all is well.

[ Parent ]
Property Damage == a bad thing? (3.66 / 9) (#22)
by HypoLuxa on Thu Oct 05, 2000 at 05:56:48 PM EST

This is a curious topic, that might warrant a seperate discussion, but I thought I would throw it out responding to the first section of the article.

Is property damage in the name of a political objective a clearly bad thing? This was something that came up in the wake of the WTO protests in the US and was very vigorously discussed in by the DC area protesters when we got our turn in April. Right now, there is massive property destruction in Belgrade and surrounding areas as part of the protest against Milosevic stealing the Yugoslavian election from the people (spot the bias in that comment yet?), and it can be argued that this is being done for a good reason, and that disassembling the apparatus of power is a positive step in disassembling oppressive power.

When is property damage justified, if ever?

I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

Re: Property Damage == a bad thing? (4.50 / 4) (#44)
by Stradivarius on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:15:51 PM EST

A couple ideas on your post:

1) There, I believe, is a signficant difference between destroying property because you don't like what someone is doing to animals (ALF), and causing destruction as a side effect of seizing power from unjust rulers (Yugoslavia).

The first case is a group, fairly represented, within a democracy; who are pissed that the rest of the society doesn't share their views, and so is reacting with violence.

The second case is the people uprising to overcome oppression - the property destruction was an unfortunate side effect of the storming of the capital by the people, rather than damage being the objective.

2) As to the more general, and very good, question of when is property damage justified, I don't think any of us have a perfect answer. It's definitely a question I'd have to think much more on before answering :-)

[ Parent ]
Re: Property Damage == a bad thing? (2.00 / 2) (#64)
by enterfornone on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 03:00:24 AM EST

ok, so if a democratically elected government passed laws that abolished the rights of say blacks or jews, would property damage be justified?

it could easily be argued that animals are not fairly represented in the US democratic system.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Re: Property Damage == a bad thing? (none / 0) (#89)
by luethke on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:07:04 AM EST

<satire>ok, I propse the formation of the animal party. Each genus (no need for specific species as that can be a lobyist group) have two seats in the senate. The same equation used to figure the number of seats in the house will still be used for each genus. We will have to figure out how to make small enough voting buttons for most insects ( and how do we hear arguments from all the single celled animals). Just image the job opurtunities opening up for horse interpreters! what a great thing for our economy. Think of the shift in campain polotics, I can see it now: "And I promise there will be a cup of honey spread each night in front of each anthill".</satire> I assume the last part about animals being uder represented was something of a joke but of course if it wasn't then there is no way to represent an animal in congress because it would be our idea of what an animal wants, as thier wants would be a little simple for our laws (although I knew a PETA person this summer who decided all animals were jst as smart as us - and in most cases smarter, that is why they had no discernable technology. Of course the most amusing this was that this person as a computer scientist). Just another reason for someone to push thier beleifs on someone else in the name of safety and fairness.

[ Parent ]
Re: Property Damage == a bad thing? (none / 0) (#106)
by enterfornone on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 03:52:53 AM EST

ok, i realise that animals are never actually going to get the right to vote. my point is that animals can't themselves change their circumstances. they need humans on their side. and since its human nature to look out for your own best interests, the majority of humans don't take the animals side. compare with slavery in america, the slaves didn't free themselves, it took a violent war and white people who were simpathetic to the slaves in order to end slavery, up until then the slaves had no rights - and since they had no vote, no say in the matter.

efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
PETA and Eggs (4.00 / 16) (#30)
by Pseudonym on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 02:58:45 AM EST

From their FAQ:

It's okay to eat eggs because chickens lay them naturally. The eggs we buy in the supermarket are sterile and not unborn fetuses."
This is true, but the real cruelty of egg production lies in the treatment of the "laying hens" themselves, who are perhaps the most abused of all factory-farmed animals. Each egg from today's factory farms represents 22 hours of misery for a hen packed in a cage the size of a filing cabinet drawer with up to five other chickens.

I happen to agree with this. I personally make a point of only buying "barn laid" eggs. (The so-called "free range" eggs aren't nearly as "free" (either "speech" or "beer") as you might think.) But if this was really PETA's position, why have they never given out any positive information on how to farm eggs humanely and ethically?

The answer, of course, is that PETA is a negative organisation. They exist to oppose. They don't actually stand for anything, only against things. I couldn't in conscience align with any organisation like that, no matter what they believed.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
OT: Perl (2.00 / 2) (#54)
by matthead on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:18:50 PM EST

Here, we can see why Perl should be a controlled substance; not allowed for consumption by untainted minds.

- Matt
I'm at (0.3, -2.5). Where are you?
[ Parent ]
Re: PETA and Eggs (4.00 / 2) (#71)
by Rainy on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 11:42:49 AM EST

Being a negative organization is not a bad thing, it may be a very good thing. For instance, how about abolitionists, who stood against slavery? They were 'negative' too. I'm not saying it's the same, I'm saying that your logic is flawed: standing against does not imply they're 'bad'.
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Re: PETA and Eggs (4.66 / 3) (#77)
by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 07:08:00 PM EST

IMHO you are confusing the issue, and mistaken.

Abolitionists were against slavery, yes. However, they were against that particular activity, in so far as it was a specific activity violating a larger standard of human rights. We all acknowledge that slavery is wrong, as it involves no choice, and most countries recognize a basic set of human rights including choices about the way to live your life. We know that smoking is bad for your health, yet we allow people to make that choice. I recognize the incongruency with other illegal substances, but that is a matter of politics and legislation, not logic.

PETA, on the other hand, is against every activity involving animals, based on their advocacy of a standard of animal rights of their choosing. In other words, instead of targetting specific activities which are wrong, they are against all use of animals in any way, regardless of the consequences. Advocating this set of standards is fine, but the means by which PETA does so are questionable. Accepting and condoning violence from various splinter groups (Arson, property destruction, burglary and theft are "acceptable crimes" when used for the animals' cause. -Alex Pacheco (PETA) _Charleston,_W._VA_Gazette-Mail_, Jan 15, 1989) and misrepresenting their position (notice I didn't say they lied) are not legitimate ways to advocate anything.

The most disturbing thing about PETA's standards is that they place humans (animals in our own right) at the bottom of the list.

  • The smallest form of life, even an ant or a clam, is equal to a human being. -Ingrid Newkirk, PETA
  • Humanity is the cancer of nature. -Dave Foreman, Earth First!
  • If the death of one rat cured all diseases, it wouldn't make any difference to me. -Chris Derose, founder and director of Last Chance for Animals
  • The optimum human population of earth is zero. -Dave Foreman, Earth First!
  • Even if animal tests produced a cure for AIDS, "We'd be against it." -Ingrid Newkirk, PETA (_Washington_Post_, May 30, 1989)
  • "The life of an ant and the life of my child should be granted equal consideration." Michael Fox - Vice President, HSUS"
  • It (animal research) is immoral even if it is essential." Ingrid Newkirk - Founder, PETA Washington Post, May 30, 1989
  • "Homelessness drives me crazy! I take responsibility for everything that happens to me. Everyone can pull themselves up. I have more sympathy for animals because they don't deserve anything that happens to them. They're innocent." PETA member - "What Becomes a Zealot Most?" GQ Magazine November 1993

    These quotes came from a link above, but they can certainly be verified if you doubt their veracity. Do you have kids? Do you think that squashing that bug on the counter is the same as killing your child? They do, and the converse is that killing your child means as little to them as squashing a bug. Hmm, wonder who they support in the next election.

    [ Parent ]
  • Re: PETA and Eggs (none / 0) (#97)
    by Rainy on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 12:52:29 PM EST

    Whoa, whoa! All I said was that being a negative organization (which abolitionists' ones were). You point out that they were different, and I wholly agree, but they were similar in that they are both *negative* organizations. But since you're bringing other things up.. I think they have a point when they say that to them human's life is the same as any other animal's life. First of all, humans can, at the very least, say something. They can go and tell someone, this person tortured me. I remember something I've seen when I was a kid: other kids would sometimes take a tin can, put some earthworms in it and put it over a fire to see how they roll over and bend this way and that way, before they die. So, their position makes some sense from the point of view that 'they need the most protection, cause they often can't protect themselves'. On the other hand, people are different.. some are good, and some are quite bad. One can put up any number of semi-religious arguments saying that while people have choice between good/evil, animals don't. They don't have self-consciousness, and what they do they do instinctively. And they may very well be right (or wrong). The point is, when they go and destroy property to help animals, I'm not going to either judge them or justify them: I don't know all the sides of the story. As to difference between slavery/cruelty to animals: you say it's now universally accepted that slavery is, well, bad, while cruelty to animals isn't, or isn't as nearly as bad, anyway. I agree, but consider that slavery itself was quite a respectable thing in southern US just 150 years ago, while it was universally accepted as the right thing in Rome and Greece and Egypt and most other foremost civilizations at the time. I think it might very well be that we're simply not civilized enough yet to outlaw cruelty to animals, much like we weren't civilized enough to outlaw slavery before: and these people who break the law to advance this cause are simply more civilized than the rest of us. As to having a choice between squashing a bug and killing my own baby, I think I'll squash the bug. What about if you had a choice between killing your pet dog you love, and killing a serial rapist (assuming you won't be prosecuted for either)? It's a sliding scale, isn't it?
    Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
    [ Parent ]
    Re: PETA and Eggs (none / 0) (#104)
    by Pseudonym on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 11:55:02 PM EST

    I wrote:

    [...] PETA is a negative organisation. They exist to oppose. They don't actually stand for anything, only against things. I couldn't in conscience align with any organisation like that, no matter what they believed.

    Rainy replied:

    Being a negative organization is not a bad thing, it may be a very good thing. For instance, how about abolitionists, who stood against slavery? They were 'negative' too. I'm not saying it's the same, I'm saying that your logic is flawed: standing against does not imply they're 'bad'.

    I agree that being negative does not in and of itself make an organisation "bad" (there are other reasons why I think PETA is "bad"). However, I stand by what I said:

    • PETA do not give out any positive information about animals. To their credit, they do give out some positive information about vegitarianism, such as vegan recipes, but they give out no positive information about the humane or ethical use of animals and animal products.
    • I couldn't in conscience align with them, partly because they exist to oppose.

    I'm sure that, had I lived two hundred years ago in Britain or slightly more recently in the USA, I couldn't in conscience have aligned myself with some factions of the abolitionist movement, either, and for the same reasons.

    sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
    [ Parent ]
    Why we eat meat. (2.75 / 16) (#38)
    by toqer on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 03:37:52 PM EST

    I saw this on the discovery channel. Discovery channel makes you smart. During human evolution we broke off into 3 segmants, there was herbavores, carnivores, and omnivores. The herbavores had incisors and molars, a specially designed jaw for eating legumes (nuts) but lacked canines. Their diet was pure vegatabletarian The carnivores had incisors, molars but mainly used their canines to eat with. They ate pure meat. The omnivores had a balance of the three teeth type, thus they could survive on both plant and meat. During one of the ice ages the herbavore and carnivore apes died out because of a lack of food. Imaging your a herbavore trying to dig out some plant matierial 20 ft under the snow. The omnivore continued to survive. Eventually it was the consumption of meat that led to the development of our brains and continues to keep it devolping. Eat meat, be smart, eat veggies you'll become one. STOP PLANT CRUELTY DAMMIT!! EAT A COW! --toqer

    Re: Why we eat meat. (2.50 / 4) (#46)
    by gas on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:50:49 PM EST

    Eat meat, be smart, eat veggies you'll become one.

    Grow up.


    Ah, and just what do you think cows eat? And how much?

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Why we eat meat. (1.60 / 5) (#51)
    by el senor wacko on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:18:39 PM EST

    that's why we're eating the god damn cows -- so they stop hurting the grass and other veggies.

    if animals weren't meant to be eaten, they wouldn't have been made of meat.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Why we eat meat. (4.00 / 3) (#75)
    by Mrs Edna Graustein on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 05:07:09 PM EST

    I think I am just feeding a troll, but on the offchance you are serious, I shall quote Flanders and Swan:

    If the Juju had meant us not to eat people, he wouldn't have made us of meat!

    Ok, so this is an extreme view, but if you genuinely hold your views, then think about their logical conclusions.

    As for animal cruelty, I am against battery farming but tend to agree with the Christian Aid views "We believe in Life Before Death". Eating cows allows them to actually have a life first, and if farmed as opposed to battery reared, the life they get is not too bad. If they were not being raised to be eaten, it is unlikely market forces would allow them to be born.
    And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Why we eat meat. (2.00 / 4) (#84)
    by dmr on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 01:02:54 AM EST

    "If they were not being raised to be eaten, it is unlikely market forces would allow them to be born."

    In other news, we regret to annouce the passing of Mrs. Edna Graustein. There was catastrophic damage in her unfortunate collision with reality, and Mrs. Graustein will have an eternity to consider the proper use of seatbelts. Reality, on the other hand, suffered no major damage, and will continue the lifestyle as usual.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Why we eat meat (3.33 / 3) (#93)
    by Mrs Edna Graustein on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 07:33:35 AM EST

    Most cows in the world are currently being raised by farmers to become food. If people stopped eating meat, drinking milk, and wearing leather, it would be highly unlikely that the farmers would continue to raise the animals, and the land would be wanted for raising crops by the farmers- as the cows would eat the crops, the farmers would probably kill them, and certainly try not to breed any more- thus preventing them being born.

    If you are suggesting that we turn the farmland over to the wild, then I agree with you- but even if we do that, the cattle will probably scarcely be viable as the centuries of selective breeding have somewhat reduced their ability to survive in the wild- while making their milk yields higher.
    And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)
    [ Parent ]

    It is so easy... (2.11 / 9) (#39)
    by maketo on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 03:43:26 PM EST

    Since it is so easy to bash everyone else's efforts lets see what you propose to solve the problem of disappearing animal species, narrowing habitat, hunters on the spree shotting what they feel like, animal abuse, injecting cows and other animals with hormones to bleed in you milk, wearing animal skin out of fashion, packing 5-6 hens in one box to make more eggs for you, etc. Please enlighten us since all you did is tell us _not_ to support PETA or ALF. Some scientists spend their lifetimes to proove that species X disappears because of effect Y only to be dismissed by "expert" Z (usually hired by company W) who claims that there is no "correlation" and that the "evidence is circumstantial" and` while all this is happenning the nature is disappearing right from under your nose.

    Ofcourse, you sitting in your cosy wool sweater to keep you warm in your nice street full of nice clean air and neatly cut grass could not care less. I bet you also recycle and feel that that washes your hands from the responsibility we all carry towards the living world. You can also enlighten us on the issue of hunters taking down helpless animals like dust and how does that compare in terms of "crime" to what organizations like PETA do.

    I am not a supporter of PETA nor a supporter of ALF but I would really be interested in your opinion on these issues since you were so categorical in your stance.
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    Re: It is so easy... (3.50 / 4) (#43)
    by Stradivarius on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 05:59:45 PM EST

    Since it is so easy to bash everyone else's efforts lets see what you propose to solve the problem ... Please enlighten us since all you did is tell us _not_ to support PETA or ALF.

    Actually, he *did* give a suggestion...to check out alternative animal rights groups; those that do not engage in criminal (and, IMO, highly unethical) acts such as arson (which not only destroys property but risks lives). As an example of alternatives to the unethical and militant PETA/ALF, he suggests NAIA.

    You can also enlighten us on the issue of hunters taking down helpless animals like dust and how does that compare in terms of "crime" to what organizations like PETA do.

    To use the old-but-true cliche, "two wrongs do not make a right". If someone considers the hunting of animals to be wrong (a view to which I am somewhat sympathetic), this does not justify that someone committing crimes against hunters. Particularly things like setting hunters' buildings on fire (as the ALF does with animal research sites). Considering the risk that arson poses to innocent lives of neighbors, firefighters, and even the very animals they claim to protect, it is extremely hypocritical of these groups to be claim to be in favor of protecting life and then go endangering it through reckless acts of violence.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: It is so easy... (4.00 / 4) (#45)
    by hoarycripple on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 06:41:43 PM EST

    The author of the original message made no comments about hunting a species to extinction. He merely stated that the ethics of PETA itself are suspect. Besides, when has lab testing caused extinction of a species? Scientists are not so stupid as to destroy their test subject pool. Correct me if I am wrong...


    [ Parent ]

    Re: It is so easy... (4.75 / 4) (#60)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 01:51:40 AM EST

    I propose what is obvious: For hunted species (and they aren't disappearing in your area, if you're in Canada): regulation and conservation. For narrowing habitat: You can't blame hunters for that, because we want the opposite. Farmers have been offered incentives by groups like Ducks Unlimited (yes, sponsored by hunters) to preserve habitat around sloughs, and I think the government in Saskatchewan has offered some money as well. Hunters on the spree: assuming hunters go on a killing spree, which would be rare, they are breaking the laws already in place. If you want stricter penalties, that is fine, and I would vote for them as well. As far as the rest of your comments, they seem somewhat disjointed. I will say that if you are willing to concede that eating beef is OK, then leather jackets are OK.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: It is so easy... (4.50 / 2) (#88)
    by luethke on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 03:48:16 AM EST

    two things, first off hunters don't go "shooting what they feel like", that is poachers, and by definition are doing illegal stuff. Hunters kill what are in season and under fairly strict regulations for conservation. Also part of the point is what PETA is doing is bad. Doing something bad is worse than doing nothing. Think of it this way - "100 mb ethernet sucks, I'm going to do something, my fix has now reduced it to 20 mb, well, at least i'm trying so legislate my 20 mb unless you can specify an alternative". So no, I would have to say giving an alternative isn't neccassary when what the new proposal is is worse, the current system is the alternative.

    Ofcourse, you sitting in your cosy wool sweater to keep you warm in your nice street full of nice clean air and neatly cut grass could not care less. I bet you also recycle and feel that that washes your hands from the responsibility we all carry towards the living world. You can also enlighten us on the issue of hunters taking down helpless animals like dust and how does that compare in terms of "crime" to what organizations like PETA do.
    as opposed to what you (or mebers of PETA) sitting in freezing cold clothes in a bad street full of bad dirty air and uncut grass caring about things? So would hunting large african game (elephants, lions, water buffalow which is extremely dangersous, therfore not helpless) be ok? So I can kill them idescrimitly because they are dangerous, hell, that plant you eat can't even run, not only that but you have the power to plant thier sedentary little buts right where it is convenient to kill them, now that's helpless. I think plants need to be gentically engeneered to randomply discreete poison and grow large teeth that can maim the poeple picking them.

    [ Parent ]
    false premise (2.77 / 9) (#40)
    by labisso on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 04:28:00 PM EST

    PETA and other animal rights activists seem to base their ideas on an (IMO false) premise that animals can feel pain and therefore should have the same rights as any human. I disagree with this in two areas.

    First of all, I feel that the basis of rights should be the ability to reason, not the ability to feel pain.
    Furthermore, I am not convinced that animals can even feel pain. Although, yes, they have the same nervous system as humans, they lack the ability to realize such sensations. Without this, pain is just an empty electric pulse sent to the brain warning the animal to get away from whatever is causing the 'pain'.
    That being said, I should point out that I certainly don't agree with extincing a species as it seems that each animal plays a key role in our ecosystem. Also, it has been shown that many serial killers started out by torturing animals such as cats, dogs, etc.

    Of course, I am probably horribly wrong about all of this...I'm not incredibly smart.

    Re: false premise (2.25 / 8) (#42)
    by ronin on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 05:05:33 PM EST

    So rights - and I assume being part of a system of ethics - requires the ability to reason?

    Great - Now that we have your definition lets start killing babies and mentally retarded people, the senile, people with alzheimers . . . no problem. I mean they can't reason can they, therefore they should be offered no consideration in moral decisions.

    Also, to deny that animals feel pain is beyond the point of ludicrous. Have you ever owned a dog or cat? Ever accidently step on it's tail or something. That is the response to pain. You admit to the physiological similiarities of their nervous systems - and what does pain do? It's an evolutionary advantage that says - "Hey, if I keep doing this I'm in trouble." Animals feel pain - human and others.

    I obviously don't support killing babies or mentally retarded people. I also don't support killing other animals. So, right on PETA!

    I'll leave it at that and say try reading some Peter Singer.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: false premise (4.50 / 2) (#79)
    by Kiss the Blade on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 07:49:10 PM EST

    Yes, that is correct. In order for a creature to have rights, it must also have reason. To be more exact, in order to have rights, you must also have responsibilities. For example:

    You have the right to free speech, but you also have the responsibility not to behave like a troll (joke!)

    You have the right to bear arms (at least you lucky americans do, heh) but you also have the responsibility not to shoot people without a *very* good reason.

    To speak of animal 'rights' is totally ignorant, IMO, and belies a misunderstanding of what rights actually are. If we grant rights to animals, then i'm afraid ill have to arrest my cat and take her to the local police station for harassing the local mouse population without any good reason at all, not even hunger! If you want to talk of animal welfare however, thats a different matter.

    KTB:Lover, Poet, Artiste, Aesthete, Programmer.
    There is no contradiction.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: false premise (3.00 / 3) (#55)
    by maketo on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 11:44:18 PM EST

    This is the most selfish statement I have ever seen. Also an ignorant one. Step on your dog's tail or toe and see what he tells you.

    As for the statement about animals keeping a key role in our ecosystem beeing a reason not to kill them -> if this is the only reason then I feel sad for you. Has everyone forgotten what lifeis worth. Or has TV brainwashed and desentisized you so much that you dont feel any sorrow for all the animals feeling pain and getting killed for something they dont know or understand?
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    [ Parent ]
    Re: false premise (2.00 / 1) (#87)
    by luethke on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 03:34:18 AM EST

    Just because it reacts that way doesn't mean it actually feel's pain. It would be trivial to create a robot that upon pressing a certain button "screams" and behaves such as a dog would, that does not make the robot feel pain. It would be it's "body" (read circitry and software) reciving a message and "make noise, when greater harm will not be caused by moving, remove yourself from source of pain" being it's response (just like a dog may). Can you tell, without a any part of your reasoning ability sayng there could be no other way, that a dog feels pain the way we do, That being said I do disagree with the original poster, it just doen't make sense for them to feel that much more differently than we do, just that we have a more refined sense of what is going on.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: false premise (1.00 / 1) (#96)
    by maketo on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 12:45:26 PM EST

    You are obviously lacking basic biology or anatomy knowledge. In your terms it would be easy to create a human-like robot that feels the pain the same way you described. The dog cannot be as expressive about its pain but with what they have - they show you it hurts. Besides, they are also capable of more complex behavior. For example, anyone who ever had two dogs knows that one can feel neglected if the other is given more attention. If you have one dog and then get another one into the house, the first one can stop eating, get sick, change their behavior etc. If you have seen two dogs play or just meet on the street, you would know that they are capable of communication. In many ways they act like us.
    agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
    [ Parent ]
    Re: false premise (5.00 / 1) (#113)
    by luethke on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 07:26:26 PM EST

    Actually I am fairly well read in biology, for several years i pursued a carrer in evolutionary biology untill I saw the light and became a CS person. You missed the point of what I was saying. I was not claiming dogs do not feel pain (It can be shown with very little uncertainty they can biologically). The point I was making is because we observe a behavior that we also do doesn't mean they are doing it for the same reason we are. Behavior isn't the be all and end all of study, it only looks at what they do, not why. As I said a person can program a robot to mimic life, it has the what down but no where close on the why. The same thing with a dog, again to quote you

    Besides, they are also capable of more complex behavior. For example, anyone who ever had two dogs knows that one can feel neglected if the other is given more attention. If you have one dog and then get another one into the house, the first one can stop eating, get sick, change their behavior etc. If you have seen two dogs play or just meet on the street, you would know that they are capable of communication.

    that is still only a what, It does not prove anything. If I produce a robot that looks exactly like a dog and behaves exactly like a dog (more than just the pain example) by only examing it's behavior we would have to conclude it is a dog and alive. It's not really far fetched at all to think at some time we will be able to mimic animals. Researchers studying ants have come fairly close to recreating thier "brain" and model thier behavior. We can produce a robot the looks like an ant (but of course not as small). So have they really produced an ant? It is capable of nearly all the ant's social structure and attitude. Is it an ant then? Complexity of behavior doesn't show anything at all. The only time to use behavior as the main model for why is when we don't know how to rate it any better. An example is reasoning ability. As of now we can not look at a brain and tell very accuratly how smart an animal is, we can make guesses based on the relative sizes of different parts of the brain, but without observing behavior there is no real good way. But then you must carefully construct the tests and observations. You must be very carefull what conclusions you draw off of behavior as many things can and are mimiced, even in the natural world.

    [ Parent ]
    Alarming thought (none / 0) (#101)
    by Smiling Dragon on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 10:35:56 PM EST

    Keep in mind that all we really are is a complicated machine. Different parts of the brain are stimulated as a reward or punishment when we do clever or foolish things. Pretty much like your robot.

    I sure know I've had to do stacks of pampering to get my cat to talk to me again after treading on him one day. Sure you can program it, but I reckon with enough resources I could make a human like robot to do the same.

    I don't really think it's the same thing to acuratly simulate a system, but I have no real idea why I think that :( Is a computer simulation of a person, right down to how the neurons fire, a person too? If the simulated person dies in real life, is the simulation 'them'? With all their rights? I don't really think so but I'd love it if someone cvould explain why...

    -- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Alarming thought (none / 0) (#120)
    by afc on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 07:24:34 PM EST

    Boy, you could do stacks of money if by pampering it enough you could get it to talk to you live on TV. The problem with animal rights activists (and no, I'm not presuming you are one) is exactly this: anthropomorphizing animal's sensations and equating them with human emotions and moods. Sure your cat feels pain (and perhaps anguish, joy and anger as well) but the way it feels and you feel are orders of magnitude apart.

    Information wants to be beer, or something.
    [ Parent ]

    Re: false premise (2.25 / 4) (#59)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 01:34:52 AM EST

    I hope you somewhere get in a position where a person puts their chair leg on your foot and you have to pretend that you don't feel pain. Of course animals feel pain, and I have no doubt they feel it as pain, not a message that says "move away". If that wasn't the case, my dog wouldn't yelp when she sticks her tail under my foot, she would just move away. Instead, she doesn't move until I take my foot off. She is aware of the pain, the cause of the pain, and smart enough to not move until I take my foot off. You're right, you're not incredibly smart, just offensive.

    [ Parent ]
    you're right (none / 0) (#73)
    by labisso on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 02:41:32 PM EST

    Hmm I guess I could have described my opinion a bit better, making it seem less selfish. But more or less, you guys are right. Deepest Apoligies for wasting your time.

    Thanks to you, I am slightly smarter and I greatly appreciate it.

    [ Parent ]
    PETA is spooky (3.00 / 8) (#41)
    by Shakey on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 04:58:34 PM EST

    I heard a PETA person on the radion and she advocated feeding vegetarian meals to your pet cat. Uh, maybe I'm wrong, but isn't a cat a carnivore? These people spook me out.

    Re: PETA is spooky (3.33 / 3) (#52)
    by Nio Spartan on Fri Oct 06, 2000 at 10:39:54 PM EST

    Like dogs, cats are omnivores. Both may eat small plants and even grass when they're young or sick, and are attracted to fermented fruit.

    Cats enjoy catnip, an herb; dogs will devour chocolate (from the cocca plant), though too much can easily kill them.

    The whole alternative diet plan by PETA and some pet owners is unnatural to the animals, but with correct vitamin supplements, non-leathal. But as you gussed, it's mailny a form of radical chic.
    What does courage mean? You can't program it. -Hugo Pratt
    [ Parent ]
    Re: PETA is spooky (3.66 / 3) (#58)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 01:27:37 AM EST

    You're right, cats are carnivores. Imposing a vegetarian diet on cats is imposing a moral choice on them which they would never make themselves, nor would they ever care about. They're carnivores. Making them live on a vegetarian diet is almost cruel, but I suppose you could do it with vitamin supplements. Where do the the vitamins come from, though?

    [ Parent ]
    Re: PETA is spooky (3.66 / 3) (#62)
    by magney on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 02:28:32 AM EST

    Cats are obligatory carnivores; there is an amino acid - taurine - which is only to be found in animal flesh, and which cats cannot produce on their own. (Dogs and humans do produce taurine naturally, so we are capable of surviving on meatless diets, though it's harder to find such a diet on which dogs can thrive than it is for humans.)

    As Nio pointed out, cats do eat plants for both roughage and nutrition, but they cannot survive without a considerable proportion of meat.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Re: PETA is spooky (3.00 / 3) (#69)
    by gas on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 04:42:30 AM EST

    It's just a matter of doing non-animal food cats like and then add taurin. Not a problem at all.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: PETA is spooky (4.00 / 1) (#90)
    by Barbarian on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 04:10:30 AM EST

    And what is that taurine made from? ...

    [ Parent ]
    Re: PETA is spooky (2.00 / 1) (#95)
    by gas on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 12:00:56 PM EST

    I don't know exactly, just that it is "non-animal sources". Maybe converted vegetable protein or some fungus or bacteria.

    [ Parent ]
    Cat diets (Was: PETA is spooky) (none / 0) (#129)
    by Windigo the Feral (NYAR!) on Mon Oct 16, 2000 at 12:08:42 AM EST


    Gas dun wrote:

    It's just a matter of doing non-animal food cats like and then add taurin. Not a problem at all.

    In a word: Wrong. So wrong, in fact, that I dare say that anyone who attempts to feed a cat a vegetarian diet is committing an act of cruelty.

    Cats are one of the few mammals that are true obligate carnivores--they are so adapted to a carnivorous diet that they can no longer manufacture many amino acids, taurine among them (but taurine is NOT the only amino acid cats must obtain by diet).

    The primary sources of taurine and carnitine (two of the amino acids required) are--guess what--animal meat.

    Cats also need a large amount of taurine--a cat which is fed dog food will develop fatty degeneration of the heart and die within weeks. (This also was discovered with commercial cat foods in the early 80's--this is why all commercial cat food is supplemented with taurine.)

    It is not a reasonable expectation that a vegetarian (not even a strict vegan) is going to be able to prepare vegetarian meals for cats with the proper supplementation of amino acids to prevent fatty heart disease. It is outright impossible for a strict vegan to supply such a diet--the major sources of taurine and carnitine (yes, even the stuff you can buy at GNC) happens to be from animal remains, and there is no profitable way to synthesize taurine and carnitine in the amounts that would be needed that do NOT involve the death of an animal.

    I would implore vegetarians to please remember that--while you may be able to make a decision to not live on animal products--your cat cannot because your cat was designed to live on meat by evolution, and in fact is so evolved towards being a carnivorous animal that they are dependant on meat in exactly the same fashion humans are dependant on vitamin C. Trying to turn a cat into a vegetarian is about as cruel as giving a kid scurvy because you think eating oranges is murder.

    (While we're on the subject--while humans can live as vegetarians, we really aren't designed for it either. If anything, humans are designed as obligate omnivores which evolved from other animals who were so dependent on citrus fruits that they require dietary sources of vitamin C (most animals don't, by the way--mostly primates and fruit-eating bats--most animals can manufacture vitamin C themselves). Gorillas (and possibly robust australopithecines, while they were around) are the only great apes that ever became totally vegetarian, and they have evolved massive guts to deal with plant digestion; chimpanzees and bonobos (our closest living relatives; were humans not quite so proud of us walking on two legs, we could probably lump chimps, bonobos, and hominids in the same family or infraclass ;) are known to be omnivores and chimpanzees have been observed specifically hunting smaller animals for food. (There is also evidence gracile australopithecines--the branch that most hominids evolved from--ate meat as well as vegetables.) The gut length of chimps, bonobos, and hominids are the length (on average) of most omnivores (comparable to the brown or black bear, another omnivore).

    (Obligate carnivores, on the other hand, have shorter gut tracts (something like 10 feet of small intestine for tigers, compared to ~21 feet for hominids and chimps). Obligate herbivores have long gut tracts (on average at least twice the length of human gut tracts by size comparison) and often have specialisations to ensure digestion of tough fibers (ruminants have multiple sections of the stomach and chew cud; rabbits actually pass "pre-stool" that they crap out and eat again in a second round of digestion). One can actually see both extremes with bears--polar bears are obligate carnivores and have evolved shorter gut tracts, and pandas (the only obligate herbivore bear--yes, it is now generally accepted that greater pandas are in fact bears) have longer gut tracts to deal with digestion and STILL must eat massive amounts of bamboo just to have enough energy to live on. Or if you'd rather not look at bears, try gorillas, which are a bit closer on the family tree (and compare to chimps, which are far closer yet).

    (Humans, being omnivores (obligate citrivores, if one wants to get really strict), evolved as animals who fed largely on fruits and nuts, vegetable matter, and meat. We can technically swing to either extreme when need be (Inuit living traditional lifestyles lived almost totally on meat--only harvesting berries during short summers--there tends not to be a lot of greenery during the cold season north of the Arctic Circle; on the other hand, folks live as vegans). Without some supplementation, we don't do terribly well at either extreme (Inuit would preserve meat with berries and preserve the meat itself, which probably saved them from scurvy (wild cranberries, sarvis berries and the like have large amounts of vitamin C), but without some berries in the diet one would risk scurvy at best and probably coronary artery disease; vegans must be quite careful in managing bean amounts and supplements of vitamins lest they get deficiencies of vitamin B12 (not fun--causes nerve damage and damage to bone marrow, good old "pernicious anemia") or protein (kwashiorkor--why starving kids in Africa have pot bellies)).

    (That said--there's no reason to be cruel to animals whilst eating them. Factory farming isn't healthy for humans or animals. If one is going to kill an animal, at least treat it with respect, and use the whole animal if you kill it (if you must trophy hunt, please donate the meat to a local homeless shelter--a number of groups are donating game meats to shelters...you'd be helping the hungry and doing right by the animal). I do try to go organic when possible, as well as go free-range (I also don't eat veal, because I don't think it's right to make a calf anemic just for white meat :P).)

    Also, just as an aside...this is for the "meat is murder" crowd. :) If meat is murder, I submit that vegetables are abortion and vivisection. :) (Seriously. Most edible parts of plants equate to genitalia (flowers), embryos (nuts, fruits and grains), lungs (leaves), or stomach (root vegetables). It is well known that plants can feel injury to themselves and will send chemical messages to other plants in the area if they are under attack (this has actually been proven both in fruit trees and tomatoes specifically--if under attack by insects they release chemical messages and plants nearby will respond by increasing natural pesticides). The fact is that even by eating plants one is taking a life--and at least carnivores generally try to make certain their food is dead before they eat it :)

    No, I'm not trying to be a wiseacre. I'm stating that, if you are worried on taking life, realise it whenever you do. You spray Lysol, you're taking a life. You eat those beans, you're eating little bean-plant fetuses. You eat that potato, you're eating a potato plant's fatty-stores/stomach. Just be honest about it, and realise you are taking a life...and realise that, as being an animal, you can't exactly avoid this, so try to at least do right by the life you must take so you may live. (And yes, for the record, I do thank the animals and plants that gave their lives so I might live before I eat. I realise full well I am taking life...but I try to do right by the lives that were given by not letting it go to waste and for going for the kindest, most natural methods of production. I realise it's an unusual way, anymore...but it works for me, at least. Of course, I also grew up next to a working beef farm, next to a garden and a mess of blackberry bushes (the latter which developed its own ecology). I'm not going to deny I'm taking life. I, alas, can't eliminate that without eliminating myself, because the purple bacteria evolved into mitochondria when animals and fungi split from plants (and thus, I cannot photosynthesise, unlike plants, whose ancestors incorporated blue-green bacteria instead and aforementioned bacteria evolved into chloroplasts ;). I'm an animal. The whole "keep me alive" bit hinges directly on me eating other living things. When I'm dead, other living things will eat me, and keep them going on, so it balances out in the end, hopefully. ;) </html>
    -Windigo the Feral (NYAR!)
    [ Parent ]

    Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (4.53 / 15) (#57)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 01:12:52 AM EST

    I might go a bit further, however.

    1) I suspect most members of PETA (the original one) live in urban or suburban environments, most of which are situated in what was once premium wildlife habitat and/or are supplied with water and electricity at the cost of wildlife habitat. The most desireable areas for human settlement (flat, arable land, with a good source of fresh water) are also the most desireable for most animals. While they may pine :) for the unspoiled wilderness and animals living free, that they live in such an area indicates that they are unwilling to put their morals where there mouths are. If they have children, they are further contributing to the problem.

    2) Do they wear or use synthetics in their lives, in addition to natural fibres like cotton? If not, with what are their shoes soled? Wood? Have they ever seen an oil or chemical refinery? Again, this is "Do what I say, not what I do"; selective morality in action.

    3) I've followed some of the links, where some PETA members or members of affiliated groups (allegedly) gave strange answers to the question: "If a baby and a dog fell out of a life-raft, which one would you save?". PETA Outreach Coordinator Susan Rich: "I wouldn't know for sure...I might choose the human baby or I might choose the dog." Tom Regan, North Carolina State University: "If it were a retarded baby and a bright dog, I'd save the dog." Now, I wonder what either of them would do (not answer, but do) if handed a rifle, and a lion was about to be released into a pen with their child.

    I feel particular animosity towards PETA because I am one of their prime targets: I both hunt and angle (fish with hook and line). I don't do either for trophies, and eat what I kill (with gusto, I might add with no apologies). What PETA fails to realize is that death is the natural end of all living things (some organisms such as slime molds, perhaps excepted), and for most wild animals death is not a matter of curling up in bed and passing away of old age. It is actually usually rather gruesome as they become unable to escape from predators and are brought down bloodily in stages, or succumb to disease, parasites, or starvation. I'm not saying that death wrought by a hunter or angler is a kindness, just that it is not the worst end they could face.

    The other point that PETA misses (or ignores on purpose) is that hunters and anglers have a real interest in preserving (and reclaiming) wildlife habitat. Even taken at PETA face value, that this is to guarantee a supply of animals to kill, this maintenance supports all of the species which aren't "targeted" (frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and even mosquitoes and blackflies). Through license fees and organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, anglers and hunters put far more money into preserving wildlife habitat per capita than most, if not all, groups devoted to preservation (no hunting or angling). Assuming all animals are equal (PETA's belief), the habitat preserved by hunters and anglers supports far more individuals than are killed, so the overall result is an increase of animals (hoist on their own PETArd).

    Finally, hunters don't pose threats to animal populations (at least in North America), as PETA would have us believe. Hunters may have posed threats when market hunting was legal, and certainly contributed to the demise of the passenger pigeon. However, habitat loss was at least as important as the losses to hunters. Hunted species are now monitored by regulatory agencies (both governmental, and NGOs) which specify limits according to population estimates. In other parts of the world hunting does threaten populations of animals such as tigers and rhinos, but that is because of their economic value and despite regulation, not anything to do with hunting per se.

    There are certain arguments PETA makes that I don't disagree with. Factory cattle farms, for example, are probably not good for the environment, nor, with the recent prevalence of E. Coli 0157:H7 good for human health either, and I would rather see cattle (and other animals raised for consumption) in a more free-ranging environment for their sake, and ours. However, consumers vote with their wallets, and the best way to convince the industry to change is by buying the more expensive choices or indicating that you would do so. This is far removed from bombing buildings.

    They are out to lunch on the domestic animal question, though. I have two black labrador retrievers, and it is a real question as to who rules the roost. An alien observing me walking them, and picking up their poop, later feeding them, would have a real problem figuring out who is the master and who is the domestic animal. Without human help most cats would survive as natural predators, but most dogs (including my two) would probably die of starvation, if they weren't killed by other predators. Cats, being natural predators of small animals, never had that bred out of them: they aren't likely to attack a baby, and their tendency to kill small mammals is beneficial. Dogs, having descended from natural predators of larger animals, had to have that bred out of them, in order to be trusted in human households. An unfortunate tendency to breed aggressiveness back into some breeds has resulted in the problems with Rottweilers and pit-bulls attacking humans. That doesn't mean they would be any more successful in living in the wild, though, compared to their wild relatives. I once came across a place where an animal had recently been killed and consumed by wolves, evidenced by the tatters of fur, strewn bones, and the pattern of blood and tracks in the snow. The animal had been surrounded, and snapped at until one attack was successful, and it was downed, at which time the end was certain. The prey animal was a dog, and since I found the skull, I could tell it was a large one, probably a Husky, since the fur was black/grey/white. There wouldn't be a lot of meat on even a large Husky, so I assume there was a certain degree of territoriality in the attack. And yes, I can tell the difference between wolf prints and dog prints, especially when I'm fifty miles away from any human settlement (and the difference between this dog skull and wolf skull, for that matter). Believe me, Rover is not going to survive an attack from a wolf pack, whether he is a Jack Russel or an Irish Wolfhound. I would like to have a few more coyotes around my house to clean up those housecats that keep attacking birds at my feeder, though.

    The last thing PETA wants is any intellectual debate about their position, since they have no legs upon which to stand. It sounds very good when they are anti-fur, anti-trapping, anti-cruelty to animals. It would be interesting if some enterprising journalist could find how many of them had been sick as a child, and saved by medication tested on animals.

    I could go on, but I won't, just respond to earlier messages. My senior black lab is telling me he is being repressed, and wishes to have me open the door for him.

    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (4.00 / 3) (#61)
    by magney on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 02:23:24 AM EST

    One minor item: There are not very many creatures that could stand and fight a whole wolfpack alone - something on the order of a moose, or perhaps a healthy buck with fully grown antlers. Certainly a dog at approximately their size wouldn't stand a chance.

    Dogs would have to form packs in order to have a hope in competing against wolves. Fortunately, we also haven't bred out their pack instincts entirely (instead, we exploit those instincts to position ourselves as the alpha individuals of their pack), and I suspect that a population of feral dogs would eventually form packs over time, though their numbers might plummet considerably for a few generations.

    Do I look like I speak for my employer?
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (3.66 / 3) (#65)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 03:05:16 AM EST

    Dogs would have to form packs, but in the forming of the packs a few would not survive, and unless it was a pack of Irish Wolfhounds, they would be smaller than most wolves. Packs of feral dogs would do well scavenging in ruined cities in an "On The Beach" situation. They would be candy for packs of wolves, however, no matter how big or nasty they got.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (none / 0) (#116)
    by dmr on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 01:39:44 AM EST

    I missed a couple of points in my earlier reply. First, wolves are like most predators, and will not often be involved in a "stand and fight" situation, with moose or other prey which could cause real damage. They are usually a "chase and snap" predator, and will bring down prey from behind by "hamstringing" it. Feline predators, on the other hand, usually attack the neck and throat unless they are much larger than their prey, and can drag them down from behind, but even then they usually go for the neck and throat to kill it. The antlers of moose and deer are deciduous, found only in males, and used mainly for intra-specific display and battles against other males for females, so are not reliable weapons. In fact, attacking with the antlers would require lowering the head to a dangerous level. The preferred weapons of these species are their feet. Not to say they don't use antlers, but that would be uncommon. Of the deer family in North America, only caribou sport antlers for both males and females. Not surprisingly, these are the only members of the family which typically form large herds, and the most conceivable method of defense by antlers is a circle of animals, where one animal lowering its head to present antlers against a predator is protected from side attacks by other members of the herd. Unfortunately, this is a great theory unsupported by fact. In every wolf attack I've seen against caribou, there has been no attempt to make such a stand. Now muskoxen, there is a different story... This hadn't added much to the debate, but hopefully adds to the scientific side.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (3.80 / 5) (#70)
    by rtscts on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 09:52:44 AM EST

    They are out to lunch on the domestic animal question

    I think domestication is the whole problem. Not that of our pets, but of US.

    We are, after all, animals too. Hunting animals. Those instincts have not been required for so long, they are now alien to most.

    Ask these people where meat comes from. They will respond "The supermarket"

    Although humans have vastly superior intelligence (well, most of us) to other animals, and are capable of avoiding these hunt and kill activities for food, we are not gods. A fact that should be made obvious to even the most rabid PETA supporter whenever they need to take a shit. Quite a disagreeable thing to have to do for such an advanced race as us. No?

    don't worry. i know exactly what i'm d@#^(!#NO CARRIER
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (none / 0) (#117)
    by dmr on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 02:10:06 AM EST

    PETA people shit? You mean they actually flush toilets into sub-standard treatment centres? I figured with all that vegetable fibre and their high moral standards they internally composted the nasty stuff and shat high-quality, sterile, composted pellets ready for bagging and selling as fertilizer for the next crop of environmentally friendly, irrigation friendly, arugula and asparagus. How to grow arugula: "Use a fungicide treated seed whenever possible. Have germination checked before planting if germination value is not known or current. Pelletizing seed allows precision planting." How to grow asparagus: "Asparagus should not be planted in any field in which asparagus had been planted in the past. If it is necessary to do so, the soil should be fumigated to reduce the incidence of Fusarium wilt and several root rots." Quotes from the College of Agricultural Sciences, Oregon State University. And I'm only starting at the front of the alphabet. Fungicide and fumigating follows nicely. Do I eat these crops? Well, no, I wouldn't pay for arugula and I don't like asparagus. I eat other vegetable crops, though, grown under similar conditions of fungicide and fumigation, and to have PETA say that my hunting animals is cruel is a bit hypocritical. How many insects die when a field is fumigated? PETA's whole point is that animals are equal, so where are they drawing the line, even if vegetarians? How many cockroaches have been killed in their buildings, and have they complained about them? Oh, that may be a health issue for humans, but the cockroaches are doing fine, thank you.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (none / 0) (#126)
    by rtscts on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 09:32:31 PM EST

    and to have PETA say that my hunting animals is cruel is a bit hypocritical.

    indeed. plants feel pain too - they have no central brain with which to think about it, but they definatly do not like being injured.

    looks like I won't be mowing the lawn anymore - with the appropriate intruments (i can't remember what kind.. ) you can hear your entire lawn screaming in terror after mowing it.

    don't worry. i know exactly what i'm d@#^(!#NO CARRIER
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Good points, well argued and documented, szoth (none / 0) (#114)
    by ryan on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 10:40:12 PM EST

    I have two black labrador retrievers, and it is a real question as to who rules the roost. An alien observing me walking them, and picking up their poop, later feeding them, would have a real problem figuring out who is the master and who is the domestic animal.

    Your alien would be similarly confused by a prison. The prisoners, however, understand the situation quite clearly. Who cares what the alien thinks.


    [ Parent ]

    Article defending animal research (3.75 / 4) (#63)
    by El Peligroso on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 02:40:25 AM EST

    A defense of animal research is the cover story of this month's Reason magazine.


    Re: Article defending animal research (2.33 / 3) (#66)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 03:58:21 AM EST

    And this from PETA: http://www.peta-online.org/fp/hunt.html "What about people who have to hunt to survive?" "We have no quarrel with subsistence hunters and fishers who truly have no choice in order to survive. However, in this day and age, meat, fur, and leather are not a necessary part of survival for the vast majority of us." "Unfortunately, many "sport" hunters have borrowed from aboriginal tradition and manipulated it into a justification for killing animals for recreation or profit." Yeah, OK, if we make you go somewhere because you can't survive without killing something it's OK. If not, and you do it, you're an evil person.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Article defending animal research (2.50 / 2) (#67)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 03:59:16 AM EST

    And this from PETA: http://www.peta-online.org/fp/hunt.html "What about people who have to hunt to survive?" "We have no quarrel with subsistence hunters and fishers who truly have no choice in order to survive. However, in this day and age, meat, fur, and leather are not a necessary part of survival for the vast majority of us." "Unfortunately, many "sport" hunters have borrowed from aboriginal tradition and manipulated it into a justification for killing animals for recreation or profit." Yeah, OK, if we make you go somewhere because you can't survive without killing something it's OK. If not, and you do it, you're an evil person.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Article defending animal research (2.00 / 4) (#68)
    by gas on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 04:36:30 AM EST

    In the whole article he just assumes that human suffering is somehow inherently more worth than everyone elses. But why? Why isn't that just another form of group discrimination ŕ la racism? Thats what the whole thing is really about.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Article defending animal research (5.00 / 1) (#81)
    by B'Trey on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 08:32:25 PM EST

    Do you really believe that there is no difference in shooting a human being and shooting an animal? Do you really believe that the slaughter of six billion chickens is morally equivalent to the slaughter of six million Jews?

    If you DO believe this, why aren't you trying to get predators arrested for murder? If you claim that they don't know better but we do, aren't YOU guilty of group discrimination against human beings? Why are YOU holding them to a different, higher standard? Does the fact that they're capable of comprehending the issues mean that they should be held to a higher standard? If so, doesn't that same capability mean that their suffering should be viewed in a different light as well?

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Article defending animal research (1.50 / 2) (#94)
    by gas on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 11:26:08 AM EST

    The value of someone's life depends on a lot of circumstances. So regarding the shooting I do in some cases and in some I don't. The killing of the billions of chickens puts a painful end to a life of terrible misery so the killing as such (as opposed to the methods it's done with) is not a very bad thing. The breeding and treatment of all those chickens however, is even worse than the treatment of those jews.

    I don't try to get predators arrested for murder for the same reason I don't try to get small children that kills people arrested for murder. But both should, whenever possible, be prevented from being violent to others.

    I can't see why small childrens, most non-human animals, stupid adults or others incapability of moral reasoning and responsibility should make their suffering worth less consideration. It's two separate things.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Article defending animal research (none / 0) (#119)
    by afc on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 06:41:50 PM EST

    The difference you (and animal rights activists) seem to miss (or pretend to miss, if you're not intellectually honest) is that human beings, in general (infants, mentally handicapped notwithstanding) are capable of moral choices and reasoning, even if they do not always use it. Animals (a very broad brush to paint all sentient beings) are not, or were not demonstrated to be capable of at this point. So that makes human beings indeed special in this regard.

    And you haven't managed to skip the question of punishment or reproach that is implicit in moral judgements and to which you're furry fellows would not be liable to. Children that commit misdeeds are still liable. Big difference.

    Information wants to be beer, or something.
    [ Parent ]

    Why PETA Should Be Disbanded... (4.75 / 8) (#72)
    by ravenmystic on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 12:55:53 PM EST

    Alright, I usually put up with PETA; it's hard to ignore them. I used to think PETA was an interesting organization until about three years ago. Since then, I've been completely against them.

    1. This past year, a friend of mine actually got kicked out of PETA because she owned fish. Owning fish means enslaving fishes. Fishes should be free, not kept in a huge aquarium. Her fish must be liberated, because "they're stuck swimming in endless circles with nowhere to go". Yes, that's a direct quote from the letter they sent.
    2. Two years ago or so, they chose to "liberate" the captive rabbits at WSU. Um. They're captive-bred? Seeing as they didn't know better, they were run over, lost, eaten, or managed to get returned. How's that for an animal rights activity?
    3. The year before that? PETA "liberated" captive-bred minx. Most of those were lost or eaten by predators as well. Again, this is animal activism?

    Needless to say, their concept of animal liberation is extreme and just plain idiotic. Let's get rid of all the pets in the world, right now, and see which ones survive! How's that for entertainment?

    Re: Why PETA Should Be Disbanded... (4.42 / 7) (#74)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 04:06:11 PM EST

    I can see it now, on NBC: Survivor, the pet series. Watch while real animals accustomed to living with humans try to make it on their own.

    This week: see why rabbits are commonly referred to as a prey species, learn the true meaning of predator and watch traffic as a significant evolutionary force in action. Observe the fast-track diet as Rover tries to find the meaning of life while scavenging.

    Next week: Rover enjoys bonding with a pack. Who will emerge as the alpha male? Does size matter, when you're neutered? Also featured, browsing at the bird feeder. Felix demonstrates the proper etiquette for a cat at the buffet, and answers the question: when is one bird not enough?

    In weeks to come:

  • "So I don't fit in, what is a lonely dog to do?"
  • "Is that a rabbit in your mouth, or are you just trying to fit in?"
  • Rating strollers by accessibility, and speed, by the animals who care the most. In this special episode, subtitled "Dingos got my baby", Consumer Reports will also rate tents for survivability.
  • Life and death in the wilderness. Watch coyotes eat a moose stranded in mud. Computer simulation of Rover and his pack of terriers attacking a stranded muskrat.
  • The follow up to this episode, "Rover's pack dances with wolves" will be shown in conjunction with a longer piece: "Wolf: feared predator, or misunderstood?"


    [ Parent ]
  • You or the carrot? (3.62 / 8) (#76)
    by johan on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 06:27:05 PM EST

    PETA is definitely willing to go to extremes to get their point across. This is how they get media coverage, and get people to think about their ideas. I don't agree with everything they do, but i'm glad they exist, and recognize that they draw a lot of attention to the issue. (Such as your post.)

    I've been an ethical vegetarian for 14 years now. I don't eat meat, wear leather, etc. because i don't want to have to kill animals. I don't preach to people much (anymore :-), but i will tell people what i think when the subject comes up.

    Allow me to explain my underlying moral basis for not killing animals. Maybe it will make more sense that PETA's propaganda.

    First off, i agree that for one complex creature to live, another must be its food. I'm not talking about single-cell organisms or anything, i'm talking about animals and plants. Even most vegetarians kill to survive. (Or kill buy proxy -- Just because you didn't kill the carrot or chicken you bought at the grocery, you might as well have, because you're desire to purchase it caused its death.)

    So if we have to kill to survive, why don't we eat other people? Fear of legal reprisal? Fear of disease? Conflict avoidance? Social conventions? If all of those factors were eliminiated, and you had a hankering for a nice, big juicy steak, why not just bonk that guy over the head, cut him up, cook him, and eat 'em? I mean, what would be so wrong about that? If you feel it's wrong, but can't explain why, consider that society has programmed you, and you're may just be following that programming, not expressing any sort of real moral view.

    Obviously, if people were (legally) free to eat whomever they wanted, society would be pretty chaotic. We'd spend a lot of time worrying about being eaten. Group events would probably not be much fun. So one can make the case that we don't eat each other because it would make our lives unproductive and crazy. Evolutionarily, it would also tend to reduce the species quite a bit, though it might also help to refine the gene pool. (Strongest survives sort of thing.)

    But neither of those reasons are moral. They are practical. Another practical reason (with hints of morality) is, Do unto others as you wish done unto you. You'd like to live a long, rich full life, right? The other guy does, too, so if everyone respects each other's wishes, then you both get to live a long time.

    An an example of explicitly moral reason is, I won't take another life, except in self-defense. The interesting thing about this moral "rule" is the question, "Why?" Why would it be wrong to kill and eat another person?

    There are myriad answers to that question, and a thinking person should be able to come up with many on their own. My answer is, Respect for life. I've come to the conclusion that the only safe assumption about the world is that there are roughly 6 billion other people out there, who are just like me. Most of the time, they want to be happy, for whatever reason, seldom are, but they generally keep trying anyway. I may be unique, but i'm not any more special than the other 6 billion. So i believe the fair thing is to respect their life.

    It's wrong for me to kill and eat them because that would deprive them of life, and they have the capacity to feel and understand what that means. Regardless of nationality, language, culture, or intelligence (or lack thereof) all of those 6 billion people fear death, fear pain, want pleasure, want happiness.

    I became a vegetarian because it became obvious to me that animals share that same capacity to feel and desire to live. They fear pain. They feel pleasure. They want to live.

    At this point, many people point out that vegetables also want to live. Some cite experiments demonstrating that plants also feel. My response to that is, we have to eat something. Though it knows it must kill to survive, a considerate being will recognize that killing is bad and will seek to limit the harm or suffering. It is less harmful to eat something like fruits or veggies that have been harvested from a plant that can often continue to live, than it is to kill and animal for its flesh. If you take a tomato from a plant, the plant will continue to live. You kill a cow so you can grind it up and make hamburgers, and that's the end of that life.

    I think that plants feel and comprehend less than higher animals, so if i am going to have to kill something in order to survive, i'd rather kill something that feels less or seems less aware. Look at a carrot and look at a cow. Which one is more like you?

    Maybe you think it's OK to kill and eat animals (or use them for medical research) because they are stupider than you. Because you can talk or vote or do math and they cannot. But what would you say to a creature from another planet, who was about to eat you even though it didn't need to in order to survive. Who justified it by saying that most humans are too stupid to comprehend and engage in intelligent, telepathic discourse on some arbitrary and bizarre topic, such as the color of furniture in the 5th dimension, so it was OK for the aliens to eat us. Wouldn't you try and make the point that intelligence isn't the only or most important criteria by which to value life? Wouldn't you assert that the aliens could feed a little lower down on the food chain, and perhaps avoid causing a little suffering?

    And how are you going to feel when that alien dismisses all of the moral and emoitonal arguments simply with,
    I'm going to kill and eat you instead of the carrot because i think you taste better.

    Re: You or the carrot? (4.75 / 4) (#83)
    by dmr on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 10:32:17 PM EST

    I admire your intentions as an "ethical vegetarian". My brother has been a vegetarian for about 20 years now, and we agree to disagree on the topic, and don't argue any more. However, in your case I will make an exception :).

    First, especially in your case, the decision to be a vegetarian is clearly based on a wish not to have animals killed for your consumption. That is pretty clear, and I understand and respect that. However, you have to respect and understand that nobody gets a free pass: many of the vegetables and fruits you eat represent a great cost to wildlife, in terms of actual habitat area, water diverted for irrigation, or the downstream costs of fertilizers. This doesn't result in actual death of animals in most cases, but certainly depresses their populations below what they would be if those farms weren't there. In some cases, animals find their way into farms and take great pleasure in snacking on the produce. I can assure you that the owners of the produce don't welcome this, and when shooing them away doesn't work, they kill them. So, while you are one step removed from killing these animals, the end result is the same.

    Don't get me wrong, I think that vegetarians are correct in assuming their way of life is a smaller footprint then those of us who eat meat. However, it is a smaller footprint, not a non-existent one.

    The issue of eating humans is not a practical one, it is totally cultural. A good case could be made for recycling human bodies into food products instead of burying them, or incinerating them, and that would be practical (SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!). Would I find a big steak from Old Al appetizing? Probably not.

    The issue of killing humans is also cultural, and one we tend to observe. "Thou shalt not murder" is the Christian version, but a version of that can be found in almost every culture and religion in the world. The reason for that is practical: the failure to observe it means anarchy, and rule by the right of the mighty. It is actually pretty impressive and speaks well of the human spirit that this idea has been developed in so many cultures, although not always expressed in them.

    No, I won't point out that plants are alive. I would also, considering them on a scale of eligible food, rank them lowest on my concerns about eating them (regarding their pain, anyway). You might consider that tomato plants don't go on to live after the tomatoes are picked, so that was a bad analogy (they are annuals). However, it is interesting that you rank them on a scale. Where do you rank escargots? Mussels? Shrimp?

    I suspect if an alien is sufficiently advanced to get here in the first place, she will be able to tell the difference between me and a carrot, and if she prefers humans we're all in trouble. If we can't convince her otherwise, then I'll see you out in the field, as PETA argues that we shouldn't be shorn because we would be humiliated. I'll be the one with no hair.

    [ Parent ]
    Re: You or the carrot? (3.00 / 2) (#98)
    by johan on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 03:29:55 PM EST

    You're correct that tomato plants are annuals. My point is, when the tomato itself is removed from the plant, the plant continues to live. The act of taking the tomato doesn't kill the plant. But you are correct, a better example would be an apple and apple tree.

    Up until i became a vegetarian, i had little or no interest in eating shell-fish, so i have actually never eaten them. Personally, i guess i'd rank them "below" animals. I doubt i'll ever consider eating them unless i'm literally starving.

    Yes, vegetable farm are going to have an impact on the environment, and will displace some animals, and maybe even kill a few others. However, this is really nothing compared to the environmental damage caused by wide-scale "production" of beef and chicken. Every cow that is raised for meat has to be fed thousands of pounds of soy beans, corn and other vegetables. All of that vegetable matter will be grown on vegetable farms. I won't reprint the PETA propaganda at you, but i do challenge you to locate a credible source that has demonstrated that raising food in the form of cows and chickens is more efficient or has less of an effect on the environment than normal vegetables.

    As i think you would agree, if we live, we are going to leave some eco-footprint. But smaller is better. Short of terminating my existence, i cannot prevent any animal from ever "suffering." But there are some really obvious changes i've made that greatly reduced my eco-footprint as well as my "suffering-footprint." My question for you is, if you acknowledge that a vegetarian diet has smaller footprints than the traditional meat-heavy U.S. omnivore diet, then why aren't you a vegetarian?

    I expect that the alien will be able to tell the difference between us and the carrot. What i'm unsure of is if her species will be like humans, totally self-centered and uncaring of other beings. If she's like us, then we're just a new kind of food. From the human standpoint, "lower" species' desire to live free is less important than what we feel like eating that night for dinner.

    [ Parent ]

    Selective ? (3.00 / 1) (#107)
    by lazerus on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 05:35:59 AM EST

    Johan, you seemed concerned about animal conciousness and generally concede that animals do in fact have self-determination as sentient beings.

    However, I find it amusing as usual that people like you are quite selective in what rights and admissions you concede to animals. For instance, animals should not be enslaved and used wrongly by humans, because they are sentient beings - but you probably disagree with some people on the fact that animals also have their own sexual self-determination, too, right :=) ?

    [ Parent ]
    Re: You or the carrot? (none / 0) (#115)
    by dmr on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 11:45:31 PM EST

    I didn't claim that raising animals for food is more efficient or has less of an effect on the environment than normal vegetables, and in fact I doubt that is the case. However, I recognize that even vegetarians have a negative effect on animal populations, and that is something PETA (to my knowledge, at least, although I will admit I haven't done thorough research) has never acknowledged. In other words, this is not a question of absolutes, which is what PETA seems to claim.

    As for choices I make regarding my eco-footprint, those are a matter for me and my conscience, just as yours are for you, and remember those choices go beyond what you eat. They include where you live, what you do, and how much you contribute to environmental causes (for whatever reason). The difference between me and PETA members is that I will follow my conscience, and not try to force my ideas on others.

    Some families (and not just native subsistence hunters) are supplied with almost all of their meat and fish for the entire year through hunting and angling. No factory farms, and no animals raised for food. Yet, PETA would condemn this family over one who delights in hot-house vegetables year-round, at that cost to the environment, and even one that buys their meat at the supermarket, simply because they have the moral courage to do what others leave to anonymous workers in slaughterhouses.

    Yes, I realize that there is no way the current human population can be supported by hunting and angling. That really has nothing to do with the morality of those activities, though, does it?

    [ Parent ]
    Man, I hate replying to these... (5.00 / 1) (#121)
    by RiffRaff on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 10:05:00 PM EST

    ...So I'll only do it this once... :-)

    I find it interesting that few (none?) of these PETA advocates are willing to take their convictions to the next logical level. Here in Missouri (where the deer population was all but decimated at the turn of the century), we have built up a sizable deer population through conservation. So sizable, in fact, that if there were NOT hunters "thinning the herd," they would die of starvation as they run out of food. This, because there are no natural enemies left, such as wolves or bears. Why? Because there is a certain minimal range requirement for a self-sustaining predator population (something like twenty square miles PER ANIMAL in the case of wolves, IIRC).

    My point? Until these PETA folks are willing to live exclusively in high-rise apartments and give up their multi-acre estates for use as animal preserves, so as to allow the natural predator population to increase to the point that the deer population is held naturally in check, I have absolutely zero support for them. They are, in reality, themselves part of the problem they profess to wish to cure.

    And if you believe a deer never hurt anyone, you've obviously never lost a family member due to a car accident caused by hitting a deer (a direct result over over-population...nowadays held to a minimum by conservative hunting).

    I wouldn't even comment on PETA's terrorist tactics, or their legal bullying of Mike Doughney, the guy who OWNED the domain name http://peta.org (now at http://www.mtd.com/tasty/)...

    http://www.lp.org Enough is enough!
    [ Parent ]
    Re: You or the carrot? (4.66 / 3) (#85)
    by khaladan on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 01:14:35 AM EST

    Interesting comments. Respect for life appears to be a good reason. Seems to me that's exactly it. We recognize that other humans are similar to us, have similar capacities, feelings, and so we respect that.

    How far does this respect have to reach? Reminds me of a lot of arguments of this type. Such as "how fast is fast enough" in programming, with the meticuluous assembly programmers saying that speed and efficiency is extremely important, with the higher level language people saying that the tradeoff of speed in execution with faster development can be in many cases superior. I don't know if I can relate this argument directly. However, if there was a study that certain fruits or veggies had more feelings/sensations/etc, than others, would one stop eating those?

    Kind of makes me think of a hypothetical person who is totally selfless. That person, however, dies quickly. That person might stop breathing just so that other people can have more oxygen. Somewhat silly. However, that isn't to say that selflessness is bad. Only that there is a limit, or balance, or that it should be moderated.

    I eat animals. But I think it is wrong to torture them, and things like that. I've never had veal since I heard that they lock up the animal when they are young so it won't toughen the meat or something... that's not very pleasant.

    Finally what you said, you are probably aware of this, doesn't justify imnsho some things that PETA does.

    ramble off,

    [ Parent ]
    Very interesting idea (3.00 / 2) (#100)
    by Smiling Dragon on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 07:38:17 PM EST

    There has always been debate on what morals really are. I'm inclined to say I have no morals, I behave in a way which will benefit me the most, this includes actions which help my society as I know that this will help me in the end provided everyone else (or most everyone else) does it to.

    This means that I kill and eat animals when I wish, but would never consider killing and eating another human (and I know the reason - I dont want to do it becasue that means it's ok for someone else to kill and eat me) I don't expect the animals to figure out a way to hunt me so I don't fear reprisal the same way.

    I don't kill animals unless I plan to eat them, I feel guilty when I don't finish a meal. But this is because it's a waste, if I don't eat it but deny someone else the chance to eat it, I waste and I hurt the society - bad thing for me.

    If advanced aliens arrive and decide we make good food then we are screwed - same way they would be screwed if we decided to eat them once we get to exploring the stars. Personally I think we'll be ok because I know _we_ would be damned careful to not use a potentially useful (or dangerous) species as food, so why would they be that different? - it's bad society thinking.

    I know it's not quite as simple as I make out here, there is certainly social conditioning that affects my opinions, prevents me from eating stray cats (but then again, I guess I'd be damned upset if someone ate _my_ cat so...) and there is the emotional thing of killing the cute little fuzzy bunny - I should feel less guilty when I kill and eat a rabbit but still it's there even when I'm moping up the gravy with a roast spud.

    -- Sometimes understanding is the booby prize - Neal Stephenson
    [ Parent ]
    A quote... (4.00 / 1) (#80)
    by zforce on Sat Oct 07, 2000 at 08:24:22 PM EST

    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals... I just hate plants. hehe.. I love that saying. I'm not a vegetarian, but if I was..that would be my reasoning. Seriously though, I'm kind of wondering.. any vegetarians out there... why is the life of an animal more important than a plant? At what point does it end? Are cold blooded animals okay? What about stuff like calms? And the stuff between? Ian

    Re: A quote... (3.00 / 1) (#99)
    by deanc on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 05:47:28 PM EST

    Well, I'm not a vegetarian (though I do go for stretches of time without eating meat for religious reasons), and generally, vegetarians consider their lifestyle less wasteful (don't have to expend grain on feeding animals before slaughter), healthier (less "bad" colesterol, less dietary fat, in general), and simply feel that animals are in a different category than plants as far as "living things" is concerned-- which, I mean, is fairly logical, though might break down when one starts to think about sea sponges and other such living beings. Plants, for example, express pain in a different way than animals, and I think it results in an empathic reaction from people who decide to go vegetarian.


    [ Parent ]
    Differences (3.50 / 2) (#102)
    by johan on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 10:57:59 PM EST

    Differences & similarities between plants and animals:

    All animals have a central nervous system, including brain. Plants don't. All animals had a mother and a father. In mammals, parents are carried by the mother and usually cared for after birth. Plants have a variety of reproductive techniques, involving spores, pollenation or seeds, but there is never birth or nurturing. Every animal has a face. Animals bleed. Mammals and some other animals obviously fear death, feel pain and have a will to live. Plants obviously want to live, but do they fear?

    Please keep in mind, when i say animal, i'm including humans. If you're human, you share many, many traits with your fellow animals.

    For me personally: i not willing to stop breathing so that i don't have to harm another living thing. But i don't need to eat meat to stay alive, and so i try to feed a farther down the food chain because i'm just about positive vegetables "feel" it less than mammals. I can empathize with the desire to live and grow in a tree, a flower or a shrubbery, but it's not the same as looking into the eyes of an cat, dog, cow, fish or chicken. I see more there.

    [ Parent ]

    That's taxonomically incorrect (5.00 / 2) (#105)
    by cme on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 02:12:06 AM EST

    All animals have a central nervous system, including brain. Plants don't. All animals had a mother and a father. In mammals, parents are carried by the mother and usually cared for after birth. Plants have a variety of reproductive techniques, involving spores, pollenation or seeds, but there is never birth or nurturing. Every animal has a face. Animals bleed. Mammals and some other animals obviously fear death, feel pain and have a will to live.

    This is incorrect. Sponges, corals, and tubeworms (to name a few) are members of the kingdom Animalia, and they certainly do not have faces, nor bear or care for young (the sperm and eggs are released into the water to meet as they may). Mollusks, echinoderms (starfish, etc.), even many large fish reproduce this way. Even of the species where the female lays the eggs and the male fertilizes them, not all of them guard the eggs until hatching, and even if they *do* the generally don't care for the baby fish. And while a fish may bleed, a sponge or a coral certainly doesn't.

    Speaking as a biologist (even though I am not a macrobiologist or taxonomist) , I don't see anything in your post that is a valid generalization for the distinction between animals and plants, with the possible exception of your claim of central nervous systems. I wish I remembered my macro classes better, but here is what my dictionary had to say about animals:
    Any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicelluar organisms that have a defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli.
    (Webster's College Dictionary, copyright 1991 Random House)

    [ Parent ]
    Re: That's taxonomically incorrect (none / 0) (#108)
    by bob_the_moose on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 07:49:40 AM EST

    ...and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli.

    I wonder whether that has to be a neurone based nervous system, or do ionic gradiants count as well? If so, many bacteria also fall into this description.

    [ Parent ]
    Nervous systems (none / 0) (#111)
    by cme on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 02:25:13 PM EST

    I think it has to be a neuron-based system- though "central nervous system" does not equal something as sophisticated as a "brain". Also, I believe animals have to be multicellular. The single-cellular critters are monera, protista and archaea (and maybe fungi).

    [ Parent ]
    Re: A quote... (4.50 / 2) (#103)
    by /ASCII on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 10:58:18 PM EST

    The vegetarian distinction is a bit blurry, since it is sometimes hard do see the difference between animals and other lifeforms. Our current distinction between animals and plants is very old, but our biological classification stems from a swedish man named Carl von Linné. He divided all lifeforms into the three categories animal, plant or mineral(Linné found that even though farmers removed the rocks from their fields every year, new ones always appeard, hence he decided they must be living creatures, and given time every rock will become a mountain), and then subdivided each of these in logical subgroups, forming a tree. But some lifeforms like mushrooms don't fit wery well into this system, and simply not abusing any animal lifeforms is also impossible, since these include amoeba and other rather "silly" animals.

    It should be obvious that humans have to abuse some lifeforms to survive. It is generally belived that Mithocondria are originally bacteria, but they have been enslaved by larger cells, and wholy dependant on them. The digestive system also contains enslaved bacteria, with a stricly controlled lifecycle.

    Given the above argument, it should be clear that any philosophical rule about not abusing other lifeforms must allow for the abuse of some "primitive" lifeforms, and as such must be arbitrary. It is, IMO, reosonable to avoid inflicting pain to lifeforms that has cognitive abilities, but as noted, this is a personal opinion, and as such it should not be enforced on others. But that explains why eating plants can be viewed as better than eating animals.

    From a biological perspective, cannibalistic behaviour seems to be suboptimal. Other than that, carnivouric creatures like humans seem rather succesfull. It should be noted though that our planet could support many more vegetarian lifeforms than meateating ones. So from a biological perspective vegetarianism might be a good idea, but only if we care about third world countries and the starvation of future generations. But honestly, aren't there enough people in the world, anyway?

    I can see a lot of good arguments for beeing vegetarian, but none for forcing others to be vegetarians. But I don't really care. I like Whoppers more than cows.

    "The time has come", the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings."
    [ Parent ]
    True on several levels (5.00 / 4) (#86)
    by )-(eat on Sun Oct 08, 2000 at 03:06:58 AM EST

    You're point on a few extremists changing everyone else is very true, and also very disturbing... and it doenst just happen with animal activists or nature lovers - i read an article in Penthouse (i know, i know) titled "Sexual McCarthyism", it was extremely insightful, pointed out how a relative few extremist feminists got the idea of sexual harrasment down from actual abuse to the huge list of things they read you whenever you get a new job... how they flaunted the outragious claim that every male is a potential rapist... the same happens with PETA - they somehow convince people that animals have more rights than people do... a few extremists control the majority

    These fanatics have no right to try to change my life.. im not sitting at home torturing animals to hear them scream, but as far as PETA is concerned, eating meat or hunting or having pets is just as bad. I do all those things, and enjoy them. It is so odd that while almost all of PETA's arguments against hunting or eating meat or whatever can be factually disproven, they still use them. They believe hunting is so wrong and immoral, they should go to a place where there is no deer hunting and take a look at the sorry shape the deer are in... since deer have no natural predators in most areas, there is nearly nothing to keep their population in check, so the number skyrockets, but each individual is small and diseased because they are malnourished... how is this fair? as humans we are responsible for removing those natural predators, so it is our responsibility to take their place and keep the deer population in check, by hunting them, then eating the meat or donating it to charity... cold homeless people usually arent very concerned about how terrible it was that little bambi's mother got shot, they are actually quite happy that they get to eat her

    Remove SPAMTHIS. then rot-13 twice to email me ;)
    Save the Yeasts! (3.00 / 2) (#112)
    by Ruidh on Mon Oct 09, 2000 at 04:24:47 PM EST

    Human treatment of yeasts is unconscionable. We set up nice, tasty environments for them in brewery vats and then, after they have done their useful work, exterminate them all in the pasturization of their ourput. These are slaves who are killed after they have produced the output of their work. And to what end? Miller Time.

    We also use biological warfare against yeasts. Surely you've all see the ads on television recently for Monistat and other so-called "medicines" to treat women with yeast colonies.

    Join PETTY -- People for the Ethical Treatment of The Yeasts.

    "Laissez-faire is a French term commonly interpreted by Conservatives to mean 'lazy fairy,' which is the belief that if governments are lazy enough, the Good Fairy will come down from heaven and do all their work for them."
    PETA? (5.00 / 1) (#118)
    by gle on Tue Oct 10, 2000 at 06:33:09 AM EST

    Don't forget to visit the PETA web site.
    Ooops, it wasn't *that* PETA?
    Well, at least it gives you another view on the subject...

    (1.00 / 2) (#123)
    by santeri on Wed Oct 11, 2000 at 05:39:42 PM EST

    A more accurate description of their plan might be "to end all human use of animals."

    And that's a Very Good Thing (TM). Say what you want, they have a sound agenda to follow.

    PETA is opposed to any use of animals whatsoever. Think about the implications of this philosophy . . . no meat, no leather, no milk, no wool . . .

    These are all very sensible goals, and within the modern society, even easily attainable. Should give a try sometime.

    I don't know of any plant fibers that keep me as warm and cozy as wool does.

    I bet you haven't even tried yet. Hemp and cotton make very durable, easily maintained and warm clothing. They are even cheaper and more enviroment-friendly to produce. Plus they tend to be less hazardrous to allergic people.

    The kind of disrespect for humanity that supporters of PETA display, leave me somewhat suspicious of just how respectful of animals they really are.

    Personally I'm not very keen to humans as a race. We tend to waste our most precious power, the ability to think rationally and be responsible for our habitat. Therefore I wouldn't blink an eye if we'd be perished from earth tomorrow and leave it to the rest of fauna. But I'm not PETA (or even a member).


    Sound agenda? (none / 0) (#127)
    by afc on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 10:35:12 AM EST

    I fail to see how the erradication of all types of scientifical experiments (even those were animal suffering is kept to a minimum, even those that are necessary to advance medical science and potentially find the cure for chronical diseases) is a sound agenda. It is immoral, irrational and inhumane. Also, their support to criminal actions that put human lives (and animal lives, for that matter) in danger is highly irresponsible and unethical. Their lack of a sense of a humour, which was made notorious with their quest against the former peta.org doamin owner, betrays their radical bent and makes one wonder about their mental sanity.

    Information wants to be beer, or something.
    [ Parent ]

    re (none / 0) (#128)
    by piwowk on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 01:23:37 PM EST

    I bet you haven't even tried yet. Hemp and cotton make very durable, easily maintained and warm clothing. They are even cheaper and more enviroment-friendly to produce. Plus they tend to be less hazardrous to allergic people.

    aaah yes, cotton, the death material. precisely what I want to be wearing in a cold, wet environment....

    [ Parent ]

    Scientologists with carrots. (none / 0) (#124)
    by gths on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 12:10:47 AM EST

    Hmm. I respect the opinions of vegans and vegetarians, and even agree with some of their points. Though, obviously, I don't see any point in curtailing my particular lifestyle choice. But PETA sound as if they've been infected by the same mania as Scientologists...

    Also, I'm not going to disengage from my place in nature just because a bunch of vegan sentimentalists have a problem with humanity.

    Re: Scientologists with carrots. (none / 0) (#125)
    by 0xffffffff on Thu Oct 12, 2000 at 10:56:44 AM EST

    I heartily agree, and further wish to express my undying appreciation of vegitarians. Why, some of my favorite foods are vegitarians!

    [ Parent ]
    Animal Instinct: a wild PETA bashing | 129 comments (112 topical, 17 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Display: Sort:


    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!