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[P]
Notes on Veganism, Rights and the Absence of a Plant Liberation Front

By greenrd in Op-Ed
Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:30:34 AM EST
Tags: etc (all tags)
/etc

There are many advocacy outlets on the web putting the case for a vegan diet - for the animals, for your health and for the planet. What I want to do in this article is not yet another bulleted list of pro-vegan arguments - worthy (or not) as they may be. As a practicing vegan myself, I want to make an attempt to explore - perhaps not fully answer - some of the tougher and/or less well-trodden challenges to "ethical vegan"1 philosophies. The sort of things which often come up in conversation with non-vegans, but are rarely covered by A-B-C guides to veganism: How should human rights and animal rights be weighed up - for example when animal rights activists take direct action against a demonstrably cruel scientist? Isn't veganism a bit extreme - no milk or cheese or even honey? Doesn't it also have a pretty arbitrary cut-off-point?

Not to mention, why is there an Animal Liberation Front but no Plant Liberation Front?


Some of these challenges are perhaps quite light-hearted - but I think that even those that may seem most absurd can still shed some light on differences in assumptions or "worldviews" between vegans and non-vegans. I don't claim to provide the full and final answer to all of these points, but I hope to tackle them in an open-minded and non-dogmatic way: neither ducking embarassing questions, nor providing crisp but wrong answers. Of course, as veganism is highly controversial, many readers will likely view that stated aim with a wry grin.

This article was prompted by a heated debate on the #kuro5hin IRC channel, in which I was criticised for failing to defend my views adequately. I hope that this medium will allow me to express myself in a more leisurely and coherent manner - away from the rapid cut-and-thrust of scintillating IRC repartee, which leaves a slow thinker such as myself at a disadvantage.

Ethical Veganism1, for me, in a nutshell

All ethical vegans (see note 1) tend to agree that cruelty to animals is a bad thing, that raising awareness of it in appropriate ways is a good thing, and so on. Many of us have pretty much convergent ideas on a wide range of animal-related and broader issues. However, as I will be dealing with some areas in which there is not necessarily a cohesive, well-agreed-upon consesus opinion, I can't reasonably claim to speak for all, or even many, other vegans. Thus, right from the outset I want to make it clear that these are my personal thoughts, which are not necessarily representative of the opinions of vegans in general - although they may be in some cases.

So, perhaps I should start by answering the most basic question: what does it mean to be a vegan? In theory, a vegan is someone who does not use, buy or consume any products - whether they be food, clothes, or anything else - with ingredients or constituents derived directly from animals above a certain level of complexity.

1 Throughout this piece, the concept "People who are vegan primarily for ethical reasons" will be abbreviated to "Ethical vegans" or just "Vegans". There are a small minority of vegans who choose to follow the diet, sometimes for health reasons, but do not fully agree with the animal-rights-based arguments for veganism. However, most "converts" come to veganism through being persuaded by ethics-based (in particular, empathy-based) arguments - and it is this sort of veganism that I am focusing on in this article.

Just a minute! Animals "above a certain level of complexity"? Where did that come from?

Ethical veganism is not like a mindless observance of a religious ritual, executed by its adherents just because the Torah or the Koran specifies it. It is not designed to demonstrate the obediance or reverence of believers to their chosen deity. It has a definite down-to-earth point to it. (Or two. Or three.)

I'll explain my "level of complexity" clarification below, but first I want to avoid skating over the key point here. Different vegans will explain their reasons for becoming or staying vegan in different ways, but undoubtedly a common thread for many, many vegans is not wanting to economically support the literal institutionalised barbarity that comes under the heading of "factory farming". A short list of examples:

  • Battery hens crammed together into cages, so small they cannot even in stretch their wings. Truly, battery farms are a shining example (if you'll pardon the expression) of the genesis of the term "factory farming". The birds are reduced to mechanical production units, treated as nothing more than statistics.
  • Sows confined in stalls so small they cannot even turn around - nor fulfill their maternal instincts to look after their young, which may be placed on the other side of their "cages".
  • De-beaking, de-tailing, and tooth-pulling - sometimes without anaesthetic - practices which are to a large extent a response to mental illnesses of overcrowding. In spacious conditions pigs and chickens do not generally feel the need to attack their fellow creatures so viciously - it is only the ridiculous levels of overcrowding in factory farms that drive them to these highly aggressive behaviour modes.
  • Rogue - but undisciplined - "meat-packers" (translation: slaughterhouse workers) playing sick "games" of torture and mutilation with helpless animals. Or, perhaps worse, simply disregarding systematic breaking of basic animal welfare principles, such as the principle that birds should be unconscious before being dunked into a scalding hot tank to de-feather them.
  • Animals packed into vehicles and ships so densely, and with so little regard for basic needs such as water, that many of them die en-route.
I don't like delving into the graphic detail of these abuses any more than you would like to hear me rant on about them, so I deliberately kept this list much briefer than I could have. However, a wealth of books and websites are available to fill in the details, such as for example Gail Eisnitz's shocking and self-explanatory Slaughterhouse, Erik Marcus's Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating - and of course, everyone's favorite cuddly animal rights group, PETA.org. McSpotlight and their coverage of the infamous "McLibel trial" is also worth looking into - as McDonalds ended up admitting in court that some of the allegations made against them were accurate.

So veganism, for me, is partly about fighting cruelty by not supporting it in the first place. It's only a small step, but at the same time it's a large one - the more people that go vegan, and the more people that raise their children vegan, the less demand there'll be for animal products, so the theory goes.

For me, being anti-cruelty is the primary factor in being vegan. I don't usually object to painless killing of non-human animals, as long as it doesn't upset anyone.

But isn't it possible to be both "anti-cruelty" and to eat meat?

What meat-eaters should ask themselves, if they're truly concerned about cruelty, is: Can they be reasonably confident that the food they buy is cruelty-free? And if not, what are they going to do about it?

There are a range of possible responses, such as: Trying to switch to producers which don't use factory farming techniques; cutting down on meat; going vegan; holding an anti-factory-farming stall outside a supermarket; pressing for less lax laws and regulations, and less lax enforcement of those regulations. Or, of course, wringing ones hands and doing nothing.

So what makes veganism stand out? Aren't any of the above decisions just as valuable, or even more, compared to giving up animal products?

The same thing that makes a vegetarian wearing leather shoes stand out, or an anti-Nike activist wearing Nike shoes stand out. If a person professes to be concerned about the plight of factory farmed animals, and then continues to shovel money into the arms of the factory farmers when they could feasibly make other food choices, perhaps there is a question-mark over how sincere that person really is.

Now, having got the moral-advocacy-oriented part, which I feel very strongly about, out of the way, I'll move on to:

Why draw the line here?

After all, even if someone agrees that factory farming is a Bad Thing[tm], and even decides that they want to reduce the degree to which they support the animal industries, it doesn't logically follow that they should draw the line where the Vegan Society draws its line. Isn't it asking a bit much to expect people to give up not only beef, but chicken, turkey, ham, milk, cheese, butter and eggs as well?

What are you left with? Rice and baked beans?

Well, not exactly. You've got fruit, vegetables, pulses, breads, rice, sprouts, pasta, etc. which still leaves you with a hell of a lot of variety for the creative cook - and even vegan chocolate, or carob if you prefer. And if you're lucky and you're in an area with a moderate-to-high concentration of vegans (relatively speaking), you might find things like vegan "not ham", vegan "cheeze", or vegan "ice cream" at your supermarket or health food store. New substitutes seem to crop up every year. It's really not such a hard life, I've found - even being a "fast food vegan" who hates cooking anything non-trivial.

But what is the reasoning behind boycotting eggs and dairy products? Battery hens we've already covered, and in the case of milk it's again due to cruelty: briefly, bovine growth hormones and breeding for large udders has lead to widespread foot problems and mastitis; also, the dairy trade is rather closely linked to the vile veal trade. Veal is a byproduct of milk production, not the other way around.

Basically, for me, once I'd made the decision to go fully vegetarian, it didn't seem that impossible to go the whole hog and go vegan as well. It was daunting, yes - but I weighed up in my head the convenience and pleasure of cream cheese, cakes, milk chocolate and things like that, with in my view the moral gravity of supporting the dairy and battery farm industries - and I decided there was absolutely no comparison.

It's ultimately got to be a personal decision. Obviously to me the choice was clear and stark - but equally obviously, the same choice is not so obvious to everyone, otherwise everyone would be going vegan by now. There's no objective measure by which I can say "Reducing the number of calves bred for veal is more important than eating cream cake". All I can really do is dig up facts on animal abuse, the health benefits of a vegan diet and so on, and appeal to empathy. (Called by unkind souls a "guilt trip" - but what else can one do to call attention to the gravity of the situation and to people's personal responsibility to do something about it?)

But isn't the cut-off point arbitrary? What about prawns? Honey? Carrots, even?

I actually do avoid honey, but I don't think it's very likely that bees can feel pain or suffer. The Vegan Society says avoiding honey is optional. It's no big deal to avoid honey though, so I just stay on the "moral safe side", as it were.

The key question, for me, is, "Is the organism in question panient?" - in other words, does it have the capacity to feel pain and/or suffer. And this is, at least in principle, a scientific question - although it's rather embarassingly difficult to answer within today's current scientific framework. Scientists who have studied the matter, such as Marian Stamp Dawkins, say that factors such as evolutionary reasoning, and the structural similarity of nervous systems among higher vertebrates, strongly suggest that many other "higher" animals are panient. So sheep and cows probably can feel pain, but bees probably can't.

As for plants, well: OK, I admit it, for the sake of argument. No-one can prove that a carrot doesn't feel pain. But let's turn this around. No-one can actually prove that you really feel pain either. Or, put it this way: if a highly realistic futuristic robot was programmed to mimic your behaviour exactly, and it swore and hopped about when it dropped a heavy weight on its feet, would the robot really be in pain?

Or, put yet another way, is a television afraid when it shows a horror movie and emits screaming noises?

The point is that pain cannot be defined as how a thing reacts. It's inherently an internal, mental thing, and hence not directly accessible to the scientific method as we know it. (This is a controversial philosophical position, but I believe the examples above, and other more subtle examples that can easily be cooked up, demonstrate its correctness.) All we can do is make certain (reasonable?) assumptions. For other humans it's fairly safe: no sane person seriously doubts that other people are in general panient.

In the case of non-human "higher" animals, you can either defer to the contemporary scientific consensus, which is that they are panient; or go with certain "Englightenment" thinkers of yore, and say "This dog is just a machine. When you kick it, the squeal is just a reflex reaction, it feels nothing. So it's perfectly OK to tie down and dissect live dogs without anaesthetic". Again, a rigorous proof either way isn't really possible.

As for the plants, I really find it hard to take this particular challenge to veganism at all seriously. For one thing, there's no Plant Liberation Front. In fact, no serious organisation or individuals have set themselves the task of protecting plants from cruelty. No-one seriously says to me when I'm talking about veganism "Hey I totally agree with what you're saying, Robin, but I think there's also a problem with cruelty to plants. Wheat should be injected with plant anaesthetic before it's harvested!"

I won't speculate too much about the motives of those who make arguments like "But what about plants?" Suffice it to say that trolling and joking are not the only things that can drive people to champion apparently absurd positions.

But surely no-one can avoid contributing to oppression in some form, whether it be saving money at a bank that invests in sweatshops, or buying from someone who then goes and spends that money on pate de fois gras, or whatever? If you trace things far out enough, everyone's implicated

Maybe - still, there's a question of degree of culpability there. Anyway, not being able to save the world by clicking your fingers is no excuse for not putting in any effort.

But what about all the animals that are killed by combine harvesters each year?

Indeed. Or, all the animals that are killed by road traffic each year. Both are a serious problem, and of course I support research into ways of deterring animals from roads and fields about to be harvested.

I used to argue that since cattle are fed on grain anyway, and one pound of beef takes several pounds of grain to produce, eating meat only increases the amount of grain that has to be produced and thus increases the chance of a poor little fieldmouse being squished.

To a certain extent this is true, but it's perhaps a shaky argument. After all - and this is one of the points that vegan websites often neglect to mention, because it doesn't help their cause - animals are also very good at turning food which we can't eat (grass, seeds etc.) into food that we can eat (meat). The fact that they are often fed grain is a result of economics, not biological necessity.

The person who asked me the combine harvester question was clearly implying that eating "industrially-produced" plants was actually no better than eating meat, because of the animals killed and maimed in the process. I don't have a watertight answer to that one, but firstly it's incidental and not necessary to producing grain - just as some people say "Farming per se is not wrong, it's just factory farming that's abusive". A rebuttal to that is that, allegedly, feeding the world with lower-tech harvesting techniques would not be feasible.

I would say that both aims - abolishing factory farming and regressing to more manual harvesting - are totally unrealistic under the current capitalist system - it would take a socialist revolution, massive technological upheaval or an eco-crash returning us to more primitive times to acheive either of them. Boycotting cruel farms (e.g. by going vegan) is actually more realistic than expecting them all to be cleaned up by government regulation, which is just not going to happen, for economic reasons (although less lax regulations on the animal industries are always a good thing). It is the meat-eating "animal welfarists" who are the pie-in-the-sky ones, even more so than the vegans.

Secondly, I find it hard to believe that the number of animals killed by accident in the course of making my daily bread is at all comparable to the number of animals that have to be killed to feed one person eating meat daily.

Doesn't valuing nonhuman animals on a par with humans lead to the converse: valuing humans on a par with mere animals? And doesn't this implicitly justify animal rights terrorism / Nazism / insert bad thing here?

Only if the oppression of Palestinians, and valuing Palestinian lives on a par with Israeli lives, justifies suicide bombing Israeli civilians (or perhaps I should say soldiers, since animal rights extremists typically target scientists who they believe are torturing animals). This is not really a new question.

Oh, and my answer is no, of course.

But come on. Here's the clincher. Everyone knows vegans are a bunch of hippies who never bathe, look pale and skinny and don't get out much, right?

Aren't you confusing vegans with the readership profile of k5? *ducks*

Well I don't know really, to be honest. I'd love to have a statistical survey on the personalities and looks of vegans at my fingertips (that's always been the allegation that's stumped me the most). But unfortunately I don't have one. Er. Well, you could look at Alicia Silverstone, for example. Or the kickass poet Benjamin Zephania. Or - ah yes, that's what I was looking for: these vegan and vegetarian athletes

No, boys and girls, veganism doesn't doom you to a life of being as skinny and weak as a beanpole - or indeed a fat couch potato. (Genetics and laziness can though.)

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Notes on Veganism, Rights and the Absence of a Plant Liberation Front | 589 comments (556 topical, 33 editorial, 3 hidden)
The thing is... (3.40 / 5) (#3)
by axxeman on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 02:23:31 PM EST

Vegans matter as much to the "factory farming" industry as overclockers do to the computer hardware industry.

Which is to say, not at all.

Btw, I was a health (ie not ethical) vegan for 4-5 months before I gave up on it. Not so much because it was hard, but because it's basically a religion.

Feminism is an overcompensatory drama-queen club, with extra dykes. ---- Farq

And Nader (5.00 / 5) (#15)
by greenrd on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 03:45:50 PM EST

Mattered as much to Gore... oh wait.

These things take time.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

And doing drugs... (4.00 / 2) (#17)
by dipierro on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 03:54:16 PM EST

supports terrorism... Hmm...

[ Parent ]
Overclockers (4.33 / 3) (#27)
by dark on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 04:21:56 PM EST

I think it was overclockers who put rpm and seek time back on the price lists for hard disks, and put access times back on the price lists for RAM. Don't underestimate the power of people who write reviews.

(Now if only they would do the same for CD drives)



[ Parent ]
A few points... (4.83 / 6) (#4)
by leviramsey on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 02:26:50 PM EST

What meat-eaters should ask themselves, if they're truly concerned about cruelty, is: Can they be reasonably confident that the food they buy is cruelty-free? And if not, what are they going to do about it?

I'll grant that it's difficult to be certain. But one does not have to buy meat. One can hunt or one can possess animals to provide animal products.

This is one of the more interesting questions: is hunting an example of cruelty on a par with factory farming (where you get your instances of cruelty)? I know at least one otherwise-vegan who is willing to eat venison, for instance. On a related note, is possession of an animal in violation of ethical veganism?

There are a range of possible responses, such as: Trying to switch to producers which don't use factory farming techniques; cutting down on meat; going vegan; holding an anti-factory-farming stall outside a supermarket; pressing for less lax laws and regulations, and less lax enforcement of those regulations. Or, of course, wringing ones hands and doing nothing.
...
The same thing that makes a vegetarian wearing leather shoes stand out, or an anti-Nike activist wearing Nike shoes stand out. If a person professes to be concerned about the plight of factory farmed animals, and then continues to shovel money into the arms of the factory farmers when they could feasibly make other food choices, perhaps there is a question-mark over how sincere that person really is.

The examples you give don't cover switching to producers who don't use factory farming techniques (assuming that they do not wear leather, etc.).

As for the plants, I really find it hard to take this particular challenge to veganism at all seriously. For one thing, there's no Plant Liberation Front. In fact, no serious organisation or individuals have set themselves the task of protecting plants from cruelty. No-one seriously says to me when I'm talking about veganism "Hey I totally agree with what you're saying, Robin, but I think there's also a problem with cruelty to plants. Wheat should be injected with plant anaesthetic before it's harvested!"

This isn't exactly the best argument. If I formed a Plant Liberation Front....

I would say that both aims - abolishing factory farming and regressing to more manual harvesting - are totally unrealistic under the current capitalist system - it would take a socialist revolution, massive technological upheaval or an eco-crash returning us to more primitive times to acheive either of them. Boycotting cruel farms (e.g. by going vegan) is actually more realistic than expecting them all to be cleaned up by government regulation, which is just not going to happen, for economic reasons (although less lax regulations on the animal industries are always a good thing). It is the meat-eating "animal welfarists" who are the pie- in-the-sky ones, even more so than the vegans.

This could work just as well, as I see it:

I start up a for-profit, non-factory farm. I certify that I do not engage in any of the practices that you find objectionable (short of the "for-profit" part, of course... :o) ). If you (or anyone else) finds me committing these practices, I will cede title of the farmland and all the animals to you, to do with what you will (or pay some suitably large sum to you or to the vegan charity of your choice, if you do not have the ability to take ownership of hundreds of animals or manage the farmland.) I could market this as the best of both worlds: you get the tastiness of beef, chicken, turkey, eggs, etc. without the ethical qualms. Each dollar spent is a dollar that doesn't go to factory farmers. Further, as we're actually buying cattle and such, are we not driving the cost of the raw materials for the factory-farmers up?



pasta (3.50 / 2) (#5)
by kitty vacant on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 02:29:33 PM EST

You've got fruit, vegetables, pulses, breads, rice, sprouts, pasta..

Um, aren't eggs used in the production of pasta?

==
Go on... Give us a snare rush!
Egg noodles (4.00 / 1) (#6)
by BadDoggie on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 02:38:25 PM EST

Only in egg noodles. Most pasta is made with semolina and water, and then the water is dried right back out.

woof.

Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.
[ Parent ]

not just noodles (none / 0) (#37)
by dalinian on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:03:01 PM EST

Only in egg noodles.
Strictly speaking, that's not true. I've seen a few different types of egg pasta in addition to egg noodles. But you're right: compared to the amount of pasta made without eggs, it's almost nonexistent. All fresh pasta however seems to have eggs in it.

I've heard that egg pasta is bad also because you don't get that al dente effect with it.

[ Parent ]

Egg pasta is well, awful (none / 0) (#114)
by robot138 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:58:49 AM EST

If you look at any real pasta brands (Barilla, the one in a light blue package that starts with a 'c' that I can't think of right now, etc) they are just Semolina and some flour additives. And yes, that's authentic. I don't remember ever seeing egg pasta in Italy when I lived there.
e.b.a.c
a.a.r.o
s.y.t.r
t._._.e

[ Parent ]
agreed (none / 0) (#122)
by dalinian on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:00:33 AM EST

Yeah, I believe you're right. I was just saying that there are many kinds of egg pasta. I didn't say they are actually edible. :-)

By the way, I've seen some egg pasta made by Barilla as well.

[ Parent ]

A motive (4.37 / 16) (#7)
by pyramid termite on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 02:39:25 PM EST

I won't speculate too much about the motives of those who make arguments like "But what about plants?" Suffice it to say that trolling and joking are not the only things that can drive people to champion apparently absurd positions.

If they're so absurd, why can't you come up with a real objection to them? You haven't been able to deny that plants feel pain, you haven't been able to establish that plants are less deserving of a certain kind of treatment then animals, in fact, all you've really stated as an answer to this question is that you don't see anyone getting upset about it and you can't understand the motives of anyone who would ask the question. That won't do.

Here's my motive - there is something basic about our existence here that you're avoiding - to live, we must kill or exploit other things. To argue that you won't kill or exploit the things known as animals doesn't make you any more moral than a person who kills or exploits plants or animals. You are still killing and exploiting other living things. And, eventually, you yourself will be exploited by other living things, if you have the decency to not cremate yourself selfishly so they can't. One can of course argue about the severity and circumstances of the exploitation. But don't act as if you are a more moral person because of what you choose to eat. I'm not buying it.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
severity and circumstances are important (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by mech9t8 on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 04:51:03 PM EST

One can of course argue about the severity and circumstances of the exploitation. But don't act as if you are a more moral person because of what you choose to eat.

But... your choice of what you eat can determine the severity and circumstances of the exploitation.  Factory farming is clearly cruel and unusual - the psychological and physical differences between "factory farmed" animals and natural free-range animals is clearly obvious and measurable.  Whereas it's pretty hard to determine any differences in quality of life between farmed plants and natural plants.

I interpreted the article as saying the main objection of vegans is not killing animals, per se, but on the rather obvious cruelty exhibited by factory farming methods.  Obviously, a lot of vegans are against all killing of animals, so your "everything exploits" argument might be valid against them, but I don't see it as particularly compelling as a defense of factory farming.

I suppose how you define a "moral" choice is up to your personal sense of morality, but it seems to me that spending a bit more money buying cruelty-free free-range eggs is a more moral choice than buying normal tortured-chicken eggs; and, by extension, choosing not to buy eggs, and therefore not risking supporting any type of chicken cruelty, is more moral as well.

I mean, I buy meat all the time, and try to buy free-range eggs, but really only when convenient... but I'm willing to give those people that choose not to buy eggs and meat at all because they don't want to support animal cruelty the moral high ground on this issue.  Doesn't cost me anything. ;)

--
IMHO
[ Parent ]

Plants have no nervous system. (3.50 / 2) (#38)
by Tezcatlipoca on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:08:40 PM EST

Thus they are devoid of pain.

Although one would be killing a live been to make a salad, certainly in a scale of values in which pain is abhorrent a plant has less value than a vertebrate animal and as a consequence a vegan can claim a moral high ground.

Of course a meat eater can decide not to use the same moral frame of reference, but I think not even the most rabid carnivore can seriously sustain that a carrot feels as much pain as a cow when used for food.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

[ Parent ]

What about those EKG experiments ... (none / 0) (#68)
by pyramid termite on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:53:14 PM EST

... described in the Secret Life of Plants? They would seem to contradict your viewpoint.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Those are different things. (none / 0) (#142)
by Tezcatlipoca on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:18:10 AM EST

A plant may still react to anything that threatens it (they are live beings after all, evolution surely has provided some machanisms for self defense and preservation), but that does not mean that pain is involved.
---
_._ .....
... .._ _._. _._ ...
._.. ._ _ . ._.. _.__

[ Parent ]
not pain? (none / 0) (#283)
by thefirelane on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:30:31 PM EST

(they are live beings after all, evolution surely has provided some mechanisms for self defense and preservation), but that does not mean that pain is involved.

I'm confused, because you just described pain, then said it was not pain.

pain is nothing more than something designed to make the organism avoid a particular stimulation because it is detrimental to it's ability to reproduce.

In this sense, just because a plant doesn't appear to undergo the motions you associate with pain, does not mean it does not have an equivalent response.


---Lane

-
Prube.com: Like K5, but with less point.
[ Parent ]
The secret life of plants (none / 0) (#518)
by Joe999 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:46:06 PM EST

The book that states plants are psychic superbeings which watch over their human friends? I could be misremembering, but didn't the book conclude too that plants enjoyed being eaten? In any case, in my opinion at least it ranks up there with fortune tellers and the loch ness monster.

[ Parent ]
still (5.00 / 1) (#76)
by rhyax on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:18:15 PM EST

if you have the decency to not cremate yourself selfishly so they can't

but the plants and bacteria will pull your carbon out of the atmosphere as easily as we eat...

[ Parent ]

Really Good Point (5.00 / 4) (#83)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:14:53 PM EST

Sometimes I create false dichotomies for myself. I have, for quite some time, been trying to figure out how we can live a life whereby we inflict no pain, which does not seem possible. But the alternative: inflict pain whenever you wish, also seems impossible.

You said something that sparked a possible answer. You said: "to live, we must kill or exploit other things." Since that is a primary necessity (a fact I had not brought to full bear on my reasoning), we must cause pain at some point. Unless the earth is somehow able to produce free energy, we must take that energy from somewhere. It is impossible to live by the maxim, "Do no harm."

However, it is possible to live by the maxim, "do no more harm than is necessary." Not a huge improvement, but I've shifted the question from, "What is harm?" to, "What does the term `necessary' mean?" The Vegan would (apparently) say that the only necessary harm is harm to plant life. Unfortunately, that stance seems somewhat arbitrary, although there is a grain of truth to it. We should not encourage unnecessary pain: the institutionalized barbarity greenrd speaks of seems unnecessary. We can eat meat without causing more pain than is required: kill quickly, kill kindly.

In a quasi-stream-of-consciousness revelation, I think I will change my maxim from, "Do no more harm than is necessary," to, "Do no unnecessary harm." I think this clears the water even further. In the first sense, we do not want to go above the lowest possible line. In the second sense, we do not want to go above the highest possible line. So one may eat meat, but not meat that came from an animal tortured before it was killed. On the other hand, if one is starving to death, one would be allowed to eat meat if it was the only product available, even if the animal was (unfortunately) tortured.

Does this stance, does this maxim, seem to work in most situations? I think I'm happy with the solution.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

Kantian! (none / 0) (#100)
by leviramsey on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:17:46 AM EST

I go back and forth between the Kantian and Utilitiarian ethics myself, though...



[ Parent ]
I'm a deontologist (none / 0) (#102)
by Cant Say on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:42:08 AM EST

I think there are too many functions with basing human value on the basis of function. One quick example: you are free to kill my grandmother to take her liver, because she provides less value to the community than would a healthy twenty year old.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
individual freedom (none / 0) (#121)
by dalinian on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:56:23 AM EST

That's not exactly a fair argument. No utilitarian philosopher would allow such a thing to be done. It's not only about "value to the community": Mill, for example, stressed the importance of individual freedom.

[ Parent ]
You can't get there from here (none / 0) (#231)
by Cant Say on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:11:29 PM EST

He stresses it, but is unjustified in both holding a functional view of human value and a deontological view of human value. I'm not saying there aren't problems with deontology, too: and I do waffle back and forth. I just think deontology is better than functionalism.

"No utilitarian philosopher would allow such a thing to be done."

Singer is a functionalist, and he thinks it's o.k. to kill babies that are less than about six moths old.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

singer (none / 0) (#417)
by dalinian on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:17:38 AM EST

Singer is a functionalist, and he thinks it's o.k. to kill babies that are less than about six moths old.
I don't think I've heard the term "functionalist" before, at least not in this context. Is functionalism in ethics the same as consequentialism?

But anyway, if Singer really thinks that it is okay to kill babies less than six months old, I agree that he is most certainly wrong. However, as far as I know he is not what I'd call a utilitarian philosopher. Sure, he seems to have a strong connection to utilitarianism, but he is more of a sociobiologist than a moral philosopher. And ethics derived from sociobiology has some serious problems of its own: it violates Hume's law, for example.

Maybe all of Singer's problems don't come from utilitarianism, but from sociobiology.

[ Parent ]

plants don't have nerves, do they? (none / 0) (#181)
by joshsisk on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:48:12 AM EST

Thus it seems unlikely that they feel pain. At least as far as I understand what pain is.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]
Pain is subjective (none / 0) (#492)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:21:43 PM EST

The problem is that this really cuts to the definition of pain. Is pain restricted to the particular psysical phenomena encountered in homo sapiens? Does it extend to similar phenomena in other species? How far?

From an objective standpoint, it's impossible to show that anything other than oneself, including other humans, feels pain. The obvious answer is that something feels pain if we can empathize with it -- but that seems unfair. Why should a cat's pain be considered worse than a tree sloth's, merely because the cate is cute?

As far as plants, they do react negatively to certain stimuli, such as physical damage or fire. See "The Secret Life of Plants" for more detail.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

pain. (none / 0) (#532)
by joshsisk on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:05:11 AM EST

As far as I know, we've discovered that pain is generated by nerve impulses. It follows that, if you don't have nerves, you don't feel pain.

I don't think that anyone who is rational would say animals don't feel pain. However, animal have nervous systems. To my knowledge, plants do not, even if they react to stimulus.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Tautology (none / 0) (#543)
by vectro on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:23:58 PM EST

You're begging the question. Yes, if you define pain to be "that phenomenon found in most vertebrates whereby nerve impulses, in reaction to extreme stimulus, cause the animal to avoid said stimulus", then obviously plants can't feel pain.

But that seems to me to be a rather disingenuous definition of pain. Amongst other things, it completely denies the possibility of other kinds of life (e.g., non-carbon-based) which might not have nerves. A more appropriate definition of pain would bring in the concepts of suffering and unpleasantness, and avoidance of the experience.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

suffering. (none / 0) (#564)
by joshsisk on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:00:20 PM EST

"A more appropriate definition of pain would bring in the concepts of suffering"

But if you can't feel it, is it suffering? There is no indication, whatever you may have read in the secret life of plants, that plants can FEEL anything.

As far as other types of life goes, why don't we worry about how hypothetical non-carbon based organisms experience or don't experience pain when and if we encounter it - which will likely be never, in our lifetimes at least.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Proving pain. (none / 0) (#566)
by vectro on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:58:53 PM EST

But there's no way whatsoever to prove that any other organism other than oneself feels pain.

You can cut my arm, and I might cry out, but there's no way for you to prove that I actually experience pain -- rather, I could just be mimicking a human reaction to pain.

And frankly, it seems to me to be rather close-minded to the idea that any pain must be strictly of the vertibrate variety. Plants are very different creatures from humans; it stands to reason they would express pain differently.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

proving it. (none / 0) (#571)
by joshsisk on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:35:10 PM EST

You can prove it by monitoring vital signs, using ekgs and so forth to test pain levels... I'm sure there are other, more intrusive ways as well.

The bottom line is, if plants have no sensory structures that can detect a stimulus, no structures to send "pain" signals as a result of this stimulus, and no system in place to intepret those signals as "pain", then it follows that they don't feel pain in any way that we use the word. The simple fact that they don't have a nervous system, or any observable (but differently-working) replacement for one pretty much precludes that they can feel anything.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

Please read (none / 0) (#574)
by vectro on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 03:02:36 AM EST

"The secret life of plants", by Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird, wherein are conducted exactly the sorts of experiments you suggest - with results contrary to those you assume.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Panient? (3.80 / 5) (#14)
by dipierro on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 03:31:44 PM EST

The key question, for me, is, "Is the organism in question panient?" - in other words, does it have the capacity to feel pain and/or suffer.

I wonder, and this is totally not a rhetorical question, do you support late term abortions which are not for the purpose of saving the life of the mother?



Um (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by greenrd on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 04:31:24 PM EST

I haven't really looked into this. But I'd say yes. Abortion is a damn tough cookie though. I'm not sure.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

I have said before (none / 0) (#176)
by jacob on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:37:03 AM EST

and I'll say again, there's a tough ethical problem with being both pro-choice and an ethical vegetarian. No one ever seems to listen to me, though. Oh well.

--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Pro-choice vegetarians (4.66 / 3) (#193)
by dipierro on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:14:09 PM EST

there's a tough ethical problem with being both pro-choice and an ethical vegetarian.

Not if you're an ethical vegetarian who doesn't believe that there should be a law forcing others to be vegetarians. Personally I'm pro-choice, in that I believe that the legal decision as to whether or not a woman should have an abortion is that of the mother alone, but if a woman ever came to me and asked for advice, I would always advice her not to have an abortion (short of her life being in danger). Fortunately (I guess), I'm a guy, so it's not a moral decision which I ever have to make myself, and I seriously doubt anyone's ever going to ask me for advice about such a situation.

Of course, I'm not an ethical vegetarian, though I consider that to be a point of personal weakness.



[ Parent ]
For those who eat meat. (2.56 / 16) (#30)
by qpt on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 04:24:32 PM EST

Author of evil, unknown till thy revolt,
Unnam'd in Heav'n, now plenteous, as thou seest
These Acts of hateful strife, hateful to all,
Though heaviest by just measure on thy self
And thy adherents: how hast thou disturb'd
Heav'ns blessed peace, and into Nature brought
Miserie, uncreated till the crime
Of thy Rebellion? how hast thou instill'd
Thy malice into thousands, once upright
And faithful, now prov'd false. But think not here
To trouble Holy Rest; Heav'n casts thee out
From all her Confines. Heav'n the seat of bliss
Brooks not the works of violence and Warr.
Hence then, and evil go with thee along
Thy ofspring, to the place of evil, Hell,
Thou and thy wicked crew; there mingle broiles,
Ere this avenging Sword begin thy doome,
Or som more sudden vengeance wing'd from God
Precipitate thee with augmented paine.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.

Dear Zero People: (3.00 / 6) (#40)
by RobotSlave on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:20:43 PM EST

It's called Paradise Lost, it is by John Milton, and it is not being quoted at random.

It helps to have read it, so as to understand the context, but the passages do stand on their own as responses to the stories, if you take that extra minute to digest them.

qpt is doing something interesting here. If you don't have time for it, then please leave it alone so others can appreciate it.

[ Parent ]

Dear RobotSlave: (2.66 / 3) (#42)
by infinitera on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:34:47 PM EST

It's called the new wave of qpt-brand trolls, and it's not being contributed for our benefit.

[ Parent ]
On the contrary. (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by qpt on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:37:29 PM EST

It is being contributed for your benefit. Many of you have doubtlessly never had the opportunity to experience Milton and I am doing you the favor of picking out choice passages relevant to the issues discussed on K5.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

doubtlessly (4.00 / 2) (#47)
by infinitera on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:42:44 PM EST

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. -- Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn.

[ Parent ]
addendum (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by infinitera on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:46:14 PM EST

Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.

[ Parent ]
Well, as long as you guys are going to ... (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by pyramid termite on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:59:15 PM EST

Ahem ...

I've never seen a purple cow
I never hope to see one
But I can tell you anyhow
I'd rather see than be one

-- Gelett Burgess

I'd have preferred Blake over Milton, but somehow this seemed more appropriate.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
you suck (none / 0) (#298)
by adequate nathan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:46:23 PM EST

This kind of humour has been done to death since before my father was younger than you are now. Learn to be non-derivitavely funny, punk.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

As a matter of fact ... (none / 0) (#385)
by pyramid termite on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:47:31 AM EST

... it was written in 1895 by Mr. Burgess and I gave him full credit for it. Perhaps you should hold a seance and let him know his humor is seriously lacking; make sure you have a VCR or DVD running with something like South Park or the lastest Adam Whatshisname movie on it - he will see the light and come up with an ode to regally-colored bovine flatulence that will leave you convinced he is a comedic genius.

Twit.
On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
twit? (none / 0) (#563)
by adequate nathan on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 08:24:20 AM EST

The humour I was referring to was the lame device of interrupting an elevated discussion with a base line and expecting plaudits for your sophisticated, ironic wit.

There's nothing wrong with Burgess a priori. It's solely your sense of style that's lacking.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

The thing about Milton (5.00 / 2) (#48)
by medham on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:46:05 PM EST

As Morris Zapp has oft reminded us, is that he constructs the reader of Paradise Lost as he goes along. Quotes out of context, or shifted to a different context, therefore become incoherent.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

The thing about Fish (3.00 / 2) (#53)
by RobotSlave on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:02:49 PM EST

As every glossy for snobs has pointed out by now, Stanley Fish (who you bring to us by way of David Lodge, bless you) is but one student of Milton, albeit an especially noisy one.

Claims that Paradise Lost can not be usefully quoted out of context (or more correctly, out of sequence) do little more than prop up a clever but narrow and arguably self-serving reading of the work.

[ Parent ]

All readings (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by medham on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:06:52 PM EST

Serve Lucifer. Non serviam.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Thanks for clarifying. (3.85 / 7) (#50)
by RobotSlave on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:47:04 PM EST

Well, if you're hellbent on ridding the internet of the demon scourge of trolling, and to hell with anything worthwhile that gets lost in the purge, then have at it.

I'm sure I speak for all of Kuro5hin when I say that I am glad we have tireless, vigilent community members like yourself looking out for the rest of us.

[ Parent ]

sokath, his eyes uncovered! [nt] (1.00 / 1) (#51)
by infinitera on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:51:02 PM EST



[ Parent ]
To the Ingrates: (4.00 / 4) (#59)
by bc on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:21:19 PM EST

Paradise Lost, by John Milton, is a piece that examines Man's creation and fall. Milton expanded upon Genesis, developing character and plot quite beyond its skimpy framework. Although Milton deals with many issues in his additions, one of these is the notion of perfect harmony lost and dashed.

Why is paradise, and the losing of paradise, relevant to an article about Veganism? Well, let's have a swift look at how the prophet Isaiah described paradise:

The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together. and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.(11:6-9)

What does this mean? Merely that Adam and Eve were clearly vegetarians, and that one possible reading of Paradise Lost is that of the decline from vegetarianism, and perfect ethical treatment of other creatures (from a vegan point of view, at least), into nasty, omnivorous, insatiable consumption of all the fruits and creatures of the Earth.

Milton also sought to attack the uxoriousness of Man, or his tendency to be devotedly submissive to a wife he should really rule. If we leave aside the possible moral difficulties this may give some people and instead consider it as a symbolic matter of setting things into their natural order, and the consequences when this is not done, there are further parallels with the issue of vegetarianism, obvious ones I hope.

The particular passage qpt chose is in book 6, right in the midst of the strife and unrest of paradise collapsing. It forms a nice counterpoint with this article, one that is clearly trying to restore this paradise.

Thank you.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Apples are made of meat? (none / 0) (#140)
by Gully Foyle on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:12:26 AM EST

Horrors!

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Cost (3.14 / 7) (#32)
by ShadowNode on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 04:32:43 PM EST

For me, it comes down to an argument of cost. If I saw someone eating dog, I'd yell at them and make them miserable for it. However, even though I know people are eating dog in Korea, I'm not going to fly there to yell at them.

Dogs are relatively intelligent, and that's my prime motivator. (I don't buy this "painient" nonsense; Bees probably do feel pain, but I don't care, they're too stupid to make it worth my while.) Chickens are pretty fucking stupid. I wouldn't torture one myself, and I'd give someone who was a nasty look, but I'm not going to go out of my way to stop it.

If someone's willing to do the work for me, I'll be a vegan. Until then, it's too much effort for the poor widdle chickens.



Don't come running... (none / 0) (#46)
by Trollificus on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:40:01 PM EST

...to us when a giant chicken cuts your head off while exclaiming, "He was only a stupid human anyway!". =D

"The separation of church and state is a fiction. The nation is the kingdom of God, period."
--Bishop Harold Calvin Ray of West Palm Beach, FL
[ Parent ]

And so... (none / 0) (#79)
by PhillipW on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:47:07 PM EST

By your logic it is acceptable to eat mentally retarded people, or if not so extreme, then we may rightfully treat them like lesser beings? Hmmmmm...

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#110)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:06:03 AM EST

Most mentally retarded people are generally more intelligent than dogs. Given that I said that I support punishment for eating dogs and that intelligence is my prime motivator, your logic doesn't follow.



[ Parent ]
Sure my logic follows (none / 0) (#252)
by PhillipW on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:47:56 PM EST

Note your use of the word MOST. What about those that aren't? May we treat them like dogs? Is it acceptable to keep these people chained to a tree in the back yard, tossing them a bone now and then?

And even those that are more intelligent than dogs(most of humanity)? Do we treat them like lesser beings? Perhaps we can take away their voting rights. Hey! We can count them as 3/5 a person for the purposes of determining how many congressmen and votes in the electoral college a state gets!

-Phil
[ Parent ]
Abuse (none / 0) (#363)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:08:54 PM EST

Is it acceptable to keep these people chained to a tree in the back yard, tossing them a bone now and then?

No, of course not. It's not acceptable to do this to dogs, either. If you do, the SPCA will get involved.

We do treat the mentally handicapped as "lesser beings", for their own good. Most of them wouldn't be able to function in society without assistance. Would you have us leave them to fend for themselves, and thus most likely die on the street?

I'd support an intelligence test for suffrage if we could come up with one that couldn't be abused by those in power. Given that this is fundamentally impossible, we'll just have to get along without your plan.



[ Parent ]
If Only (none / 0) (#460)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:30:04 PM EST

No, of course not. It's not acceptable to do this to dogs, either. If you do, the SPCA will get involved.

That is probably not so. The SPCA is much more likely to get involved if you don't have your dog properly contained. And, in the case of larger dogs that don't feel terribly discouraged by a wall, chaining them up is the only solution.

We do indeed treat the mentally handicapped differently than we do those who aren't. However, "for their own good" does not involve putting them down for the sake of a meal. Nor do we force them to do labor for us.



-Phil
[ Parent ]
They do here... (none / 0) (#513)
by ShadowNode on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:58:32 PM EST

That is probably not so. The SPCA is much more likely to get involved if you don't have your dog properly contained.

I recall just a few months ago the SPCA taking a dog because it was left chained up all the time. Let's see what google knows about it... here's a press release on the subject.

We do indeed treat the mentally handicapped differently than we do those who aren't. However, "for their own good" does not involve putting them down for the sake of a meal. Nor do we force them to do labor [sic] for us.

We don't put down dogs for the sake of a meal, either. Usually, if they're capable, the mentally handicapped are encouraged to work at a job they're capable of, such as being a stockboy. This is far from cruel, the point is to give them something fulfilling to do. Similarly, many dogs are trained to work in our society, such as police and aid dogs. I assure you that these dogs are much happier then most dogs.



[ Parent ]
hmm (none / 0) (#458)
by ph0rk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:15:41 PM EST

>>Note your use of the word MOST. What about those that aren't? May we treat them like dogs? Is it acceptable to keep these people chained to a tree in the back yard, tossing them a bone now and then?

and this is radically different than keeping them pumped full of thorazine in a padded cell how?  At least they'll get some sun.

(before you choke on your rebuttal, we're discussing people testably less intelligent than canines here, i doubt they would be out in society.)

while on the topic of humans though, aren't there a great many cases of human abuse we should eb dealing with before we worry about pigs and dogs and chickens?
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Ahhhh (none / 0) (#459)
by PhillipW on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:22:48 PM EST

That would be a good point, if it weren't for the fact that we don't lock up the mentally handicapped. We lock up the insane. There is a difference, you know?

-Phil
[ Parent ]
not exactly (none / 0) (#576)
by ph0rk on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 12:31:59 PM EST


we tend to "corral" persons handicapped to the point of being nonfunctional in society, and i believe someone testably less intelligent than the average canine would fit that description.  (can't tie shoes, get dressed, etc).

And, in many cases, drugs are administered to nonfunctional handicaps, to prevent possibly violent emotional outbursts  (they do not have the experience and restraint others do).
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

So... are you consistent? (none / 0) (#264)
by biggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:48:30 PM EST

Pigs tend to have about the intelligence of dogs... Oh you mean you will continue to eat bacon? Go figure... Let's see if you can come up with another seemingly logical way to explain some rather illogical behavior. And that's the bottom line, I think, about people... not just you... when it comes to the subject of cruelty, none of us can ever hope to really be logically consistant.

--
"Rockin my 'hell I made it' wetsuit stitch so I can swim in elevators crazy wet through piss" -Cannibal Ox
[ Parent ]
Urban Myth (none / 0) (#362)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:58:03 PM EST

I've heard the "pigs are intelligent as x" argument before, but never with anything to back it up. Care to provide some evidence for this assertion?

For me it's a moot point; I'm not really fond of pork anyway.



[ Parent ]
How do you defend your claim? (none / 0) (#467)
by Gumpzilla on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:01:22 PM EST

Do you have anything more than anecdotal evidence to show that dogs are intelligent? I would assume you're working from a knowledge of people's pet dogs, perhaps your own. How many people with pet pigs do you know to compare against?

[ Parent ]
You're shifting the burden of proof (none / 0) (#511)
by ShadowNode on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:46:52 PM EST

I'll readily admit that my exposure to pigs is quite limited. If you claim that pigs are as intelligent as dogs, it's your place to provide evidence for this assertion.

For the record I don't have a dog, but I'm basing my opinion of them on the hundreds that I cared for while I volunteered at the SPCA.



[ Parent ]
Okay (4.00 / 1) (#514)
by Gumpzilla on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:14:55 PM EST

I have no idea how you define dog intelligence, but here are some pig anecdotes that offer a similar level of "proof."

For example, Doctor Mike Seltzer, a long-time companion of Boris, a pot-bellied pig, relates how Boris would usually accompany himself and his family on their regular outings together. One day his children were going for a walk with some of their friends, and Mike, thinking that they might not appreciate the company of Boris, kept him inside the yard, which was fenced, with a bolt-lock on the gate. However, such confinement was no match for Boris, who went straight to the gate, unbolted it with his snout and trotted happily after the children, who were delighted to see him.

. . .stories of pig intelligence are well confirmed by a welter of research by animal psychologists, many of whom rate the pig as above dogs in terms of intelligence and problems solving abilities. For example, Professor Stanley Curtis from Pennsylvania State University has taught pigs to play special computer games where they demonstrate sophisticated learning and problem solving abilities. The pigs appear to learn the fundamental aspects of such games as quick as the smartest chimps do. They can also remember their lessons for more than three years.

Admittedly, that's not much in the way of support. But there are people saying that pigs exhibit behavior that, in some way, makes them more intelligent than dogs.

[ Parent ]
Setting the Bar (none / 0) (#520)
by ShadowNode on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:02:48 AM EST

OK, I'll provide my evidence of canine intelligence. The most obvious examples would be aid dogs for the disabled. The most common of these are for the blind, but they are also used for many other disabilities. Quadriplegics are often given dogs that have been trained to perform household duties such as opening doors, and fetching items from the refrigerator (yes, you can train your dog to get you a beer). Dogs have been trained for those with heart conditions to fetch assistance if needed.

I've witnessed your gate-opening example with dogs myself numerous times. It's more of an issue of manual dexterity then intelligence.

Find a sheep dog competition some time; it's amazing to see the strategizing dogs are capable of.

Give me any healthy puppy, and I can raise him to do these sorts of things. Could you say the same of any healthy piglet? It's not a question of domestication, either, wolves are generally smarter.



[ Parent ]
pig intelligence (none / 0) (#582)
by biggs on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 04:57:25 PM EST

Well, pigs certainly arent as trainable as dogs, true.. but is trainability your only measure of intelligence? It isn't mine... I think humans tend to read too much into trained acts anyway. The cat that has been trained to take a shit on the toilet really dosnt have any clue what it's doing it was just a natural progression of trickery that got it to do that... same may or may not be said for the beer fetching dog... or the truffle sniffing pig for that matter (in France pigs are trained to go truffle hunting).. You know, I guess I am not really the one to judge.. I dont think pigs or dogs are very bright, but at the same time I dont think humans are too bright either... All I know is that from experience, my personal perception is that pigs are about the same as dogs... can't proove it, but can anyone?

--
"Rockin my 'hell I made it' wetsuit stitch so I can swim in elevators crazy wet through piss" -Cannibal Ox
[ Parent ]
Trainability is only an indication (none / 0) (#583)
by ShadowNode on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 10:20:12 PM EST

Some tricks could only be performed with a degree of intelligence. A sheepdog is trained to apply its talents to herding, it figures out how to do it on its own.

I think people read far too much into human intelligence. We're smart monkeys, but not that smart. I'd place a dog at about the equivalent of a 10 year old human, and a cat closer to a 2 year old. Where pigs would fall I have no idea; I cannot recall ever seeing one in person. It's not something I've had any reason to look into; I don't like the taste of pork anyway.



[ Parent ]
I don't eat pork (none / 0) (#269)
by BLU ICE on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:03:35 PM EST

Dogs are relatively intelligent, and that's my prime motivator.

Pigs are far more intelligent than dogs. (They are cousins of dolphins) So, while I relish a good steak or a chicken sandwich, I never eat pork.

"Is the quality of this cocaine satisfactory, Mr. Delorean?"
"As good as gold."

-- I am become Troll, destroyer of threads.
It's like an encyclopedia...sorta: Everything2

[ Parent ]

as a vegan (4.66 / 3) (#41)
by dalinian on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:34:10 PM EST

As a vegan, I've been thinking about these issues a lot lately. But I don't think you talked about the theoretical basis enough. For example, the "because they are panient" argument does not work for those who consider that if a being itself (because of its species) isn't capable of morality, we have no moral responsibility not to eat it simply because the being is outside all moral consideration.

I've always found that a shaky argument myself, because whether a being is itself moral or not does not seem to affect the responsibilities of those who are moral. And I feel we have a responsibility not to cause any pain that can be avoided.

And for anyone interested in going vegan: don't forget about B12!

And I wonder.... (4.00 / 5) (#44)
by Dragomire on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:38:39 PM EST

jokingly, with my vegan friends, that what if a scientist actually found that plants emit an extremely high pitched scream when eaten? Wouldn't that constitute cruelty to plants? =-)

I'm not against vegetarianism, or veganism, unless people take it to extremes. But I joke with vegetarians and vegans when I cook their vegie burgers on the grill, that I like to eat real food. I have canines for a reason, after all, and it isn't to chew vegie burgers. =-)

Actually... (2.00 / 2) (#55)
by dipierro on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:09:45 PM EST

I have canines for a reason, after all, and it isn't to chew vegie burgers.

Maybe, maybe not.



[ Parent ]
hmmm. (5.00 / 1) (#107)
by Dragomire on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:40:34 AM EST

Well, the 'maybe not' part was a decidedly pro-vegetarianistic view. It even blames meat as the main reasons for choking (you can choke on plant matter just as easily if you don't chew it....ever have apple stuck in your throat?). The 'maybe' part looked more like an actual educational study, without bias for eating preferences. The pro-vegetarian one comes to a staunch 'conclusion' that humans are herbivores; which, by the fact it is a pro-vegetarian/vegan study, reeks of propoganda (IE the types of vegetarians and vegans I despise).

But, the simple fact remains that herbivores cannot really eat meat. Their digestive systems don't work well with meat, and they generally tend to not like the taste of meat. Many species of pure herbivors would rather starve than try to eat meat.

Humans tend to be omnivorous, by nature. We eat meat, and we eat plant matter as well. Our digestive tracts can handle both. And, we generally like the taste of both.

If we were to take the pro-vegetarian/vegan findings as staunch facts, then we'd have to wonder why other herbivorous species can't stomach meat, and we can. We'd have to wonder why our ancestors instincts led them to kill animals, and eat the meat, instead of just killing them for their skins (for protection from weather). Herbivor's instincts would not lend themselves to the eating of meat, no matter the need.

While the anatomical data of the pro-vegetarian/vegan study may lead to insights, I cannot beleive that humans overcame nature's 'proper' way for them to eat, and just decided to start eating meat. Like I said, that study has a decidedly pro-vegetarian/vegan slant to it, and reeks heavily of propoganda.

[ Parent ]

Concluding what they want to conclude (none / 0) (#212)
by NoBeardPete on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:40:27 PM EST

Your "maybe not" link leads to a very poorly thought out page. It seems the author concludes exactly what he wants to conclude, with little regard for the facts, or for what actually makes sense.

Every single point he raises can be explained by pointing out that 1) humans have been hunting with weapons and tools for an evolutionarily significant period of time, and 2) humans have been cooking their meat for an evolutionarily significant period of time.

Gee, I wonder why our digestive system doesn't look like the digestive system of an animal that eats raw meat? Could it be because people don't typically eat raw meat? Hey, why don't we have teeth and jaws suitable for catching and killing prey? Could it be because we don't hunt with our teeth?

It's hard to tell, but I seriously hope the article you were linking too was intended to be humorous. If it isn't, I would suggest that all you vegetarians/vegans are careful to distance yourself from the author. If you let people think that article speaks for your views, they'll assume you're an idiot.


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

reading between the lines (none / 0) (#319)
by dipierro on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:55:08 PM EST

Every single point he raises can be explained by pointing out that 1) humans have been hunting with weapons and tools for an evolutionarily significant period of time, and 2) humans have been cooking their meat for an evolutionarily significant period of time.

Yes, but which came first. Did we start using weapons and tools and cooking fires first, then become omnivores, or were we already omnivores/carnivores and then we started using weapons and tools and cooking fires?

It's hard to tell, but I seriously hope the article you were linking too was intended to be humorous. If it isn't, I would suggest that all you vegetarians/vegans are careful to distance yourself from the author.

Hmm. Considering that I'm not a vegetarian or a vegan, I'm not sure how to take your suggestion.



[ Parent ]
Makes no difference (none / 0) (#496)
by zocky on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:49:45 PM EST

Yes, but which came first. Did we start using weapons and tools and cooking fires first, then become omnivores, or were we already omnivores/carnivores and then we started using weapons and tools and cooking fires?

When talking about "what's natural", it makes no difference which came first.

Did we start wearing clothes or lose our body hair first? Should we all be running around naked now, because that's natural?

Did the ancestors of Europeans start moving north or tending to have narrower nose and lighter skin first? What would be the moral of this story? Should I die my skin black? Have a nose-job to be more natural?

The valid point being raised here is that part of being human is eating meat.


---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Back to the point (none / 0) (#497)
by dipierro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:02:38 PM EST

When talking about "what's natural", it makes no difference which came first.

I don't think it ever makes sense to talk about "what's natural".

The valid point being raised here is that part of being human is eating meat.

No, the point being made here was "I have canines for a reason, after all, and it isn't to chew vegie burgers." I think the purpose of our canine teeth is debatable. Obviously they aren't there for chewing veggie burgers in particular, but they aren't there for eating raw meat either. I wouldn't want to guess the purpose of our canines without seeing the specific phylogenetic relationship between us and our ancestors.

Clearly eating meat isn't part of being human, because there are humans who don't eat meat.



[ Parent ]
Someones been reading... (5.00 / 1) (#96)
by tlhf on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 11:27:10 PM EST

I remember reading a short story a long time ago which was based on a guy who managed to hear trees and plants screaming when they were cut. In fact, it was distinctly described as emitting a short, sharp high pitched scream.

This story didn't, prey-tell, have anything to do with your wonderings, did it? ;)

tlhf
xxx

[ Parent ]

Never read it, nor heard of it (n/t) (none / 0) (#105)
by Dragomire on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:10:43 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Roald Dahl (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by Mr Windows on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:42:17 AM EST

I think that the story that you're referring to is "The Sound Machine", by Roald Dahl.

[ Parent ]
..or tool (5.00 / 1) (#306)
by zoobiewa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:17:28 PM EST

And the angel of the lord came unto me, snatching me up from my place of slumber. And took me on high, and higher still until we moved to the spaces betwixt the air itself. And he brought me into a vast farmlands of our own midwest. And as we descended, cries of impending doom rose from the soil. One thousand, nay a million voices full of fear. And terror possesed me then. And I begged, "Angel of the Lord, what are these tortured screams?" And the angel said unto me, "These are the cries of the carrots, the cries of the carrots! You see, Reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day and to them it is the holocaust." And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat like the tears of one million terrified brothers and roared, "Hear me now, I have seen the light! They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers!" Can I get an amen? Can I get a hallelujah? Thank you Jesus. -Tool

[ Parent ]
plants (4.50 / 6) (#52)
by minus273 on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 05:58:17 PM EST

actually, in  hinduism which is one religion where vegitarianism is common,   we recognise the life and conciousness of plants.. we have for centuries.
And yes there is such a thing as cruelty to plants. ..
These things alone make the veganism moral  argument fail.

difference (3.00 / 3) (#58)
by dalinian on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:19:10 PM EST

These things alone make the veganism moral argument fail.
Not necessarily. In Hinduism, I think you eat plants because even though it is bad, it's not as bad as eating animals. In other words, there is a difference between eating plants and animals. And this is what any vegan would say as well.

But you do have a point. If I'm correct, in Hinduism the cow is a sacred animal and therefore all cows are treated well. So it is not against ethical veganism to drink milk (or eat paneer, or any other cow milk product) if you are a Hindu and treat cows with respect, and make sure that others do so as well.

[ Parent ]

Earth Liberation Front (4.00 / 2) (#56)
by humble on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:10:43 PM EST

Perhaps the reason there is no Plant Liberation Front is because that work is already being done (admirably) by the Earth Liberation Front?
Indymedia - Civil society's not-so-secret servicetm
Seems to be (4.00 / 2) (#61)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:34:51 PM EST

ELFs seem to be (on the whole) more interested in the environmental impacts, rather on the ontological value inherent in plant life.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
admirable? I think not (4.00 / 1) (#219)
by mattw on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:51:38 PM EST

There's nothing admirable about wanton and willful destruction of property and risk of life -- and possible actions against human life. The ELF may as well be the PLO. Their tactics are simply terrorism. Nowadays, that's probably worst than calling them a bunch of child molesters. The irony, for me, is that they cite everything in their way controlled by the government as proof the government "serves corporations and not people", when they don't believe they can solve the problem democratically, despite the fact that the people of America could elect whomever they want. What they really mean is that the government does not serve ELF and the fringe fanatics supporting its radical agenda. If "the people" did, they'd have all voted for Nader.


[Scrapbooking Supplies]
[ Parent ]
A few questions (4.69 / 13) (#60)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:33:07 PM EST

I didn't notice these questions developed in depth elsewhere. If I missed them, please simply direct me to the proper thread.

The gist of greenrd's argument seems to be that animals suffer when used as a source of food, whereas plants do not suffer when utilized as a food source.

  1. "institutionalised [sic] barbarity
  2. greenrd does not argue that the killing of animals is inherently wrong, merely that animals should not suffer from institutionalized cruelty. By not purchasing animal products, one is certain to avoid supporting such barbarity. Does it then follow that if one purchases "free range" meat, one is absolved of the moral implications of animal suffering?

    greenrd's response is:

    If a person professes to be concerned about the plight of factory farmed animals, and then continues to shovel money into the arms of the factory farmers when they could feasibly make other food choices, perhaps there is a question-mark [sic] over how sincere that person really is.
    However, this does not answer the challenge. The author apparently assumes any purchase of meat might somehow support this barbarity. Rather, I would contend that markets respond to consumer demand. If it was obvious that money was to be made in non-barbaric animal housing, because people would purchase that food, at least some people would shift to that type of cruelty. On the other hand, if Vegans, as a whole, will not eat meat no matter what, the market has no reason to change. So Vegans are actually perpetuating animal cruelty because they do not encourage (with money) a healthy growing environment.

  3. "Plant cruelty"
  4. greenrd's answer to the question, "Why is there no Plant Liberation Front?" is: plants do not feel pain. However, he also concedes that some lower animals cannot feel pain (bees, for example). However, there is no way one can be certain about the feeling of pain. For example, when I spray ants with Raid, they struggle and convulse, in apparent pain. How do I decide they have pain? They perform an action that appears to mimic human actions of pain. The same thing occurs when I see a mistreated dog. I recognize a certain waxing of the eyes, a posture, and a behavior that somehow seems to mimic a mistreated human.

    He seems to accept the argument that because there is no PLF plants are not deserving of the same support as are animals. ("As for the plants, I really find it hard to take this particular challenge to veganism at all seriously. For one thing, there's no Plant Liberation Front.") However, I think it's the height of anthropocentrism to only recognize pain as a mimicking of a human reaction to pain.

    Veganism seems to be in a double-bind: either they commit the pathetic fallacy by attributing human emotions to animals, or they must accept anything that would cause pain to one type of organism must cause pain to another type of organism. Just because we can't recognize that or how plants experience pain, does not mean that they don't.

    As a final note, I think it is the height of academic elitism to suggest one is trolling simply because one seriously considers arguments and attempts to draw conclusions from them. This is no mere "trolling and joking"; rather it is a serious question regarding a serious proposition.

  5. The Grand "Sez Who"
  6. greenrd's article is a superb example of moral argumentation. He claims a certain type of action (the eating of animals and animal by-products) is wrong. His argument is roughly:

    1. Animal cruelty is wrong
    2. Eating animals and animal by-products perpetuates a system of animal cruelty
    3. Therefore, one should not eat animals and animal by-products

    However, as offensive as this comment may be, I can find no justification for the major premise1. I think the implicit assumption might be stated thusly:

    1. Causing pain is wrong
    2. Being cruel to animals causes pain
    3. Therefore animal cruelty is wrong

    First, I am not willing to accept the minor premise until the question of the double bind is sufficiently answered.

    Second, there is still no justification for the major premise2. Why ought I not cause pain? I truly mean this: it's a question which with I've been wrestling for quite some time. Intuitively it seems bad to cause pain. However, my intuition has been wrong in the past. Is there any argument for why causing pain is wrong in the strong sense: someone who causes pain is morally culpable.

[1] Please note: I am not saying it is wrong, I'm merely stating that there is an implicit assumption which must be brought to light, and must be justified if the moral argument is to carry any weight.
[2] Again, please hear what I'm not saying: I'm not saying that the premise is wrong; I'm merely suggesting there is no argumentative justification for the premise.

A side note (5.00 / 1) (#65)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:49:11 PM EST

When I re-read the article I realized I failed to disclaim my usage of the term "pathetic fallacy". The term generally applies only to inanimate objects (i.e. it is fallacious to say, "the music wants to be heard"). However, I used the term because it had the best connotation: we can never know if an animal is experiencing pain. To ascribe pain to an animal is only possible through the recognition of patterns which humans also exhibit when they experience pain. For a more in-depth analysis of the question of pain, I suggest two essays by Terrel Miedaner: The Sould of Martha, a Beast and The Soul of the Mark III Beast.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
"The Soul of Martha, a Beast" [n/t] (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:52:27 PM EST


"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
pathetic fallacy (5.00 / 1) (#75)
by calimehtar on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:12:18 PM EST

point 2

Veganism seems to be in a double-bind: either they commit the pathetic fallacy by attributing human emotions to animals, or they must accept anything that would cause pain to one type of organism must cause pain to another type of organism. Just because we can't recognize that or how plants experience pain, does not mean that they don't.

You are allowing your own inflexible world-view get in the way of your understanding of the argument. The author said, clearly enough, that he believes many animals we eat are capable of nearly the human equivalent of pain while simpler organisms may not be. I don't think he's alone. You yourself probably make exception for certain animals such as dogs and cats. While you say that animals cannot experience human emotion and therefore can be eaten without remorse, you or others who use the same excuse for eating meat would be apalled at the thought of subjecting your pet to the same treatment.



[ Parent ]
Frustration (5.00 / 3) (#78)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:40:40 PM EST

A suggestion for communication: do not assume what other people think. If you do assume what other people think, demarcate that assumption. For example, I say, "The author apparently assumes any purchase of meat might somehow support this barbarity." He never explicitly makes this claim, however it seems safe to me to say that he would agree with that statement.

When you say something like, "While you say that animals cannot experience human emotion..." I cannot help but become frustrated. I never claimed animals do not experience human emotion. I claimed that either animals experience human emotions and we must entertain the idea that plants do as well, or animals do not experience human emotions (specifically pain) and are thus not protected from torture. I never make a claim as to which one is correct.

"You are allowing your own inflexible world-view get in the way of your understanding of the argument."

Exactly what inflexible world-view would that be? Seeing as how I often change my opinion based on rational argumentation, I doubt my worldview is particularly close-minded1.

"The author said, clearly enough, that he believes many animals we eat are capable of nearly the human equivalent of pain while simpler organisms may not be. I don't think he's alone."

I understood his argument quite clearly. What makes you think I didn't understand him? I simply asked for justification for the line of demarcation between those that feel pain, and those that don't.

"You yourself probably make exception for certain animals such as dogs and cats."

What action I take is wholly irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Even if I act illogically, it doesn't reduce the necessity of requiring such logical proof. For example, I would probably save a dog from a burning house, rather than a sack of $100,000, if I had to act on impulse. Does that mean my decision is necessarily right or wrong? No: one can forward arguments for both sides of the situation. All I point out is a distinct lack of justification.

[1] I do tend to shy away from emotionally persuasive arguments. For example, "Won't someone please think of the children!" is an emotional argument: why should one value a child's life more than an adult's life? Without a justification for why children's lives should be valued more highly, I am unlikely to change my stance. Obviously no one is completely immune from emotional argumentation, but my one area of close-mindedness is in my requirement for logical argumentation and reasoning, to the extent said reasoning is available to humanity.


[ Parent ]

logical fallacies, cont'd (5.00 / 1) (#95)
by calimehtar on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 11:17:58 PM EST

"Exactly what inflexible world-view would that be?"

The one where you will not allow that, as the author claims, some animals may be capable of some approximation of human emotion while others are not.

Yes, there is a logical fallacy called the pathetic fallacy. But in the author's world animals are capable of something like human emotion, so for him it's not a fallacy. You can disagree with his premise, but it isn't illogical.



[ Parent ]
A few answers (5.00 / 2) (#77)
by lumen on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:22:02 PM EST

I recognize a certain waxing of the eyes, a posture, and a behavior that somehow seems to mimic a mistreated human.

However, I think it's the height of anthropocentrism to only recognize pain as a mimicking of a human reaction to pain.

My first instinct was to go to Google to find ammunition, as it were, but I don't think it's explicitly necessary. I will not accept the premise that the pain apparatus as we know it simply burst upon the evolutionary stage when Homo sapiens developed. I don't think we need sophisticated scientific inquiry to determine that there is some system in place that causes animals to avoid certain situations, such as standing on a hot surface or being bitten. The set of reactions involved doesn't matter -- the cow could sound laugh like a madwoman (or man, for that matter) for all I care, but if it demonstrates behaviors that indicate it is attempting to avoid that stimulus, then I think it is more than reasonable to conclude that there is some sort of pain/pleasure system at work.

Science has shown that this is case; negative reinforcement, for example, would not work unless animals had a similar system to ours in place. I think it similarly reasonable to conclude that the magnitude of the pain sensation in most any creature with such a system would be generally commensurate with the magnitude of the stimulus. Perhaps some organisms have but a small set of quantum painstates and avoidance behaviors -- not too bad / not very urgent, bad / urgent, and very bad / very urgent -- while others have much more complex systems. I think what we are looking at here is a difference in degree, not in kind; while the exact configuration of the human painsystem might be unique, other organisms with similar nervous systems in all likelihood have some type of painsystem in place.

Animals would not avoid harmful stimuli if there were no mechanism for such avoidance to take place. I think it's safe to say that we are not the only species that doesn't like to be on fire, or to have a broken limb.

On the other hand, plants are more than different enough from vertebrates to indicate that pain as we or our close evoluationary relatives understand it is nigh-certainly not felt by them. This is not to say that there is not some other sort of system in place, but if plants do feel, it is through pretty alien mechanisms.

You say that "...there is no way one can be certain about the feeling of pain." I agree that while philosophical certainty in this case is probably impossible, understanding of physiology and observation of behavior can lead us to a high degree of surety.

I agree that it is silly to assume that a similarity between human and animal reactions indicates identical sensation. Consider the case of the domestic cat, whose plaintive meow may very well have evolved over time to make it more likely for humans to respond to it even when its bearer is not as seriously distressed as it sounds. We can be fooled, yes, but I seriously doubt the existence of a planet-wide evolutionary conspiracy to hoodwink us into believing that what must be perpetually numb animals are in serious pain.

[ Parent ]
Insightful, thank you (5.00 / 1) (#81)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:58:51 PM EST

"[O]ther organisms with similar nervous systems in all likelihood have some type of painsystem [sic] in place."

I think I'm willing to grant, "other organisms in all likelihood have some type of pain system in place." But notice, all your reasons for thinking it to be so rest on behavior humans take in the same situation: humans avoid hot coals and humans react to negative reinforcement. If another being reacted to pain in a different manner, would we be able to recognize it?

Let me develop an idea a little further, with some ideas from you. You mention the idea that organisms attempt to move away from painful situations. Do not (at least some) plants also attempt to avoid situations which would lead to pain? (I think a definition of pain might be: a stimulus that, if continued, would lead to significant structural damage.) For example, I remember in middle school doing an experiment with lima bean plants, where we erected a barrier between the plant and the source of light. The plant moved around the barrier to reach the light source. While it's no scream of terror or sad eyes, the movement seems to be an alien response to pain. It might not be a response we identify with as readily as we do members of the Animal kingdom, but is their pain any less real?

My mother is definitely lacking a green thumb. I often feed her plants when I come by to visit. The plants often shrivel down to a minimum state, and after a day or two of regular feeding and better conditions, return to life. It reminds me of a dog I once rescued, which had been locked in a closest for nearly 6 days. A leak in the wall provided it a small amount of water to sustain it. It, too, had shriveled down, and curled into a little ball. Providing it food and love helped return it to a health state, although it took about three and a half weeks, rather than only a few days.

"This is not to say that there is not some other sort of system in place, but if plants do feel, it is through pretty alien mechanisms."

It appears plants also react to pain, but in a more foreign sense than do humans and other animals. Is it fair to then count their pain as any less, simply because it is foreign? Denying the existence of pain in other beings has led to animal cruelty, slavery, and eugenics programs in the past. What horrors of humanity will occur because we cannot recognize the pain of our plant life cohabitants of earth?

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

Moral justification (4.50 / 2) (#147)
by revscat on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:42:21 AM EST

greenrd's article is a superb example of moral argumentation. He claims a certain type of action (the eating of animals and animal by-products) is wrong. His argument is roughly...

And here you run into the problem (for me) of using syllogisms too broadly. Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to harm something is a moral one. The decision is no more based on pure reason than anything else is. We tend to speak as if the ultimate, final arbiter in all arguments is Apollo speaking from on high in his ultimately reasonable voice. But the real world does not work that way. To be able to truly make "correct" decisions would require omnipotence about an issue. But being human, this omnipotence is impossible to acheive in any area. Most religious, political, or philosophical topics are like Mandelbrot sets: you can see this point here, but if you increase or decrease the perspective the entire scene changes, and with it the conclusions that can be drawn. And you can change the prespective seemingly to infinity.

I have no problem deciding not to harm someone and saying that decision is a moral, not reasonable, one. Sometimes morality and reason come into conflict, and in some cases morality should trump reason. However, I feel that in the present dicussion the decision to not harm animals is ultimately noble, but is a choice that is practically unavailable to most of the world's population. Here, reason tends to trumps morality. But were I to see a woman threatening to jump from a bridge and was making me late for work, I would attempt to help her, even if it meant I were risking my job by being late to some important meeting. Here, morality trumps reason.



- Rev.
Libertarianism is like communism: both look great on paper.
[ Parent ]
False Dichotomy (5.00 / 1) (#221)
by Cant Say on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:58:44 PM EST

"Ultimately, the decision on whether or not to harm something is a moral one. The decision is no more based on pure reason than anything else is."

And thus, I am afraid. When morality and rationality are separated, the person with the cutest spokesperson determines right, and the group with the most devastating images determines wrong. Because moral claims cannot be reasoned with "pure reason" does not mean we should altogether abandon reason!

"To be able to truly make `correct' decisions would require omnipotence about an issue."

You seem to argue that because reason cannot lead us to a perfect solution in every case, we should not use reason at all. But that does not follow. Rather, it follows that one should gain as much information about a topic as possible, and then use that information to make the best-informed decision possible. And one should not claim to be one-hundred percent certain one is right, but one can happily claim, "Given the same circumstances, I would take the same action again."

Here's an illustration. I am playing poker with three friends, and I got dealt four aces. It would well behoove me to wager in such a way as to increase the pot without causing other people to drop out. For some reason, my friend across the table keeps raising me. Since he's seemed to bite my hook, I want to gain a significant amount of money from him. So I bid him up, and eventually, we both settle our wagering. Unfortunately, my friend has the 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 of clubs. He beat me with a royal flush. Does that mean I was wrong to wager a considerable amount of money? By no means: the odds he would be able to beat my hand were incredibly thin. In the same way, is it possible that if we let everyone out of prison, they would be able to discover a cure for cancer? I suppose that in some possible world, it would be possible. However, I think anyone who petitions the government to release all the prisoners in order to allow them to discover a cure for cancer has significant problems. Perfect knowledge is impossible, yes. But that does not mean we should forsake the knowledge we do have.

"Most religious, political, or philosophical topics are like Mandelbrot sets..."

That's an interesting claim. I would be most interested to see a few examples of these infinitely changing scenarios.

"I have no problem deciding not to harm someone and saying that decision is a moral, not reasonable, one."

And thus, I think you've defeated your own arguments. See, you do have rational reasons for upholding "moral" decisions without "rational argument". Your reason is that we can never know everything about a situation! Therefore, your argument, "We do not need reason to make moral decisions" is defeated when you provide reasons for that decision!

"Sometimes morality and reason come into conflict,"

I keep getting the feeling that by "reason" you mean "feelings". So that my feelings about whether or not I should take a certain action conflicts with my rational choice in the situation. However, I think emotional justification tends to be faulty. For example, a person may receive a lighter sentence because he or she has a family dependent upon him or her. The lawyer makes an impassioned emotional argument. However, actions have consequences, and sometimes those consequences affect other people. To allow emotion to overcome reason is very, very dangerous.

"But were I to see a woman threatening to jump from a bridge and was making me late for work, I would attempt to help her, even if it meant I were risking my job by being late to some important meeting. Here, morality trumps reason."

Actually, I think you have made a rational justification. You have two competing "rules of action":

  1. Loosing my job is bad
  2. Being late to work may make me loose my job
  3. Therefore I should not be late to work
And:
  1. Allowing a person to die is bad
  2. If I do not help this person, she will die
  3. Therefore I should help this person
However, I think these are deceptively phrased. For example, the first syllogism does not take into account the fact that your boss may be sympathetic if you saved someone's life. It all hinges on that "may". It might be better phrased:
  1. Loosing my job is bad
  2. Being late to work may make me loose my job
  3. Therefore I should not be unnecessarily late to work
So really, your moral dilemma can be solved using rational thought.

If you're ever on my jury, I hope you use rational thought, as well.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

to be nitpicky, and rather OT (5.00 / 1) (#437)
by houser2112 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:42:53 AM EST

2-6 of $SUIT is the lowest ranking straight flush.  A royal flush is the highest ranking straight flush (10-A of $SUIT).

[ Parent ]
I know (none / 0) (#444)
by Cant Say on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:03:54 PM EST

But he couldn't have 10-A because I had the four aces :D

I wanted to use an example of something that barely beat me, as well. And 2-6 of one suit still beats four of a kind.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

Oh, never mind (none / 0) (#445)
by Cant Say on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:04:52 PM EST

Yeah, I should have said stratight flush, not royal flush. Thanks for pointing that out.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]
why not to cause pain (5.00 / 1) (#161)
by kubalaa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:13:12 AM EST

Self-consciousness, the ability to recognize the distinction between self and other, brings with it the ability to sympathize. Once you recognize the existence of "other" on the same level as that of yourself, it becomes impossible to also justify a morality which treats yourself as unique. Many people solve this by lowering their level of consciousness -- they prefer to interact with other people as objects, but this brings its own disadvantages.  For example, you will lose the ability to understand people, and you will have a hard time getting people to treat you as an equal.

The same arguments which apply to people apply to other conscious beings, according to the degree which they resemble yourself.

So your answer is, you should avoid causing pain because it leads to a distorted worldview which is not beneficial to you.


[ Parent ]

Follow up (5.00 / 1) (#227)
by Cant Say on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:06:22 PM EST

"Once you recognize the existence of `other' on the same level as that of yourself, it becomes impossible to also justify a morality which treats yourself as unique."

That seems to justify not causing pain to other people (or at least other people "on the same level" as me), but it does not seem to tell me not to cause pain to animals.

"The same arguments which apply to people apply to other conscious beings, according to the degree which they resemble yourself"

What, though, is the degree of "falloff". That is, how quickly may I lower a beings status based on its difference from me? For example, Singer argues that babies under about six months of age should have the same rights as a chimpanzee, and that we should be able to kill the baby if it is unwanted. Surely, if I am justified in killing a six-month-old baby, I am justified in killing a cow?

"So your answer is, you should avoid causing pain because it leads to a distorted worldview which is not beneficial to you."

How do I know the worldview is distorted, and in what way is it not beneficial? Many people seem to function just fine with (what I would call) a distorted world-view. For example, I think racism is wrong. Yet, many people get along just fine with a deep hatred of other people. What about, for example, the people that think sex outside of marriage is wrong? Do they have a distorted world-view? How does it harm them?

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

humans versus animals (none / 0) (#419)
by kubalaa on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:52:51 AM EST

Good for you, you hit right on the points which I hadn't figured out.

Okay, my original argument is that treating people as objects will put you at a disadvantage because you will not understand them, and you will not be respected by them. I think this answers your point about racists. Using the concrete example of American southern slaveowners, their underestimation of slaves lead to their inability to control them completely, to feelings of moral superiority in the north, and eventually to our current society where racism is (at least publically) held in contempt.

(About sex outside of marriage, it's a matter of application -- one might have a moral disagreement, but anyone who considers unmarried couples worthy of torture (don't forget our original point) has got problems.)

Okay, but you say, the dogs of the world aren't about to do us humans any favors if we treat them well, or rebel against us if we don't. But what does happen is that other humans will see how you treat dogs, and, by analogy to themselves, imagine how you would treat them -- so in this sense, mistreating an animal translates (in degree according to how much the animal is like a human) to mistreating a human, in the eyes of others.

There's no escaping the analogy between humans and animals, and therefore between cruelty to humans and cruelty to animals. It's a circular social equation -- how bad we feel about committing cruelty is closely related to how it would look to others, which is connected to how much they can relate to the object of cruelty, which affects how bad they would feel about committing cruelty to it, etc.

That said, I think most people don't empathise too strongly with cows -- however, you'd have second thoughts about becoming friends with someone who tortured cows, wouldn't you?

[ Parent ]

Rational self-interest? (none / 0) (#446)
by Cant Say on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:14:46 PM EST

I find ethical conversations so interesting, thanks.

"About sex outside of marriage, it's a matter of application -- one might have a moral disagreement, but anyone who considers unmarried couples worthy of torture (don't forget our original point) has got problems.)"

Right, your original point was that, "[One] should avoid causing pain because it leads to a distorted worldview which is not beneficial to [oneself]." So you argue that the impact of not respecting animals is that it leads to a distorted worldview, and is therefore bad. However, I provided two examples of people that have, in my opinion, a worldview which is distorted. They do not seem to be experiencing and significant pain because of it. After all, one can be racist without committing a hate crime. So the worldview is there, but I don't see still how having a bad worldview is necessarily detrimental. Does that make sense?

Furthermore, I still don't know when a worldview is distorted or not. I know when someone's worldview disagrees with the worldview of many other people. But that doesn't necessarily mean he or she is wrong, does it?

"That said, I think most people don't empathise too strongly with cows -- however, you'd have second thoughts about becoming friends with someone who tortured cows, wouldn't you?"

Yeah, I might. But that doesn't mean I can say what she is doing is wrong, can I? I merely state, "I prefer you didn't torture cows."

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

worldviews (none / 0) (#542)
by kubalaa on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:04:20 PM EST

First thing is, I may be wrong about the fact that the distortion has anything to do with it. I sort of forgot about that part, I was going out from the idea of rational self-interest simply in treating others well. Or lets say rather than "well", "as equals".

But why is it good to treat others as equals? Because if they are your equals, then they have some power over you. It's about not underestimating your potential enemies.

I think racists do suffer, on a small scale. They are denied rewarding friendships, exert unnecessary energy protecting themselves from the race they fear, and so on.

As for "distorted worldview", I mean one which is out of touch with reality. If you think blacks are lower life-forms, that's a distorted view because they aren't, and there's no getting around that fact. So you're at a disadvantage, because you'll act on this false perception and be unprepared when the real world catches up to you. You might get beat up by some angry black. Or you might not hire someone who could have saved your company. In any case, reality always wins.

And do people against pre-marital sex have a distorted view? That's an open question. Is it as bad as they say it is? Probably not. Does this hurt them beyond the fact that they miss out on having pre-marital sex themselves?  Probably not.


[ Parent ]

Justifying the major premise (or not) (5.00 / 5) (#249)
by edwin on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:46:26 PM EST

Second, there is still no justification for the major premise["Causing pain is wrong"]. Why ought I not cause pain? I truly mean this: it's a question which with I've been wrestling for quite some time. Intuitively it seems bad to cause pain. However, my intuition has been wrong in the past. Is there any argument for why causing pain is wrong in the strong sense: someone who causes pain is morally culpable.

Short answer: no. There is no objective way for me to claim that anything is "wrong", since wrongness is a philosophical property rather than a physical one like, say, coldness. This problem is known in philosophy as the "is-ought gap"; no amount of information about what is the case is sufficient to give us certainty about what ought to be done. Various attempts have been made to cross this gap, such as "it's wrong if God says so", or Kant's argument (very loosely paraphrased - sorry Immanuel!) that wrong actions result in a logical contradiction. I don't think any of these arguments are ultimately convincing, though a detailed examination of why is obviously beyond the scope of a Kuro5hin posting! This leaves us in the uncomfortable position of having to decide what's wrong or right without any absolute basis for doing so. We can, however, look at the consequences and implications of a particular moral view and see if it's consistent. If it's inconsistent or has weird consequences that doesn't necessarily mean it's actually incorrect, but the results are sometimes illuminating anyway.

So what can we say about "Causing pain is wrong", based on this? I think it's easiest to look at the converse, "Causing pain is fine". If I hold this view, I have to admit that it's perfectly OK for you to hit me, which I would prefer to avoid. So already we have an awkward consequence. I could perhaps say "It's OK to cause pain to anyone except me", but that seems unsatisfactory to me - first, the special cases give a niggling sense of "messyness", and second, it's the kind of philosophy only a psychopath could happily endorse.

An alternative expansion which seems more reasonable would be "It's OK to hurt animals, but not humans". However this too has some niggling problems: what's so special about Homo Sapiens? The problem with basing this decision on species membership is that it seems rather arbitrary, and means we could hunt and eat little green men from Mars, even if they were just as smart and self-aware as us (this is known as "speciesism").

So is there some more objective quality (self-awareness, say) which decides whether it's OK to hurt something? (I'm aware that this poses all sorts of epistemological problems, since self-awareness is even less clear-cut than pain, but let's imagine it's a real quality and we can detect it.) I find this a far more reasonable position, but there are still some problems. First, you can reasonably say "so what?" - isn't the ability to experience pain more relevant than self-awareness? And second, doesn't that mean we can hurt brain-damaged people or infants who probably aren't self-aware?

So on this basis, I'd say that while "causing pain is wrong" isn't uncontestable (no moral statement is), it doesn't imply any huge contradictions and seems appealingly concise and universal. Other formulations, like the "self-awareness" one above, can be held with a fairly straight face, so there's room for argument.

Finally, if you're interesting in this sort of thing, I strongly recommend Peter Singer's books "How are we to live?" and "Practical Ethics" for a better-written and longer discussion of these topics.

[ Parent ]

So wrong is just preference (4.00 / 3) (#347)
by Cant Say on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:09:09 PM EST

"We can, however, look at the consequences and implications of a particular moral view and see if it's consistent. If it's inconsistent or has weird consequences that doesn't necessarily mean it's actually incorrect, but the results are sometimes illuminating anyway. "

I would be willing to say that if a moral worldview is inconsistent it is wrong. For example, if a moral view tells me I should both kill and not kill someone in the same situation, that moral hierarchy is not worth using.

It seems to me that "weird consequences" or "awkward consequences" are purely subjective. For example, I don't see the problems with saying, "it's perfectly OK for you to hit me." I think it's just fine for you to hit me. You should be ready for me to hit you back. Or, I should hit you preemptively; that I don't feel the pain you will cause me.

"'It's OK to cause pain to anyone except me', but that seems unsatisfactory to me - first, the special cases give a niggling sense of `messyness'..."

I find it interesting that you object to the exception because it causes "messyness". Life is messy. For example, one might hold the view, "Do not kill." But said person would most likely stop a murderer if he or she had the opportunity, even if it meant killing the murderer (and even if the murderer would not have killed our individual or anyone that individual knew / was emotionally close to). So I don't think "messyness" or special case addendums are a reason not to accept a moral maxim.

"...and second, it's the kind of philosophy only a psychopath could happily endorse."

First, it doesn't seem like we can dismiss a view simply because a psychopath endorses it. Perhaps we could learn something from them. Second, that assumes being a psychopath is wrong, which subtly seems to beg the question of whether or not there is a right and wrong to begin with.

Third, how do you know only a psychopath endorses it? I know a lot of people that have no problem causing pain when they stand to gain from it. They are not in prison. Perhaps a psychopath causes pain to other people for no apparent gain, whereas other people cause pain for an apparent personal gain. So it seems that many people endorse the maxim you seem to quickly dismiss, and many people who are not psychopaths endorse it.

"An alternative expansion which seems more reasonable would be `It's OK to hurt animals, but not humans'..."

It's also called anthropocentrism. And I already said I don't see the problem with drawing lines: real life is messy. People pass or fail a class based on some "arbitrary" line. Should we destroy that line, as well?

"So is there some more objective quality (self-awareness, say) which decides whether it's OK to hurt something..."

Why do you draw this arbitrary line? Furthermore, you're simply guilty of "conscio-centrism" - granting special rights to beings we deem "self-conscious". And I already mentioned, some plants seem capable of a rudimentary form of self-preservation, and they try to avoid what to them must certainly be pain.

"Other formulations, like the `self-awareness' one above, can be held with a fairly straight face, so there's room for argument."

This straight face relies on intuition and preference. If that's all we can ever get, so be it. But that just sucks, because of reasons we've both mentioned.

Thanks for the book recommendations (even if he's OK with giving young children fewer rights than older children). I won't read them any time soon, since I have a lot of other stuff I'm in the process of reading.

"A quiet milquetoast who wears cardigan sweaters and enjoys billiard matches while sipping single-malt whiskey." --kitten
[ Parent ]

I'm a vegan myself (3.42 / 7) (#62)
by C0vardeAn0nim0 on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:41:44 PM EST

I only eat vegan animals ;-)

http://www.comofazer.net
Religion (4.42 / 7) (#63)
by mideast on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:44:47 PM EST

I reject you assertion that, "Ethical veganism is not like a mindless observance of a religious ritual." Vegans may not have a holy book that tells them what they can and cannot eat, but they have a holy rule that they use to determine what they will and will not eat. These two things are equivalent.

This ethical veganism that you speak of is fundamentally a religion. You even provide hinting of this in your article. A conventionally religious person may be confronted with a choice between their God and some desirable thing that is prohibited by their religion. You made a similar choice when you wrote, "I weighed up in my head the convenience and pleasure of cream cheese, cakes, milk chocolate and things like that, with in my view the moral gravity of supporting the dairy and battery farm industries - and I decided there was absolutely no comparison." You chose your God instead of worldly pleasure.

I can see why you may not think that your ethical veganism is a religion. It doesn't seem to be fleshed out to the point of more conventional religions like Christianity or Islam; but you seem to be moving in that direction. I can see this in your belief that widespread veganism will lead to a better world, and that you ignore any possible downsides, like the inevitable increase in diseases (and therefore human suffering) caused by people taking up diets that they did not evolve to eat. This is similar to be belief that many Muslims and Christians have that there would be no downside if the entire world converted to their respective religions.

Guns involved too. (4.00 / 2) (#118)
by bitgeek on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:50:37 AM EST

And don't forget, when the "whole world converts" they'll be doing so at the point of a gun.

Those who wish to pass these laws forcing out of business any food provider that makes them squeamish mean to enforce those laws with guns.

Which is the moral equivilent of going door to door, dressed in black leather, gun toting and confiscating any non-politically-correct food- and killing any humans who don't submit.

They portray themselves as fluffy, friendly vegans, just wanting to spread the word... and some are, but when they start talking "morality" or bring politics into it, then you know you'd better keep your own gun close at hand.

Cause they are lining theirs up against you.

Its amazing the number of people who want cruelty to humans because they can't handle cruelty to animals.  Or that so many don't recognize what it is they are advocating.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

ethics and religion (4.00 / 2) (#123)
by dalinian on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:13:53 AM EST

You chose your God instead of worldly pleasure.
You confuse ethics with religion. Ethics does not have to come from religion. When I decide not to steal a lollipop from a store, that decision is not based on my religion. It is based on my opinion that stealing is wrong because it destroys the concept of personal property. My veganism is based on my opinion that supporting unnecessary killing is wrong.

I'm sure you have also been in a situation where you need to decide between doing the wrong thing that may give you some pleasure, and the right thing that might be painful. You don't need to invoke a "God instead of worldly pleasure" argument to do the right thing.

[ Parent ]

living by rule(s) not a religion (3.00 / 1) (#478)
by hoskoteinos on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:23:36 PM EST

Vegans may not have a holy book that tells them what they can and cannot eat, but they have a holy rule that they use to determine what they will and will not eat. These two things are equivalent.

Say what? How is that different from saying anyone who acts according to certain rules is religious? That makes atheism a religion: they act according to a "holy" rule that God does not exist. And anti-cannibalism. Pro/anti-globalisation. Pro/anti-aboration. And on...

you ignore any possible downsides, like the inevitable increase in diseases

There's no evidence to indicate a balanced vegan diet is any less healthy than a non-vegan diet. Using the word "inevitable" won't magically make it so.

[ Parent ]

Atheism and rules (5.00 / 1) (#541)
by TheSleeper on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:04:08 PM EST

That makes atheism a religion: they act according to a "holy" rule that God does not exist.

No, it doesn't. "God does not exist" does not prescribe or prohibit any particular behavior. Veganism does.

[ Parent ]

veganism a behavior, not a doctrine (2.00 / 1) (#558)
by hoskoteinos on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 12:30:53 AM EST

No, it doesn't. "God does not exist" does not prescribe or prohibit any particular behavior. Veganism does.

Veganism doesn't prescribe any behavior. "Veganism" is merely the term used to denote a behavior: the abstention from animal products, just as "carnivorism" denotes meat-eating. The rules vegans act according to are varied. Veganism is the practice of whatever theory the vegan holds.

Atheism denotes a theory, not a practice. Although it doesn't necessarily prescribe any particular behavior, neither do the theories that vegans act according to. But one would be a hypocrite not to act according to one's held position.

To be more precise, I could have said, "That makes what atheists do a religion..." instead of "That makes atheism a religion...".

Really, the root parent wasn't even talking about veganism. He was talking about the ethical/spiritual/whatever positions that give rise to veganism.

[ Parent ]

Evolutionary argument (2.41 / 12) (#64)
by medham on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:47:12 PM EST

Is air-tight. Our species evolved as an omnivore. Our bodies are designed to eat animal protein, need it in fact. Most people would rather torture an animal to death than give themselves vitamin shots, so I doubt that the mostly humane circumstances of meat processing today are going to bother anyone.

Even if you are queasy about meat-production, no one can argue that fishing is cruel. Sure, it's overdone; and it's wreaking ecological devestation, but that's a separate issue from the cruelty factor. As Descartes said, fish are automata. When I gaff a big marlin, I feel no more emotion than when I open my computer case. Probably, that's because I'm a good gaffer of marlin. I know what it takes to catch fish out on the ocean. This is something that only real men would understand.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

lol! (none / 0) (#72)
by infinitera on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 07:34:22 PM EST

Bravo, sir. I found myself nodding along to your comment, and then laughing uproariously to the punchline, with its dual references to both trolling and Hemingway, as well as coincidental references to the diary that was posted when Lode Runner claimed to be you. Thank you. I needed a break from my research paper. Are you having a slow day or perhaps lowering your standards for your audience (or did I just mysteriously catch up to your brilliance?)?

[ Parent ]
Airtight? (none / 0) (#74)
by lumen on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 07:54:38 PM EST

Our species evolved as an omnivore. Our bodies are designed to eat animal protein, need it in fact.

What exactly do you mean by "need?" Veganism, so far as I understand it, us neither fatal nor physiologically debilitating. As for the evolutionary argument, we also evolved the capacity (or rather retained said capacity) to observe and evaluate our behaviors and change them more or less at our leisure.

Most people would rather torture an animal to death than give themselves vitamin shots...

Perhaps. In a world in which intravenous (or any other hypodermic form of) delivery were the sole mode of getting said compounds into the body, I would agree with you. In the meantime, however, I will happily down a Centrum or two, or simply eat a wide variety of non-animal-derived foods.

[ Parent ]
Centrum (none / 0) (#90)
by nodsmasher on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 10:16:56 PM EST

multi-vitamin shots give you too much of many vitamins and with non-water soluble vitamins that is just as bad as not getting enough
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Centrum isn't vegan (none / 0) (#156)
by emagius on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:02:14 AM EST

IIRC, Centrum contains mono- and di-glycerids from animal sources. Ouch.

[ Parent ]
centrum was just an example (none / 0) (#276)
by nodsmasher on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:51:02 PM EST

this applies to all multi-vitamins
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
Gauntness... (none / 0) (#109)
by Dragomire on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:02:05 AM EST

is quite common among vegans. As is a lack of protien, unless they use many a dietary supplement to get it.

I have a friend who was more or less forced to go vegan, because his body just started going all weird, and not handling meat well. But he has since lost way too much weight, and even admits that he hates having to take the dietary supplements just to get the protien he used to get from fish and poultry.

While eating lots of meat is a sure fire way to get overwieght, not eating any meat is also a sure fire way to lose things in your body like muscle tone and fiber strength.

[ Parent ]

I wonder how many other vegans... (none / 0) (#580)
by Tim Moore on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 01:09:32 PM EST

have been pale and skinny all their lives haha. People who have only known me for a few years always point to that as evidence of my diet being harmful. People who knew me in high school just thought I was funny-looking! :-P

[ Parent ]
A comment (4.66 / 3) (#66)
by spacejack on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 06:50:21 PM EST

I think I first heard about veganism back in high school, in the 80s. I don't know if it's more or less popular than it was back then. I know a number of people who have tried it over the years, but I can't think of a single person who's stuck with it.

I know people who've stuck steadfastly to their politics, and even a few who've remained vegetarian, but not a single vegan. Seems like a pretty hard thing to do... most people wind up focusing on developing their careers and families, letting things like veganism slide. Or maybe they just can't handle their coffee without cream. I dunno, it just seems like one of those movements I would vote "least likely to succeed".

Mmm (4.66 / 9) (#71)
by fluffy grue on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 07:01:27 PM EST

I seem to recall that from a previous conversation, the primary reason you're a vegan is because you don't want the animals to suffer. So, why not have some suffer-free beef? We can wash it down with an Aborted Fœtus McFlurry, too (since foetuses don't feel pain either).
--
I am a calm and tranquil flower.

Try the new Aborted Fœtus McFlurry! Cool and refreshing!
[ Hug Your Trikuare

It'd be better than cow beef (none / 0) (#259)
by jseverin on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:59:47 PM EST

Hey.

That comic is pretty funny. "So Fresh!" Ha ha.

It brings up an interesting idea. If you had the choice between vat-grown beef that was identical to cow beef and cow beef itself, which would you choose? Assume the vat beef comes from some big stainless-steel tank, like yogurt does (most yogurt, anyways), doesn't require lots of land, food and water, and it doesn't fart and poop like cattle does.

For me, the vat-grown beef (although it is at first thought a visceral abomination) is preferable. Better for the environment, no cows involved.

[ Parent ]

consistent (none / 0) (#452)
by taittiriya on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:49:27 PM EST

well, at least you wouldn't be hypocritical.

[ Parent ]
Feh (3.90 / 11) (#80)
by trhurler on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 08:57:26 PM EST

I know several vegans. Granted, they think they're healthier than ever. The rest of us find them rather pathetic. The fact is, unless you're willing to regularly eat significant quantities of truly weird, rare, and frequently rather expensive foods and/or to consume significant quantities of dietary supplements(not all of which are likely made in strict accordance with your religion, er, ah, diet, er, yeah...) you are going to suffer from malnutrition on a vegan diet.

Besides, meat, cheese, and potatoes, with occasional bread added on, and a few vegetables here and there for health reasons - those are the things that matter in food.

Besides, I support animal cruelty. Animals are cruel, and we are animals. Those who think that knowing better is the reason we don't kill each other are mistaken; we don't kill each other because it is to our advantage not to do so, and if it was to our advantage, then we would do it, whether you like it or not(and when it is to our advantage, or when we falsely perceive it to be so, we do in fact kill each other.) It is to our advantage to eat animals. Get over it.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

hmm (2.25 / 4) (#104)
by jacob on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:01:47 AM EST

I support animal cruelty. Animals are cruel, and we are animals.

Come on, this is ridiculously circular logic. You could use the exact same argument to advocate flinging your feces at people.

Those who think that knowing better is the reason we don't kill each other are mistaken ...

Why we do something and why we should do something are different questions.

--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]

Ah... (4.50 / 2) (#198)
by trhurler on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:18:26 PM EST

I didn't say our minds don't do anything for us. They allow us to determine what is and is not to our advantage and to manipulate our environments instead of being manipulated by it. We have something of a moral sense, but really it is just a disguise for self interest, and always has been. It is not to my advantage to fling feces at people, but if it genuinely was, I'd be doing it right now.

Morality is always the excuse for behavior we'd rather not examine too closely.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
Damn it! (1.00 / 1) (#312)
by garlic on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:39:28 PM EST

And I thought K5's point was to fling feces!

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

logical vs. psychological (none / 0) (#529)
by dalinian on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:49:04 AM EST

We have something of a moral sense, but really it is just a disguise for self interest, and always has been.
Is this logical or psychological egoism? (These names vary in philosophical conversation, but let's use these for now.)

Logical egoism means that whatever we may do, we only have egoistic intentions. For example, we save people from a burning building only because we want to save them, and no other explanation is needed. Psychological egoism means that our nature is such that we tend to act egoistically, but that we can to some extent escape that tendency, or in other words, act morally.

If you accept logical egoism, all prescriptive ethical speech loses its meaning. There is no moral "ought" anymore. You simply make everything egoistic - without no good reason, I might add. And if you choose psychological egoism, you still have to admit that morality is real: there is a genuine area in which we can act morally. It only requires effort.

[ Parent ]

Neither (5.00 / 1) (#550)
by trhurler on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:58:30 PM EST

What I am arguing has nothing to do with psychological egoism, and is not quite logical egoism either. If you modify logical egoism by eliminating the treatment of desire as an irreducible fact, you're pretty close. I think people want things for reasons, and I think we can sometimes and to some extent discern those reasons. Morality as employed by an individual is primarily a means of justifying his choices, or else he doesn't employ it at all; a few people might actually use their explicitly claimed morality as a guide, but all loose talk aside, this is so rare that we can almost discount it. Morality as employed against(and I use that word deliberately) others is a way to try to coerce them into taking some particular course of action. This is perfectly consistent; morality is a cover for self interest.

Of course, a morality of self interest changes things a bit, as now morality becomes aligned with what it is supposed to cover for, and perhaps people might actually use it as a guide for once.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
ethical (normative) egoism (none / 0) (#560)
by dalinian on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:06:06 AM EST

a few people might actually use their explicitly claimed morality as a guide, but all loose talk aside, this is so rare that we can almost discount it.
That is a strange opinion. If people don't act like they should, we should instead teach them how they should act, and not just ignore them.
Of course, a morality of self interest changes things a bit, as now morality becomes aligned with what it is supposed to cover for, and perhaps people might actually use it as a guide for once.
This is normative egoism, as I'm sure you know. You are saying that people not only are, but also should be egoists. But this does not pass the universalizability criterion, unless you are willing to restrict that egoism at least a bit. And if you are, it seems you have to admit that there is still an area in which people should not act egoistically. And this is all I'm saying.

[ Parent ]
Two things (none / 0) (#567)
by trhurler on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 01:21:30 PM EST

That is a strange opinion. If people don't act like they should, we should instead teach them how they should act, and not just ignore them.
Given that I regard morality as a tool of individual betterment, and given that I am not an altruist, why should I do this? You are assuming the morality you hold while trying to evaluate mine. That will not work. (In fact, an argument can be made that it is to my advantage for other people to be egoists, but enough to my advantage that I should expend serious effort without compensation? Not really. That's what education is for.)
This is normative egoism, as I'm sure you know. You are saying that people not only are, but also should be egoists. But this does not pass the universalizability criterion
I've known it as ethical egoism for quite some time. In any case, morality does not have to be universal. This is one of the sillier misconceptions ever held in ethics, and is popular solely because altruism and variants on that theme are popular. If you are an altruist, then universal morality is not only sensible, but virtually a requirement in order to have an intelligible morality at all, but that says nothing about other kinds of morality. Other people's lives are their own concern. Mine is mine.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
talking about different things (none / 0) (#572)
by dalinian on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:53:12 PM EST

In any case, morality does not have to be universal. This is one of the sillier misconceptions ever held in ethics, and is popular solely because altruism and variants on that theme are popular.
Okay, so we are talking about entirely different things. If you don't think morality has to be universal, we don't agree even on the definition of the word. Therefore it's impossible to have a meaningful discussion, but maybe we can see why we have a disagreement.
Other people's lives are their own concern. Mine is mine.
Even if those other people decided, say, steal some of your stuff? Are you saying that you trust laws to prevent this from happening, and that law and morality are completely separate issues? (You seem to imply this by saying that you think of morality as a tool of individual betterment.) If so, why? Or is it something else?

[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#573)
by trhurler on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 05:11:39 PM EST

Well, first of all, no, laws are not enough. I distinguish laws, rights, and morality. The first are made. The second are possessed because of what we are. The third is influenced by what we are, but also by our circumstances(much less so, but to some extent.) Laws are almost exclusively about our interactions. Rights(enforced through laws,) help to underpin the legal system and are entirely a collection of protections - of things we cannot legitimately do to each other. Morality is personal. It is about one's own life.

This is not the historical view of these things. The historical view muddles all three concepts. More recently, we've started unmuddling them. I've taken it a bit further than most people.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
I see (5.00 / 1) (#575)
by dalinian on Fri Jul 12, 2002 at 07:15:46 AM EST

I think I understand your ideas a bit better now, even though it would require a lot of time to really get to the details, and to see how the three systems work together.
This is not the historical view of these things. The historical view muddles all three concepts. More recently, we've started unmuddling them. I've taken it a bit further than most people.
This attitude is quite common among philosophers, and sometimes I too feel that a lot of all kinds of old and confusing (and confused) ideas need to be thrown away. But in philosophy, everything tends to get muddled after a while anyway. :-)

[ Parent ]
cruelty (5.00 / 1) (#155)
by kubalaa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:00:37 AM EST

The reason we are not cruel is because we are self-conscious. That is, we recognize the distinction between self and other, and as a result are able to sympathize.

I don't see any other reason for the inherent dislike of cruelty -- it seems to have been an unfortunate side-effect of consciousness, outweighed by the benefits it gives us in predicting and analyzing others' actions.

Killing and cruelty are different -- we must kill, but we must also minimize (or avoid hearing about) cruelty to spare ourselves discomfort. At least that's true of normal people with a fully-functional self-awareness.

[ Parent ]

Nope. (5.00 / 1) (#178)
by jason on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:40:58 AM EST

The reason we are not cruel is because we are self-conscious. That is, we recognize the distinction between self and other, and as a result are able to sympathize.

Wow. That is complete nonsense. Domestic cats most certainly know the difference "between self and other." They can discern friendly animals. They most certainly know what feels good to themselves, and they try to give pleasure to others. Many cats also try to cheer their family up when members of that family feel down. Many can be trained not to attack specific instances of their natural prey (pets) while still killing others.

And cats are horribly cruel to what they catch. This applies to other predators, too, but people are most familiar with cats.

Jason



[ Parent ]
Hmm (5.00 / 1) (#387)
by carbon on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:52:55 AM EST

And cats are horribly cruel to what they catch. This applies to other predators, too, but people are most familiar with cats.

The cats might recognize other cats and humans as being sentient, but who says they see their pray the same way? And, who says they even have the concept of external sentience at all? Perhaps they simply follow the principle of enlightened self-interest. That is, the cat reasons: "If I purr and curl around their legs, they seem more likely to scratch me behind my ears in just the way I like, so, I'll do that more often. In fact, it seems that they're even more likely to do that if they seem to be acting depressed."


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
you're right, consciousness is not enough (none / 0) (#421)
by kubalaa on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:10:36 AM EST

Though I'm still trying to find out what it is that humans have got. It seems circular -- we know that the aversions to treating small animals and humans cruelly are related, so we put social pressure on them together, which in turn enforces the connectedness of the aversions.

I think part of it is humans are more social than cats, and on a larger scale. Dogs, more similar to humans in this respect, are ruthless but rarely cruel, and never within their circle of dependence. And a human's circle of dependence is getting ever larger. See my response to trhurler on this thread.

Another part is that humans are more powerful than cats. I'm not sure why our ability to empathise gives us an advantage over them, but it's clear our ability to empathise is closely related to our self-awareness and intelligence.

[ Parent ]

Um... no. (none / 0) (#202)
by trhurler on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:23:46 PM EST

Lots of people are cruel every day. Maybe they express it in ways society won't prosecute them over, but it is the very same thing. Your analysis is oversimplified.

In any case, aversion to cruelty is a learned trait. Primitive cultures often treated each other with unbelievable barbarism, even though within one tribe or nation(or family, or whatever,) they were kind, generous, and caring.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
interaction (none / 0) (#420)
by kubalaa on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:57:13 AM EST

Actually, I fleshed out this idea better in another thread.

You are right about ancient tribes -- the reason they could get away with this is that their interaction and dependence on each other was limited. There's no reason to help another tribe when economic endeavors can only be carried out at the tribal level (that is, there's no benefit from the two tribes teaming up to go hunting).

In modern society, the odds of becoming economically connected to a random person are very high -- so likewise your dependence on people you don't know, and therefore your need to avoid offending them is also high.

[ Parent ]

Economic dependence on individuals (5.00 / 2) (#503)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:14:27 PM EST

I have to disagree. If anything, we are less likely to be economically dependent on other people on the street than ever. More and more in late capatalist societies, we depend on institutions, rather than individuals.

Consider your average shopping trip at Safeway. On the face of it, you might be considered dependent on the people who operated the farming machinery and trucks, the person who put the produce out to be inspected, and the checker. And on the face of it, you'd be correct.

But the fact of the matter is that you are in fact dependent on an institution - Safeway. No matter if you spat on the face of your checker two hours before walking into the store, he'll still check you out. Sure, he might be a bit more surly about it, but he'll still provide you with a minimum of service, because he too is dependent on the institution.

In fact, in modern western societies one can be quite unpleasant to every individual one encounters, and still survive quite well. Sure, you might not get service with a smile, but you'd still be able to procure food and shelter.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Primal (1.66 / 3) (#171)
by Nuup on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:31:56 AM EST

Man has the ability to transcend past such primitive attitudes, we may be an animal but our mind allows us to do so much more. Your attitude is a very common notion though flawed, is exactly how humans justify acting as we were generations upon generations ago. We have the ability to do so much more but people like yourself would rather justify it by saying it's who we are. No, it's who you are, it's how you were raised, and it's what you want to be - primitive believing he's more intelligent than previous generations.

This is attitude is exactly why instead of working to advance humanity as a world, we fight each other over petty nonsense. This is exactly why religion is still so prevalent over science. This is exactly why the western world over indulges to such extremes leaving others to suffer. This is exactly why America has withdrawn from international treaties that were icons of progression of humanity. It is that attitude which applies to so much more than just a diet.

I have no doubt unless humans kill themselves off first, there will come a time we advance past those primitive attitudes. But till then people like yourself with that common attitude only hold back humanity by refusing to let go of such primal instincts and urges. Sure they're part of who we are, but it's your choice to be a servant to them.

And your vegan friends who were sickly looking to you simply neglected their bodies. Your ignorance and desire to attack a idea like veganism instead educate yourself about it is wonderful. You're so much better than those 'pathetic' people after all, I bet you believe you're more intelligent too eh? Better than them?

Though I'm not vegan, your attitude is pretty nasty.


-------------------------------------------------
Did you exchange a walk on part in the war, for a lead role in a cage?
[ Parent ]
Hehe (5.00 / 5) (#215)
by trhurler on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:45:17 PM EST

This is attitude is exactly why instead of working to advance humanity as a world, we fight each other over petty nonsense.
Here I was thinking it was because certain people want control over the lives of others. How silly of me to think that power is the reason for power squabbles.
This is exactly why religion is still so prevalent over science.
If you were a Kurd, where would you learn of this "science?"
This is exactly why the western world over indulges to such extremes leaving others to suffer.
Ha. If others wanted to make progress as we have, they could already have done it. The fact is, our progress depends and depended on our values, and they despise our values. Our progress has always been a struggle for the protection and enhancement of those values, and where we fight that fight, they despise us merely for doing so. What makes you think your average Mongolian would choose, if he could, to turn his country into a western republic with protection of individual rights, property, and so on? Or are you one of those fools who thinks western civilization could exist without property?
This is exactly why America has withdrawn from international treaties that were icons of progression of humanity.
Well, no. That's because the idea of letting a popularity contest decide the fate of American soldiers or crippling our economy while leaving neat escape hatches to protect those of foriegners simply isn't appealing.
I have no doubt unless humans kill themselves off first, there will come a time we advance past those primitive attitudes.
I am hardly what most people would term primitive. In fact, only a century ago, I would have been considered the worst sort of bleeding heart nuisance. The fact that I'm not an 80 pound bozo with bones poking through his skin notwithstanding, my overwhelming contribution to the world around me is my refusal to believe in fairy tales. You lambaste religion, then insist upon a morality whose origin you probably cannot specify, whose standard you almost certainly cannot articulate, whose purpose you certainly do not know, and which, in the end, is there to make you feel better about being such a lousy(in your own judgement,) person.
Sure they're part of who we are, but it's your choice to be a servant to them.
Whatever you say, Spock. I have to tell you, I find that rather than being a servant to them, they serve me. Quite well, actually.
And your vegan friends who were sickly looking to you simply neglected their bodies.
A couple of them probably did. What about the girl who exercises(alternates aerobic one day and weight training the next,) spends probably $200 a month on various supplements and literally tracks her intake of most everything people are supposed to take in down to grams per month, and yet somehow just keeps losing weight? She's under 100 lbs now, started around 140, and at this point, it is to the point where she has no figure whatsoever and her ribs poke through. She saw a doctor. He told her to stop with that diet, because she was starving herself. Literally, she just can't get enough calories, even if she gets the minerals and so on that she needs. She calls him a quack, and prefers to believe the advice of her nutritionist(ie, vegan quack,) who tells her she has a thyroid problem. Nevermind that the doctor's rather complete set of blood tests on her would hvae determined that sort of thing - he's a quack, and her nutjob veganist "doctor"(as she always calls him,) who doesn't even have a proper medical degree knows better!
your attitude is pretty nasty.
Congratulations on being right for once.

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

[ Parent ]
incorrect information (none / 0) (#528)
by dalinian on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:08:49 AM EST

The fact is, unless you're willing to regularly eat significant quantities of truly weird, rare, and frequently rather expensive foods and/or to consume significant quantities of dietary supplements(not all of which are likely made in strict accordance with your religion, er, ah, diet, er, yeah...) you are going to suffer from malnutrition on a vegan diet.
"The fact is..."? No, it's not. I am a vegan, and I don't eat weird and rare foods that often, and certainly not frequently. But I guess it depends on what you consider truly weird and rare. What do you think about broccoli, for example? Or beans? Those are probably the weirdest things I eat frequently, and I am not suffering from malnutrition. These foods are not very expensive either.

The dietary supplements are another issue. You are correct in saying that they are needed. But you don't need significant amounts. The only thing you can't from vegetables is as far as I know the B12 vitamin. And you need that something like a couple of micrograms a day. Is that a significant amount?

[ Parent ]

My perspective (4.80 / 5) (#82)
by calimehtar on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:06:30 PM EST

I myself have traversed the spectrum from vegetarian to omnivore to strict vegan (with a few quirks) and back to vegetarian. While I was leaning toward the vegan side of the spectrum, my motivation was to avoid having to kill for food -- the thought that I would kill two or three organisms a day for the rest of my life to sustain myself suddenly struck me as horrible and I resolved to do something about it.

I began to realize two things:

one it is possible to eat plant and even animal products without killing. All "fruit" in the scientific sense of the word, from squash to kiwi, can be eaten without causing any harm to the plant which produced it. In fact most fruit evolved specifically to tempt animals into eating the fruit and spreading the plant's seeds through their excreta. All dairy products can similarly be aquired (though they often aren't) without causing any harm to the animals which provide them.

Two, it's not possible to live even one day without killing something. And furthermore, if you want to politicize food there many additional interesting and sometimes conflicting causes to take into consideration.

For example:

Which is better from a moral perspective: a fish belonging to a species that isn't endangered, harvested by the timeless, brutal method of dragging it out of the sea and effectively drowning it; or a cow from a factory farm killed in a such a way that it probably dies before it even realizes what is happening? I bet most people would agree that eating the fish is morally preferable, since the fish in question had a chance to escape, and very likely lived a full and happy life free in the ocean.

Another example. Which is preferable: drinking coffee from a huge monoculture farm, coffee drenched in persticides and harvested by people getting paid starvation wages; or drinking milk produced on a local, family-run, organic farm? Again, I suspect most people, even a few vegans, would be tempted to choose the latter.

For myself, the complexity of the problem finally became too great. I still avoid meat and dairy products, especially if I'm reasonably certain they are from factory farms. I have a strong preference for organically grown foods and locally-run grocery stores. But in general I eat what strikes me as good.



Are you sure? (4.00 / 1) (#84)
by Cant Say on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:19:31 PM EST

You would eat a fish that was effectively tortured to death, pulled from a happy life free in the ocean, than eat a cow that was killed quickly and without pain? The fish hardly had a chance to escape, my friend. There was a chance it wouldn't be caught, but once it's in the net, it's a goner.

Do no unnecessary harm

[ Parent ]

pain-free cows (4.00 / 1) (#94)
by calimehtar on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 11:10:58 PM EST

Notice that I mentioned specifically factory-farmed cows. I'm trying to make the ethical dilemma difficult intentionally. And yes, knowing what I do about the life of the typical North American beef cow, I would choose the fish without hesitation.

[ Parent ]
Latte (4.00 / 1) (#187)
by CokeBear on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:03:34 PM EST

Another example. Which is preferable: drinking coffee from a huge monoculture farm, coffee drenched in persticides and harvested by people getting paid starvation wages; or drinking milk produced on a local, family-run, organic farm? Again, I suspect most people, even a few vegans, would be tempted to choose the latter.

The first 3 times I read this paragraph, I kept seeing the last word as Latte. Maybe I have had enough coffee yet today.

[ Parent ]

Two Points. (4.33 / 3) (#85)
by ti dave on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:22:31 PM EST

First of all, I find Vegans' objection to the use of honey to be, well.. Retarded.
Where is the cruelty in a man-made hive?

It resembles the structure of the real thing so closely that the bees continue on with their activities.
Bees naturally produce more honey than they require, and I don't know of any beekeepers who would intentionally destroy the domesticated bees' environment.
Beekeepers are pretty ethical stewards of their charges.

Secondly, have you any evidence to back up your assertion that conversion for ethical reasons outnumbers conversion for health reasons?
That doesn't sound reasonable to me.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

ethical vs heath related vegans (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by gauze on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:40:54 PM EST

 "Secondly, have you any evidence to back up your assertion that conversion for ethical reasons outnumbers conversion for health reasons?
That doesn't sound reasonable to me."

I doubt he does but anecdotally(?), I don't know a single person who has gone vegan "for good" for health reasons. The one guy who I know who did strayed because Indian food uses gee (clarified butter) and said "Indian food is too good to give up".

I think people who are health conscience are more likely to go ovo-lacto vegetarian or macrobiotic.

I don't know every vegan in the world but I have
met plenty in the last 15 years and they were all all ethical. (or trendy people of course)
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]

I think you're on to something. (none / 0) (#89)
by ti dave on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:57:32 PM EST

they were all all ethical. (or trendy people of course)

Yes, the latter does sound like a reasonable explanation.

"If you dial," Iran said, eyes open and watching, "for greater venom, then I'll dial the same."

[ Parent ]
the trendy vegan (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by gauze on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:14:47 AM EST

>>they were all ethical. (or trendy people of
>> course)
>
>Yes, the latter does sound like a reasonable >explanation.

yep. But the reason they even tried it to be trendy was for ethics and not health, which is a distinction that should be noted. Youthful lefty enthusiasm, perhaps.
There's nothing wrong with a PC that a little UNIX won't cure.
[ Parent ]

If I kill a cow myself is it ethical to eat it? (4.50 / 4) (#86)
by Sheepdot on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:30:25 PM EST

I had someone challenge me to go to a slaughterhouse.

I did it. It was great. I personally oversaw the deaths of three fine steers. It was quick and painless, but I've seen a couple others that weren't that way.

None of it offends me. If it did, I would probably quit eating meat. So, my question to vegans and basically anyone that is against such a slaughter because THEY DON'T LIKE IT: Is it really unethical if I feel the slaughter is justified by giving me meat?

I would highly suggest that those of you who even show the slightest hint of wanting to quit eating meat go to these plants and see the slaughter. You'll either stomach it and enjoy your food much better than you used to, or you'll get upset and go vegetarian or vegan.

Grew up next to a slaughterhouse (5.00 / 7) (#132)
by fraise on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:32:50 AM EST

My elementary school was across the road from a slaughterhouse. We visited it a couple of times, never actually watched the animals slaughtered (probably too rough for elementary kiddies), but we knew how it worked, knew where the cows and pigs came from, and knew how a steak got into its shape. The cows came from a ranch about a mile away (one of my classmates was the rancher's son), and the pigs were raised right next to the slaughterhouse. Eggs were also sold there, but just about everybody in the area had their own chickens. (Who, me, redneck? *grin*)

We all grew up knowing exactly what a pig sounds like when its slaughtered. If you've never heard one, it's frightening at first, but we all got used to it. When we were taught about what smoking cigarettes does to your lungs, they brought in the usual example of a smoker's lung, and to compare it, a healthy pig's lung that had been removed from a pig that very day. None of us found this shocking, and I suppose it won't come as a surprise that all of us from that elementary school still eat meat.

And... we also learned respect for animals. They had good lives, we knew the ranchers, we even knew the animals. My parents refused to buy meat anywhere but from that slaughterhouse. To this day I refuse to buy meat unless I know exactly where it came from - this is possible in France. "Label rouge" beef is labeled with the cow's birth month, ranch of origin, feed type (grains, usually, after the whole mad cow craze), length of life before slaughter, and slaughter date. There's a similar label for poultry, I can be certain that if I buy this label, it's a chicken/duck that was raised outside, on a farm, fed organic grains and at least a year or two old (I've forgotten which, maybe 14-16 months?). Similar deal for eggs and pork. Fish, however, are another matter - especially salmon. Many people here are worried that stock salmon are going to develop "mad fish" disease since they're effectively cannibals. The fish pellets they're fed are ground-up fish and grains, just like cows used to be fed ground-up cow bits.

Overall I agree with a lot of the vegan ideals, but I have the possibility to support local farmers/ranchers who use healthy practices and still eat meat. Something similar to these labels could probably be instated in the US, and would be very welcome, I imagine.

[ Parent ]
What this article did for me, a vegetarian. (4.00 / 4) (#88)
by evilpenguin on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 09:53:25 PM EST

Four years ago, I was approximatly 230 LBS, which is 80 lbs more than someone my height should weigh. However, I decided to do something about it, and now I weigh 155 LBS, have gained a lot of muscle, and am generally in the best shape I've ever been. In addition to diet and exercise, one of the things that I believe helped was becoming a vegetarian (note I said "vegetarian", not zeal^H^H^H^Hvegan).

Now, after the first few months I lost the craving for anything like hamburgers and such. After four years, I can say that I never want to touch beef/chicken/pork/lamb again (though I never cared for the latter two anyhow). However, I really want a tuna sandwich right now. Maybe it's just because in browsing the comments I saw fish mentioned, and I haven't eaten dinner yet tonight, but regardless -- I'm going grocery shopping tommorow, and I think I shall pick up a can or two of tuna. I still plan on getting my normal shopping list of veggies, beans, lentils, etc.; I just really want that sandwich.

Am I going to feel bad for the little (well, big) fishie(s)? No. But after I saw this story in the queue, I pondered the reasons for my vegetarian-ness. Health? I think going back to eating fish (though no other meat) will actually improve my health -- I just barely get my 80 g. of protien a day now via dairy and vegetables. Pity? Well, I deplore the conditions of slaughterhouses, but to be the base creature I am: I just don't give a damn. I will never eat "meat" (i.e., everything but a few kinds of fish) again simply because I don't like it. Don't like the taste, the texture, the process, etc. Never have, never will. I guess it's genetic or something.

Will that tuna sandwich, and those to follow, make me feel good about myself? I'm already content. Will it give me more energy? Naw, I'm quite chipper as is. But I'm sure it will taste better than any of those "meatless-meat" sandwiches I've been having all this time.

Let me finish off this disconnected rant by stating: Way back when I was considering going all the way vegan, I decided to try out some of the things that would replace dairy products. Soy "milk" is the most vile shit to ever be labeled "edible", bar none. Even the "chocolate soy milk" has it's own unique wretch. Soy "cheese" tastes like plastic and has the texture to prove it. Bleh.
--
# nohup cat /dev/dsp > /dev/hda & killall -9 getty
You're in Error. (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by bitgeek on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:42:32 AM EST


Congratulations on loosing the weight.  I'm sure it was not easy, and took a fair bit of exercise, will power, and watching what you eat.

But being a vegetarian is likely not part of what helped.  More likely- based on what my vegetarian friends eat- it made your job harder.

Humans were made to eat meat.  Our digestive systems, our teeth, and our physiology were made for it.  

When we eat grains- we have to produce insulin to counteract the increase in blood sugar.  Most vegetarian diets, with their focus on rice and grains, really amount to sitting down and eating donuts all day.  (Carbohydrates are sugar when they hit the blood stream.)

I'm not saying your diet wasn't part of what helped you loose weight-- simply paying attention to what you are eating probably cut your calories in half or more.

But a diet of vegetables, meat, cheese (but not milk, not many fruits) and some veggies is the best way to loose weight.  Your body will actually start burning fat to maintain your blood sugar level. (Please do this responsibly, and seek other advice than mine if you want to go this route- there are many methodologies, Protein Power (best scientific book on it) adkins, sugarbusters, etc.)

Basically, the "health benefits" of vegetarianism (and veganism) are a complete myth.  
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.
[ Parent ]

proof? (3.33 / 3) (#119)
by dalinian on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:40:18 AM EST

Humans were made to eat meat. Our digestive systems, our teeth, and our physiology were made for it.
Actually, humans weren't made to eat anything. We have simply adjusted to the conditions. And we can get by eating just veggies (although the B12 vitamin is an interesting issue), but not with just meat. We don't need meat for anything.
But a diet of vegetables, meat, cheese (but not milk, not many fruits) and some veggies is the best way to loose weight.
Well, you know how many "best ways to lose weight" there are in the world. Why would yours be any different? And in particular, why would ditching the meat and the cheese make you lose weight? (I would like an answer longer than one sentence, preferably with links to at least some kind of proof.)
Basically, the "health benefits" of vegetarianism (and veganism) are a complete myth.
You know, you need quite a lot of proof to make me believe that. Since I stopped using milk products, my skin is in a lot better condition. I've had atopic dermatitis for about ten years, and it gradually disappeared when I got rid of all milk products.

Also, I have not been sick after switching to a vegan diet. Granted, it's only been a year and a half, but normally I would have been sick at least once, and most likely twice in that period. My allergies are mostly gone as well.

[ Parent ]

Milk (4.00 / 1) (#134)
by pexatus on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:41:38 AM EST

What's wrong with milk? I've heard many people decry it, but usually without reason. I especially don't get how a big hunk of saturated-fat-loaded cheese, which is made from whole milk, could be better for you than a glass of skim milk. I found this list of cons on a Google search:
  1. Whole milk, or anything made of whole milk, is high in saturated fat, which can increase cholesterol level.
  2. Milk is a common cause of food allergy (allergy to milk protein).
  3. Many people, especially adults, lack the enzyme to digest lactose (milk sugar). This is called lactose intolerance, which causes bloating, gas, and diarrhea.
  4. Milk (and meat for that matter) may contain the antibiotics given to the animal before slaughter. It has been argued that when humans then eat the dairy or meat products, they absorb the antibiotics, potentially allowing for bacteria harmful to humans to become more resistant to these antibiotics. The consequence is that when antibiotics are prescribed, they may not be as effective at killing the bacteria as they once were.
1 doesn't apply to skim milk (however, it does apply to cheese). 2 and 3 don't apply to most people. 4 may be a concern, but it applies to meat as well.

What reasons do you have for saying milk is bad in ways that meat and cheese aren't? This honestly worries me, as I try to use milk as my main source of calcium and some protein.

While we're at it, what is wrong with fruit?

[ Parent ]

Cheese (none / 0) (#163)
by Dolohov on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:17:43 AM EST

Cheese-making involves two major components: heat and fermentation. The fermentation gets rid of lactose, which is what the bacteria eat. The heat (And the presence of other bacteria) kill anything harmful in the cheese, so you don't have to worry about the antibiotics usually. Now, things like cottage cheese may be a problem (I don't entirely know how they make it) but I doubt it.

I should also mention that not all cheese is made from whole milk. A quick look at the packaging will tell you just how much fat is there, and how much is saturated. Dismissing it because it's made from milk is a little silly when you have access to the important information.

Of course, I drink milk. In fact, I drink whole milk. I would rather drink a half glass of whole milk and then a glass of water than drink a full glass of 2% milk.

And there's nothing wrong with fruit. But fruit goes very well with cheese :)

[ Parent ]

Proof is in the living. (4.75 / 4) (#166)
by blixco on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:19:41 AM EST

I tried one of the high-protein (lots of meat, little carbs) diets, and all I got was 10 pounds lighter and sick as hell, and this after having a "regular" carnivorous diet.

However, after switching to more readily digestable (and useable) forms of protein (from vegetables), dropping dairy products, and generally balancing my diet, I've lost more weight, gained more muscle, and haven't been sick as often or as long. My skin is clearer, my eyesight generally better, and I've gained about forty pounds of muscle. So I guess it depends on the person, and every person I've known who is vegetarian or vegan is healthier than the people I know who eat meat and/or go for crackpot no / low carb diets.

Point is, you have to eat what's right for you as a person. Maybe meat works for you.

In so far as humans being made to eat meat: humans are also made to hunt, kill other humans, defecate in the woods, not shave, never cut our hair, not subject ourselves to the rigors of modern life in any way, never meant to fly, etc. The point is, our nature (as humans) has almost nothing to do with who we are today. Diet-wise, the body doesn't care where protein, fat, and carbs come from. As long as the body gets protein, fat, and carbs. That's as specific as the biology gets. It's the side effects (saturated fats, chloresterol, growth hormones, anti-biotics, rotting meat, etc) that are particularly nasty.
-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.
[ Parent ]

High protien diets are not good. (3.33 / 3) (#293)
by steveftoth on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:21:37 PM EST

Advicating high protein diets is bad. Now unforunatly I have not the true scientific evidence to back me up, but I do know that everyone I know of who has done a high-protien diet has well, expanded back to their original size.

True dieting should be just that. A change of diet that is forever. Not a 2 week or 6 month thing of starving your body of it's essential nutrients. But rather a slower, more natural pace that allows your body to adjust and shrink to your desired size.

Sugarbusters, atkins, etc... all advertise that you can lose it all and lost it now, which to a certain extent is true. Look at all the people who are happy losing weight by having their stomach shrunk and their digestive track severed. That to me in insane. People who can't control their eating habits should probably be FAT. If you can't learn to eat properly you should suffer the consequences. This is not like cancer, and for the vast majority of people a controllable condition. We are all inheriatly addicted to water, food and air. It's hard to drink too much water, or breath too much air, however in this day and age it's much too easy to eat too much.

Carnie Wilson my ass.

[ Parent ]

protein (none / 0) (#250)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:47:44 PM EST

vegetables and dairy? might try some beans or something... maybe certain plants like quinoa

[ Parent ]
that fish craving and evolution (none / 0) (#386)
by cnicolai on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:48:10 AM EST

They say our ancestors diverged from apes when they lived near water. Good chance that's when meat entered our diet in a big way. For more info, look up:
  • history: aquatic ape hypothesis
  • nutrition: d-omega fatty acids


[ Parent ]
Soy milk (none / 0) (#494)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:29:48 PM EST

... tastes way better than real milk. It's healthier, creamier, and much less nasty.

And for the record, I am quite omnivorous.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

How I love to terrorize vegans (4.30 / 10) (#92)
by Anonymous 242 on Sun Jul 07, 2002 at 10:34:49 PM EST

Point 1: most processed sugar (read: table sugar) is made by feeding it through bovine bone charcoal filters. Lest you think I make this up, hit google.

Point 2: natural flavor. A considerable amount of natural flavor comes from animal parts. Next time you see "natural flavor" on the ingredients list in the grocers, bear in mind that is probably from an animal.

Point 3: McDonald's french fries are cooked in vegetable oil with the above mentioned "natural flavor" from beef fat.

Point 4: Gelatin (used to make not jest Jell-O, but also marshmallows, most puddings, and more) comes from animals.

Bon Appétit!

-l

Proof (3.50 / 2) (#111)
by godix on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:09:02 AM EST

Point 1 and 4 I agree with. Point 2 is debatable, it depends on your definition of 'considerable amount'.

Point 3 needs proof. Last I heard it's just wrong. I recall a riot in India that started from this claim. Afterwards McD's and indepenantly some Indian activist submitted their oil to scientific exams to prove it was wrong. This is a story I didn't follow much, so you claim could be true, but I want some proof.

[ Parent ]

Point 3 is true (5.00 / 3) (#138)
by clark9000 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:11:54 AM EST

It is true. McDonald's settled a class action suit for $10 million in the US, admitting that the fries contained beef and were not labeled.

The distinction is that in McD's restaurants IN India, the fries do not contain any beef extract. Although there was indeed rioting and some confusion over the point.
_____
Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.

-- E. Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Fries (none / 0) (#272)
by godix on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:15:42 PM EST

So are McD's fries now using animal fat (I assume that's where the beef product comes from) and labeling it correctly or did they switch over entirely to the same non-beef formula India has?

[ Parent ]
keeping recipe (none / 0) (#409)
by clark9000 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:29:23 AM EST

I believe in non-India restaurants they are keeping the traditional recipe and labeling it as containing beef extract.

Text of the settlement here.
_____
Much madness is divinest sense
To a discerning eye;
Much sense the starkest madness.

-- E. Dickinson
[ Parent ]
not very terrorizing (4.50 / 4) (#112)
by hoskoteinos on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:40:18 AM EST

the four points you've made (esp. 1 and 4) are well known to informed vegans. Some notes re:

point 1 -- vegan products often advertise the fact that no processed sugars have been used. If food makers are mum on the subject (as in Tofutti brand products), one can usually assume their producs are not, strictly speaking, vegan.

point 2 -- vegans and people with food allergies are actually trying to get the FDA to require food makers to disclose whether their flavors contain animal biproducts.

point 3 -- what vegans eat at McDonalds? :)

point 4 -- heck, most non-vegans know that gelatin comes from animals. There are imitation gelatin products out there.


[ Parent ]

not terrorzing to *enlightened* vegans perhaps (none / 0) (#197)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:15:17 PM EST

In my experience most vegans really have no idea how pervasive animal products are.

Of course I haven't met very many vegans since high school and my first round of college.

You'd be surprised at the number of shocked looks I get when I mention to vegetarians or vegans the processed sugar bit. Apparently, this is not as common knowledge as one might think.

[ Parent ]

understood (none / 0) (#287)
by hoskoteinos on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:49:33 PM EST

there are indeed plenty of uninformed vegans out there. My own view is somewhat skewed, coming from a veg-dense city (Ithaca, NY). Word does get around, though, especially if one is dedicated to actively informing oneself.

[ Parent ]
Veganism and beer (4.33 / 3) (#179)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:43:17 AM EST

You want to really terroize vegans, particularly in college?  Tell them most beer contains gelatin.  It's true.  It usually adds to the consistency.

There's nothing funnier than seeing a vegan in college drink beer because "it's made from plants".  :)  I liken most vegans to squirrels: they eat particular foods because they are told they fit their diet, not the other way around.  Throw a piece of meat to a squirrel (or better yet, leave out Christmas tree lights on your house) and watch them try to eat them.

[ Parent ]

squirrels? (none / 0) (#273)
by bobbyanalog on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:28:08 PM EST

you're saying here that squirrels would have a hard time eating meat. you're partially right, meat, as prepared by humans, isn't very conducive to gnawing by rodent teeth. but there's nothing that says they couldn't eat and digest and benefit from meat, almost all rodents are omnivores. also, you are lumping together here two disperate groups of people: informed vegans and uninformed vegans. it may sound rediculous to most, but informed vegans know exactly what they are eating to a good degree of certainty.

[ Parent ]
Vegans = squirrels. (none / 0) (#343)
by DuckSauce on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:55:05 PM EST

Squirrels are omnivores! They will quite happily devour frogs, lizards and any convenient eggs. (I've heard they'll eat small birds, but I deny this because the image is too funny for me to take).

[ Parent ]
Re: Veganism and beer (none / 0) (#463)
by coleslaw on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:37:36 PM EST

German beer is good, even for cold-blooded carnivores. A good lot of the high quality stuff is made from only water, hops, barley, and yeast. This is due to a now repealed German law, Reinheitsgebot, which was supposed to keep beer pure and healthy. The great thing about this is that you're not drinking preservatives which ruin the taste.

[ Parent ]
Gelatin in beer (5.00 / 1) (#472)
by TheSleeper on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:50:11 PM EST

You want to really terroize vegans, particularly in college?  Tell them most beer contains gelatin.  It's true.  It usually adds to the consistency.

While I suppose that some brewers may try to adjust the consistency of beer with gelatin, that's not the common use of gelatin in brewing. Rather, it's used as as a 'fining' or 'clarifying' agent. Basically it helps to get a lot of large proteins out of the beer (or wine).

When used this way, the gelatin doesn't remain in the final product. It settles out along with the proteins that it's intended to remove, well before bottling. (Not that this should make a difference to a serious ethical vegan.) While getting rid of the suspended proteins may have some effect on the consistency, flavor, and mouthfeel of a beer or wine, such an effect is secondary. The primary goal is to make the stuff look cleaner.

Note from the link above that there are several different possible fining agents, and that while some of them are animal-derived, many of them aren't.

Not that any of this should dissuade you from having some fun at the expense of a self-righteous vegan or two.

[ Parent ]

knew that allready. mcdonalds apologized/payed $ (none / 0) (#253)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:48:50 PM EST

to hindus over their beef-flavor fries issue. google for it ,something like hindu site:mcdonalds.com

[ Parent ]
how to scare a vegetarian into veganism (none / 0) (#384)
by cnicolai on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:35:37 AM EST

Most cheese is made with rennet (yeah i don't know what it is either) from cow intestines, supposedly. You can "no animal rennet" cheese but you have to look.

[ Parent ]
my hero (none / 0) (#405)
by chia on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:36:46 AM EST

there are few people more tedious in this world than those that try to catch veggies out such as yourself.
heres a news flash : meat is not posionous, veggies dont go to hell if they mistakenly consume meat traces, its not a religion, there are no rules.
veggies make up there own minds what they want to do, just like everything in life, you make compromises. one thing most true veggies do do is they actively seek to lower the suffering of other animals, and one of the ways they do this is by avoiding meat. so when a veggie finds out they are eathing something with meat in it, they'll stop and thats fine, in this game ignorance is an excuse. or maybe they wont stop, if they find giving up sugar is just too much of a pain, then they dont stop eating it, thats fine too.

so they only thing your little wank gets you is that veggies think your a total loser, which you probably are.


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
[ Parent ]
To each their own (none / 0) (#453)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:55:55 PM EST

I just think its funny, that's all.

Just like I think its funny that most arguments against the existence of God are tautological (and based on premises most Christians don't accept) or based on an argument from ignorance.

Just like I think its funny that President George W. Bush apparently pulled the same type of stock shenannigans that he is now condemning other CEOs for.

Just like I think its funny when Christians argue Sola Scriptura based on an appeal to tradition.

Just like I think its funny when I commit a big faux pas. Take my behavior several weeks ago in a diary about automobile safety. I was speaking to my wife about a particularly witty comment that I made that lambasted some poor poster about a post he or she made with a link that proved the opposite of what the poster was trying to assert. Turns out that I must of been on crack or something and I was the one who misread the chart.

You might think I'm a butthead. You've got every right to do it. But, honestly, what's wrong with making certain that a group of people (vegans in this case) understand the full implications of their world view? That the facts I know horrify most vegans that aren't already in the know just makes it a bit more amusing.

And BTW, that most vegans are such for moral reasons does make it a religion. ;) Only vegans that are such for purely practical reasons aren't religious about it.

-l

[ Parent ]

re (none / 0) (#533)
by chia on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:10:12 AM EST

i must admit its hard to argue with a post that wields such a self deprecating sig :)

yeah we all make mistakes, i cant argue with that. i dont think your a butthead, i think people who go about making statements like "ooh you're using sugar, but arent you a vegan? dont you know that sugar contains meat!!!" {shock horror} are buttheads. sure if you mention it to the person in conversation in order to inform, then no problem, but often its an accusatory statement and the meat eater is delighted in having proved the vegan wrong. that type of behaviour is a sad charachter flaw IMO. They do this because in their eyes vegatarism is about rules right and wrong - you see they dont understand what it actually means.

excuse me now, but i have to go and pray to mr potato head for your forgiveness.


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
[ Parent ]
Insects appear to feel pain (4.71 / 7) (#97)
by Pseudoephedrine on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:07:36 AM EST

Once again, K5's resident pet store worker offers this opinion: insects seem to feel pain.

Admittedly, this is rather crude and empirical and anecdotal in the extreme, but I work in the Fish department (and moonlight in the Reptile department) of a local pet store chain (Super Pet in Oakville, Ontario, for those of you wondering).

Anyhow, as far as I can tell, cockroaches _do_ feel pain. I base this on the fact that we feed a pair of blue-tongued skinks (think snakes with legs that are really friendly for a lizard) cockroaches, larvae (beetle and moth) and fruit. These foods are all given live (except for the fruit - that we butcher brutally without anesthetic after having confined it in a small dark pen in the bottom of the refridgerator for up to a week). When the skinks bite into the cockroach, you can see it thrash around and writhe in what appears, to my mere liberal arts educated mind, to be pain.

Now, this is somewhat important because cockroaches are about as far down on the evolutionary scale as you can go for the most part, so if they feel pain, I'm pretty much of the mind that most creatures feel pain to some extent. Not, perhaps, to the refined and exquisite levels of mental anguish practiced by poets, authors and Jerry Springer guests, but certainly it exists.

In the case of bees, you have to be careful about distinguising between experiencing pain (as something that discourages) and simply not caring about pain or self-survival. That is, it seems to me a much more reasonable hypothesis that bees feel pain and simply ignore it to accomplish what they are programmed to do than the notion that they don't feel pain at all (I say that because as far as I know, bees have a nervous system and the appropriate fibers [whose name escapes me at the moment - C fibers? P fibers? whatever] to experience pain). After all, if human behaviour is any guide to possible options of our insectoid brethren in regards to pain, one need look no further than most religious sects and the history of mortification of the flesh to find plenty of examples of people who ignore pain due to powerful compulsions to do so.

So yeah, basically this post boils down to, if Catholics feel pain, bees probably do to. ;D

Have you looked at possible 'ethical' methods of harvesting honey (by which I mean merely methods which don't involve killing more than a minimum of bees)? I'm sure they exist.
"We who have passed through their hands feel suffocated when we think of that legion, which is stripped bare of human ideals" -Alexander Solzhenitsyn

*gasp* (none / 0) (#108)
by Dragomire on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:46:53 AM EST

I loved this. I laughed so hard at this post! You, sir, are a comic genious!

I am being deadly serious as well. Now, excuse me while I go butcher some lettuce I have been holding in a pen in the fridge for a while. =-)

[ Parent ]

pain (none / 0) (#150)
by kubalaa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:45:14 AM EST

I think it's obvious that all animals feels pain. Pain is simply a way of noticing an undesirable condition and getting out of it. Just like all animals experience emotions. Plants don't have pain because they have no active defense mechanisms, therefore pain would be useless to them.

[ Parent ]
Why No Plant Liberation Front? (4.20 / 5) (#98)
by Lode Runner on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:12:55 AM EST

You're not a vegetarian because you love animals, you're vegetarian because you hate plants!

You may play lip-service to the idea of a Plant Liberation Front but I can hear your anti-plantist agenda loud and clear. Had you been serious, you'd've mentioned the obvious way to achieve vegetable liberation: treating poor people as the primary source of food.



sir, i must inform you.. (none / 0) (#101)
by infinitera on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:24:11 AM EST

you are a few centuries late and a dollar short.

[ Parent ]
Free the Plants (3.87 / 8) (#106)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:14:48 AM EST

Actually, the Vegans may be doing as much harm to the environment as us carnivores. In order to produce all that soy and wheat, humans must:
  1. Raze a piece of forest to the ground,
  2. Completely reformat this patch of ground until nothing wild can grow there again,
  3. Install a bland monoculture (wheat, corn, soy, whatever), which is harmful for a variety of reasons
Whatever native plants and animals were previously occupying the field, are now gone forever. When I eat a chicken, I only eat that specific chicken. When the vegan plants his field, he kills off an entire ecosystem, with countless fowl in it.

Anyways, the above paragraph is probably exaggerated. My point is, why is it ok to harm massive amounts of animals, insects, etc., indirectly (by planting fields), but it's not ok to harm small numbers of individual animals to eat them directly ? And we aren't even talking about wild animals here. Cows, chickens, etc. have been "genetically engineered" (actually, just bred) by countless generations of farmers; the modern cow could not survive in the wild even if it wanted to. It exists for one purpose, and one purpose only: to be eaten by McDonalds patrons. "Liberating" this cow from the pasture would be like liberating a fish from water.

I agree that, in principle, it would be better if we could all go back to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Unfortunately, with about 6 billion people on the planet, this is impossible. And if I am faced with a choice to kill a cow (or plant a field), or let one of my fellow humans starve to death, I'd pick the cow (or the field) most of the time.
>|<*:=

On the slightest offchance (1.50 / 2) (#115)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:11:13 AM EST

that you are neither retarded, nor a troll, just what do you think livestock is fed on, and where do you think it grows?

[ Parent ]
How so????? (4.75 / 4) (#116)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:20:46 AM EST


My point is, why is it ok to harm massive amounts of animals, insects, etc., indirectly (by planting fields), but it's not ok to harm small numbers of individual animals to eat them directly ? And we aren't even talking about wild animals here.

First, what "small number of individual animals"? We should really go away from this backyard farm romantics we inherited from our grandparents where every cow and pig on the farm had a name, and instead face the realities of today where one single pig farm in CA produces more toxic waste the the whole city of LA. Do you know the "individual animals" you are eating by name or where does this individuality of the animals come from?

Think about the dimensions for a moment. Even if, say, every American would eat only one chicken per year on average (which is WAY understated), it would make for 280 million chickens bred, grown and killed in one single year in this country alone. "Small numbers of individual animals"???

Second, if you really think that being vegetarian uses more land than eating meat, think again. It's exactly the other way around. The only reason forests are still being cut is livestock production as by now we would have enough farmland to support a vegetarian population (see Wilson reference below). The reason of more forests being cut is the increase in meat consumption.

Or where do you think this "individual animal" comes from? Specifically, what does it eat? Covering your nutritional needs using animal products will always do more harm to the environment than eating the plants directly, unless we invent animals that produce the exact amount of protein (or more) than they eat (and of course they souldn't produce any wastes and gases either).

It's not like you write that you "eat the animals directly". It's the opposite. If you eat animals, you eat plants indirectly. If you eat the plants directly (without first building meat from them (a very inefficient process)), you have a lot less environmental impact.

It's not about not harming nature. Like it or not, there are a few billions of us here, and we have to feed ourselves. Any agriculture is unnatural and impacts the environment. It's about limiting our use of natural resources (as these are by no means endless) thus limiting the environmental impact we are causing.


It exists for one purpose, and one purpose only: to be eaten by McDonalds patrons. "Liberating" this cow from the pasture would be like liberating a fish from water.

Huh? You know, the idea in the first place is to prevent this cow from being born, grown, fed, given a lot of antibiotics and other chemicals, and killed. Livestock, especially beef is an unbearable (for the environment) "resource hog".


I agree that, in principle, it would be better if we could all go back to the hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Unfortunately, with about 6 billion people on the planet, this is impossible.

Well, as E. O. Wilson (and others) calculated, the current worldwide agricultiral output could feed 10 billion vegetarians (the estimated population on the planet by 2015). In contrast, it would take seven Earths to feed 6 billion people with a meat centric Western diet. Anyone wants to think about what happens should China and India get a fancy for meat, when they get rich?


And if I am faced with a choice to kill a cow (or plant a field), or let one of my fellow humans starve to death, I'd pick the cow (or the field) most of the time.

Well maybe if the Western world chooses to kill the cow for much longer, it will lead to the death of the fellow human. Non-western human, that is, because should we begin to feel the scarcity of our natural resources (see above), guess who will be starving first for our meat?

[ Parent ]

Clarification (none / 0) (#373)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:52:53 PM EST

My "small number" argument referred to hunting, not factory farming per se. Sorry if I got my bearings confused there for a moment; it sucks to post while tired.

However, note that, as someone else pointed out, cows and other ruminants are really good at converting things we can't eat (cellulose, mostly) into things we can eat (meat). Furthermore, the things we can eat are much more concentrated in meat than in grains, so volume-wise, you have to eat less of it. This is more convenient for us, though of course it takes more surface area to support cows than to support humans directly, due to entropy and waste in general.

Moving on, I did not realize that the Vegan goal was to

...prevent this cow from being born, grown, fed, given a lot of antibiotics and other chemicals, and killed.
However, I am not sure if I read that right. Do Vegans really want to eliminate all cows, chickens, etc. from the face of the Earth ? Why is it ok to annihilate the chickens, as opposed to, say, pandas ?

This brings me back to my original point. Why is it bad to kill animals through factory farming and hunting, as opposed to killing them through ecosystem-destruction ? Even assuming that grain-farming is vastly less harmful than breeding livestock, the moral argument still stands. Animals are still getting killed, in large numbers. And that's bad (from the Vegan POV), right ?
>|<*:=
[ Parent ]

I love meat....but the vegans have a point (none / 0) (#128)
by morkeleb on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:39:21 AM EST

Actually, the Vegans may be doing as much harm to the environment as us carnivores. In order to produce all that soy and wheat, humans must:

1. Raze a piece of forest to the ground,
2. Completely reformat this patch of ground until nothing wild can grow there again,
3. Install a bland monoculture (wheat, corn, soy, whatever), which is harmful for a variety of reasons


Answer this question - how many acres does your average steer need to graze on while it is growing up? Then ask how much food could be harvested on that same piece of land.

Any type of human occupation is going to do damage. I mean you can't breathe without killing something. It's just a matter of degree.

I still eat steak and meat loaf and everything else. But I feel guilty.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
Difference (none / 0) (#505)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:25:55 PM EST

Cattle don't require a monoculture to be grazed. In fact, in another thread someone close to the industry suggested that most cattle are fed on the byproducts of the bread and beer industries (e.g., the stem).

Nonetheless, I do find it somewhat disingenuous to suggest that raising cattle is going to have a lesser environmental effect per calorie than any grain.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Okay....I love meat....but the vegans have a point (4.66 / 3) (#129)
by morkeleb on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:40:52 AM EST

Actually, the Vegans may be doing as much harm to the environment as us carnivores. In order to produce all that soy and wheat, humans must:

1. Raze a piece of forest to the ground, 2. Completely reformat this patch of ground until nothing wild can grow there again, 3. Install a bland monoculture (wheat, corn, soy, whatever), which is harmful for a variety of reasons


Answer this question - how many acres does your average steer need to graze on while it is growing up? Then ask how much food could be harvested on that same piece of land.

Any type of human occupation is going to do damage. I mean you can't breathe without killing something. It's just a matter of degree.

I still eat steak and meat loaf and everything else. But I feel guilty.
"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
[ Parent ]
But even if bees do feel pain (4.75 / 8) (#113)
by sticky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:56:14 AM EST

What does that have to do with honey harvesting? Bees aren't hurt or killed in the process of making honey; they just go about their daily business of collecting nectar from flowers and bringing it back to the hive. Perhaps the collection of honey cuts down on their ability to reproduce, but I doubt that this causes them much distress. Apiaries are actually quite beneficial, since they aid in friut and vegetable production. They are usually found in rural farming areas where such crops are grown. The only real problem I could see with them is if foreign bee species were brought in that competed with indigenous species.


Don't eat the shrimp.---God
Honey (3.00 / 1) (#141)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:12:40 AM EST

is considered non-vegan as you are taking advantage of a living creature for the benefit of humans. Bees dont collect honey for a laugh - its food.

[ Parent ]
taking advantage (4.50 / 2) (#146)
by kubalaa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:39:54 AM EST

This is ridiculous. Plants don't grow themselves for fun -- it's their life! It's impossible to exist without taking advantage of others. I can accept an argument against unnecessary pain, but now you're contradicting yourself.

[ Parent ]
Humans (2.00 / 2) (#152)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:49:29 AM EST

havent evolved to be able to take advantage of the nutrition contained in animal form as efficiently or as safely as that contained in plant form. You can discover this for yourself by looking at the attributes of beings which eat solely plants, and those which eat solely (or mostly) meat, then looking at which of these two groups attributes most closely match human anatomy. Pay particular attention to size and shape of stomach and teeth.

We dont need honey to survive, and we cannot survive on soley a meat diet. We do need food, such as that from plants.

Where am i contradicting myself?

[ Parent ]

taking advantage of.... (none / 0) (#170)
by thefirelane on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:24:43 AM EST

This would be true, but you forget...

The bee keeper is providing a home for the bees. I would also suspect that this home is larger than the one the bees might have produced naturally. (I don't have any insight on the validity on the second one, but I would like hearing from you if you do)

Therefore:

1) The bees are at least spared the need to produce and keep up their own shelter.

2) The bees are alble to produce more honey than they otherwise would have.

In this light, it becomes difficult to see it as the mean beekeeper taking advantage of the bees, as the bees still come out ahead, even if some honey is harvested.


---Lane

-
Prube.com: Like K5, but with less point.
[ Parent ]
Another site (none / 0) (#173)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:34:23 AM EST

for you to look at, as I`m afraid I dont have the patience to argue with the posters of comments such as "The bees are at least spared the need to produce and keep up their own shelter" and "I would also suspect that this home is larger than the one the bees might have produced naturally" (though thank you for giving me a much needed laugh whilst wrestling with DLL's which refuse to be RegSvr32'd) is located at:

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

[ Parent ]

Question (none / 0) (#191)
by synaesthesia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:10:19 PM EST

We do need food, such as that from plants. Where am I contradicting myself?

Before I answer this question, can I ask you: are you a fruitarian? If your answer is no, I think you know what my answer will be.



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
I am (none / 0) (#199)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:18:49 PM EST

not a fruitarian. I have no idea what your answer will be.

[ Parent ]
Logical fallacy (none / 0) (#204)
by synaesthesia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:27:53 PM EST

We need food
Vegetables are food
Therefore we need to eat vegetables

Why not stick to food which doesn't kill the vegetable, i.e., fruit?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

I (none / 0) (#214)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:45:01 PM EST

personally have no moral problems with killing plants (whether fruit or vegetable). Thats the bottom line for me. I do not see it as wrong, as I do not see the plant suffering. I enjoy the taste & appreciate the nutritional content of non-fruitarian foods. And i`m assuming the plants are grown sustainably, with no harmful chemicals, and sustainably, so that theres another crop next year.
But this is just my meaningless opinion. I have no interest in trying to convert strangers.

I have respect for those with the knowledge and patience to make a fruitarian diet work for any length of time (although becoming a fruitarian for short periods at a time is a handy way to clear your system if you`ve been ill/had to eat non-optimal food).
But you`d have to be pretty careful to get enough protein, B12 etc, especially if you are also into environmentalism, and therefore avoid eating food from too far from where you live, and live somewhere where those types of food arent available locally-produced for months every year.

I imagine things are pretty tough for people who have a vegan macrobiotic organic fruitarian diet! :)


[ Parent ]

To paraphrase (5.00 / 1) (#226)
by synaesthesia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:05:21 PM EST

Vegetables are considered non-fruitarian as you are taking advantage of a living creature for the benefit of humans.

We don't need vegetables to survive, and we cannot survive on soley a meat diet. We do need food, such as that from fruit.

I personally have no moral problems with eating honey. That's the bottom line for me. I do not see it as wrong, as I do not see the bee suffering. I enjoy the taste & appreciate the nutritional content of non-vegan foods. And i`m assuming the bees are kept organically, with no harmful chemicals, and sustainably, so that there's another honeypot next year.

Vegetables are considered non-fruitarian as you are taking advantage of a living creature for the benefit of humans. [As Kubalaa said] Plants don't grow themselves for fun -- it's their life!

Anyway, you needn't worry about 'converting' me - I'm a vegetarian, insofar as that I won't spend my money to support the meat industry, but I don't have a problem with eating meat (apart from a digestive problem), and I kill insects from time to time.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Interesting link (none / 0) (#247)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:43:43 PM EST

thanks, just downloaded it and will print/read it at some point.

Amusingly the author is vegetarian! He just doesnt like vegans talking rubbish! I`d have to agree with him there.

[ Parent ]

All Meat Diet (none / 0) (#471)
by Mzilikazi on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:33:09 PM EST

Actually, you probably could survive solely on a meat diet.

Worked well for thousands of years with the Inuit, and presumably many other Arctic cultures. Between the temperature and the long dark winters, meat is often the only option. I do remember reading about how the first western explorers in Alaska were amazed that the natives didn't suffer from scurvy, but it was later determined that things like seal skin and blubber had high amounts of Vitamin C.

[ Parent ]

Slight correction (none / 0) (#189)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:06:58 PM EST

    Bees aren't hurt or killed in the process of making honey

Not many bees. A few eggs and larvae can be harvested along with the honeycomb, and you'll maybe squish a worker or two in the process. Queens can have their wings clipped and be forcibly inseminated by decapitated drones (which, to be fair, would inseminate her by exploding in flight otherwise). And queens can be killed and replaced once they reach a couple of years old.

It's mostly win-win, but there's a little ambiguity there. Beekeeping is good for bees but not so hot for a minority of individuals.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

hurting bees (none / 0) (#450)
by taittiriya on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:47:29 PM EST

yes, bees do get hurt in the process of honey collection. depending on the type of bee hive in use, bees can get crushed when doors are opened or trays are slid out.

[ Parent ]
I like bacon!! (2.60 / 5) (#124)
by tonyenkiducx on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:40:48 AM EST

-1

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
I like bacon too but (5.00 / 1) (#136)
by Herring on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:02:16 AM EST

It's possible (in the UK) to get bacon which is produced rather more ethically than the "Sainsbury's value" or whatever. And it tastes nice. Check out farm shops/markets and you'll also be bypassing the supermarkets as well.

Let's face it, farm subsidies aren't really subsidising farmers - they're mostly subsidising supermarkets. Didn't Tesco make over £1bn last year?


Say lol what again motherfucker, say lol what again, I dare you, no I double dare you
[ Parent ]
I live in central london.. (none / 0) (#415)
by tonyenkiducx on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:12:25 AM EST

AND Im excessively lazy.. But I would if I could :)

Tony.
I see a planet where love is foremost, where war is none existant. A planet of peace, and a planet of understanding. I see a planet called utopia. And I see us invading that planet, because they'd never expect it
[ Parent ]
Unkosher (4.25 / 4) (#126)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:51:47 AM EST

In Holland, the government apparently gave serious considerations to a plan to ban the kosher slaughter of animals because of lobbying by the animal rights cranks.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the
Slaughterhouse workers can be a little weird.... (3.80 / 5) (#127)
by morkeleb on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:28:58 AM EST

Rogue - but undisciplined - "meat-packers" (translation: slaughterhouse workers) playing sick "games" of torture and mutilation with helpless animals. Or, perhaps worse, simply disregarding systematic breaking of basic animal welfare principles, such as the principle that birds should be unconscious before being dunked into a scalding hot tank to de-feather them.

I don't have any problem at all believing this. A lot of ex-convicts happen to work in slaughter houses (a lot of my relatives - *cough*), because it's an easy job to get. And a lot of them are weird or prone to violence to begin with. So when you give people like that mundane jobs like stirring blood so it doesn't coagulate as it goes down a drain - or slicing sides of raw meat all day with long sharp knives....well what do you expect? It's like serial killer training school! And you don't even want to know what it's like to be a scab in one of those places when a strike is going on - *shiver*


"If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry." - Emily Dickinson
Meat v. No-Meat (2.66 / 3) (#130)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:50:50 AM EST

I'm fine with the idea that you don't wish to eat meat, drink milk, be a member of society [ok that was just a standard stereotype :P], have eggs, etc. But really don't expect me to lower myself on the food chain for something I don't believe in. Factory Farming doesn't bother me, why? Because if we raised them to be food [i.e. their eventual slaughter] they don't need extra amenities(sp?). As for sadists working the slaughterhouse, you'll always have sick people. I'm sure you can find people working in pet stores who torture domesticated animals. I just feel that if the damn thing can sustain my life, yet can't sustain its own, then maybe I should eat it. Maybe you'll pose the question: Then why don't you hunt for your own food? In season I do hunt for food. Off season I let others hunt for me. Its the practical thing to do.

I just feel that Vegans/Vegitarians are trying to promote something similar to a religious/political view in the fact that it requires you to have a specific moral/value subset. I for one, don't see anything wrong with killing a dumber, slower animal for food. If someone out there is faster and smarter than me, I'm probably not going to sit around and let him eat me, I'll fight back. When's the last time a cow fought back?
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
Er (3.00 / 1) (#154)
by Kalani on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:58:58 AM EST

When's the last time a cow fought back?

They pretty much always fight back. Plus, if you don't limit yourself to just the female, you've got a continuous reminder of their ability to fight back in the Barcelona bull runs.

-----
"Nothing says 'final boss' like a giant brain in a tube."
-- Udderdude on flipcode.com
[ Parent ]
Boy yuh shore do look like city folk (5.00 / 1) (#228)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:08:37 PM EST

Boy, lemme tell ya a story. When it comes to wranglin' and ranchin' cattle or steer it can be a dangerous job. However, it isn't 99% of the time. Steers and Bulls may put up a fight, but if you're talking Rodeos, then maybe I should edjamakate you on how they get that mad.

The bulls are mad for one reason: they've got their nuts tied real tight with some rope. If you wonder what the circus clowns are grabbin at on the back of the bull its a release cord to take the pressure off the bull's nuts. I'd be pretty pissed too if some guy was slappin my nuts, chokin my nuts, and/or zappin my nuts. That is why those bulls are pissed.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Of course (none / 0) (#242)
by Kalani on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:36:58 PM EST

The point is that they'll fight back when provoked. Originally you claimed that they wouldn't. Is your requirement for not eating an animal now changed to exclude only those animals who will fight with no provocation, or do you just enjoy being pointlessly pedantic?

-----
"Nothing says 'final boss' like a giant brain in a tube."
-- Udderdude on flipcode.com
[ Parent ]
Heh (none / 0) (#256)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:53:21 PM EST

I meant when you lead them to slaughter they just kinda "follow the heard". Most everything fights back if provoked.

I've always wondered why larger, faster, and stronger humans didn't eat the smaller, slower, and weaker humans. Hmm.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Well ... (none / 0) (#258)
by Kalani on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:57:41 PM EST

... at the slaughterhouses I've seen (much smaller than your run-of-the-mill [!] industrial facilities) they all knew what was going on. Sometimes they have to be forced in.

I've always wondered why larger, faster, and stronger humans didn't eat the smaller, slower, and weaker humans.

Because even small/weak humans provide some utility to the stronger ones. In fact, a weak human can gather more food than he'd ever provide by virtue of his small meaty body. Rather than eat the smaller people, big ones make the little ones write their code.

-----
"Nothing says 'final boss' like a giant brain in a tube."
-- Udderdude on flipcode.com
[ Parent ]
Aye (5.00 / 1) (#271)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:11:28 PM EST

When I get my product specifications from the larger, faster, and stronger humans [i.e. Customers] they talk in grunts and expect me to write code that adapts to their constantly changing requirements [the graph is actually exponential].

Customer: Ooh ooh ahh ooh ahh aah!
Marketing: Make us a web-centric database-synergized business application
Me: ok I'll make a database app that displays a graph
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
be a member of society... (4.00 / 2) (#174)
by squinky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:36:30 AM EST

Funny you should say that. That's why I'm not a vegan. I tried it for 3 months. It was a collosal pain in the ass. You can eat almost nothing made by a non-vegan, which seriously limits your social life (no cookies/cake brought in by co-workers for example).

"I'm not a vegetarian; I just don't eat meat."-- said by this guy I know.


[ Parent ]

Milk is the fruit of the cow (4.50 / 2) (#131)
by davidmb on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:24:39 AM EST

OK, that's not strictly true, but it's not a bad way of looking at it. If you don't like the standards of the dairy industry, I'm sure there are ethical dairies out there.

As for honey, I can assure you that the bees aren't harmed during production. In fact, the plants in the surrounding area benefit from the bees pollinating them. Next time you're eating fruit, you're probably benefiting from people keeping bees for honey.
־‮־

the promised land.. (none / 0) (#240)
by Meatbomb on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:33:04 PM EST

...was well stocked with milk and honey. I think symbolic of man taking the fruits of the natural world. Who is gonna argue with God, eh?

_______________

Good News for Liberal Democracy!

[ Parent ]
metaphorical (none / 0) (#359)
by arbour42 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:24:32 PM EST

was well stocked with milk and honey. I think symbolic of man taking the fruits of the natural world. Who is gonna argue with God, eh?

this is most likely metaphorical - the "promised land" is a human reaching god's level of consciousness - from all indications of the mystics, whether hindu, buddhist, christian, in this state there is a sense of euphoria, or almost a "sweet" sensation coursing through the body. it's a very rareified state...

[ Parent ]
requisite Simpsons reference (4.61 / 13) (#133)
by somnambulant on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:39:57 AM EST

"I'm a level 5 vegan.. I don't eat anything that casts a shadow"
-----------
Crazy like a Fox
Self sufficience (4.80 / 5) (#135)
by blixco on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:00:09 AM EST

I'm all for vegans, since they don't require as many resources to live as your average McDonalds-eating lardass. I'm all for self-sufficience, though, and philosophically am aligned with many vegans in that I hate corporate farming (whether for meat or vegetables). Bring back the small farmer!

Since that's not going to happen, I'm trying to do subsistance gardening, and trying to buy from local farmer's markets, and trying to stay macrobiotic. I've had success at this, but it takes a lot of work. And most 'Mericans don't like work.

Here's the clincher, though: I think Ted Nugent has the right idea re: food. Hunt your own food. Grow your own food. Be self-sufficient. Hunting "feels" to me to be less cruel when done properly (and it's almost fair if you do it with a bow or a spear), and it produces meat that you know is safe, free from anti-biotics and growth hormones, and isn't spoiled en-route. Since I can't hunt (not time, permits, land, or ability), I'll stick to vegetables...but only if they're mine or locally grown.

I'm sure The Nuge would be horrified to find a vegetagrian supporting him. I'm only with him on the kill it and grill it front, though. Politics are a different matter entirely.
-------------------------------------------
The root of the problem has been isolated.

Corporate Farming (4.00 / 3) (#151)
by TunkeyMicket on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:47:46 AM EST

Government subsidised farming and corporate farming lead to the destruction of many African economies. As a nation, the United States does not NEED to have farmers. We can get everything we need from overseas. I think if we kept a small portion of people farming in the US and sought out wheat/etc from 3rd world countries, we could boost the overall economy of the world and quite possibly help a few starving African kids [these 3 kids we'd show on TV a lot, get the US public to like them, put them in movies and rap videos. If the kids are in rap videos then people will actually give a shit about them, because now adays most people are no better than sheep].

And yes this does sound like a bunch of hippy-liberal bullshit, but its kinda sorta the way things are and could be.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Not eating honey for ethical reasons? (4.60 / 10) (#137)
by What She Said on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:04:04 AM EST

What possible ethical reason could you have for not eating honey? The bees aren't harmed at all during production. They're left with plenty honey to sustain their hive. In fact, hives kept by apiarists are healthier than wild hives.

Ethical reasons here? I see none.

Or... (3.00 / 2) (#145)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:39:27 AM EST

What possible ethical reason could you have for not eating human milk? The humans aren't harmed at all during production. They're left with plenty [of] milk to sustain their children. In fact, humans kept by Tralfamadorians are healthier than wild humans.


[ Parent ]
Who, me? (3.50 / 2) (#159)
by i on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:10:19 AM EST

I don't. In fact, I enjoyed eating human milk when I was slightly younger. It doesn't taste as good now, so I don't do it anymore.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Bee slavery (4.00 / 1) (#167)
by dark on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:20:19 AM EST

Are you saying that the problem is that the bees are not free? They can fly away any time they want to, and they're better armed than the beekeeper.

[ Parent ]
Free the bees! (5.00 / 2) (#185)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:01:00 PM EST

    Are you saying that the problem is that the bees are not free? They can fly away any time they want to

Not necessarily. Apiaries can be fitted with queen guards on the entrance to stop a new queen leaving and mating (until the beekeeper is ready to follow and capture her). It was a failure of these guards that let the Africanized ("killer") honey bee loose in Brazil.

Also, queens can have their wings clipped, be artificially inseminated by decapitated drones, or just killed outright and replaced with a new mail-order queen after a couple of years. Some eggs and larvae can be killed when harvesting the renewable products.

But those are recent developments, and historically bees seem quite happy with the shelter and easy access to food that we provide for them. When the honey is harvested, we often replace it with corn syrup: bears and badgers don't tend to do that. It's about as close to a win-win as it's possible to get, but I can still see why some hard line vegans would rather not support it.

OTOH, there are still a number of small local beekeeping businesses. If you live in a fairly rural area, you could go and check out your local ones for yourself.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

Bees knees (none / 0) (#234)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:20:15 PM EST

"But those are recent developments, and historically bees seem quite happy with the shelter and easy access to food that we provide for them"

They seem happy? You asked them, or you just look at how much they are smiling? In which way would they display their unhappiness?

"artificially inseminated by decapitated drones"

'I was raped by an dying insect' - now showing at your local movie theater! Seriously, this is an acceptable method of food production? To you, maybe...

"When the honey is harvested, we often replace it with corn syrup: bears and badgers don't tend to do that"

Vegans are concerned with avoiding harm to living creatures, not competing with wild mammals for `kindest species of the year` awards! This sounds like the pro-fox hunters argument `we need to kill foxes - look what they do to chickens! They`re acting like animals!` which always brings a smile to my face!

I`m not vegan but on the rare occasions I buy the stuff its from small scale suppliers, or wild honey.

[ Parent ]

re: Bees Knees (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by dieMSdie on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:46:06 PM EST

So, how far does one take this?

Can't eat meat, hurts the poor animals. (I can kind of agree with this, when the meat comes from these "factory-farms" where the animals live in misery.

Can't eat honey, might traumatize innocent bees. (Lost me on this one though!)

Can't drive a car, might splat some poor innocent bugs, who have a right to life.

Can't use disinfectant, would kill poor innocent bacteria, who have a right to life too.

[ Parent ]

You take it as far as you like, (none / 0) (#262)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:08:14 PM EST

its your life. I`m a vegetarian, as it "hurts the poor animals" (though that hilarious piece of sarcasm tends to underplay the suffering animals go through to provide you with tasty treats.

"when the meat comes from these "factory-farms" where the animals live in misery"

Dont kid yourself, thats the vast majority of it!

"Can't eat honey, might traumatize innocent bees. . (Lost me on this one though!)"

It shouldnt have done - you wrote that sentence so I was hoping you could account for every last word. If you rephrase it, as vegans sometimes do, as:

"Cant eat honey - usually involves killing bees, rap^H^H^Hartificially inseminating queen bees, taking another species food without consent"

then it may become clearer, and you`re probably left with `but its just a bee`. This is where your own personal choice comes into it. Some people are eat honey, some dont. Its your life, its really up to you.

"Can't drive a car, might splat some poor innocent bugs, who have a right to life.

Can't use disinfectant, would kill poor innocent bacteria, who have a right to life too."

Again, this is up to the individual.  I`m not sure its possible to avoid killing bacteria. I`m sure there are a handful of people who dont drive for that reason. Though anyone of that mind set would probably have already stopped driving for all the other reasons people dont drive (environmental damage, non-vegan parts such as rubber, not wanting to contribute to companies which are `in bed` with oil companies etc).


[ Parent ]

re (3.00 / 1) (#148)
by chia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:42:44 AM EST

i guess that's why it's optional.


Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation. O Wilde
[ Parent ]
Honey is a good litmus here (4.00 / 2) (#158)
by jmzero on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:08:30 AM EST

Eating honey is a good way to say to your non-vegan friends "Hey, I'm being reasonable about this.  Those bees aren't suffering.  This isn't my religion, after all."

When you prohibit honey, even though you yourself don't think it's bad, you're saying "I cannot appear in the holy of holies if I have seen a woman during her period".

You'll always be a hypocrite if try to draw these crazy, absolute lines.  Why bother?  Why not fight battles that you feel matter, and be honest about doing it?  Eating honey is a good opportunity to demonstrate you're not a zealot.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

holiness (4.00 / 2) (#172)
by squinky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:32:18 AM EST

I agree-- there's no rationality there that I can see.

One could even argue that honey is superiour (ecologically) than growing sugar cane/beets and harverting that.

Ideally, ecologically, we'd only use honey and maple sugar. Possibly some other non-processed sweetners (fruit obviously).


[ Parent ]

Eh? (3.00 / 1) (#180)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:44:42 AM EST

"You'll always be a hypocrite if try to draw these crazy, absolute lines."

Surely you`d actually be a hypocrite if you said `I am a vegan because I refuse to take the produce of animals without their consent even if it doesnt cause physical pain` and then used honey? Or is being consistant about something which you personally dont agree with a bigger sin than being a hypocrite (though i`m not sure you understand the meaning of hypocrite - it doesnt seem to be the right word for that sentence.)

You might just as well expect a vegetarian to eat fish or chicken because `fish isnt an animal and doesnt feel pain` or `chickens arent red meat` or some other half-assed nonsense. I dont know any veg*ns who give a flying fuck what other people think of their diet. I also dont know any Muslims/Jews who give a shit what other people think of their (peculiar to me) dietry restrictions. But i`m sure you`re about to point out why this is so important to you. Do you like following other people or something?

[ Parent ]

Uhhhhh... (none / 0) (#205)
by jmzero on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:31:59 PM EST

But i`m sure you`re about to point out why this is so important to you.

Uhh..

Do you like following other people or something?

Buh?  Woogle woggle?  What does this have to do with anything?

Or is being consistant about something which you personally dont agree with a bigger sin than being a hypocrite (though i`m not sure you understand the meaning of hypocrite - it doesnt seem to be the right word for that sentence.)

A bigger sin?  So this is religious :)

Imagine the following situation:

  1.  My behavior as a vegan stems primarily from an intent to reduce the pain to animals.
  2.  I don't believe that bees are harmed in the process of honey production.
Why would you not eat honey then?  Perhaps you don't want to be seen as a hypocrite by those who only understand absolute dictates like "Thou shalt not eat the fruit of animal labor."  But by bowing to this demand you are:
  1.  Moving away from something that was initially rational - basing your behavior on avoiding actual harm to "panient" animals
  2.  Setting yourself up for real charges of hypocrisy.  If actual harm is not the thing you're avoiding, then you should really be avoiding all sorts of other non-actual harm (like harm to carrots, or harm to bacteria, or harm to intergalactic space whales by radiation created by eating cauliflower).
You really have to choose between:

"I'm not going to do anything that I believe causes harm"

and

"I'm not going to do anything that anybody somewhere might think causes harm or betrays my vegan religion"

And if you choose the second, how are you to avoid hypocrisy?  Why not just stick with behaving rationally according to your values?

Perhaps, though, many people actually value being able to call themselves a "true vegan" and thereby feel superior.  In which case, I suggest not eating honey.  Or cauliflower.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

More typing coming up (none / 0) (#229)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:09:57 PM EST

>>Do you like following other people or something?
>Buh?  Woogle woggle?  What does this have to do with anything?

The first two lines of your post #158 suggested to me that you may want to show to your friends that you may be a vegan, but you may be reasonable too. I`m suggesting that there is nothing unreasonably about a vegan diet.

>A bigger sin?  So this is religious :)

Replace sin with fault then! I am NOT religious!! :)

-----
Imagine the following situation:
1. My behavior as a vegan stems primarily from an intent to reduce the pain to animals.
2. I don't believe that bees are harmed in the process of honey production.
-----
(One day i`ll post in HTML - what editor do you use for this (bullets, italics etc?)

I do not agree with point 2, I`m afraid. I`m not saying that honey would be vegan even if they were not harmed. But commercial (and even some small scale) honey production does harm bees. There are - suprise suprise - financial reasons for why this takes place. This site explains some of the issues pretty well:

http://www.vegetus.org/honey/honey.htm

So, when you then ask "Why would you not eat honey then?" I would say that I personally DO eat honey (and I eat vegetarian cheese too), although I am vegetarian (for ethical, then health reasons). I would say I`m about 75% vegan. For that reason I would never describe myself as a vegan.

This, I believe, renders pointless any discussion about whether or not I (or vegans) are being hypocritical about whether they should eat honey or not. But we get back on track with your next bit:

-----
You really have to choose between:

"I'm not going to do anything that I believe causes harm"

and

"I'm not going to do anything that anybody somewhere might think causes harm or betrays my vegan religion"
-----

(Veganism is not a religion, as it makes sense, and does not require a suspension of critical faculties.) I believe veganism is about reducing harm wherever possible - avoiding situations or acts which you know will cause harm. I think it is unlikely that even in a perfect world one could go through life without harming anything, especially you include concern for spiders, mosquitos etc etc. But thats a far cry from what is happening today.

Some of the rest of your post are `pointless` (in a nice way!) as detailed above (ie using honey does harm bees). But I think that if one could show that there is such a being as a intergalactic space whale, and that it is caused harm by eating cauliflower, then I`m sure many vegans would stop eating them! :)

At the back of my mind, however, is my perception that you believe there is something fundementally irrational about avoiding harm to animals, which strikes me as odd, as the rest of your post displays a familiarity with logic and common sense. I`d be interested to know if you do, in fact, regard veganism as irrational, and why.

"Perhaps, though, many people actually value being able to call themselves a "true vegan" and thereby feel superior"

Sure - I know that is true for a fact! Some vegans are thoroughly unpleasant individuals. I think it has something to do with the fact that vegans are a subset of human beings however, and that it is a trait which belongs to them - its not unique to vegans - something you`d know if you`d ever used public transport in the UK late at night! :)


[ Parent ]

OK, I think we misunderstood (none / 0) (#244)
by jmzero on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:38:42 PM EST

If you believe that there is something wrong with honey production - that it harms the bees or something - then I think it's perfectly rational to avoid eating honey.  The whole vegan perspective seems rational if you have a certain set of values and perspectives.

However, if you don't think honey production is harmful, I think it makes more sense to not avoid eating it.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

I love animals (2.75 / 4) (#139)
by lessthan0 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:12:12 AM EST

I love animals, they're delicious!

Seriously, I love animals, but never, ever, without a condom.  That would be wrong.

No shit (none / 0) (#157)
by The Turd Report on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:02:30 AM EST

If God didn't want us to eat them, why did he make them out of meat?

[ Parent ]
So... (4.55 / 9) (#143)
by jmzero on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:28:38 AM EST

If I can genetically engineer cows that don't feel pain - heck, they could even live in a state of bliss - would it be OK to eat them?

How about if I engineered them to crave consumption by humans - as in the Adams books?

Would it make a difference if instead of purposely engineering these eat-me cows, we discovered them on another planet?
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Well, OK.. (none / 0) (#364)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:20:19 PM EST

Yes, they're interesting questions. And yes, they're reasonably tricky morally. But the cows we have now do feel pain.

So yeah, when the painless eat-me cow comes along, we're all going to have something to think about. But it does't exist now. And cows that feel pain do. So this point would seem to be academic, and have little effect on the real life eating of cows.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Fair enough (none / 0) (#443)
by jmzero on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:18:30 AM EST

But I think this sort of hypothesizing can clarify the morality of things now.  

Is this really all about avoiding pain, or is it also about avoiding killing?  How much of it is actually about not wanting to eat dead animals?

It's hard to seperate these issues in the normal world, so we can only answer these sorts of questions with a crazy hypothetical.  

Say, for instance, there was a team of people who followed deer around in the forest.  Whenever one died of some accidental, violent fall, they would quickly take it, cut it up and sell the meat.  

Anyone have any objections to eating this?  I'd suggest that many who think of themselves as ethical vegetarians would not eat this meat, even if their stated goal was avoiding harm or pain.  Perhaps many would.  Perhaps it is a difficult enough to imagine this situation that many would not be able to make a decision.

All I'm saying is that the ethics of the situation can be more complex than they appear, and perhaps its worthwhile to specify them further.

.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Blame Disney (4.00 / 16) (#144)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:35:59 AM EST

Every American child ought to be given the chance to raise a chicken, turkey, pig, calf, or lamb as a part of a school project and assignment. Then, they should butcher the animal they raised for the project, and gut and clean the carcass for human consumption. Those who fail to do so get an 'F.'

Our great-grandparents did this sort of thing all the time, and it hardened them to the sight of blood. We need to do something to turn back the tide of maudlin sentiment that wants to make pets out of the chickens in the henhouse, that feels for the conditions of their lives.

I blame Disney for the nonsense that keeps this from happening. Talking animal films like Bambi are routinely shown to children, despite the fact that most of them are shot through with an anti-human agenda. In Bambi, hunting is pointless violence. "Man" sets fires for no reason. "Man" is the enemy.

I refuse to acknowledge a chicken as my equal. Of course, everything that "man" is guilty of in Disneyanity, nature is guilty of in a much more brutal fashion. Even in the absence of "man" the cougars would kill whitetail deer with at least as much cruelty; and in the absence of predators, they breed themselves into starvation.

Life is cruel. Domestication is a great bargain from the Darwinian perspective. It's certain that the biomass of chickens and kine is far greater than it would be without "man;" it seems likely that unless we raised them, they'd probably be endangered species, likely extinct.

Man is a hunter and scavenger as well as a gatherer. Our bipedal stance, our binocular vision, our use of tools, and our metabolisms are all factors that show that we evolved for the purpose of long distance pursuit in order to kill things. We used to have hominid cousins that were vegetarian. The palæontological record suggests that our ancestors killed them and ate them.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy

the value of sentiment (5.00 / 2) (#160)
by speek on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:10:35 AM EST

A world where people had a gift of empathy powerful enough to feel for henhouse chickens sounds like an improvement over the current one. Should there also be classes on wiping out you enemies by ruthlessly murdering entire villages? If you fail to do so, you get an 'F'. Talk about school as brainwashing...

The real problem is that a large percentage of such people who claim to empathize with the chickens in actuality do no such thing. Many are merely radicalists who have found a sufficiently radical cause to use as their self-identity and radicality-yardstick with to measure themselves and others. You see this personality everywhere - including the hard-line meat-eaters.

The truly empathic people, however, tend to be very nice people - worthwhile to know and be around. That they're so rare is a real pity.

--
what would be cool, is if there was like a bat signal for tombuck - [ Parent ]

You make a number of good points, actually (none / 0) (#188)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:05:58 PM EST

There are classes in killing your enemies available in the USA; but my understanding is that you usually have to graduate high school before they will let you enlist.

The real problem is that a large percentage of such people who claim to empathize with the chickens in actuality do no such thing. Many are merely radicalists who have found a sufficiently radical cause to use as their self-identity and radicality-yardstick with to measure themselves and others.
I seriously doubt that anyone really can empathize with a prawn or a honeybee, just as I seriously doubt that anti-abortionists actually believe that every union of human sperm and egg is a "person." Prior exposure to the maudlin rhetoric of the anti-abortion cranks probably makes it impossible for me to take the claims of animal rightsers at face value. The two causes seem to me very similar at root.

You make a good point when you observe that one radicalism invites its equal and opposite reaction. The only key to utopia I can imagine now is if we could persuade people to forbear from moralising at each other. I do not expect utopia to arrive soon.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Well, that's easy, isn't it? (4.00 / 3) (#162)
by p3d0 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:15:42 AM EST

I refuse to acknowledge a chicken as my equal.
Sounds like Morality for Dummies. Life is cruel; animals are beneath us; therefore I have no obligation whatsoever to lift a finger against animal cruelty. That sure is a simple way to view the world.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
morality (none / 0) (#186)
by jayhawk88 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:03:03 PM EST

You'd feel morally superior to a chicken as well if you'd ever seen what a rooster will sometimes do to chicks that he didn't sire.

Well, I assume you'd feel morally superior. I guess it's possible you're Ted Bundy or something.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
People need lessons in nature's cruelty. (none / 0) (#192)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:12:19 PM EST

People who were better acquainted with the actual behaviour of animals --- and the evolved ruthlessness that causes these instincts and drives --- are likely to find them less sympathetic.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]
So? (none / 0) (#584)
by p3d0 on Mon Jul 15, 2002 at 04:36:26 PM EST

Just because we find animals to be brutal doesn't mean (1) that we should also become brutal, or (2) that we should stop treating them with some measure of respect. The fact that a chicken doesn't make a very good human being doesn't make it any less "valid" as a living creature.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Really? (none / 0) (#356)
by p3d0 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:02:59 PM EST

Let's take this to its logical conclusion, shall we?

Roosters are cruel to chicks, which is immoral. That makes them inferior to us, so it's a-ok to be cruel to them.

Only, wait a sec...
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]

to kill two birds (5.00 / 3) (#168)
by squinky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:21:28 AM EST

with one stone...

Why not give every child a puppy from the pound and make them kill and eat that? Cultures more toward the ebb of the tide of maudlin sentiment do this all the time.

My wife was in Micronesia many years ago and ate dog. She said it was an elegant system. Some dogs were pets. The annoying dogs that wouldn't quit barking were meat.

Interesting how you jump to the conclusion that all vegetarians are irrationally in love with animals. I don't eat flesh, but not because I love cows. I'm vegetarian because I don't think cows should even exist in the way they do now. (there are many ecological ramifications of raising cattle).

I toy with the idea of eating meat that I've hunted and killed, but after so many years of not eating it, it tastes bad to me now. (I know this because occaisionally a restaurant will err and give me beef instead of "no meat" in my burrito or whatever).

I also don't eat meat for the rather obvious health reasons. I avoid some risk of pathogens, and more importantly, I'm not fat and I have low cholesterol (unlike many of my siblings, the lifestyles of whom partially turned me away from meat in the diet).

I am not alone. I know of at least one other vegetarian who doesn't eat meat because he's a glutton, and can't handle it. He too does it for health reasons. This is analogous to alcholics who stop drinking completely.

I am hardened to the sight of blood. I've had my hand nearly wrist deep in an open thigh wound. I've handled severed limbs. I've removed rotting flesh from third degree burns. I've drained pus from horrificly large and smelly wounds. But I still don't like meat.

I don't eat meat because I don't need to. Given the arguably healthier options, meat, in the abundance consumed by meat eaters, and coupled with our relatively sedentary life styles, is just not a good idea.

[ Parent ]

Humans remain the masters (none / 0) (#203)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:27:45 PM EST

Yes, I cried when I had to have my old dog killed. I did not make the decision to do so lightly. But it needed to be done, and while I wish I could have him back healthy and sound, I am also glad that I was able to do what had to be done when that time came.

Interesting how you jump to the conclusion that all vegetarians are irrationally in love with animals. I don't eat flesh, but not because I love cows. I'm vegetarian because I don't think cows should even exist in the way they do now. (there are many ecological ramifications of raising cattle).
In other words, if the world adopted the vegetarian belief system, all of these cows would have to be allowed to die out. The land they used to live on would have to be converted to other uses, or allowed to return to a wild state. They would be removed from those areas where they are not a native species, or left to forage for their own. The cows, in other words, would have to be eliminated for their own good.

This underlines how great a biological deal domestication is, even if the animals live in tiny pens on factory farms and end up on human dinner tables. Without human help, cows would likely be extinct.1 The bison was almost wiped out, and the ancestor of the European cattle is also extinct. Biology is blind to the suffering of the creatures who must live under its law.

---

1(Swine seem to fare better; there are wild escaped swine in a number of places in the USA, but I know of no wild escaped cattle anywhere. The wild swine are hunted for sport.)
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

I'm a vegetarian humanist (none / 0) (#282)
by squinky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:26:45 PM EST

I don't think there is a "vegetarian belief system". People don't eat varying amounts of animal products for many different reasons, ranging from political or religious through to allergy or emotional (yuck testicles!).

And-- I don't advocate getting rid of the current system of animal husbandry for the livestock's good. I advocate change for *our* own good. There are possibly trans-species disease (mad cow). I believe use of anti-biotics in livestock ultimately jeapordizes humanity's ability to fight human diseases (and I think the AMA agrees with that).

There are wild cattle. Bison and buffalo are all fearsome beasts capable of defending and reproducing themselves. To suggest that humans are aiding livestock by creating a genetic bottleneck of domestication, then exterminating the diversity of natural populations (by intentional killing or by destruction of habitat) is unfair. You only partially removed human actions from the equation.

Wild European cattle existed until the 17th century. I'd wager that cross breeding existing domestic stock could come close to the original (but given the mentioned bottleneck-- it may be too late to be a viable population for long).

btw-- there are places, like hawaii, where the swine aren't just hunted for sport. The Federal and  Hawaiian state govenrment pays people to kill wild pigs which are destroying the upland forests (which is where the drinking water comes from).


[ Parent ]

heh hee (none / 0) (#222)
by ethereal on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:03:27 PM EST

We used to have hominid cousins that were vegetarian. The palæontological record suggests that our ancestors killed them and ate them.

Boy, it's too bad that I've already picked a .sig for the new future, because your statement here is about my favorite k5 comment of all time :)

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

ancestors (5.00 / 1) (#257)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:54:30 PM EST

jainism, hinduism, buddhism, all go back hundreds or thousands of years, and have various aspects of vegetarianism within their rank and file participants. so for example when the muslims came to india, sometime after 600AD, they were 'hardened' and trying to convince people that it was OK to abandon old traditions and slaughter cattle for food.

[ Parent ]
morality vs. biology (3.50 / 2) (#418)
by dalinian on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:48:10 AM EST

Man is a hunter and scavenger as well as a gatherer. Our bipedal stance, our binocular vision, our use of tools, and our metabolisms are all factors that show that we evolved for the purpose of long distance pursuit in order to kill things. We used to have hominid cousins that were vegetarian. The palæontological record suggests that our ancestors killed them and ate them.
Surely you must know you are violating Hume's law here?

"No ought from is." Whatever our bodies are like, we are still moral beings. Morality is different from biology, and biology cannot create any moral duties - or remove them, for that matter.

Thus, it seems you are openly advocating cruelty. I find that a somewhat insane position to take.

[ Parent ]

Biology and Hume's law (5.00 / 1) (#447)
by IHCOYC on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:19:03 PM EST

This is actually the most interesting thing about the whole debate, to me. If what evolution has made us can be weighed in the balance, and found wanting by our moral insight, vegetarianism and veganism are not the answer. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is.

The problem is, voluntary human extinction lets the rest of animal life go on, with all the predation, hunger, and disease that implies. We would be committing an act of cruelty if we were to allow living things to continue living while we have it in our power to put them out of their misery.

If the deliberate extinction of all life does not strike you as a worthy goal, I would suggest that it is the universal Will in nature you are listening to, rather than your moral sense that urges you to avoid cruelty. Unfortunately, not only other living things, but most of our fellow humans, remain captives of that will to live. They will continue to prey on the resources and time of each other, each driven by instincts whose effect is to make the other living things miserable.

Life itself is evil. Intelligent life is the worst of all. It is fortunately yet to be seen whether intelligence is in fact adaptive, or whether it will prove to be a self-limiting phenomenon.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

evil (5.00 / 2) (#473)
by dalinian on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:00:54 PM EST

I would suggest that it is the universal Will in nature you are listening to, rather than your moral sense that urges you to avoid cruelty.
But of course that is just a suggestion. I myself don't think that way. In fact, I don't believe there is a universal will in nature. Harming animals just seems to have no purpose at all, except for the weak "meat tastes good" argument. And harming sentient beings is not something I think is good.
Life itself is evil. Intelligent life is the worst of all. It is fortunately yet to be seen whether intelligence is in fact adaptive, or whether it will prove to be a self-limiting phenomenon.
Consider this: Morality is in some respects like a game. It has concepts and rules that are only meaningful inside itself. For example, there is no "evil" outside morality, just like there is no "offside" outside football. But then, life and intelligence are preconditions for morality. This leads to the fact that life cannot be evil, because you can't judge something that does not belong to the game using the concepts of the game.

[ Parent ]
Standing outside of life (none / 0) (#535)
by IHCOYC on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:09:15 AM EST

Morality is in some respects like a game. It has concepts and rules that are only meaningful inside itself. For example, there is no "evil" outside morality, just like there is no "offside" outside football. But then, life and intelligence are preconditions for morality. This leads to the fact that life cannot be evil, because you can't judge something that does not belong to the game using the concepts of the game.
I think instead that we are perfectly entitled to judge the universe, to determine whether it is a good or a bad thing, from the perspective of the effects it has on us. But this is beside the main point.

"Ethical vegans" do exactly the same thing, of course. Carnivory is a feature of the only kind of life we know about. If it is unacceptably cruel, it is not enough for us to abstain individually; life itself goes on the same way it ever did. We must prevent the poor dumb animals from being so cruel to each other, since we are the only living things that understand, and the only ones that have the power. We should moreover move to eliminate other kinds of suffering among the dumb beasts, like hunger, disease, and sexual frustration. If the anti-carnivore moral principle is a valid one, it requires the deliberate and planned extinction of all life down to the last sulphur-eating bacterium at the bottom of the sea.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Parent ]

morality again (none / 0) (#538)
by dalinian on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:46:03 AM EST

We must prevent the poor dumb animals from being so cruel to each other, since we are the only living things that understand, and the only ones that have the power.
But again, animals cannot be cruel, precisely because they are incapable of moral thinking. We cannot change that. We cannot make them moral, and we cannot protect them from themselves. And if we kill them all, that's surely a worse option than to let some of them kill each other.

But we, as humans, are capable of moral thinking. We can stop harming other sentient beings. And why shouldn't we? I can't think of a good reason.

[ Parent ]

Humans do this all the time (none / 0) (#547)
by IHCOYC on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 03:01:43 PM EST

Most humans with contact with animals do exactly this all the time. They are distressed by the facts that cats following their dùchas, their inherited temperament, kill mice and birds. They hang bells around their necks in order to avoid them. I'll wager that most of the "vegans" are probably quite vocal in their denunciation of misunderstood cultural traditions like cockfighting, even though this sport is impossible without the inherited temper of male chickens.

We may not treat animals as moral actors; but we apply our own standards of morality, misguided or not, to the animals nevertheless.

This message has been placed here IN MEMORIAM by the Parent ]

environment (none / 0) (#561)
by dalinian on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 02:23:44 AM EST

Most humans with contact with animals do exactly this all the time. They are distressed by the facts that cats following their dùchas, their inherited temperament, kill mice and birds.
I think that this has less to do with ethics than with protecting the environment. If cats are brought into an environment where there were no cats before, this has harmful effects on the stability of the environment. What the cats are doing is not morally wrong, but bringing the cats into such an environment was a stupid thing to do.
I'll wager that most of the "vegans" are probably quite vocal in their denunciation of misunderstood cultural traditions like cockfighting, even though this sport is impossible without the inherited temper of male chickens.
But vegans are not against cockfighting because it's something the animals wouldn't do themselves, but because people exploit animals: as far as I know, there is always money involved in such a sport, and without the money, the sport wouldn't exist. But I don't really know enough about cockfighting, so I can't really say much about it.
We may not treat animals as moral actors; but we apply our own standards of morality, misguided or not, to the animals nevertheless.
And I agree that it is a stupid thing to do so. People should be educated to know better.

[ Parent ]
No discussion of Animal Rights (4.33 / 3) (#149)
by FredBloggs on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:43:20 AM EST

is complete without a mention of Peter Singer, author of `Animal Liberation`, given that he is considered responsible for the birth of the Animal Rights movement on the 1970s.

Also, no discussion is complete without someone who doesnt agree with what they think he said, regardless of the fact that they`ve not read anything by him. His book should be required reading, whether you agree with him or not.

http://www.petersingerlinks.com/


Peter Singer + Ingrid Newkirk vs. Gary Francione (none / 0) (#340)
by ip4noman on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:49:18 PM EST

The latest Friends Of Animals newsletter Act·ion Line, has an interview with Gary Francione, who is Nicolas deB. Katzenbach Distinguished Scholar of Law and Philosophy at the Rutgers University School of Law. He has quite a lot to say about Singer. Here is an excerpt:
FOA: You mentioned Peter Singer and PeTA as not promoting the idea of abolishing the property status of animals. But both seem central to the public idea of what animal rights people do. Can the be considered responsible for the advocacy movement's ineffective position?

Gary Francione: Ironically, Singer and PeTA together have evescerated the animal rights movement in the United States. PeTA president Ingrid Newkirk has informed us that Peter Singer is an intellectual who looks at all nuances of an issue. Newkirk was defending an essay called "Heavy Petting" in which Singer had something nice to say about the idea of having sex with calves -- sex with baby cows. I quote: "They have penises and vaginas, as we do, and the fact that the vagina of a calf can be sexually satisfying to a man shows how similar these organs are." Now I can appreciate a nuance now and then, but I draw the line at baby cows.

And then we've got PeTA bringing playboy models to Capitol Hill, to attract the attention of legislators. PeTA trivializes activism just as Peter Singer trivializes the theory of animal rights. Combined, these people have managed to turn a serious idea into a peep show.
... snip ...
Peter Singer was recently quoted as saying that the agreement by McDonald's to give battery hens a few more inches of cage space was the most significant development for farm animals since he wrote Animal Liberation. 25 years of welfarist reform and the best we can show is a larger battery cage. Maybe Peter finds that thrilling; I do not. It is a clear indication of what I have been saying for a decade now: welfarist reform is useless.
I personally think he is spot-on w/r/t this issue of animals-as-property. I discovered "chattel property" (and its connection to slavery) completely independently in my legal research for Marijuana Legalization and constitutional reform, and became vegan upon my discovery that if I demand to be free from harm from the government for my non-violent actions, I had better not cause injury to others in the process.

There is presently no one in the Vegan Advocacy or Animal Rights movements who says things which are more consistant and morally alinged with my views than Gary Francione. I highly recommend reading the above interview, and checking out his books. I've read "Animals, Property, and the Law" and "Intro to Animal Rights", and they are both excellent.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
Eat more Organic, Free Range stuff... (4.20 / 5) (#153)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:54:19 AM EST

As someone has said in a previous comment - opting out of meat completely puts no pressure on factory farmers. Eating organic free-range produce, though, financially encourages people to use those methods.

Besides, organic and free-range produce is superior by far - and I have a theory as to why.

Many years ago, all the produce people ate was farmed using traditional methods. Then someone came up with a bright idea to boost production and bring prices down. The quality suffered slightly, but no-one really noticed or cared as they got a good bargain. Then it happened again. And Again. And Again.

Now we are given factory-farmed, cannibal, hormone injected animals and their milk/eggs/etc. The quality is appalling and the conditions are appalling. The jump up in food quality when going back to traditionally farmed produce is surprising. The quality was nibbled away in small unnoticable bits but putting it all back at once means great tasting food.

I personally only eat free-range, corn-fed chicken and their eggs, and drink organic milk from pastured cows, etc. This is partly because the food is so much nicer and also because it is less cruel. If more people did this the farmers would see the profit in organic food and more would switch over from factory farming.

I see no reason to go veggie or vegan though. I also wear leather and fur. I do a lot of LARPing and often this is in bad weather. Fake fur may be allright for fashion, but if you want something that will keep you warm in the wind and rain you can't beat real fur. Of course, the fur we use is rabbit fur (actually it's usually 'Buckskins' imported from America) from rabbits killed for food - and it is far better to have the fur going to use keeping me warm than just being thrown away.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.

No such thing as "organic" (5.00 / 1) (#194)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:14:23 PM EST

I had an interesting discussion with someone at college once (he was vegan, but it was besides the point).  He claimed there was no such thing as "organic" food, because man has been altering genetic sequences for ages.  Crops have always been intermixed, sometimes purposefully.  Mendel's "pea plants" experiements wouldn't have existed without cross-polination.  When you wanted a smaller dog, you crossed a big one with a smaller one.

The point is that there's nothing in nature untouched by man, as well as there's nothing man does that is untouched by nature.  Of course, the argument can go any further: do you call a beaver's dam an "artificial" structure?  Are animal creations "artificial"?  Then, are human creations, like artificial flavors made of chemicals, truly artifical.

Massive tangent, I know.

[ Parent ]

It's the diet (none / 0) (#211)
by epepke on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:39:27 PM EST

I personally only eat free-range, corn-fed chicken and their eggs,

There is no such thing as free-range, corn-fed chicken.

Repeat, there is no such thing.

Free-range, pretty much by definition, means letting chickens run around outdoors, and when chickens run around outdoors, they eat whatever is lying around, including whatever they happen to be able to peck to death. This includes insects, worms, arachnids, and the occasional small snake or rotting corpse, as well as pebbles, bits of broken glass, etc. Now, the organic subset of this diet contains yummy molecules, and some of these molecules get into the chicken and the eggs, which makes them taste better.

It is possible to feed free-range chickens corn in addition to whatever they find running around, but unless you keep chickens in batteries or follow each and every one around individually with a .22, there is no way to prevent them from indulding in their eclectic gastronomic practices.

I once saw some eggs in a granola store that were loudly advertised as being from vegetarian hens. I laughed and laughed about that one.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Corn-Fed (none / 0) (#320)
by Obvious Pseudonym on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:04:42 PM EST

There is no such thing as free-range, corn-fed chicken.

Repeat, there is no such thing.

Free-range, pretty much by definition, means letting chickens run around outdoors, and when chickens run around outdoors, they eat whatever is lying around[...]

I am fully aware of the omnivorous nature of chickens. You seem to be mistaking 'Corn Fed' meaning 'Given Corn To Eat' with 'Corn Fed' meaning 'Not Able To Eat Anything But Corn'.

Obvious Pseudonym

I am obviously right, and as you disagree with me, then logically you must be wrong.
[ Parent ]

What about the insects? (4.16 / 6) (#164)
by asv108 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:19:33 AM EST

I think being a vegan or vegetarian is a great choice, its healthy and better for the environment when you look at the damage caused by animal production and processing. There are so many reasons for switching to a vegan diet however the "Save the animals plea" should not be one of them. Anytime I run into the "save the animals vegan" I always bring up the fact that if you want to save the animals, you should not drive or ride in an automobile since your killing hundreds if not thousands of insects and microrganisms every mile you drive. Then the "save the animals vegan" says that insects are different than cows. If you're going to differentiate between insects and cows, you can use that same logic to justify the killing of cows by differentiating between cows and humans. Veganism is a great choice, its something I would never do because of my bacon addiction, but if you're going to persuade new recruits don't use the save the animals bit.

5 for you (3.66 / 3) (#236)
by jseverin on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:27:07 PM EST

...just for using the term "bacon addiction". Such a succinct answer to the question "Why not go vegetarian?"

mmmm bacon...

[ Parent ]

Relative complexity (3.00 / 2) (#294)
by Richey on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:22:48 PM EST

Except you can make a fairly decent argument for allowing that a cow possesses consciousness, whereas you'd have a problem making that argument for insects. If you're going to differentiate between insects and cows, you can use that same logic to justify the killing of cows by differentiating between cows and humans This makes absolutely no sense. Are you trolling or do you not have even the most elementary grasp of logic? Just for the record I'm an omnivore, but your reasoning is crap.

[ Parent ]
You can make a fairly decent argument. (none / 0) (#504)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:22:43 PM EST

I can't, but I'd enjoy watching you try.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
veganism and public transport (5.00 / 1) (#332)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:38:59 PM EST

some vegans might support closer-knit communities without zoning laws, so that stores could be within bicycling/walking distance of houses. furthermore public transport could be increased, such as trains, this would also help with the problems of the environmental impact of the automobile, and its associated rubber and oil industries (which also kill many animals)

[ Parent ]
It's considered bad form... (none / 0) (#366)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:30:54 PM EST

to give non-trolling replies to your comment a 1 rating. Particularly when they're at least coherant, as this one was.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
Panience. (4.40 / 5) (#165)
by Kax on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:19:40 AM EST

The key question, for me, is, "Is the organism in question panient?" - in other words, does it have the capacity to feel pain and/or suffer. And this is, at least in principle, a scientific question - although it's rather embarassingly difficult to answer within today's current scientific framework.

and then:

So sheep and cows probably can feel pain, but bees probably can't.

Check out this summation of animal consciousness arguments.  There's no real consensus on the issue.

Who cares if something can feel pain if it doesn't hurt?

Panience? (none / 0) (#210)
by IHCOYC on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:36:04 PM EST

Where did this word come from? And how do we get rid of it?

I thought it was some kind of typo until it recurred. Once I figured what it was apparently supposed to mean, it seemed it ought to be "painience;" that spelling shows what an awkward construction it is, and clues you in to what it's getting at, but does not mislead you into pronouncing "pannience" like the spelling of this misbegotten word suggests.
--
"Complecti antecessores tuos in spelæis stygiis Tartari appara," eructavit miles primus.
"Vix dum basiavisti vicarium velocem Mortis," rediit Grignr.
--- Livy
[ Parent ]

Yeah, get rid of the word. (none / 0) (#223)
by Kax on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:03:49 PM EST

I hadn't ever heard of it before this story, myself.  I'm guilty of picking up on it without thinking about it, though.

[ Parent ]
That is... (none / 0) (#266)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:50:29 PM EST

...hilarious! This word (which will not be uttered by me) must not go unpunished. We will draw and quarter this word, and we will use the pieces to put a sparkling shine on the latrine of proper diction. Then we will cast this word's cold dismembered carcass into a flaming pot and boil it like mutton. The bones, we will feed those to the dogs. The rest, we will preserve in a jar as a warning to future generations.
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[ Parent ]

Bad link. (none / 0) (#324)
by Kax on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:16:34 PM EST

Here's the right one.

[ Parent ]
Rantish (4.20 / 5) (#169)
by mahoney on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:23:59 AM EST

What is pain? How can you tell if a creature is experiencing pain or just displays a behaviour trying to avoid any external or internal source that might harm or kill it?

Let me present an example. Suppose you construct a robot to avoid light. This robot is somewhat intelligent and can reason (within limits), remember and plan for the future. You put this robot into a dark room with no light except for some spotlights that move in some fixed pattern through the room. I'd argue that the robot will display a behaviour that would indicate that the robot experiences pain when being illuminated. Why, because it would go out of it's way to avoid this light since that it is programmed to do. I'd say that the robot displays a behaviour of feeling pain but I know it doesn't feel any pain in the human sense.

The "ethics of pain" are not as clearly cut as one would like and therefor you cannot build a solid argument on the premise of pain.

A better aproach might be the one of the worth of life. What is a life worth? For most people it's worth nothing. Even though we can save the lifes of thousands of people we choose not to. To believe that people in general would be concerned with some cow (where they actually "benefit" from it's death) when they do nothing to save the lives of other people is naive.

What is left then? It's a health issue? The environment? Economy? Well these are actually three of the perhaps strongest arguments.

Is an all vegetarian diet healthier than a mixed meat and vegetable diet? Well I'd say so, mainly because most of the meat you eat is fried. Fried meat is absolutly full with various carcinogenes and last I looked at world health statistics in the areas where people have a choice of what to eat, cancer was bit higher up on the list than death from anaemia. And the lack of various proteins and vitamins can be overcome I believe. After all, man wasn't ment to fly or travel in space either but we do that and survive.

Raising and eating animals takes a lot more resources than the comparative amount of vegetables. So it would both be better for the environment if we all ate vegetables and cheaper too since ultimately the excessive use of resources to raise animals will be paid for eventually.

I guess this all boils down to what kind of person you are and want to be. If you are the kind of person that gives f*** all about anything not directly connected to your own person I guess eating meat is only a health aspect. But if you are somewhat concerned with what future directions society is to take then perhaps you should become a vegan?



why are there mono species (none / 0) (#353)
by Rhodes on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:45:10 PM EST

Animal meat and products (meat, milk, cheese, eggs) taste good, and provides a great way to transport high nutritional density in a small volume.

We live in a time that no longer requires salting of meat to survive winter with our fridges and freezers (at least for the affluent).

I have no idea where the idea that most meat is fried comes from- I prefer a different set of carcinigens by grilling over a charcoal fire, or roasting the flesh in an oven.

The issue I have with factory farming and packaged slabs of meat deal more with taste. That's why I buy quarter chickens (thigh + drumstick), or whole roasters, usually from organizations that make an attempt to expose the bred animals to more "natural" growing and living conditions.

The other interesting factor is the line between "pet" and "food" is culturally dependent. Dogs, horses, rats (and other rodents) tend not to be raised for meat in the US, as opposed to other nations and cultures (beef is not eaten with the same relgiousity as it is in the US, Europe, or nearly anywhere else.)

Meat may be murder, and the flesh is tasty.

[ Parent ]
What's the beef with honey? (4.63 / 11) (#175)
by skintigh on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:36:31 AM EST

As a former (and hopefully future) bee keeper, I do not understand how there can be an ethical arguement against honey.  I suppose I am biased, but I would say eating honey is even more ethical than eating a carrot - the carrot had to die, after all.

Bees evolved to make a huge wax hive and fill it with enough honey to survive a long winter.  Humans came along and domesticated them - i.e. bred them to be less aggressive than say "killer" bees.  Then we build them a weather proof, animal proof hive that has everything they need (sometimes even all but the tops of the comb) so all the bees have to do is make honey and more bees.  We also spend good money protecting them from mites and other nasties that have whiped out the wild bee population.

As a result of their arguably easier life, the bees produce about twice the honey they need to survive a winter, probably more in states that don't have a winter.  Us humans take half the honey away as rent for their roomy townhouse.

Possible anti-honey arguements I can think of:

I admit some bees get squashed in the honey harvesting process, but I've yet to meet a vegan that doesn't harm mosquitos, etc.  We're very careful, though - much like milk cows bees produce more when treated well.

You could say we're stealing from them, but you could also call it rent or point out it would go to waste.  I've even seen bees fill up adjacent (vacant) hives with honey when they ran out of room in their own - would that be a more vegan-acceptable way to harvest?

Also, if bees have emotions they probably get scared when we puff smoke at them, but modern breeds rarely get angry.  But they are free to leave at will.

Could someone fill me in on the beef against honey?

A guess (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by jseverin on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:30:57 PM EST

I'm not a vegan, and I don't know any (nor do I play one on TV), but I think the anti-honey argument is a logical (or illogical, depending on your point of view) step from the anti-milk argument.

Drinking milk = dairy farms = suffering cows.

Eating honey = bee farms = suffering bees?

Seems pretty farfetched to me. People who subscribe to this belief must also abstain from killing even tiny bugs. And what about bacteria?

Just a guess.

[ Parent ]

Right on! (4.00 / 1) (#238)
by poopi on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:31:14 PM EST

If the bees had a problem with you getting at their honey, they'd buzz off! I am so, so sorry. I couldn't resist.

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

The best argument I've seen (none / 0) (#579)
by Tim Moore on Sun Jul 14, 2002 at 12:25:25 PM EST

Is here. Before reading that I half-heartedly avoided honey, now I actively do. I still see it as something of a gray area, but when dealing with moral gray areas I try to err in the direction of less potential suffering (as best as I can judge that).

[ Parent ]
Strange beasts, these... (3.80 / 21) (#177)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:38:34 AM EST

...vegans, especially the ethical variety, are intolerable in nearly every social setting. The author's post does a nice job of capturing the rambling dullness of being in the company of a vegan.

Not only do vegans need to ask eighty-eight million questions about the origin and ingredients in any food that is proposed for their consumption, but their fussy little diets preclude anyone else from enjoying "normal-people" food. As if these two annoyances weren't annoying enough, vegans will also turn food into an ethical soapbox at any and every opportunity. When the vegan is not deriding your willingness to munch slaughtered bunnies, they might implore you to enjoy a "zuchinni-burger" or other un-delightful creation from their limp, mealy backyard garden. Expect further degradation of the atmosphere surrounding vegans from their extremely odiferous gaseous emmissions. These flatulent insults are aggravated by permanent cheese-like deposits caused by the vegan's unwillingness to wash with soap. The vegan's body, desperate for balanced nutrition, sours and autocannibalizes, adding a sallow hue to the face and extremities.

In a common and amusing moment of self-delusion, vegans will often claim superior physical health, despite their olefactive and visual similarity to a corpse. But, like the skunk's spray or the porcupine's thorns, the vegan's irritating presence has a certain cleverness to it -- many a fine carniverous meal has been spoiled by the appearance of an unappetizing vegan.
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I agree, partly. (none / 0) (#296)
by raygundan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:34:06 PM EST

There is nothing worse than sitting at dinner and listening to a vegan yammer on about their personal reasons for not eating whatever you're eating.  And it's more than a little tiresome to sit through all of the various ingredient-checking a dilligent vegan has to perform when eating at a restaurant.

I have been vegetarian for 8 years, and was vegan for 3.  I did NOT, however, preach, and in fact did not identify myself as vegan unless asked directly or placed in a situation ("would you like a pork chop?") where I had to admit it.  I got extremely tired of playing the "ingredients game" at restaurants while my friends (vegans have non-vegan friends?!  Gasp!) waited for me, and so I gave up strict veganism and have adopted a 90% policy.  Basically, I don't try too hard (although still vegetarian) when I eat out, but at home, I prepare vegan food.

Preachy, accusatory, unhealthy vegans do nothing to further their cause.  On the other hand being, a healthy, non-preachy 90% vegan seems to win more converts.  I am a runner and a triathlete, and in that context I actually get asked about my training diet.  And have even had a few friends convert for that reason.

So, I agree with you there.  But the unhealthy bit I will have to disagree with-- I can knock out a half-marathon in 1:31:50, and have no problem competing in triathlons all summer, swimming with the local masters' team in the winter, weight training, rock climbing, or zipping through a century on my trusty bike.  Nor did I have any problems doing that when I was 100% vegan.

Thanks for the troll, and tell your vegan acquaintences I hope they smell better soon!

[ Parent ]

Alas... (none / 0) (#434)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:56:47 AM EST

...it was a bit of a troll, and I'm glad you countered it. Nevertheless, my personal experience with vegans has been roundly unpleasant. A lot of my trash-talk about unhealthiness is based on the overall "health food" scene. I live in the East Village, NYC and that area is chock-full of health food stores and herbalists, etc. If you would like to see some of the least healthy-looking people in the Western Hemisphere, stop by an East Village health food store. The gaunt, frizzy-haired apparitions that haunt those places may give you some ideas for Halloween costumes. The only healthy people in the joint are the Peurto Rican girls behind the counter, and they just work there. I had similar experiences with so-called "health food" growing up in Seattle. Cheers!
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By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

I hear ya. (none / 0) (#439)
by raygundan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:56:32 AM EST

Believe me, I know.  I'm sure it's worse out in NYC, but it's bad enough here in Indiana.  It's one of the biggest reasons I distance myself a bit from "the cult of veganism".  There are an awful lot of unhealthy, militant vegans running around that 1. Piss people off because nobody likes being preached to, and 2. Push people away from veganism by making them think "MAN that guy is skinny and unhealthy.  Thank goodness I'm not vegan!"  

[ Parent ]
Complicity (4.00 / 1) (#182)
by synaesthesia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:51:08 AM EST

The key question, for me, is, "Is the organism in question panient?" - in other words, does it have the capacity to feel pain and/or suffer.
...
No-one can prove that a carrot doesn't feel pain. But let's turn this around. No-one can actually prove that you really feel pain either.

Precisely. Which is exactly why any debate about veganism should be not about pain, but about complicity. Which is exactly why, to achieve moral consistency, you should be not a vegan, but a fruitarian.



Sausages or cheese?
Fruitarian? (5.00 / 1) (#195)
by Kwil on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:14:50 PM EST

..you mean.. support the fruit farms that have east indian families and children working in them in an almost slave-labour type of situation?

The only way it's possible to achieve moral consistency is to create your own products (foot or other) entirely. Living in a world where suffering is not widely respected in any type of industy means that the moment you get a product that has been created out of your sight, you can not be sure that you are living within moral consistency.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Amish (5.00 / 1) (#207)
by synaesthesia on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:33:10 PM EST

..you mean.. support the fruit farms that have east indian families and children working in them in an almost slave-labour type of situation?

No, I don't. I mean wander round the Garden of Eden living on a diet of apples ;)

Your point is well-made, but I don't think mine is contradicted by it!



Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
*foot* or other?? (none / 0) (#275)
by Kwil on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:43:42 PM EST

Sheesh.. even the spell checker can't save me from my poor typing. The word was of course supposed to be "food"

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
constructivist epistemological ephemera (none / 0) (#451)
by seb on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:47:42 PM EST

Could you elaborate on why, in your personal epistemology, the extent of Complicity in a certain act is more knowable than the experience of Pain?  Or is that not what you're saying?

Also, complicity in which act?

Also, I bet if you gargle while saying the subject line you will get water up your nose.

Kindest,

Pope Vegan IV

[ Parent ]

construbblist eplubemologicub ephubera (none / 0) (#531)
by synaesthesia on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:48:36 AM EST

Hi Seb,

Insofar as that I might as well believe that the chair I am sitting on exists, it is also observable that the universe is undergoing heat death and that all living things must subsume matter in order to continue to propagate their DNA. Through an accident of history, humans cannot leach minerals directly from rocks, and require to consume higher-order organisms. It is also observable that some entities support symbiotic relationships through which mutual benefit is achieved.

Assuming the selfish gene, I think I can state that the complicity of a fruit-bearing plant in the act of donating matter to another organism is more knowable than its experience of pain (which is admittedly not an objective measure - note the sadomasochistic relationship, another example of symbiosis).

I eat tomato seeds anyway.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

It is I who is the groom (none / 0) (#590)
by seb on Tue Feb 25, 2003 at 09:44:13 AM EST

So, is the following a good summary of you are saying?  


     
  • we can't know that carrots (don't) feel pain

  •  
  • we can know that bananas are "designed" to be eaten

  •  
  • on the basis that it is better to base your ethics on the knowable than the unknowable, a vegan should really be a fruitarian

By using words like "complicity," you are ascribing intentionality to what is actually a random mutation selected for by environmental conditions.

Your argument for fruitarianism could therefore imply that it is equally right to eat animal flesh thanks to our pointy canines and malformed appendices.

To put it another way, how does describing the reproductive strategy of a plant throw any light on the stated goal of causing less suffering?

It sounds to me like your (putative) goal might be to maximise the reproductive success of all living things.

Mine is to minimise the suffering of all living things.

I'm just that kinda guy ;-)

Your pal,

the VEGANGROOM.


[ Parent ]

Indeed - The Tardgroom! (none / 0) (#591)
by synaesthesia on Thu Feb 27, 2003 at 04:10:12 AM EST

By using words like "complicity," you are ascribing intentionality to what is actually a random mutation selected for by environmental conditions.

So when you say that your goal is "to minimise the suffering of all living things", is that just the molecules talking?

Eating fruit and nuts, which are nutrient-rich 'by design', is surely the best way of minimising the suffering of all living things, if not by epistemology, then by volume.

A convenient side-effect of minimising suffering in this way is that it maximises the reproductive success of all living things. I guess I'm just that kinda socialist ;-)

Your argument for fruitarianism could therefore imply that it is equally right to eat animal flesh thanks to our pointy canines and malformed appendices.

In the same way as arguing for euthanasia implies that murder is right? Ergo, it is I who is the GROOM.

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Doctor, I have a sore on my "groom". (none / 0) (#592)
by seb on Thu Feb 27, 2003 at 10:34:33 AM EST

So when you say that your goal is "to minimise the suffering of all living things", is that just the molecules talking?

Point taken, but also point filed under "W" (for "Whatever").  I want to reduce suffering, I don't care why.  I'm still not sure why fruitarianism helps me reach that goal.

Eating fruit and nuts, which are nutrient-rich 'by design', is surely the best way of minimising the suffering of all living things, if not by epistemology, then by volume.

Nice argument.  Unfortunately for you, they are nutrient-rich only in certain vitamins and minerals, and some types of carbohydrate.  Taking protein as an example, you will find that the most efficient way of obtaining it by volume would be to consume soy products.

But anyway, "if not by epistemology," fie!  I still dispute that "complicity" in any way correlates with "suffering," because "suffering" is an emotional response, whereas "complicity" in your sense of the word is a naturally selected reproductive strategy.  I think.

Q.E.D, your contention that the "complicity" argument is the moral extension of the "pain" argument is incorrect.

me: Your argument for fruitarianism could therefore imply that it is equally right to eat animal flesh thanks to our pointy canines and malformed appendices.

tu: In the same way as arguing for euthanasia implies that murder is right?

Exactly!  I'm glad you understand me.  Truly you are a type of "Groom."

Incidentally, I just thought about fruitarianism's acceptance of nuts in their diets.  Now that seems logically a bit weird.  Although a bit of research on this fruitarian site might suggest they have altogether different reasons (to do with eating "live food" of all things!  And their beautiful shapes.)

And some more thoughts:

  • A fruitarian should always strive to shit outdoors, on soil
  • Unless they have eaten tropical fruits, in which case they should find a greenhouse in which to do their "jungle business"
  • Except for bananas, which are a no-no: I believe they are sterile.


[ Parent ]
Waiter, there's a fly in my "groom" (none / 0) (#593)
by synaesthesia on Thu Feb 27, 2003 at 12:56:29 PM EST

My good groomsman,

I want to reduce suffering, I don't care why

Your position strikes me as somewhat paradoxical. One the one hand, you recognise in yourself something arising from your molecules which you call 'want'. On the other hand, you refuse to believe that ostensibly similar desires in plants should be taken into consideration when reducing said suffering. So why would you observe such seeming desires in animals?

Unfortunately for you, they are nutrient-rich only in certain vitamins and minerals, and some types of carbohydrate.  Taking protein as an example, you will find that the most efficient way of obtaining it by volume would be to consume soy products.

Fortunately for me, soy products are made from soy beans, beans are seeds, and seeds are compatible with a fruitarian diet.

I still dispute that "complicity" in any way correlates with "suffering," because "suffering" is an emotional response, whereas "complicity" in your sense of the word is a naturally selected reproductive strategy.  I think.

I don't understand how you can put complicity at the physical level without putting emotion at the same level. Compassion is simply some kind of complex social competitive advantage. I think.

Exactly!  I'm glad you understand me.  Truly you are a type of "Groom."

My point is that this concept of 'right' comes from you. The morality of veganism and fruitarianism, euthanasia and murder is not external. You judge them relative to one another.

A fruitarian should always strive to shit outdoors, on soil

Or some intelligent equivalent, such as ensuring that seeds are sown by hand.

Unless they have eaten tropical fruits, in which case they should find a greenhouse in which to do their "jungle business"

Rough in the jungle business department. See above.

Except for bananas, which are a no-no: I believe they are sterile.

I think that might be our fault, so the fruitarian's obligation is presumably to continue to propagate them by cutting. Some plants are successful in perhaps 'unexpected' ways, such as the now widely-cultivated cannabis sativa.

I tried visiting that website, but my browser failed to recognise any of the underlined links in the main body of text. I want to know more about automatic poisoning!

I fear I am defocussing, so I shall try to reiterate the salient question, and turn it around. How is suffering any more knowable than complicity?


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]

Meat eater at a "vegetarian" college (4.55 / 9) (#183)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:52:54 AM EST

I went to a "vegetarian", very liberal arts college.  I call it this because a majority of the food served was vegetarian.  There were a disproportionate number of vegans vs. "normal omnivores", and the administration took that into consideration.

My problem: I had to fight like a dog to have a hamburger.  Often, nearly all the choices available were vegetable-related.  Heaven forbid they have, for example, beef stew.  And pity you if you ate it!  I remember asking for one of the few hot dogs, once.  The "meal person" (I don't think you could call them "lunch ladies - the mostly female population there would have a fit) looked at me in surprise.  All the girls and a few guys up and down the line looked at my choice in disgust.  Me, being anti-confrontational, would just give a half-grin and say "Uh, yeah.  That's good, thanks."

My beef, pardon the pun, wasn't so much that the food choices were limited.  It was the indignation I'd get every time I tried to order some "omnivore" food.  There were dozens, nay HUNDREDS of posters in the mail room and by the cafeteria, championing one rights measure or another.  A lot of them had to do with vegetarianism (some had to do with "Know your pussy", which I found hysterical.  Being a guy at a 75% female school was always interesting).  There would be shouts and protests, this at a school where most of the choices already abided by the protestors.  If there was a McDonalds on campus it would've been burned to the ground.

I like my choice.  I respect others choices.  I just don't like their choices shoved in my face.  I remember the first time asking for a "burger" at the cafeteria -- I received some pale thing that, after taking a bite, must have been tofu or something.  An honest mistake, but I realized that the same thing vegetarians worry about (omnivore choices being forced on them) they will actively force on others if given the opportunity.  This, in my mind (fighting for own freedom then taking away another's) is hypocritical.

As for the tofu burger, I just handed it back to the woman and said "What is this, anyway?"  :)

What school was that? <nt> (none / 0) (#233)
by jseverin on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:19:29 PM EST



[ Parent ]
At the same time (5.00 / 1) (#308)
by aphrael on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:25:32 PM EST

there are places where people trying to order food without meat get the same reception you got. It's next to impossible in many parts of Germany to go to a restaurant and buy meat-free food. In some parts of the midwest, it's difficult to find Chinese food, one of the great refuges of vegeterians worldwide, which doesn't have meat in it. And people think you're crazy for trying to order it.

I very much like the fact that there are places which are heavily tilted the other way --- it helps balance, a little bit.

[ Parent ]

I have a number of questions: (2.00 / 1) (#184)
by EvilNoodle on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:57:04 AM EST

Chickens and other domesticated animals do not exist well in the wild nor do they make good pets (I consider keeping pets to be no less cruel that eating the odd free range egg btw as all the extreme examples of cruelty to animals have been afflicted on domestic pets). These animals would die in the wild. I wonder how many more species would become extinct or end up in zoos if humanity stops having a use for them. Are the vegan community going to keep them? Thought not.

Ethical: Who are you to judge the quality of life of another creature by imposing your value system on a different species? Strangely enough, what if it's their destiny? (Apparently Buddha died choking on a pork chop)

Spiritual: Is it better to have ten souls living bad lives or no souls living no lives. Take your answer and apply it to the third-world. Poor quality life or no life at all?

All life exists by consuming other life, be it plant or animal - get used to it.

All things must die. I do agree that it is important to improve quality of life but they are going to die anyway - oh hang, you'd prefer they weren't born wouldn't you.

Psychologically it is always interesting to see what people feel 'strongly' about. Rarely does it come naturally to give that much of a shit about anything unless it directly relates to something in their psyche. If this is the case then the issue is about you and your relationship with animals is just as abusive as a butcher (welcome to object relations).

Aren't vegans merely another social byproduct of modern over-consumption? You'll eat anything if you're starving.

Not exactly... (3.00 / 1) (#213)
by zonker on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:41:46 PM EST

Aren't vegans merely another social byproduct of modern over-consumption?

I wouldn't say they're a product of over-consumption but certainly the luxury of being vegan is brought about by an abundance of food and having free time to worry about things like the living conditions of animals.

You'll eat anything if you're starving.

Maybe not... IIRC, Hindus will not eat cows even when food is very scarce... I'm not judging that, just saying that it is possible for someone's morals to stand in the way of doing anything in the name of self-preservation.

If someone chooses to be a vegan or vegetarian, that's fine - one of my younger brothers is a vegetarian, though he works as a fry cook for Steak 'n Shake. If your outlook on the world tells you that eating meat is wrong, so be it - so long as you don't try to judge me because I don't subscribe to your view. If, when I die, I find out that God is in fact a divine cow or chicken...well, then I'll suffer the consequences then...until then, I'll eat what humans have been eating for thousands and thousands of years.

I'm comfortable with my place on the food chain. I try to buy meat that's not from so-called factory farms, and I pony up the additional money for "free range" eggs and milk that's supposed to be hormone-free. (That's more for my benefit than for the cow's, though.) But, I confronted the idea of an animal dying for my dinner a long time ago. I used to stay with my great-grandmother every summer, and she kept chickens. I knew where the fried chicken came from, and it wasn't the local store.
I will not get very far with this attitude.
[ Parent ]

There's no Plant Liberation Front (4.40 / 5) (#190)
by Cwis on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:09:15 PM EST

because plants don't look cute.

The Cyberiad by Stanlislaw Lem (4.25 / 4) (#200)
by Anonymous 7324 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:19:19 PM EST

Or, put it this way: if a highly realistic futuristic robot was programmed to mimic your behaviour exactly, and it swore and hopped about when it dropped a heavy weight on its feet, would the robot really be in pain?

According to Lem, yes. In Cyberiad Lem tells the following (paraphrased from my memory) story:

A famous "constructor" (for the purposes of this tale, a demi-god) meets a king without a kingdom, sitting all alone on a rather small asteroid. The king is of course, unhappy -- he wants to rule a kingdom: give commands, order revolutions, hold executions, trials, purges, and all the rest of the power trip stuff.

The constructor decides to create him a kingdom in miniature: a perfect replica, only in something the size of a shoebox -- complete with running rivers, valleys, and tiny 'robotic' creatures that would simulate real humans totally.

The king was delighted -- as long as he had a kingdom to rule, with all of its complexity and all the arbitrary and total power that was his "due", and who cared that it wasn't a 'real' kingdom! The constructor, duly pleased with his ability to satisfy the king's hunger for power and domination without affecting 'real' people, happily whistles his way home to tell his friend.

His friend is, of course, horrified.

"If you are angry with someone, and you take a broom, and paint a face on it, and then proceed to beat the broom mercilessly, is this cruelty?"

"Well, no -- it's just a broom."

"I agree. Now, what if instead of a broom, you created a doll, life-sized, featured just like him?"

"No. It's just a doll, without feelings! What are we practicing, voodoo?!?"

"Agreed. But now suppose that you not only created a doll that was life-sized, but one that looked and felt like a real human being? One that bled, pleaded, felt pain and terror and begged with you not to beat it and kill it? "

"... oh. I see. Say, hadn't we best be getting back to that king? ..."

The end of the story's a surprise ... (the rest of the book is absolutely fantastic)

Yes !! (5.00 / 2) (#315)
by bugmaster on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:45:23 PM EST

Woo ! I can't believe someone out there read the Cyberiad (other than myself, that is). That's an awesome book.

Anyway, I especially liked the rest of Clapaucius's (or was it Trurl ? They both mess up quite often) argument. The Constructor says,

"But I made this world and all the people in it ! They are just electrons, moving around in a box."

"You fool ! If I bash open your head, all I will see will be the same electrons in a box. How is that any different ?"


>|<*:=
[ Parent ]
Eh? (5.00 / 3) (#381)
by carbon on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:26:19 AM EST

Your argument is self contradictory. The turning point comes when he asks:

"But now suppose that you not only created a doll that was life-sized, but one that looked and felt like a real human being? One that bled, pleaded, felt pain and terror and begged with you not to beat it and kill it?"

Notice that the big point in here is 'felt pain and terror', since the rest doesn't have any moral applicability in this sense. The whole point is, if they feel pain and terror, then they fit into the catagory of things you wouldn't want to hurt. But that brings us immediately back to our original question : How can you tell if something non-human is in pain, in the sense of sentience?

Since they're just robots, how can you if that they're really in pain, or if they're just emulating the responses? A good example to bring up is in the article above: is a television showing a horror movie and making screaming sounds really scared?


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
The Faker vs The Real Thing (3.00 / 1) (#408)
by jig on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:27:32 AM EST

Since they're just robots, how can you if that they're really in pain, or if they're just emulating the responses? A good example to bring up is in the article above: is a television showing a horror movie and making screaming sounds really scared?
The problem with these emulations, as in the horror movie, is that they are very limited in scope. The object in question only seems to be acting like The Real Thing in very particular situations. This makes it possible, perhaps not easy, but possible to distinguish the emulation from the real thing.

How? Test it over a range of situations. Since the emulator, if it truly wanted to be indistinguishable from the real thing, would have to emulate the original in all possible circumstances, and since there is in reality an infinite number of possible situations it could be sujected to, the emulator must have either a rulebook with an infinite number of rules - which is not possible in this universe - or emulate the original in all its glory and not just in one or two aspects. No emulator can do the latter without actually becoming the real thing.

-----
And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get ye all

[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#438)
by carbon on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:51:25 AM EST

No emulator can do the latter without actually becoming the real thing.

Sorry, what? That just doesn't make any sense to me: a perfect emulation and an original are different things, because a perfect emulation doesn't need to have the properties of what it's emulating, it just needs to have the same external effects as those properties.


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Hmm... (none / 0) (#469)
by jig on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:54:58 PM EST

...a perfect emulation doesn't need to have the properties of what it's emulating, it just needs to have the same external effects as those properties.
If, by 'the properties', you meant the exact physical configuration, then yes, you don't need that. But in that case, the emulator will have to go through the same process as the original, and mimic it in every state it goes through, and in so doing be the original.

Remember, we are talking about emulating something for which there is no finite rulebook, or look-up table, equivalent.

-----
And none of you stand so tall
Pink moon gonna get ye all

[ Parent ]

Emulation (none / 0) (#493)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:28:29 PM EST

My computer can perfectly emulate a Nintendo, such that neither the software running nor the user playing can tell the difference.

My computer is not a Nintendo, and does not go through the exact same processes a Nintendo does.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

The point is that (none / 0) (#545)
by Anonymous 7324 on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:58:01 PM EST

to act like a Nintendo, your computer does, at least on some level, go through processes that are analogous to that of a "real" Nintendo. I believe the assumption here is that there are seldom an infinite (or even large) number of ways of precisely implementing complex-behaving systems, and that it is likely that, if the implementation were anywhere near exact, it would likely be analogous and similar to the real thing, to the point where you would want to treat it the same way.

[ Parent ]
This question... (none / 0) (#551)
by vectro on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 05:38:08 PM EST

is equivalent to any discussion of strong AI.

Amongst other things, it turns on a few of these questions:
* Do humans have free will?
* if so, how?
* Is the human brain deterministic?
* Does a human represent an infinate number of possible states?

Assuming the answers are no, yes, and no, my computer can perfectly emulate you -- it just might need some more memory.

To take another example, can a computer perfectly emulate an electronic circuit? No, but it can emulate it with arbitrary correctness, which is essentially equivalent since you can only measure the actual circuit with arbitrary precision anyhow. The computer need not have any electronic circuits for this statement to be upheld; it need not go through any of the natural processes found in the actual circuit.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

Are you vaccinated ? \nt (3.00 / 4) (#201)
by bob6 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:22:25 PM EST



Cheers.
'Painient' is a horrible neologism (4.00 / 1) (#206)
by Homburg on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:32:04 PM EST

Besides which, 'painient' doesn't mean much in the abscence of any kind of definition of pain. I mean, I have a vague idea of what it is for a conscious creature to experience pain, being one myself. But as we have no idea what, if any, sort of consciousness animals have, I'm not sure what it even means to talk about animals feeling pain. Are you sure you're not just anthropomorphising?

Furthermore, even if animals can feel pain, why should we care? You say veganism isn't a religion, but it seems to me just as arbitary if it is based on some kind of absolutist principle that pain in the abstract is bad. My pain is (as a personal preference) bad for me. Arguments can be given that the pain of other humans is also a bad thing. Such moral arguments often rely on the need to respect other people in order to be a fully functioning human being - what justifies extending this sort of consideration to animals?

animals and pain and choices (none / 0) (#345)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:06:37 PM EST

you may be right.  we have no idea if animals feel pain

but since i don't know, and i'd rather not be responsible, i make the choice to not allow them to suffer under my whims as much as i can.  

but you can make up your own mind and i applaud you for actually thinking about it.

i think of the same arguments for environmentalism.  why is it bad to use all the oil on the planet?  why is it bad to put a whole in the ozone layer?  because it wasn't "supposed to be there"?  says who?

but i'd still rather it didn't.  i like the earth the way it is, i prolly would like it more the way it used to be.  but who is to say that it should stay that way?  who is to say it can't be like in the matrix?  

what makes us right?  i'm not sure.

but i still walk to school everyday, and i still don't eat meat, and i rarely eat cheese or eggs.

time for some soy milk

[ Parent ]

Missing arguments (4.75 / 4) (#208)
by thebrix on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:34:35 PM EST

I note that almost all of the argument against factory farming is that it is cruel to animals. There are at least two other problems with it:

it promotes excessive transportation (if you want to slaughter animals en bloc you have to bring them to the place where the slaughtering is done);

it often produces poor-quality or even dangerous food because economy of scale frequently equates to excessive economy of cost (both of processing and of sale).

This horror story about chicken ("chicken" would probably be better punctuation) is the latest in a long line ...

A couple of anecdotes (4.33 / 6) (#209)
by Rogerborg on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:35:53 PM EST

First, let me make it clear that I love steak. Huge lumps of sizzling, rare, bloody, fatty carcinogenic cow. Mmmm, mm.

But I'm not kidding myself about the process behind it. I have a friend who worked in various parts of the slaughter industry for years, and here's a few of his choice anecdotes:

  • McDonald's burgers really are 100% beef, because they're (very nearly) 100% of the cow. IIRC, the stomachs, bowel, skull and (in the UK and Europe, because of BSE) the spine are removed. The rest (hooves and all) goes into a giant grinder. Out the bottom comes grey cow paste. Mmm mm.
  • Ah, the holiday season, time of jolly bearded paedophiles and huge turkeys. Some turkey farms start the slaughter early and freeze the birds in storage. But that costs, so some don't, they just overstock their barns, and then send in workers with masks, goggles and a machete, with orders to to hack off anything that looks like a head. When there's nothing left that's squawking or flapping, they turn the hoses on and scrape up the corpses with dump trucks. Some workers even look forward to this annual event, and treat it as a sport. Picture one guy using two machetes, and another with his own katana. It's almost kind of funny until you realise that turkeys aren't entirely stupid, and when they realise that's going on, they fight back. Picture half a dozen blade wielding guys versus 2,000 30lbs turkeys with big claws in a locked room. This is like a scene from early Peter Jackson, with one tiny difference. It's actually real.
  • Cows apparently aren't too bright at figuring out that they're in a slaughterhouse. They get agitated by the blood, but they don't actually realise when it's their turn for the bolt gun. Pigs, on the other hand, know exactly what's going on. They go into a frenzy when they're on the way to Mr Captive Bolt, and have to be cattle prodded almost continually before being given what's supposed to be a big enough shock to put them out. For safety reasons though, it rarely is (pigs can weigh a lot more than people, and a shock big enough to knock one out could kill a man), so most of them can see the gun coming and know exactly what's happening. It was this, and not the turkeys, that finally got my friend out of the business. Pigs are fairly intelligent animals, and they have expressive voices and eyes. He couldn't shake the feeling they were pleading with him at the end.

Mind you, he still eats meat, as do I, he just couldn't face killing it wholesale any more. Which probably makes him - and me - hypocritical cowards. On the other hand, he'll still wring a chicken or rabbit neck, as will I. And if you're going to eat meat, I suggest you try and find an opportunity to do likewise. Meat is dead animal, pure and simple, but you might find that even after you really understand this, you're still OK with eating it. After all, a lot of the world has never had a chance to forget it.


"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

fighting back != intelligence (none / 0) (#216)
by nytflyr on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:47:04 PM EST

it shows that they can see what is going on and their survival instinct kicks in... any bird that can drown by looking up while it is raining is perty damn stupid!

[ Parent ]
Yea, pretty stupid :) (none / 0) (#303)
by Jel on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:10:45 PM EST

...any bird that can drown by looking up while it is raining is perty damn stupid!

Heh.. almost as stoopid as humans, who can choke to death at a finely set table, on a nicely cut cube of meat ;)
...lend your voices only to sounds of freedom. No longer lend your strength to that which you wish to be free from. Fill your lives with love and bravery, and we shall lead a life uncommon
- Jewel, Life Uncommon
[ Parent ]

Meat is dead animal (4.00 / 1) (#425)
by TheSleeper on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:54:32 AM EST

On the other hand, he'll still wring a chicken or rabbit neck, as will I. And if you're going to eat meat, I suggest you try and find an opportunity to do likewise. Meat is dead animal, pure and simple, but you might find that even after you really understand this, you're still OK with eating it.

Interesting idea. I've often thought that I'd like to try hunting, not as any sort of proof of manhood, or 'back to nature' primitivist philosophy, or because of the healthier properties of game meat, but simply as a moral test: Does my ability to eat and enjoy meat depend on concealing from myself the fact that what I'm eating is a dead animal, and that killing is a part of the process? (Of course, I know intellectually that meat is a dead animal, but that's a rather different matter than eating something that you actually saw alive.)

[ Parent ]

Question... (4.66 / 3) (#218)
by Znork on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:48:56 PM EST

If, as a vegan, you mainly object to the cruelty to animals and the methods of producing meats, rather than the issue of wether or not it's ethical to eat meat, why go vegan?

If pretty much everyone who feels strongly about it goes vegan, then the economic viability of more acceptable meat production is pretty much nonexistent. If vegans did make a fuzz and demand at least that meat be marked according to production ethics, followed by the purchase of such meat you might actually create a viable market. If you're not acting to create a viable market, you're still acting in preservation of the unethical meat industry. Vegans will never become more than a small blipp on the radar for that meat industry, while a competing ethically producing meat industry could take over a not insignificant piece of the market (as long as the ethics allow meat to be produced within a price range that is, while maybe more expensive, acceptable).

Me, I dont doubt for a second that animals feel pain. My ethical considerations, however, are mostly bound to sentience rather than the presence of pain receptors and reactions to them.

But tell you what, if you can get a mandatory marking of meat production ethics, or get palatable vat-grown meat on the market I'll go for that (much of the meat I eat is already produced from hunting, and I would find a more ethical production of meat preferable, just not preferable enough to do something about it.).

Oh, and as an aside... knowing several vegans (well, most of them ex-vegans now), I do find it rather interesting that they all _know_ how to cook vegan food that they can survive on, yet none of them do. Most have ended up with deficencies that eventually had them eating meat products again.

I guess it's a whole lot easier if you live in a society where cooking usually takes several hours per day...

fighting factory farming by eating meat (4.50 / 2) (#270)
by startled on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:07:41 PM EST

I wholeheartedly agree. For example, I disagree with pesticide-heavy industrialized farming. Solution? I don't stop buying vegetables; I buy organic. Similarly, I buy hormone and antibiotic free meat whenever possible, and I buy eggs from cage-free chickens.

Likely, the farming practices aren't perfect. Cage free often means something that's not entirely unlike a cage. But if you're interested in fighting factory farming, going vegan isn't the way to go-- making it economically viable (or governmentally mandated) for existing beef producers to drop the hormones and antibiotics is.

There are plenty of reasons to go vegan, but opposition to factory farming isn't one of them. And from a practicality standpoint, it's a lot easier to persuade my friends to buy better beef than to stop eating meat.

[ Parent ]
My position (5.00 / 1) (#414)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:07:56 AM EST

I am lacto-vegetarian. I became vegetarian over a period of time, gradually eating less and less meat. I do not think that consumption of animal flesh is intrinsically objectionable, and my motivation for becoming vegetarian was mostly in objection to the behaviour of the meat industry.

In theory, I agree with your point about the economics. In practice I have been "veggie" for so long that while meat still smells good (especially roast chicken!) the idea of eating any meat actually makes me feel sick.

Historically, availability of ethically produced meat (for those of use that believe that such a thing exists) was not available (in the UK at least), and so vegetarianism was the only real choice. Thankfully, people reconsidering the ethical implications of there consumption now do have that option.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Vegans health (4.00 / 2) (#220)
by X-Nc on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 12:53:14 PM EST

I remember reading an article (in Discover magazine some years back) about the health aspects of being a vegetarian and/or a vegan that was written by an Emergency Room doctor. He didn't go into anything about the philosophical or general health issues. He just related what he'd seen in the ER.

He had ended up treating a number of patients who had been long term veg* and they all had critical problems with a lack of many minerals and vitamins that ended up causing things like brain damage and other very serious problems. People who choose to eat this kind of diet need to take a LOT of supplemental pills.

The key is that no matter your beliefs or your preferences, make sure you get all the "fuel" that your body needs to live.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

reference? (5.00 / 2) (#260)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:01:26 PM EST

there are plenty of articles about people who die from cancer/heart-disease (big killers in the US) from their animal-fat based diets. how many times did the ER doctor a heart attack from one of these people?

furthermore, plain lacto-vegetarian of course needs to watch nutrition but there are no 'supplements' needed... of course since our entire culture has been carpet bombed by the national dairy board and the beef council and the USDA (a puppet of the beef and dairy industry) into only studying nutrition from that perspective, you might have a problem if you have no access to information and live in a small town where the only grocery store is wal-mart,,, where the beans and vegetables are of low quality and low diversity, often rotten or highly processed... and most of the frozen dinners at these places will include lard or beef or chicken flavoring somehow in their ingredients.

for exapmle, the food pyramid beaten into us in school does not even include beans, which are an essential major part of the diet of almost all vegetarians, because beans are full of protein especially, but also many other nutrients.

pure vegans need B-12.yes going without it for many years causes nervous system damage, very scary. definitely should do research on the internet before you leap into veganism, learn things for yourself. it is not a huge big deal to get B-12 , but you do need to make sure you get some of it.

i would be interested to know exactly what issue, date, etc, this ER doctor did this article in discovery magazine.

[ Parent ]

Clarification (3.00 / 1) (#267)
by X-Nc on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:55:33 PM EST

I didn't mean to imply that Veg* diets are unhealthy nor that Omnivoratious(new word?) diets are healthy. Just that one must always make sure that they are meeting the needs of their body regardless of their diet.

As for the reference, a search of Discover or Google will likely find it. I don't have the time to do the search (hell, I don't have the time to be writing this reply in the first place) or I would find it.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

uhm, i cant find it (none / 0) (#485)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:48:14 PM EST

i went to an article database in the library that goes back several years in 'discover' magazine and there is no article about 'vegetarian' or 'vegan' listed. except for one about 'morning sickness'.

[ Parent ]
is this it? (none / 0) (#489)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:56:03 PM EST

http://www.discover.com/feb_00/featdementia.html article on B12. brilliant doctor. but uhm nothing about emergency rooms... what article are you talking about?

[ Parent ]
discover article against milk? (none / 0) (#491)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:10:47 PM EST

google for this: vegetarian site:discover.com theres an article here against milk

[ Parent ]
This "food pyramid" wasn't beaten into m (3.00 / 1) (#375)
by ShadowNode on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:59:11 PM EST

I only recall it being mentioned once or twice. Isn't lentils a food group? How would anyone take it seriously if it wasn't?

[ Parent ]
Not all bad (3.00 / 1) (#224)
by Vader82 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:04:29 PM EST

Being a vegan isn't bad.  I personally don't think I could give up steak for the rest of my life, but if you can more power to you.

As with everything moderation and variety is the key.  If you don't eat enough different kinds of food you're going to damage your body.

Eating meat isn't bad, but eating 50% of your daily intake of calories as meat isn't going to do you any favors.  When one/several foods make up a huge part of your diet thats when your body starts hating you.

I still eat meat, but I've cut way back and I now try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and veggies, and most days I succede.
Need food? Like sharing? http://reciphp.vader82.net/

a smattering of comments (4.00 / 1) (#225)
by mattw on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:04:40 PM EST

First of all, if I wanted to know what consumer store-bought products are and are not derived from definitely inhumane farming methods, where would I look? I generally buy Buddy's natural chicken here in TX, but is getting beef or chicken from HEB getting it from inhumane sources, or just McDonalds?

Moreover, I wish there were more research about common meat-replacement products, especially soy, because while I personally actually quite like the taste of some soy (I think vanilla soy milk is like candy), I've read about the dangers of soy, and I'm not convinced by either the pro-soy or fear-the-soy side, but I would tend to err on the side of caution. Is the anti-soy sentiment a ploy of the beef industry, or an unknown danger factor?

I wish, also, we could take some baby steps. Frankly, the plant alternative is equally disgusting with GMOs and pesticides everywhere. I'm buying more and more organic product, but it is exorbitant. I'm still buying it -- but reluctantly. I can see paying a premium, but does organic stuff really need to cost 5-10x what 'typical' stuff does, or is this just because organic operations are still much smaller?

In any event, if you're truly motivated by ethical concerns, I'd certainly spend as much time trying to make cruelty-free meat as accessible as worrying over avoiding meat entirely. Admirable that you've done it; you're making the system work, but recognize that if not many people share your beliefs enough, then you won't make a big enough dent. So, to increase the clout, help push the line back towards normal people to get some momentum.


[Scrapbooking Supplies]
5-10x???? (3.00 / 1) (#245)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:40:21 PM EST

stay away from that expensive stuff if u can afford it.

however if you keep an eye on the produce section you will find organic from 1-3 times as expensive on average i'd say. or sometimes it is even cheaper. particularly apples, oranges, tomatos, celery, carrots, things like that. maybe not where you live , though. . .

[ Parent ]

Sainsburys (5.00 / 1) (#411)
by codemonkey_uk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:44:53 AM EST

UK supermarket Sainsburys are currently promoting organic & locally farmed produce, and are pricing it at the same level as the non-organic alternatives.
---
Thad
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
But where do fruits & veggies come from? (4.75 / 4) (#230)
by sasquatchan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:10:05 PM EST

You know, I read just about all the comments, and maybe one or two mentioned something along the lines of the harvest. Sure, lots of folks extolled the virtues of small community farms and local organic growers etc. Hell, I went to the local farmers market Sat, and will go every Sat to get my veggies etc.

But, most of those aren't self sufficient, and can't easily survive economically. Enter agri-business. Yes, the same folks who grow veggies etc are also the same ones denounced by your various nutjobs for their chemicals, genetic modifications, etc.. Cake and eat it, eh folks?

Another interesting feature of farming that I wish had been mentioned was the use and exploitation of migrant workers. Has anyone here dealt with them ? I spent a summer of college working for a parent organization that ran migrant health clinics. I've visited workers in their shacks, and seen what they face. It's a tough life. So sure, you can feel good that you aren't contributing to a cow suffering needlessly, but what about the 12 yr old kids getting pennies an hour picking those veggies ? (while being exposed to those pesticides and other chemicals, often laboring with dangerous farm equipment, not unlike the fieldmice someone else mentioned.. )

Further, even the family/local/organic farms are just as willing to exploit the migrant workers for work (I've seen that first hand). So where's the moral equivalency in it being OK to exploit your fellow man, but not OK to kill the beasts in the woods?

When we've solved the human exploitation and sufferings of the world, only then will I give a flying fsck about the stupid animals. I detest anyone who thinks animals are as important (if not moreso, as many vegan nutjobs preach) then fellow humans.

-- The internet is not here for your personal therapy.

labor in the meat industry (4.00 / 1) (#243)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:37:49 PM EST

is not treated well either. thats a fact. look at the hormel strikes (google for it, there was even a documentary movie about a hormel strike).

it would be nice if there is a 'well-treated labor' sticker just like there are organic stickers on produce. actually that would be really cool. maybe a union-made sticker or something. i dont know.

not all veg*ns are so single minded.

[ Parent ]

That there *where* strikes... (none / 0) (#391)
by ShadowNode on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:06:32 AM EST

Just goes to show that labour in the meat industry is treated exponentially better than migrant pickers.

[ Parent ]
Illegals (none / 0) (#436)
by dachshund on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:05:51 AM EST

Or there's the story of the slaughterhouse in the midwest that picked up a bunch of illegal immigrants down by the border and bussed them up north to its factory. The company promised to give them housing and a living wage, but once the workers arrived, the housing turned out to be a local homeless shelter (the company generously offered to provide hamburgers to compensate the shelter for the additional burden.) (From Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation).

The meat industry is no better than the farm industry-- they hire the cheapest labour they can get, and that often turns out to be illegal immigrants. The big difference is that those workers experience significantly more dangerous conditions than farmers.

[ Parent ]

i heard farming is dangerous (none / 0) (#484)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:34:35 PM EST

look at the death statistics it is way upt here with police and fire. otoh i think they might include slaughterhouses in 'farming', i am ont sure!!! interesting comparison.

[ Parent ]
there is no cesar chavez in the meat industry (none / 0) (#483)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:33:20 PM EST

interesting comparison tho

[ Parent ]
moral equivalency? (none / 0) (#339)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:49:00 PM EST

who needs a moral equivalency?

i've been saying it over and over again:

everyone picks their battles.  there is only so much one can do!

just because i choose to eat only vegetables, etc.  doesn't mean i MUST be responsible for the exploitation of the migrant workers.  i do what i can, when i realize something must be done.  i do the best i want to do on everything in my life.  that means i try to buy locally grown organics.

but my fight for the animals does not have to get in the way of my fight for a woman's right to choose, or 1st amendment rights on the internet, or the exploitation of migrant workers.

i say, educate people who want to be educated.  don't write them off as nutjobs because they believe something different from you!  at least they are making a decision and taking a stand.

"martha stewart is polishing the brass on the titantic!  it's all going down man!"

[ Parent ]

I just look at my teeth (3.75 / 4) (#232)
by cs668 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:16:00 PM EST

Whenever I wonder if it os OK to eat meat.  I just look at my teeth and then I know what I am designed for :-)

Why would I have the teeth I do if I am not supposed to eat yummy dead animals.

humans are not beasts (5.00 / 2) (#241)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:33:38 PM EST

we choose what we do. why ride an airplane if you have legs? why drive a car if you have feet?

and besides, the very fact we can be vegetarians perhaps indicates we were designed for that? cats, for example, cannot, for they need taurine and other things found only in meat. cats might say 'we are not designed to be vegetarians'.

[ Parent ]

Interesting. (none / 0) (#246)
by bakuretsu on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:40:28 PM EST

I didn't know that about cats, but I'm glad I do now. I often bring up the natural design of the human incisors in defense of being carnivorous. I suppose humans have the luxury (and/or responsibility) to choose for themselves what to eat.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
[ Parent ]
Not a carnivor - but an omnivor (none / 0) (#268)
by cs668 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:57:24 PM EST

I am not saying that I have to eat meat.  I am saying that naturally I should be an omnivor.

To be something other than that is to try to deny your biology.  Almost as if you were ashamed of being an animal and by being vegitarian you try to make yourself "more" human.

[ Parent ]

how do you know naturally you shoudlnt be a veg*n (none / 0) (#482)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:32:20 PM EST

you have an appendix, and you have 5 toes. you dont need an appendix and you dont really need all 5 toes. and you dont really need canine incisors either.

[ Parent ]
grr (2.66 / 3) (#281)
by zoobiewa on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:02:20 PM EST

I always hate this argument when I hear it. It stems from a belief that you can do anything you want because it is in our nature. How do YOU know what our nature is? I'd say that is more of a philosophical answer. We don't know WHY we are here. The fact is that whatever WAS natural at one time, we are greatly changed. I know other things that are natural and inherent in humans: rape and murder. Also, anthropologists have found that prehistoric man ate a diet of mostly vegetables fruits and nuts. So not only are you wrong in what our teeth are designed for, but even if they were designed that way, it wouldn't matter because we have changed. We aren't prehistoric man anymore. We don't live like they did. What is different now is that we have the power to destroy and inflict pain and harvest in a way that is beyond nature. Because we have a consciousness about that, we need to be wise about how we exorcise our dominance.

[ Parent ]
Did you read the article? (4.50 / 2) (#361)
by cs668 on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:53:19 PM EST

Here is a quote. " Although paleontologists do not know what hominids -- our human-like ancestors who walked on two legs -- ate millions of years ago"

I suspect that they did eat more fruits, nuts, vegies, and roots than we do now.  But, they certainly also ate meat when they could get it.

I am not saying that we can do anything we want.  I just think that I would not have the teeth I do if I did not evolve to have some meat in my diet.  The typical person eats way to much meat for their own good.  But, I really think that some vegitarians have a problem with their own animal nature and go vegan in order to not think of themselves as an animal.

If a vegan had a dog what would they feed it?  What about a cat?  Oh, I suppose they couldn't actually have a pet.  Just like any extream left, right, pro-this, anti-that, I find vegans to be mosly a pain.

[ Parent ]

Funny you should ask (none / 0) (#507)
by Colol on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:59:34 PM EST

If a vegan had a dog what would they feed it? What about a cat? Oh, I suppose they couldn't actually have a pet. Just like any extream left, right, pro-this, anti-that, I find vegans to be mosly a pain.

Funny you should ask, as PETA has a wonderfully brilliant (ha) campaign running about moving your companion animals to meat-free diets. Nevermind the fact that according to veterinarians I've spoken with off-the-cuff, feeding a cat a non-meat diet is animal cruelty in and of itself. Given cats are obligate carnivores and designed to eat mainly animal tissue, it should be no surprise.

I've known people who went vegan who weren't total nut jobs, and who wouldn't have an issue feeding their animals proper diets. But there are the nutjobs who stand behind PETA and claim foul on everything while carrying a higher profile from star power.

[ Parent ]
I feel for them (5.00 / 1) (#512)
by cs668 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:50:23 PM EST

We have some friends who have been vegan since collage. I go out of my way to make two meals when they come over( separate utensils and the whole sh-bang ). The last time they cam over we all sat together and our kids sat at the kids table. Their 2 year old was taking food off of my daughters plate, She had her whole mouth full of pork cutlate. The mom looked horrified. The dad was amased, "I have never seen her eat so much of anything". They have been worried about her not gaining enough weight. To me it seems cruel to torture your child like that. But, it is their kid so I just let them keep her mal-nurished :-)

[ Parent ]
beyond nature?! (4.00 / 1) (#407)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:58:36 AM EST

We don't live like they did. What is different now is that we have the power to destroy and inflict pain and harvest in a way that is beyond nature.

Pet peeve coming...it always amazes me when a group of people start putting animals or plants above humans, they give the ol "it's not natural" thing. Using a gun to kill for food? Not natural. Developing machines that can clear an acre of land in minutes? Not natural. All of this is bullcrap. To say that a human using his/her intellect to build something that they can use to accomplish a task or make their life easier is not natural is ridiculous. Everything mankind does is a part of Nature, it is natural. But, just because it is in our nature does not make it right.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Clarification: (none / 0) (#586)
by zoobiewa on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 04:38:49 PM EST

Clarification: Our bodies do not change evolutionarily as fast as our diets. It might be the most energy effecient method to drink uranium, but we can't process it, so it is actually beyond our nature. Some things we can *sort of* process, although it still isn't the most ideal food. I feel that there had to be a point when human-like beings had very little consciousness and simply lived, ate, and reproduced like a complex animal. I wasn't putting animals or plants above humans, I was talking about prehistoric man, and the diet that we naturally injested in that setting. Our bodies and brains haven't changed drastically in the last 10,000 years.

[ Parent ]
Just a few questions. (3.00 / 1) (#235)
by projmayhem on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:25:46 PM EST

Firstly, I don't think it's a troll to ask the "what if plants feel pain" question. Given your philosophical beliefs, and your "gut feeling" that bees don't feel pain (without knowing for sure), why is that so silly a question? Also, who makes your vegan alternatives? Since your boycotting has an economic bent (as per your column), did you check to see who makes your meat-safe products? Did you check to see who owns them? How about genetic engineering on fruit (a whole new can of worms to open, if you'll forgive the pun)? Lastly, if mass, inhuman meat processing and treatment of animals stops, will you go back to meat? It sounded like you're not objecting to eating meat, but how the animals are treated in the process.
Sometimes you follow your heart, somtimes your heart cuts a fart, and that's the cosmic shame...
Plant Consciousness: Savage By Design (3.66 / 3) (#291)
by ip4noman on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:56:57 PM EST

The argument of Plant Consciousness as an excuse for eating meat is flawed because of one reason. Plants lack a Central Nervous System, which all animals (apart from some very primitive ones) possess. This means that plants are really not aware of their surroundings and themselves, and do not feel pleasure and pain, as animals do.

I call this general argument used to justify eating meat "Savage By Design" and have written an essay about it on Vegdot.

--
Breaking Blue / Cognitive Liberty Airwaves
[ Parent ]
other reasons that excuse is wrong (3.33 / 3) (#333)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:39:34 PM EST

whether or not plants can feel pain, etc has NOTHING to do with whether or not someone eats meat...

it's like changing the subject almost.

We know animals feel pain.  we know their are alternatives to eating them.  we know that there is no evidence that the alternatives suffer.  We know there are many many other arguments to eating only the alternatives.  

so what's the question again?   yeah, good argument...

i think i just need to change my signature to:

everyone draws their own line in the sand over what to fight for or against and at what cost.  

[ Parent ]

there is a plant liberation front (4.33 / 3) (#239)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:31:32 PM EST

organic gardening, greenpeace, the nature conservancy, the national park service, seed saver's exchange, anti-biopiracy movements, etc etc etc.

Grow your meat! (2.00 / 1) (#251)
by steveftoth on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:47:50 PM EST

http://abcnews.go.com/sections/scitech/DailyNews/growingmeat020327.html

Ok, what about meat grown from an animal? Take a piece of meat from a live animal (don't even have to kill the thing), and grow your meat from that? Where's the ethical dilema in that? Of course this assumes the meat is ok to eat, and the material that grows it comes from a non-animal source. I guess that you could say that the original animal has to suffer, but that seems like an almost inconsequencial cost if that one animal can create an almost limitless amount of food.

My stance on vegans is that rejecting meat because of moral implications of eating meat is silly, just like the [insert your favorite racial group here] rejects [insert their hated food here]. I am against the 'factory farming' methods that we use in the USA to get the meat that everyone eats. I personally try to eat as little meat as I can, but I'm not going to try and claim in any way that I'm a vegitarian (though I know too many people who say they are vegitarian yet still eat seafood and even chicken!).

To me though, factory farming seems like a small battle compared to the greater threat of genetic engineering of food. Genetic engineering of crops is very very bad. Not because crops shouldn't be made better through technology, but because the rate of change is too fast. Our society praises dollar value over the health and safety of its people. This creates an atmosphere that is in my opinion bad for the dangers that genetic engineering of food could introduce. They can create foods that produce their own pesticides in the field. This fact scares me, because what if the pesticides are still in the food when I get it? And what if the bugs become resistant to the pesticides? Then are we not just poisoning ourselves for no good reason?

Food for thought.

you're scared of the future.... (5.00 / 1) (#277)
by lithmonkey on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:58:55 PM EST

Not me though. I'm SO excited for the future. GE is where it's at, man.  I'm going to have my own beef tree and pork root.  Featherless chickens are going to be running about, sans head.  My replacement heart for when i turn 50 will be grown inside a rat.  Oh, and don't forget the lasers.  Soo maaany laaaasers.  Any other pro GE people out there??

[ Parent ]
answered your own question (none / 0) (#327)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:29:26 PM EST

you are against factory farming (in the US) so you eat as little meat as possible.

so you have drawn your own line and i applaud you for making an educated (seemingly) decision.  other people have drawn their own lines.

just like the "vegetarians" who eat seafood and chicken.  although they may have the terminology slightly wrong, at least they are thinking about something and making an educated decision about it.

to YOU factory farming isn't as important as other battles.  just like we draw our own lines, we fight our own fights.  one must pic a war, or not.  

one can bring a horse (or cow) to water but one can't force the horse to drink.

BTW factory farming can be even worse in other countries depending on the example...

[ Parent ]

Eggs and dairy (4.00 / 2) (#255)
by enterfornone on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 01:51:03 PM EST

Most of the ethical vegan folk assume that all dairy products and eggs are produced in factory farms. But what of free range eggs, or dairy products produced by Hindus/Krishnas etc.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
free range (5.00 / 2) (#326)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:22:36 PM EST

i think free range stuff is a great thing!

i think people who actually think about it enough to buy those products should be applauded (even by those who don't agree, at least they are thinking and trying to make a difference).

i never really want to eat any of that stuff because it's still an animal product and the animals can still be suffering.  
i doubt cows want to be stuck in a stall for hours a day giving their milk to a machine.  i doubt they want to have heavy utters for their entire lives, which have been shown to give them back and hip problems, just to produce a product that we have an acquired taste for.  

as someone stated above, any controlled breeding can be viewed as unethical.  i guess i do view it that way

everyone should draw their own lines.  because one person draws it in another place does not make them a hypocrite.  
i draw mine somewhat short of being vegan, i do that because it's my choice and i live with it everytime i buy something or walk down the street.

[ Parent ]

Vegan contridictions.... (4.00 / 3) (#261)
by steveftoth on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:03:22 PM EST

Things that vegans do to contridict themselves.I'm not saying that all vegan do this, but I've know those that do.

Spray their houses for bugs. (but it's an animal!)

Neuter, spay ,declaw or otherwise mutilate their animals in a socialy acceptable way.

Just 2 I thought of off the top of my head.

The Price is Wrong, Bitch (none / 0) (#284)
by pexatus on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:35:56 PM EST

Ever watch "The Price is Right"? At the end of every show, Bob Barker takes a few seconds to advocate getting your pets neutered. He doesn't laugh maniacally as he does so and raise his glass in a toast "to animal misery." In fact, he gives his reason: to control the pet population.

Pets are neutered painlessly, and the result is that they do not go off into the neighborhood and put their mack on, leaving a bunch of puppies and kittens with no home and no food.

By the way, I wasn't calling you a bitch; I just love that quote. No offense intended.

[ Parent ]

spaying/neutering (none / 0) (#290)
by steveftoth on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:56:25 PM EST

When you spay/neuter an animal it's either because you are tired of their 'heat' phases or you are worried that they will get pregnant nad you'll have a bunch of little 'bundles of joy' running around and causing problems.

It totatly changes the behavior of an animal, I don't know if that's cruel punishment, but hey who knows. I know that I wouldn't want to be eaten or spayed.

[ Parent ]

YOU know all? (none / 0) (#321)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:12:27 PM EST

speak for yourself chuckles!

just because YOU can't think of them, doesn't mean YOU know all the reasons why people do things.

lots of people neuter their pets indeed so they don't produce at-risk offspring.   there are lots of other reasons to do it as well.  that doesn't mean any of them are good ones.  

[ Parent ]

so dont offend (none / 0) (#330)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:36:00 PM EST

'bitch' is sexist

[ Parent ]
Are you serious? (none / 0) (#388)
by pexatus on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:52:56 AM EST

Normally I wouldn't respond to something like this, as I have better things to do with my time, like giving myself genital electrocution, but I had a bad day, and I just finished eating a whole jar of peanut butter and am consequently a little loopy. So if this is a troll, congratulations, you just won whatever trophy, plaque, or porno subscription they award at the semi-annual Troller's Banquet and Circle-Jerk in Bruno, Nebraska.

The quote, "The price is wrong, bitch", is from a movie called "Happy Gilmore" starring Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler's character says it to Bob Barker (playing himself) while they are fighting. You maybe haven't seen the movie, but I made it pretty clear that it was a quote I found amusing and not my own words (unless you think that I use the term "quote" to refer to original sentences that I just made up a few paragraphs prior). It was equally clear that I meant no insult by using the word "bitch" and only kept it in there for the sake of keeping the quote intact. My hope was that this would increase the odds that a reader would recognize the movie reference (I guess I'll need sirens and flashing neon signs next time, huh?).

Even in the movie, the use of the term isn't sexist. It's an American colloquialism that guys use to insult each other. The term can really only be used in a sexist way if someone calls a woman a bitch, or if someone calls a guy a bitch with the intention of ridiculing him by way of comparison to women (implicitly insulting the female gender), which is not the connotation in use here. In this context the word means the same thing as "idiot" or "motherfucker". But maybe you consider those to be prejudiced against mentally handicapped people and practitioners of incest, respectively, in which case the point is lost on you.

So you took offense to my post (or at least implied that my post offended someone) because I quoted a movie that made a non-sexist joke that used a word that is sometimes used in a sexist manner, but wasn't used in such a manner in the case of either the movie or in my reference to the movie. Just making sure I got that right.

I guess you could have been making a joke, in which case just ignore all this (but you may want to cut back on the Slashdot for a little while to increase the quality of your humor).

[ Parent ]

and i suppose white peopel can say n----- (none / 0) (#481)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:28:39 PM EST

after all, if adam sandler calls joe pesci a nigger then it was just an 'american colloquialism used among whites'?

[ Parent ]
contradictions and hypocrites (none / 0) (#323)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:16:24 PM EST

who cares if they contradict themselves?

i certainly don't care.  at least they are trying!
at least they are thinking about making a difference!  most people don't do that.

if one thinks they should do it in another way, maybe one can suggest it to them.  maybe one could have a valuable discussion about something that people think is important.  maybe both people will come out enlightened, or at least educated, even if only to another's viewpoint.

[ Parent ]

So just to clarify... (none / 0) (#369)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:49:29 PM EST

your logic goes:

I know some hypocrites. They are vegans. Therefore, vegans are hypocrites.

Right? Oh, you were just saying that you knew some people who happened to do that, but you don't mean to imply that all vegans do that? Then what relevance does it have to the conversation? Do you often post about the various losers you know to random internet discussion sites?


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Actually...all people are hypocrites. (none / 0) (#372)
by steveftoth on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:32:06 PM EST

At least such is my hypothesis, as it's hard to find a person that won't reverse their position on any topic, or say one thing then do another.

I can't prove that, but that's why it's a belief of mine.

But back to the vegan thing, really I just wanted to point out to vegans that they are in an extreme position, more extreme then a carnivore would be in. And that being in such an extreme position causes many inconsisties that you have to resolve in order for your world view to make sense. I guess that I'm just against extreme views because they are well, extreme. Most extreme position tend to NOT make sense unless you are already in them.

In order for veganism to work for someone they have to believe that animals have something worth saving, that they are living beings that have a purpose and that purpose doesn't involve us eating them. Many people are vegitarian because of 'health' reasons and I respect that, but to be a vegan requires an extra leap of faith that most (including me) do not have.

That's why I love to taunt people who believe, because faith is meaningless without conviction. Regardless of what you believe in, you need to have a strong conviction about it and defend it regardless. Like a belief in God, as you cannot prove to someone who does not believe in God that she/it/he exists, they have to come to that conclusion on their own terms, you can only offer guidence.

Anyway, I've gotten sidetracked again, hope that I didn't offend anyone too much, and if I did, maybe you should figure out why I pissed you off so much.

[ Parent ]

Nope (none / 0) (#429)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:26:02 AM EST

_ But back to the vegan thing, really I just wanted to point out to vegans that they are in an extreme position, more extreme then a carnivore would be in. And that being in such an extreme position causes many inconsisties that you have to resolve in order for your world view to make sense. I guess that I'm just against extreme views because they are well, extreme. Most extreme position tend to NOT make sense unless you are already in them._

I don't follow you. You seem to be saying that any posision out of line with society's standard beliefs is likely to not make sense. Now, you're allowed you cynicism, so I'm alowed mine - the majority of the beliefs of society are completely unjustified. (The few that are justified the vast majority of society would be uncapable of justifying.) Historically, the views of small segments of society have become accepted by the common person over time - examples include beliefs regaurding racism, democracy and countless scientific views.

In short, I don't know what you're talking about. Something not being a normal belief doesn't mean it's not a correct one. Come on, this is elementary school stuff.

In order for veganism to work for someone they have to believe that animals have something worth saving, that they are living beings that have a purpose and that purpose doesn't involve us eating them. Many people are vegitarian because of 'health' reasons and I respect that, but to be a vegan requires an extra leap of faith that most (including me) do not have.

This isn't true, and I'm a counter example. I don't belief in people having a purpose. At all. I think a lot of people on k5 will agree with me. But I do believe that, were I able to do what I wanted, I wouldn't go on a killing spree. Even without them having a purpose, I don't believe I'm justified in killing them. Purpose is irrelevent to the argument.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Reversing one's position... (none / 0) (#506)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:37:09 PM EST

... does not, in and of itself, constitute hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is the act of feigning to believe or be something. As one's beliefs can legimately change, such a change does not necessarily indicate hypocrisy, unless such a belief is not communicated in discussion.

Of course, it is also worthwhile to point out that decrying the hypocrisy of the advocates of a particular position constitutes an ad hominem; that is, being unable to attack the issue in question, you instead attack the proponents. This is, of course, a logical fallacy.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

animals are edible? (3.33 / 3) (#263)
by dr k on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:31:57 PM EST

I grow and kill my own chickens, and occasionally I will purchase and slaughter a goat, but I never realized that I could actually eat the flesh of these animals. What a splendid idea! Does anyone have a good recipe for animal flesh? Is that what meat is?


Destroy all trusted users!

Taming the Trolls (4.00 / 1) (#265)
by cnicolai on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 02:50:18 PM EST

Actual Conversation:

Vegan Friend-of-a-friend: I don't eat anything that can feel pain.
Me: What if they discovered plants could feel pain too?
Vegan: I heard broccoli might have something like a nervous system.
Me: Hmmm... What do you suppose broccoli would think about?
Vegan: Carrot babes?

Yeah I find trolling vegans irresistable. Sometimes I'm literally biting my tongue when I just know it would be a terrible idea. I think it's about perceived entertainment value, so veg[eteri]ans can disarm me by entertaining and out-trolling me.

Thing is, I cook practically vegan, and agree with a lot of the arguments, especially about ecological footprint. My biggest beef is that your diet won't make much difference unless most people do it, and most people won't if it seems unimaginably different/weird/privationist. Better to enjoy a proffered steak, and reciprocate with well-seasoned hummus pockets/tofu/... . Slow subversion. Like the thing with boiling vs scalding a frog, except the goal is to cook it.

Frog legs anyone?

Seriously <*g*> If a frog lost its legs in a bona fide accident, and you had a good recipe, and it was either eat the legs or just throw them away, what would you (vegan) do?

And for an encore... (none / 0) (#274)
by magney on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:37:42 PM EST

Seriously <*g*> If a frog lost its legs in a bona fide accident, and you had a good recipe, and it was either eat the legs or just throw them away, what would you (vegan) do?
And does your answer change if they're people legs? :)

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

No... (none / 0) (#280)
by Rocky on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:01:46 PM EST

...especially if I have some Jerk sauce handy!

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]
Slightly off topic (4.00 / 1) (#278)
by hedgefrog on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 03:59:41 PM EST

Do the vegans that don't eat any animal based products (eggs, milk, honey etc.)swallow? And if not is that why they always seem to be unhappy?

old joke (none / 0) (#313)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:41:41 PM EST

we always used to joke about this...

"do vegan girls eat meat?"

"do vegan girls swallow?"

the first one is a bit more subtle because people jump on the "well of course they don't!" thing, then they say "hey, why did you only ask about girls?  and meat?  vegans don't eat anything...

<pause>

oh, har har, i get it"

:-D

so do vegan lesbians eat beaver?  rug?  only chew on it?  (ouch)

[ Parent ]

just money shots (N/T) (none / 0) (#433)
by Dragomire on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:53:41 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Very thoughtful article (4.00 / 2) (#279)
by epepke on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:01:38 PM EST

This is a very thoughtful article, of a kind that I scarcely see around the issues of veganism. Let me muddy the waters a bit, though.

I used to argue that since cattle are fed on grain anyway, and one pound of beef takes several pounds of grain to produce, eating meat only increases the amount of grain that has to be produced and thus increases the chance of a poor little fieldmouse being squished.

As you point out, this is a shaky argument. Actually, it's a very shaky argument. I'm from Florida, the biggest cattle-producing state east of the Mississippi. The way cattle are raised here basically works like this: buy a bunch of land, build a fence, put some cattle on it, and wait until they get bigger. The cattle basically walk around and eat the stuff that grows out of the ground. One of two things happens. The cattle can then be slaughtered and sold as "grass-fed beef." This is actually quite taste and more healthful due to its low fat content. Or the cattle are sent to be "fed out" for a few weeks on grain to build up their fat, usually in the West (so that the advertizers can say "Western Grain-fed Beef." However, even here it isn't so simple as having to grow extra grain to feed the cattle. The most popular grain food is brewery tailings. This is what is left over from grain (barley, wheat, and regrettably in the U.S., rice and maize) after it has been malted, mashed, and sparged to produce wort (the liquid part of beer). Tailings also come out of the bread industry, which uses a lot of malt extract.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


slaughter and majority... (none / 0) (#311)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:37:53 PM EST

the numbers say (and yes, they can be made to say anything) that the majority of beef cattle are not raised this way.  certainly the number of dairy cattle are not, and far and away the number of veal are not.

anyway, to me being vegetarian is easy, i don't need to kill to stay alive.  so i do my best to avoid it.  
when one eats meat it is probably easy to forget that most of the meat you eat is not the kind you buy at the store.  mcdonald's beef is certainly not grain-fed, free-range.  it's not even all beef.  well, they say it is, but what they really mean is: "all the part that is beef is actually 100% beef, the rest is soy and water because we don't have to report that part...

but that's a different topic altogether.

anyway, even if an animal is raised (relatively) humanely as you stated, they still have to be slaughtered, and this can be legally done in very painful ways.  i'll leave it up to the reader to educate themselves on this side of this argument...

[ Parent ]

You do have to kill to stay alive. (none / 0) (#502)
by vectro on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:09:13 PM EST

You just prefer to kill things you don't empathize with.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Grain fed beef (none / 0) (#540)
by TheSleeper on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:50:33 AM EST

mcdonald's beef is certainly not grain-fed

Actually, it almost certainly is grain fed, which is part of the problem; Cows are adapted to eating grass. See http://www.ranchwest.com/pollan.html.

[ Parent ]

Ethical breeding (4.00 / 1) (#285)
by IriseLenoir on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:44:54 PM EST

To me, the actual fact of breeding is cruel and could not be made ethical. An animal that is given life for the purpose of being fattened up and slaughtered will not have a life by definition. You can make the conditions a little more bearable, cages a little bigger, kill them without pain, etc. But you will not change the fact that animals are not meant to be in a cage, do not want to be there and will never experience life. That is, they will never get to explore, eat fresh food they like, breed and take care of there offsprings, etc. And yes, be eaten by a lion or such afterwards. Painfully killed, I would add, which is not really the problem to me. Pain is a part of life. The problem is when pain is all there is to a lifespan. They are basically removed from the circle of life.

Ethical breeding will never be ethical for another, more important reason which was, for me, the final reason to go strictly vegan and never look back. It is unsustainable for humanity. It takes 9 to 16 vegetable proteins (or, to be more specific, their quantitative amino acid equivalent) to make one beef protein. The missing food to feed the world goes in the process of making meat.

I'd also like to add that to me, eating good food is a pleasure of life I could not go without. I did not give up on taste for ethical considerations. I went vegan for moral reasons, but I never miss eating animal products. I eat cake, non-milk chocolate, rice ice cream, etc. And I actually feel it tastes better than milk-chocolate, dairy ice cream, egg cakes, etc.

Milk almost worst meat. The human body is not meant to digest cow milk. Women's milk is made for babies, cow milk is made for veal. Man is the only animal to eat milk all of it's life. Milk consumption creates the 'veal problem', which is the most cruel in the 'breeding industry'. And no matter what the dairy industry, milk is not healthy, or necessary.

For full disclosure, I am a vegan-who-eats-honey. I see no problem with that and it tastes so good. I work in the construction industry, am (by necessity) somewhat muscular, and even though I read k5, run Gentoo and spend too much time altogether on my computer, I do not consider I am a pale and skinny nerd.

Excuse me now, I have to go cook a (vegan) meal for my sister who is on her way to visit me (damn it's late!). I'll probably write some more arguments on this later tonight, so if you have specific things about what I said or didn't say, please ask away!

"liberty is the mother of order, not its daughter" - Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

agreed, but... (none / 0) (#309)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:27:57 PM EST

i've been mostly vegan for 8+ years, blah blah blah (fourth post on this article)

i've always eaten honey and i could care fucking less if someone thinks i'm a hypocrite.  all of this is personal (almost, to the "but this time, it's personal!" level :-) )

anyway, "all that extra food that goes into animal production"  is a waste and all....
but the transportion of said food to where people are most hungry is the main problem.  or it would be if people actually thought they could solve the earth's hunger needs with it.  

of course the main problem is lack of farmable land and water and/or education and money to sustain farms in areas where people are hungry.

oh yeah, and for full disclosure, i eat cheese sometimes when i travel, i almost never have non-vegan things in my home.  I am not somewhat muscular, i'm fit, and most people would call me very healthy, i barely ever get sick, i'm lazy, i eat well most of the time, i have variety and mad flavor in my diet, i run gentoo i read k5 and i'm an engineer and i get out quite often.  
BTW, not all beer is vegan.  

i commend this article and i hope people take both sides of all arguments to heart and make educated decisions.
good day!


[ Parent ]

Hypocritical Vegans/vegatarians (3.00 / 2) (#288)
by emagius on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:51:52 PM EST

It's been my experience that so called animal rights advocates and those who are vegans/vegatarians for ethical reasons fail to follow up on their pledges. At my local supermarket, for example, nine out of ten soaps contain animal derivatives, almost all toothpaste and mouthwash contains [potentially animal-based] glycerol or byproducts thereof (mono/digylycerides, glycerin), and as do most processed foods -- cookies, candybars, bread, chocolate syrup, salad dressings, you name it.

Yet vegans seem to ignore any animal byproducts that are further removed than milk or gelatin. I see many -- even those who try to coerce me -- pick these items up without a second glance. Why? Because they don't *really care* or are simply ignorant -- neither of which is a valid excuse, methinks. Perhaps if vegans and vegatarians practiced what they preached, they'd have a better image.

hypocrites! (none / 0) (#304)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:11:38 PM EST

this is the most common arguement against animal right activists and vegetarians, etc.

but it's not a valid argument.  usually it's purported by seemingly defensive ignoramises who can't see the big picture.

I'd say that most vegans ARE ignorant, just like the rest of us.  we can't know everything about everything.  why people share their knowledge (not speaking directly to poster above) with those less fortunate instead of writing them off as hypocrites?  even more unfortunate is this sometimes convinces the ignorant that veganism is not a valid pursuit.  that it's not doing any good.

that said, who cares if they aren't totally perfect in their stance?  at least they are trying!  at least they are partially educated.  

BTW there are tons of soaps and toothpastes that are in the supermarket that are produced by small companies, that don't pollute, don't test on animals, and don't contain animal ingredients.  
one may also want to check out their local health food markets or coops for great products.  

no one said being vegan was easy.  but reacently it's been quite trivial.  they sell tom's of maine and boca burgers and better n' cream cheese at price chopper for crying out loud!

(yeah, i'm mostly vegan, yeah, i'm not perfect, i try not to be a hypocrite)

"it's not a question of the impact of one
but the fact that one and one make two"

[ Parent ]

yr experience (3.00 / 1) (#329)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:34:40 PM EST

is sad. i bet many of those folks u mention will return to meat/dairy in a few years. hey, whatever.

the 2 vegans i know best, they do become concerned about politics and analyzing ingredients etc. one of them tries to buy organic cotton socks and to minimize sweatshop produced products, and you can buy 'not tested on animals' toothpaste and shampoos and soaps in more hippy-type of stores, altho they are usually more expensive and sometimes dont work as well.

[ Parent ]

short sighted and uneducated (3.00 / 1) (#456)
by OoerictoO on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:07:57 PM EST

turmeric, i was quite enjoying most of your posts as they are well thought out and well written. but i had to give this one a 3. there are tons of products that are "safer" to animals that one can buy in normal supermarkets. even in the midwest, even in the southwest. one just has to feel it is important to spend time researching them. even if that means only reading the ingredients, and hopefully knowing what the words mean. they don't have to be bought in "hippie-stores" and they don't have to cost much more. and in some cases they have been shown to work better than traditional products. keep on rockin!

[ Parent ]
Philosophy of "Get a Life" . (3.20 / 5) (#289)
by madgeo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 04:54:15 PM EST

Sometimes I wish a brighter mind than I would come up with an ethical standard based on the question "Would this matter if the world wasn't so easy to live in now?"

Things like veganism, animal rights, and probably a full half of the things conservatives and liberals fight about would just disappear if life wasn't so bloody easy in the industrialized countries. I mean really, if someone wants to be vegetarian/vegan, fine. Just don't beat other people up with it.

In fact I would think it would be better if people just minded their own darn business about a lot of things like what we eat, sleep with, or do that wasn't a felony in the 1800s.

Maybe people should worry less about what the guy/gal next to them is eating and more about what they are feeling and introduce themselves. Maybe the world would be a happier place for both us and the animals.

hurrah! (none / 0) (#307)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:19:21 PM EST

i couldn't agree more.

i've been vegetarian/vegan for 8+ years.  it's a personal choice.  if someone brings it up i might talk about it.  but certainly not at the dinner table.  i usually have to tell people they really don't want to hear my reasons why and that i can talk to them about it later if they want.

i'm mostly vegan because it's pretty easy.  if i can, then why not prevent suffering?  but again it's a personal choice.   if it were 200 years ago and i were on the frontier, i'd prolly hunt and eat meat (hopefully not to the point of extinction).  

but of course, now we are more educated and some of us choose to make decisions based on how it might affect the people around us, their future, our future, and our children's futures.  
if people ask how i do any of the above then i might tell them and continue talking with them about it if they are interested.  i'm replying now because someone seemed interested.  

indeed we should all just mind our own business, etc etc etc.

can't we all just get along? <sigh>  ;-)

[ Parent ]

I get along with vegans I meet..... (none / 0) (#349)
by madgeo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:13:28 PM EST

I guess I consider it a matter of picking ones battles which are subject to opinion, and not harrassing others that don't want to be in an argument. The debate of whether meat-eating will affect the future is hardly settled. Hell, I would say its not even begun.

I don't tolerate people getting in my face or my business anymore.

But I try to play well with others that are respectful. <grin>



[ Parent ]

ancient vegetarians (5.00 / 2) (#335)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:43:45 PM EST

people in india, a 3rd world poor country that was colonized by british until the 1940s, and also attacked by japan in WWII, has a large vegetarian cuisine tradition going back thousands of years. so its not really about how 'easy life is in the US' although that is an interesting aspect of it and your talking about people sharing feelings is very interesting, however, as a vegan i have many times felt to never share feelings with meat eaters because they always start blathering about things and/or insulting/embarassing me. i dont prosletyze hardly at all anymore, but i dont 'share feelings' anymore either, because both pretty mcuh get you yelled at... as long as ur a veg* somebody will have some crazy ass reaction that its better to never mention it.

[ Parent ]
"Life in industrialized countries".... (3.00 / 2) (#346)
by madgeo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:06:46 PM EST

was actually what I said. And the point is, veganism/animal rights doesn't account for much when you have your fellow man/woman that is starving right next to us (read: homeless people for example).

I am glad you don't proselytize, I have encountered non-proselytizing vegans before and enjoyed their discussions/explanations at dinner parties. You are a rare entity.

On the other hand, PETA should mind its own darn business and maybe go feed some homeless people or work suicide hotlines or something way more productive with sentient beings than defending non-sentient beings.

[ Parent ]

proselytize (none / 0) (#454)
by OoerictoO on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:02:13 PM EST

YOU should not proselytize and let PETA do whatever the hell they want to do. as a vegan and sometime animal rights activist i think they are an embarassment. they focus on things that are inane and unimportant, so they will never get my support or money. But they can do what they want, because that's what they want to do. if you think helping the homeless is more important, then go and help the homeless. I know more of my recent tax refund went to help the homeless than to any animal rights organization.

[ Parent ]
I am all for PETA doing whatever the hell.... (none / 0) (#462)
by madgeo on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:37:05 PM EST

they want, as long as it doesn't affect other people doing what THEY want to do. Which is NOT how PETA works. They get in the way of other people's business with demonstrations and other B.S. They need to get a life.

[ Parent ]
No more meat eaters = no more cows? (2.50 / 2) (#292)
by mmealman on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:17:37 PM EST

If we all stop eating meat then what will become of the thousands of cows, chickens, turkeys and pigs that were to be born simply so we could eat them? I mean, is not eating meat basically murdering unborn cattle that won't come into existance because nobody wants them? So please, before going vegan think of the cows. They need your support if they're going to survive. Without meat eaters we might lose entire species of animals that would otherwise be helpless in the wild.

assuming this is rhetorical? (none / 0) (#302)
by OoerictoO on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:03:31 PM EST

i barely want to comment, since i must assume you are joking, but alas i will...

so here is some rhetoric:

those animals will never suffer, since they are unborn, blah blah blah.

and animals survived in the wild for millions of years without our help.   it's humans egos that make us think we rule the planet and can reshape it as we see fit.

blah blah blah.

i've been vegetarian and vegan (on and off) for years and years.  i'm soooo tired of talking about it.  it's a bore.
i do it for personal reasons and that is the only way to go about it.  but i guess if someone was never going to do it, and they try it for the wrong reasons even for a while, that's fine with me.  :-)

people just don't like talking about it.  some feel guilty to begin with so resort to trollish type arguments.  or they are just totally ignorant and would rather stay that way.

educate yourselves and make your own mind up.
that said:
go vegan! (i should take my own advice, i do the best i can)

[ Parent ]

um... (1.00 / 1) (#318)
by garlic on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:52:32 PM EST

In case you haven't noticed, we do rule the planet and we can shape it as we see fit. Until the carrots and broccli successfully revolt, that's how it's going to be.

HUSI challenge: post 4 troll diaries on husi without being outed as a Kuron, or having the diaries deleted or moved by admins.
[ Parent ]

Nope (5.00 / 1) (#378)
by medham on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:20:41 AM EST

Bacteria rule the planet. Always have (practically) and always will.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

bacteria elections comeing soon (1.00 / 1) (#404)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:33:58 AM EST

President Leptospira (I chose this one because it causes serious disease in livestock) has announced his intent to seek another 100 year term as president.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
yes (5.00 / 1) (#328)
by turmeric on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:31:36 PM EST

cows would become extinct. so would all other domesticated meat-animals such as chickens, etc. some of them might exist in wild nature preserves or zoos.

realistically tribes in africa are not going to give up cows nor are people in india. those species will stay around. i bet rich texas ranchers will keep their longhorns and whatnot around as well, in museums if nothing else.

however yes entire species would be cut by billions (remember, if 6 billion are served by mcdonalds thats several hundred million cows, then get all the other restaurants too... big numbers would be eliminated)

that is no big deal though, for you see that cattle, such as roam north america, were introduced sometime after 1500. all pasture that now has cattle, well, before it had something else. buffalo. prarie dog. birds. tall grass praries. when ranchers came in and put up cattle grazing , well, even in the southwest there was 'over grazing' resulting in damage to the species already there.

so, eliminating cattle gets rid of cow species. but keeping building more and more ranches for the growing population of the planet, well, that kills species as well.

hell, even clearing and planting vegetables kills species. but people say that ranching kills more b/c it takes more acreage to grow cattle-feed than it does to grow plants for a person, or so they say.

[ Parent ]

Thank you (none / 0) (#455)
by kentm on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:06:57 PM EST

This post really put it all into perspective for me.  On my way home last night, I bought some steak, and made chili.

[ Parent ]
I Hunt (4.66 / 3) (#295)
by Citori on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:31:52 PM EST

The majority of the meat I eat comes from animals that I have hunted and killed. I would suppose that most of those animals lived a better life than their average factory farmed bretheren. They probably died with less suffering as well, given that I do my best to kill them as quickly as possible.

Of course, this isn't to say that they don't suffer at my hands. I hunt rabbits. They are forced to run for several minutes in front of my beagle (who, my animal rights friends tell me, is nothing more than a slave) before I get the chance to shoot them. The deer that are struck by my arrows usually run for a few hundred feet before they collapse and die. Even those that die quickly still suffer to some degree. A man once shot me in an attempt to get my car and I can attest to the fact that it is no picnic.

Add to this the fact that I fish as well, and I may be inflicting quite a bit of suffering on the animal kingdom. While it might not be expected of me I have devoted many hours of thought to the fate of the animals I have killed. I genuinely feel bad when I knock an otherwise beautiful pheasant out of the sky.

Regardless, I continue to hunt. I know that I need meat, having tried to swear it off in the past and suffered for it. For some reason I am driven to procure it with my own hands. It isn't because I hate factory farming, I well understand my place in the food chain, it is something else. I could no more stop hunting and eating my catch than the sun could stop shining.


note on fishing (none / 0) (#297)
by adequate nathan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:46:17 PM EST

Fish cannot be said to 'suffer' in any way comparable to the suffering of higher animals. Their nervous systems are quite a bit more modular, and very primitive in comparison.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

OK... (none / 0) (#365)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:27:58 PM EST

First, your sympathy makes you stand out as being a reasonable voice in all this. I apreciate that you do seem to care, and try not to inflict unnessesary pain upon that which you kill.

However, having said that, I don't see much here besides what I'll call "Argument by assumed lack of self control". You seem to be saying that you're not going to stop eating meat because you can't make yourself, even though idealy you would.

I see where you're coming from. I eat meat, although I plan to stop in the near future. (Present circumstances give me little say in what I eat. No, not imprisoned, living with parents.) But I'm not sure what you're trying to say here - as best I can tell, you're saying that you eat meat because you're too weak to stop.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Why the all-or-nothingness? (4.85 / 7) (#299)
by raygundan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 05:52:34 PM EST

People on both sides of the debate seem to get very hung up on whether or not somebody is completely vegan.  Vegans argue about whether honey is included with other vegans, meat-eaters argue that a vegan who unknowingly buys something with a 3-steps-removed animal-derived chemical in it is a hypocrite.

For pete's sake-- the point of being vegan (whether it's ethical, ecological, or because you love tofu so much eating meat just gets in the way) is to cut down on the amount of animal products being consumed.  Vegans-- is a near-vegan who eats one hot dog a week a good thing or a bad thing?  Meat-eaters-- do *you* know where every chemical in a supermarket comes from?  

Whether you're a meticulous vegan who bought the wrong kind of soap on accident once, or somebody who just eats 10% less meat than they used to, good for you for making a difference for something you believe in.

I just wish BOTH sides could be less preachy and accusatory about the whole thing.  

Humans are not made for beeing vegan. (3.20 / 5) (#301)
by arcade on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:03:10 PM EST

Look at our teeth.
What you see, is not teeth made for chewing only plants and grain-products. Actually, some vegetables, some fruit - and a lot of meat. That is what they're made for.

Look at our evolutionary history
Humans started doing agriculture only about 10.000 years ago. We're not evolutionary adapted to eating potatos, grain, rice and all those starch-rich foods yet. You get -fat- by eating them instead of fatty proteinrich animals. After I realized this, i've lost about 70 pounds. :-)

Most humans _crave_ meat.
There is a reason why people eat as much meat we do. We crave it. The body craves it. You -want- to eat meat. Of course, you can repress it, but .. heh. You're only damaging your body :-)

Long live atkins. :-)



--
arcade
Really? (none / 0) (#341)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:49:52 PM EST


Look at our teeth.
What you see, is not teeth made for chewing only plants and grain-products. Actually, some vegetables, some fruit - and a lot of meat. That is what they're made for.

Our teeth show that we are omnivores. Unfortunately, this word is often misinterpreted - it means we CAN eat anything - it doesn't mean we MUST eat everything.


Look at our evolutionary history
Humans started doing agriculture only about 10.000 years ago. We're not evolutionary adapted to eating potatos, grain, rice and all those starch-rich foods yet. You get -fat- by eating them instead of fatty proteinrich animals. After I realized this, i've lost about 70 pounds. :-)

Yea, tell this to the 4 billion people who eat nothing much but potatoes, rice and grains all their life (and are for the most part, quite slim and have low cholesterol, BTW).

Your argument (our evolutionary history) is in fact against your cause. You think humans ate much meat before they started agriculture? Think again. Hunter-gatherers ate some meat, sure, but it was a tiny fraction of their caloric intake. Hunter-gatherers were much more vegetarian than you are. Today's perverse livestock industry was made possible by agriculture, there was nothing like it ever before. So our bodies are definitely made for a diet with very little meat, simply because for most of the time in their evolution (until the last 50 years out of a few million), humans didn't have supermarkets selling pre-seasoned burgers (and of course most of them don't have them today, either).


Most humans crave meat.
There is a reason why people eat as much meat we do. We crave it. The body craves it. You -want- to eat meat. Of course, you can repress it, but .. heh. You're only damaging your body :-)

Really? Did you ever crave raw meat? Did you ever eat raw meat? Or raw eggs? Have you ever drunk fresh (raw) milk? All actually quite disgusting things, even most non-veggies wouldn't touch them. No, your body doesn't crave meat. It craves the fats, carbs, proteins and spices and flavors all right. That's in our genes. But you cannot possibly argue that we crave a Beef Wellington or a Bic Mac in our genes.


Long live atkins. :-)

Hm, ever read read the news?


[ Parent ]

Unhealthy (none / 0) (#351)
by Silent Chris on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:29:41 PM EST

"4 billion people who eat nothing much but potatoes, rice and grains all their life"

Outside of the obvious exageration, this is quite an unhealthy way to live.  Potatoes and rice are rich in carbohydrates that, while they provide energy, are ultimately turned to fat if unused.  Additionally, the groups of people that do rely on one or two crops are ultimately at greater risk if that crop fails (e.g. potato famine).

[ Parent ]

Unhealthy? (none / 0) (#358)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:22:29 PM EST


Outside of the obvious exageration, this is quite an unhealthy way to live.  Potatoes and rice are rich in carbohydrates that, while they provide energy, are ultimately turned to fat if unused.

What is the message here really? What's wrong with carbs? Are you saying it's wrong to eat high carb foods and better to eat meat rich in fat and proteins instead of carbs? FYI, fats and proteins will be stored as bodyfat just as carbs (sidenote: 1 gram of fat contains twice the calories than protein or carbs). Is this going to be a discussion about obesity and overeating?

BTW, rice, like most grains, contains a quite healthy amount of protein as well - especially if mixed with another vegetable complementing it, like beans.

If eating only rice and potatoes and veggies is so very unhealthy, how comes that the average life expectation of the average Chinese is just a few years shorter than that of the average American - without nearly as good healthcare, living conditions, etc.? Sorry can't see any screaming unhealthiness there.


Additionally, the groups of people that do rely on one or two crops are ultimately at greater risk if that crop fails (e.g. potato famine).

This is ridiculous. Where do you think your burger in the supermarket comes from? What does the cow eat? If there's a crop fail, there won't be any cow (meat)either.

[ Parent ]

oh please.. (none / 0) (#402)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:24:48 AM EST

Are you saying it's wrong to eat high carb foods and better to eat meat rich in fat and proteins instead of carbs?

No. Silent Chris is saying if that is all you eat then that is not a healthy diet.

Ok, I have to include all of this one.

This is ridiculous. Where do you think your burger in the supermarket comes from? What does the cow eat? If there's a crop fail, there won't be any cow (meat)either.

Whaa? Ok, your logic on this one is kinda shaky. What he means is if a group of people rely on only 2 crops and one crop fails (whip out the old palm pilot calculator here, and......hmmm....yep that equals 1) they will have only 1 crop to survive on. That is not good. Not sure how a hamburger worked its way into this,is hamburger a crop? Are cows a crop? Is Tom Cruise really gay? Do all Europeans smell? And if so what does it smell like to them?

I digress

Too late


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Oh what? (none / 0) (#413)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:04:40 AM EST


No. Silent Chris is saying if that is all you eat then that is not a healthy diet.

Then his explanation sucked...


Whaa? Ok, your logic on this one is kinda shaky. What he means is if a group of people rely on only 2 crops and one crop fails (whip out the old palm pilot calculator here, and......hmmm....yep that equals 1) they will have only 1 crop to survive on. That is not good.

OK, think about cows as one "group", relying on a very few crops (corn, soy). If one crop fails, your cow (and thus you too) is going to have the same problems. No?

[ Parent ]

your logic is faulty--Irish Potato Famine (5.00 / 2) (#430)
by Phelan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:38:37 AM EST

OK, think about cows as one "group", relying on a very few crops (corn, soy). If one crop fails, your cow (and thus you too) is going to have the same problems. No?

No. Because people don't use cows as their sole or primary source of food. Even meat-eaters such as myself eat cow, lamb, pork, fish, shellfish, and a variety of meats. It is not a limited field. When mad cow scares caused europe to slaughter nearly all their cows, there were plenty of other meat sources to draw from.

However, the "rice and potatoes" 3rd-world examples you cite are limited. If these are the only foods you eat, and one of them is wiped out, your population will suffer. As an example, I cite the Irish Potato Famine of 1846. Though the Irish ate a variety of foods, such as turnips, lamb, etc, the potato was the staple diet of the typical Irish. When the potato blight wiped out the potato crop, as many as a million people died as a direct result of starvation and disease. Ireland immediately lost many other people due to mass emigration and other factors. They still haven't recovered, 150 years later. At the time of the famine, the Irish population was around 8 million. According to the CIA World Factbook, Ireland's population is a little over 3 million. That kind of math is a little hard to refute, I think.

[ Parent ]

Life on the top of the foodchain (2.00 / 1) (#490)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:01:00 PM EST

This is getting real stupid. But I try once again. Altough you can now go to the supermarket and buy a variety of foods, there are always a few staple crops you, livestock, the supermarket and everybody is relying on. All that you can find in the supermarket, is in reality made up from a few basic crops. Rice, corn, wheat, soy, etc. Most meat is made up from soy and corn. So, if humanity would have a wordwide soy famine, not only the Japanese would have it harder (no tofu), but you too (no meat).

Thread end.

[ Parent ]

again, faulty logic. (5.00 / 1) (#530)
by Phelan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:52:22 AM EST

Most meat is made up from soy and corn. So, if humanity would have a wordwide soy famine, not only the Japanese would have it harder (no tofu), but you too (no meat).

Again, faulty logic. Just because ranchers may rely on corn and/or soy doesn't mean that these are the sole things that can be used to feed cattle. Cattle can thrive on a variety of foodstuffs, and what ranchers choose to feed cattle is primarily due to the economics of raising cattle. This can change from year to year, depending on which foodstuffs are least expensive. When grains are expensive, ranchers give cattle hay. When hay is expensive, they give cattle grains. There are a variety of foods that cattle can eat..oat hay, grass, alfalfa hay, sorghum, wheat and wheat hay, etc. Ranchers know precisely the feed requirements of various cattle foods. I found several papers detailing these requirements, including one at Kansas State University

If there were a worldwide soy blight, vegetarians would have a much harder time of things than cows. The price of beef might go up, due to the fact that it might cost more to raise a cow, but the beef industry wouldn't die. But where would vegetarians get their precious tofu? If there were a worldwide rice shortage, your "perfectly healthy" 3rd-world rice-eaters who subsist mostly on these foods would die unless they had another food that they could fall back on.

You can declare the thread ended all you like...it doesn't mean you've shown your case.

[ Parent ]

Raw meat (none / 0) (#424)
by TheSleeper on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:33:02 AM EST

Really? Did you ever crave raw meat? Did you ever eat raw meat? Or raw eggs? Have you ever drunk fresh (raw) milk?

Raw meat? Well, I eat sushi and steak tartare. And when I eat steak, I get it cooked rare -- Just sear it enough on the outside to kill off the bacteria and enhance the flavor a bit. But the bulk of the meat is effectively 'raw'.

At any rate, without some knowledge of how long humans have been using fire, it makes no sense to speak of our distaste for raw meat -- it's quite possible that we've adapted evolutionarily to cooked meat.

Long live atkins. :-)

Hm, ever read read the news?

Why, yes, I do.

[ Parent ]

Bad Link (none / 0) (#546)
by TheSleeper on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 01:37:07 PM EST

That link was supposed to point at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/07FAT.html

[ Parent ]

This is absurd. (2.66 / 3) (#367)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:36:54 PM EST

Look at our teeth.What you see, is not teeth made for chewing only plants and grain-products. Actually, some vegetables, some fruit - and a lot of meat. That is what they're made for.

If you were handed an M16 and someone told you "Go ahead, shoot someone! No, really, it's OK, that's
what it's made for!" what would you think?

The other replies to your comment have dealt with the rest of it, but to summarize:

  1. Eating lots of meat is quite new for us, evolutionarily.
  2. You can live perfectly healthily without meat. Several billion people manage to do just this.



<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
What rubbish.... (none / 0) (#380)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:25:22 AM EST


plant food sources cannot provide enough protein to sustain ideal brain development.

If this was so, the brains of people in the West (who eat more meat than humans did ever before) would be much bigger than those of people in China and India for example. I don't recall ever having read something like this. Don't mystify protein - understanding amino acids is not that complicated. There is no "magic protein" in meat. By eating a balanced vegan diet you get all the proteins you need.


I agree, veganism won't kill you (at least if you make sure to get B12 supplements)

Naturally, B12 occurs in beers and nutritional yeast. And, BTW would you count B12 fortified soymilk a supplement? If yes, think about that cows milk is fortified with calcium (and at the same time it is advertised as a good source of it), which means that all milk drinkers take calcium supplements.

> but there is a lot more to heath than how fat
> you are and how far you can run.

True, but both are a quite good indication for overall health.

[ Parent ]

Your analogy sucks. (2.50 / 2) (#403)
by arcade on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 04:26:14 AM EST

An M16 isn't a part of your body. It hasn't developed as a part of your body through hundreds of thousands years of evolution.

Eating meat is not new to us evolutionary. If you believe that, you're obviously mistaken. Just take a LITTLE look on how humans spread out around the world, and how we slaughtered animals to get enough food. Heck, we've made, if i remember correctly, more than 100 large animals extinct as we've used'em for food. We've hunted down large animals for food as long as we've been on the planet.

And no, you can't live perfectly healthy without meat. Maybe you are able to convince yourself that - and please, do continue doing that while I eat my meat. :) Less demand, cheaper meat, more for me.



--
arcade
[ Parent ]
I saw this coming... (2.75 / 4) (#431)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:43:11 AM EST

An M16 isn't a part of your body. It hasn't developed as a part of your body through hundreds of thousands years of evolution.

You've missed my point. No, an M16 doesn't happen to be physically connected to me. Why does that matter? My fists and arm muscles are, and probably evolved to hit and bash things - does it mean that I'm morally in the clear when I use them for that purpose?

Yes, one or two of my teeth probably evolved to chew meat. So I'm capable of it. In your eyes, this is justification for me to do so? Your logic is "I'm capable of chewing meat, therefore it's OK if I do."? You seem to have adapted evolution as your god - it's simply a naturally occuring phenomina, and offers no moral justification for anything. It happens. It doesn't excuse our actions, any more than a rainstorm in Cuba would justify my actions.

Eating meat is not new to us evolutionary. If you believe that, you're obviously mistaken. Just take a LITTLE look on how humans spread out around the world, and how we slaughtered animals to get enough food. Heck, we've made, if i remember correctly, more than 100 large animals extinct as we've used'em for food. We've hunted down large animals for food as long as we've been on the planet.

Calm down, and think about what you're saying. Then think about what you know.

How many species do you think we've made extinct for food? Can you name any? I can name several we've made extinct for other reasons. Take a look at the list of extinct animals. How many of them do you think would be tasty?

Do some reading. Humans (particularly in NA) eat more meat now than they ever have before.

And no, you can't live perfectly healthy without meat. Maybe you are able to convince yourself that - and please, do continue doing that while I eat my meat. :) Less demand, cheaper meat, more for me.

Well, there are several billion people in the world who manage to, and would probably disagree with you. In fact, eat a fantastic amount of meat relative to the rest of the world, and have a fantastically greater percentage of (medical) obesity than the rest of the world. Vegitarians statistically live 6 years longer than average.

Notice how there are no links in there? Yes, I didn't provide any background information, or source links, or a bibleography or what have you. I don't have time, and can't be bothered to provide them. I've done the required reading, from both sides of the argument. Please, if you're interested in knowledge, do the research yourself.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

Baah. (none / 0) (#562)
by arcade on Thu Jul 11, 2002 at 04:36:15 AM EST

You've missed my point. No, an M16 doesn't happen to be physically connected to me. Why does that matter? My fists and arm muscles are, and probably evolved to hit and bash things - does it mean that I'm morally in the clear when I use them for that purpose?

I'm having trouble understanding where 'morality' enters into meateating. I don't see it as a moral question at all.

Yes, one or two of my teeth probably evolved to chew meat. So I'm capable of it. In your eyes, this is justification for me to do so?

In my eyes, I don't need justification for eating what my body craves. I see that you seem to have some 'morality hickup' against it, but I quite frankly don't "get it"

How many species do you think we've made extinct for food? Can you name any? I can name several we've made extinct for other reasons. Take a look at the list of extinct animals. How many of them do you think would be tasty?

I don't have a list of all the names, but I can name several. First and foremost - almost every continent had elephant-like animals. Europe and the US both had hairy mamoths if i remember correctly. They "strangely disappeared" when humans or prehumans entered the areas. Of course, we don't have any EVIDENCE that humans used'em for food, but they disappeared at the same time as humans came into the area.

We've also killed a nice variety of birds, both on madagaskar and I think it was new zealand or wherever it was. For food again, of course.

Then you have all the nice grassing herbivores in both europe and america, that disappeared when humans started 'invading' both continents. Wish I remembed the names of'em .. but alas.



--
arcade
[ Parent ]
So you rated me 1 rather than reply? /nt (1.66 / 3) (#557)
by Ni on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 09:46:46 PM EST




<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
To veggies and non-veggies alike (3.33 / 3) (#305)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:14:54 PM EST

What's distressing in such forums when discussing vegetarianism is that people discuss the ethical  component to great length  - "do bees feel pain" and "indirectly, it's good for the cow species to be domesticated by humans".

The health question is only discussed marginally, a.k.a. "vitamin deficits by vegans", "where do you get your protein", etc. (As if meat were a wonder food - there are WAY more (even relatively speaking) malnourished meat-eaters than vegans, because veggies tend naturally to know more about nutrition. Show me one vegan who died because of veganism and I show you a MILLION people who died because they stuffed meat by the pound in their mouths. But there are of course idiots  everywhere).

Yet few seem to mention the screaming unjustice that is done to the environment by the luxus of large scale livestock production.

Does anybody else realize how plain obvious it is that meat production and consumption on today's scale (the numbers skyrocket since, say, 50 years) for much longer is totally unrealistic? Think about it. Right now much of Earths resources are exploited for the Western worlds meat complex. Today's agriculture produces enough food to feed 10 billion vegetarians, yet most of this food is used for livestock that is consumed by a tiny fraction of the world population. On  the other side, it would take the land of SEVEN Earths to feed all of today's 6 billion with the U.S. meat centric diet. What if China and India want their meat when they are rich? Are you one of the blind believers in science and say, "they will come up with a good solution, they always did!". Then you forget how much today's "solution" pollutes the environment - you really think this can be solved by genetics and engineering?

Our planet's resources are not endless, and it is a screaming inefficiency to waste so much plant protein to first produce meat.

For people like E.O. Wilson, one of the few scientists who think about the planet in a large scale and globally, it's clear that humanity has to switch to a meat free diet if we want to protect what is left from nature and if we want to feed everybody on the planet (both critical conditions for humanity's survival).

This article by Isaac Asimov summarizes these feelings well. Altough not mentioning vegetarism directly (though Asimov was veggy, of course), just think about the fact that the main force driving forest destruction is livestock production. What would happen if all the people he's writing about would like to have their steak or KFC, too???

Reality break. (none / 0) (#338)
by madgeo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:46:51 PM EST

Since you invoke an article from an old dead guy on natural resources, I thought I would give you another article to re-consider about the late Julian Simon.

Let me quote the end of the article:

The world is not coming to an end.

Things are not running out.

Time is not short.

So, smile!

Shout!

Enjoy the afternoon!



[ Parent ]

For you maybe (4.00 / 1) (#348)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:09:43 PM EST


Since you invoke an article from an old dead guy on natural resources, I thought I would give you another article to re-consider about the late Julian Simon.

All the dead guy (Asimov) did was to play around with the numbers. The article wasn't even a scientific one. But let's talk about the living guy (Wilson), who's a respected scientist. Anything wrong with what he is saying?


The world is not coming to an end.

For sure not. The question is how the world will look like in future. What environment we leave for our children to live in. They might have it a LOT harder than we did.


Things are not running out.

Well, some things are. We are seeing a mass extinction of species on a scale a few times larger than ever before (including the phase after the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs). But this time it's not because natural / cosmic causes, but for the first time it is caused by the dominant species on the planet. So on the one hand, we loose species (possibly the cure of cancer in form of a plant before we can even discover it) - on the other hand (like your link says), butter is much cheaper than a few decades ago. Wow am I happy!)

[ Parent ]

Article I sent also references E.O. Wilson.... (none / 0) (#352)
by madgeo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:35:45 PM EST

And I quote: "Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, the guru of global species extinction, said in 1991: "Believe me, species become extinct. We're easily eliminating 100,000 a year." A year later, in his 1992 book The Diversity of Life, he had modified that figure somewhat, saying: "The number of species doomed each year is 27,000." Apparently, these numbers were a tiny bit slippery. Still, both of them were a far cry from Simon's "one species per year."

SO the quantity of species extinction is far from known. The alleged problem of species loss is the same one of anything. If people do not have a baser reason to protect something, they won't. Baser reasons include greed, power, etc. If you want to protect species make a good financial reason to do so.

Species loss is also highly subject to exageration. Just because the media and Pamela Anderson yells it, doesn't make it so.

I love it when people say things like "We are seeing a mass extinction of species on a scale a few times larger than ever before (including the phase after the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs)". How the heck does anyone KNOW? Science is good (speaking as a scientist) but it is far from infallible and that is a load of happy horsecrap. In case you doubt what I am saying, I have seen studies on what the recovery rate of pollen over an ocean beach was only 10 feet from shore and it was PATHETIC. And pollen exists in vast quantities compared to any dinosaur species. Not all animals were preserved in the fossil record, not even a hundredth, we discover "new" ones all the time.

As demonstrated by previous extinction events, man is not the only extinction force in the universe, were not even the most efficient.

If you want to see more debunking of environmental doom B.S. see my article.

[ Parent ]

Why do you need exact numbers? (none / 0) (#360)
by barnasan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:40:52 PM EST


SO the quantity of species extinction is far from known. The alleged problem of species loss is the same one of anything.

Do we really have to know the exact numbers before we take action? Environmental science will never provide exact numbers - but it can and does provide important clues. There is a mass extinction of species, caused by humans. This is a plain obvious fact, given we destroy and negatively impact the habitats of these species. Isn't this enough to begin to think about how to limit this impact?

Besides, if exact numbers were the only thing needed for action, then why do we continue to cut down the rainforests (where we know exactly how much is being cut any given moment)?


If people do not have a baser reason to protect something, they won't. Baser reasons include greed, power, etc. If you want to protect species make a good financial reason to do so.

Is your wellbeing (and that of future generations) a good financial reason? I'd say so. If humanity continues to severely damage environment, upcoming generations will have a different life from ours (not in a positive sense)

I agree that the point you raise is one of the problems. We humans are too short-sighted, our brains were designed to think in generations at most, but certainly not in centuries or even millenia.

To go back to vegetarianism, just look at how people think life was always the same as today. They fail to realize that it's just the last 50-100 years where meat production and consumption in the West reached perverse dimensions.


As demonstrated by previous extinction events, man is not the only extinction force in the universe, were not even the most efficient.

Does this justify for you to continue like now? Being the best does not always mean being the most efficient. I, for one would like to leave the trophy of the "best exterminator" to meteors and such.

[ Parent ]

just the facts mam. (none / 0) (#400)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:58:30 AM EST

Do we really have to know the exact numbers before we take action?

No. But it would be nice to know that there is a problem before we start panicking. Besides, lets be honest, to say that our diet is going to help destroy the earth or mankind is plain ridiculous.

They fail to realize that it's just the last 50-100 years where meat production and consumption in the West reached perverse dimensions.

Perverse? Simple economics says supply and demand.

I, for one would like to leave the trophy of the "best exterminator" to meteors and such.

Heck NO. I want that trophy baby! If your going to do something, strive to be the best!


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Yes... (none / 0) (#412)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:53:08 AM EST


No. But it would be nice to know that there is a problem before we start panicking

Do I sound like somebody who panicks? And, you really would say that there are no problems with nature and environment today? Rainforests etc.???


Besides, lets be honest, to say that our diet is going to help destroy the earth or mankind is plain ridiculous.

Indeed, and I never said any such thing. What I said was that exploiting the planets natural resources beyond its limits will make our lives a lot harder.


Perverse? Simple economics says supply and demand.

The environment it not a man-made economic system, thus applying economic rules to it is just plain wrong. It takes 100.000 liters of water to make 1 kilogram of meat - but there is only so much water the planet can supply.

Of course, if we find out how to artificially manufacture freshwater, farmland and clean air, all without fouling our own nest, THEN I will agree that it's an economy all right - I would be the first to buy some stock. Unfortunately, in my opinion, this scenario is just as unlikely to happen as the creation of a perpetuum mobile.

[ Parent ]

the water doesn't just vanish (none / 0) (#442)
by ph0rk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:18:16 AM EST

the animals piss it out for the most part, quit acting like we are eliminating the earth's water supply with every burger.

granted, it must filter back through the water cycle, but it's not gone.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

Water != freshwater (none / 0) (#487)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:53:17 PM EST


the animals piss it out for the most part, quit acting like we are eliminating the earth's water supply with every burger.

Quit accusing me of saying things I never have.


granted, it must filter back through the water cycle, but it's not gone.

So then, everything is allright then, isn't it?

No. The envornment has a capacity of cleaning water, and we simply cannot increase this rate using even our best engineering or applying our economic rules - hey we want our meat, the planet better increases it's freshwater supply NOW according to our demands!

What's more, we don't exactly help the environment in doing this, by giving it back water full of toxic and synthetic stuff, and by severely impacting it's cleaning "factories" (destruction of the rainforests, etc).

And although that's another discussion, it's not completely offtopic, as meat production sure is one of the main reasons for freshwater waste.

[ Parent ]

Water amd technology.... (none / 0) (#495)
by madgeo on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:36:04 PM EST

It just so happens I am intimately familiar with groundwater remediation systems or to put it in laymans terms, "best engineering" for "cleaning water". Unless I misunderstand you are saying we cannot clean the water in the environment. If that is what you are saying, that is a load of bull.

I could write an essay on it, but the bottom line is, we have a TON of methods for cleaning groundwater, let me give you a few, vapor extraction (for gas and related compounds), bioremediation (for damn near everything else), air sparging (for difficult cases), and on and on.

We are incredibly efficient at cleaning water and our engineering is stupendous at it!

Us running out of freshwater is one of the larger B.S. the enviro nuts spew forth like so much rubbish. Much like us running out of soil was projected in the 1970s (and roundly shown to be silly).

[ Parent ]

Hm.... (none / 0) (#498)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:18:06 PM EST

Unless I misunderstand you are saying that I am saying that we are running out of freshwater and humanity will die with thirst. If that is what you are saying, that is a load of bull.

I'm not saying freshwater will go away, it will be there longer than us I believe. WHAT I'm saying is that it is a precious resource, and we simply cannot "grow" it at will - otherwise we would do it already, right?

Oh you mean we CAN? You make it sound really simple, somebody listening to you could believe we understand and control nature. In reality, we know close to nothing about nature, about ecosystems - what if, for instance, we release "our" freshwater into a crucial ecosystem which suddenly starts to die off? We are far from understanding how such things work and have to be VERY careful with everything we do. Heck we with all our technology knowledge and engineering can't even create a small sustainable ecosystem (see BioDome experiments).

It's fine that there are technologies to clean water, but doing so on a global scale is not nearly possible or feasible - we have too little knowledge about nature and ecosystems, and also who will be paying for this? Maybe being economical would be a better option here.

BTW it is fairly dangerous (and disgustingly superficial) to discredit a whole generation of scientists, and their research as "enviro nuts". There were brilliant thinkers in the 70's too, who foresaw a lot of what is happening today.

I'm just as a capitalist as you are, I even work in the tech industry. But (or maybe because of that) I'm not a blind believer in technology and science. They have limits, especially when facing something as complex and immense as our environment.

I believe that, like Edward O. Wilson says, this will be the century of the environment and ours is one of the first generations that will be judged not by what they build, but what they preserve.

[ Parent ]

Its not really simple, but it is very doable..... (none / 0) (#539)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 11:46:44 AM EST

You keep going really wide with global generalizations. Geez do you honestly think we are about to experience a meltdown? The irony is you seem to be putting faith in the same scientists you profess skepticism of to trust them that the world is going to explode in a ecological disaster when the evidence is thin, VERY thin.

Take one or more of your pet ecological disaster scenarios and look at the competing arguments I recommend starting with a Google Search for Julian Simons writings and then the book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" by Bjorn Lomborg. I think you will find that there are reasonable reasons to be skeptical of the media hype about a lot of these doomsday scenarios.

I am not saying all the scientists in the 1970s or any other time were environuts, I am saying there were some that in retrospect look like idiots. For example let me quote a 70s geology textbook:

"WILL THE ICE AGES RETURN? Climatologists report that the world's weather is turning sharply cooler. Signs of this are evident. Drifting icefields have hindered access to Iceland's ports for the first time in this century. Since 1950 the growing season in England has been shortened by two weeks. Director Reid Bryson of the Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin reports that, if this trend continues, it will affect the whole human populace. A long term study of climactic conditions would place the first half of the twentieth century into an exceptionally warm period. The warming trend peaked in 1945, and the temperatures have been dropping since. The drop to date is on 1.5 degrees C, far from the 10 degrees C drop necessary for a new Ice Age. If this trend is not reversed, however, the planet may be caught in an ice-forming cycle similar to that of the Pleistocene." From Physical Geology by Eugene Mitacek 1971

Now compare that to some of the hyperbole being thrown around about global warming! Doesn't it make you skeptical of the current generation of scientists that are doing the same arm-waving? It used to be scientists kept there heads down when it came to horrible generalization like doomsday B.S. I guess getting funding is making them more noisy and rediculous.

Man is infinitely resourceful, for example, your theoretical water shortage already has a solution. This guy proved a couple of years ago that he could harvest fresh water from places where it was in abundance and transport it in gigantic plastic bags over sea (bags of fresh water will float on the saltwater) pulling the bags with a tugboat.

In addition, icebergs make wonderful freshwater sources. The only thing stopping these is cost-benefits analysis. If what you seem to propose is true about the horrible future, we already have the technology, when we don't even NEED it, which is typical nowadays!

All I am saying is conservation is good, doomsday scenarios are probably way overstated and BAD.

[ Parent ]

Really.... (none / 0) (#554)
by barnasan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 07:25:02 PM EST


You keep going really wide with global generalizations.

I could say the same about you...


Geez do you honestly think we are about to experience a meltdown?

No, and here I would ask you to quote back where I said so. I said that as the environment around us deteriorates, so will our quality of life. Sooner or later (but before a "meltdown") we will realize this, and the sooner this happens the better.


The irony is you seem to be putting faith in the same scientists you profess skepticism of to trust them that the world is going to explode in a ecological disaster when the evidence is thin, VERY thin.

Again, these prophecies are your words, I select mine more carefully. And, one more difference is that I don't have "faith" in science, it is not a religion for me (like it is for most geeks). The sciencific method is a very powerful one and it alone should be used to conduct research (see below on how Lomborg failed to do so). But it's a mere tool and not an allknowing allmighty power.

As of the Skeptical Environmentalist book by Lomborg, I not only read it (and was astonished by how he misused statistics as he liked - and he's a statistician??), but also did not overlook the fact that it was widely debunked in the scientific community. It is a book that had not gone through peer review (which would definitely hadn't let it go to publication), and as such should never have been published (at least not as a science book, published by a university).

If you are interested, some of the world's leading environmental scientists published a series of reviews, each scientist picking the chapters concerning his area of expertise. Lomborg scores VERY low in each of these reviews.


Man is infinitely resourceful

BIG mistake...


, for example, your theoretical water shortage already has a solution. This guy proved a couple of years ago that he could harvest fresh water from places where it was in abundance and transport it in gigantic plastic bags over sea (bags of fresh water will float on the saltwater) pulling the bags with a tugboat.

Hey man, that IT! Why didn't I think about this sooner? I really have nothing to worry about anymore. Our important ecosystems are dying? No problem! The solution is as simple as filling giant trashbags with water and transporting them to the other side of the globe.

More seriously, how about this:

  1. find out how the important ecosystems work
  2. find out what causes them do die (if not already obvious - like in the case of rainforests)
  3. eliminate the cause
I agree that this plan is not as cool as pulling icebergs down to africa, but I'm sure it has greater potential.

[ Parent ]
No one.... (none / 0) (#556)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:24:09 PM EST

can write an environmental book that is against conventional environmental thinking nowadays and not be slammed by the so-called environmental scientists/experts. Possibly because they have been corrupted by the fact that it is popular to fund such projects, I don't know. And if Blomburg used fuzzy Stats, so do they.

I actually agree with your last plan, one problem, we are just now beginning to catalog the planets species much less figure out how they "work" and which ones are "important". Enviros think ALL of them are important.

Conservation is key, but so is reasonable decisions based on sound data which are in short supply.

[ Parent ]

No, but we have NO numbers.... (none / 0) (#461)
by madgeo on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 01:32:46 PM EST

"Do we really have to know the exact numbers before we take action?"

We should at least know extents before taking actions that affect other people. For example, during the gas crisis of the 1970s, it was uncomfortable for people in the U.S., in third world countries the gas shortage killed people!

So when I hear people waving their arms that the sky is falling, I get a little skeptical, because I know that bad rhetoric leads to bad government policy which AFFECTS people.

As for us being efficient extinction engines. I do not disagree that conservation is important. I just see people as higher than animals and that they are here to serve us not vice versa. The problem with animal rights views is that they extend "rights" to non-sentient beings which could affect the outcomes of people, especially people in poorer countries! Rich countries tend to think that their global views are the best and that everybody should be like them, well that doesn't always work when you are subsistence farmer trying to eke out a living from the jungle to feed your kids does it?

[ Parent ]

OK (none / 0) (#500)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:58:08 PM EST


We should at least know extents before taking actions that affect other people.

Exactly. If only everyone would think this way... (see next paragraph)


So when I hear people waving their arms that the sky is falling, I get a little skeptical, because I know that bad rhetoric leads to bad government policy which AFFECTS people.

I fully agree. But, I'm also getting extremely skeptical when I hear people who say that everything's fine and the world has never been better, and we should just continue with what we are doing. This also leads to bad government policy which affects people.

See, I never said the sky is falling, but I'm immediately pushed into that corner by most responders - directly and indirectly.

But I think you too would agree that humanity has the potential to fuck things up so badly, that it wouldn't just affect "people", but you and your family. We have to be careful and not generalize in either direction.

I'm not your archetypical environmentalist. I've never been to environmental demos, I'm not member of a Green Party. I think GMO foods will be not only important but absolutely necessary to feed the planet in the future, I think similarly about nuclear energy (until we crack solar cells or some other form of energy etc).

But, I like to turn around every stone I find. And the numbers speak for themselves. Seven billion livestock at any given moment in the U.S. only, and climbing? This is insane. It's clear that this can't be it. You just can't believe that we should promote this way of living worldwide. Way too much resources, way too much waste, way too expensive, way too much pollution. How about a soy burger instead?


I just see people as higher than animals and that they are here to serve us not vice versa.

This is where our views differ greatly. With the knowledge of evolutional science and DNA, it's obvious to me that we are much the same. Humans are animals too. Same building blocks, same development, same history, same "house" (planet). We should find a peaceful coexistence with them. Nobody serves nobody. We don't need to eat animals. If anything, we should be a kind of "servant". Given our intelligence, we should protect and study nature and other animals.

[ Parent ]

Wow... (4.00 / 1) (#544)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:43:01 PM EST

You had me thinking we might actually come to some commonality in thinking. Let me do some skeptical scientific math for you....

Our nearest relative is the chimp who we have 98.7% of our DNA in common.

There are roughly 3 Billion letters of DNA in a human (30,000 to 40,000 genes). We are roughly 1.3% different. So if you do the fuzzy math that means we are roughly 39 Million letters of DNA, DIFFERENT.

Oh yeah, thats REAL closely related.

Let me know when a chimp invents penicillin, builds computer chips to correct blindness, and launches a telescope into space, Okay?

We should be a servant, what a load....

[ Parent ]

Indeed wow.... (none / 0) (#552)
by barnasan on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 06:55:59 PM EST


There are roughly 3 Billion letters of DNA in a human (30,000 to 40,000 genes). We are roughly 1.3% different. So if you do the fuzzy math that means we are roughly 39 Million letters of DNA, DIFFERENT.

Yea, or (according to your math) floppy 2.961 billion (that is, 2961 million) letters THE SAME, IDENTICAL.

OK let me see... Are you suggesting that the only justification for your idea of animals "being here to serve us", is that our brains are more developed and that we are more intelligent?


Let me know when a chimp invents penicillin, builds computer chips to correct blindness, and launches a telescope into space, Okay?

Why, can you do these things? Can anybody in your family? How many people do you know who can do it?

If you cannot, and I'm only following your logic here, should you not "serve" those few beings on the planet who can? No, because people found a way (at least in some more developed spots on the planet) to peaceful coexistence (democracy). No matter who we are, and what we can or cannot do, we all have the same basic rights.

Or is there something else why fellow species should (or as you say "are here to") subordinate themselves to the homo sapiens?

Hey, if I would have to chose between a human and, say, a cow to die, I would let the cow die, of course. But that's a far stretch from breeding billions of them, costly (for the environment) raising them, and then eating them - just because we think we are the greatest shit this planet has ever seen and as such, we belong on the top of the foodchain.

[ Parent ]

I am not saying.... (none / 0) (#555)
by madgeo on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 08:15:22 PM EST

we do not have similarity, merely that we and animals are NOT equal, as compared to the philosophy that "All Humans are created equal" which I DO ascribe to. You said earlier we should be a kind of "servant" to them. Why should we servile ourselves to creatures which are NOT equal to us, thats just silly.

No, my family, in the form of me, helps clean up the environment, specifically hazardous waste, for a living. Which by the way, a monkey could not do either!

I am glad to hear you would sacrifice a cow over a human, some would not. And they are sickos.



[ Parent ]

This is the crux of the debate (5.00 / 1) (#440)
by aphrael on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:05:44 AM EST

between environmentalists and economists. Environmentalists, in general, beleive the world *is* coming to an end, and have reams of scientific data about habitat destruction and species extinction to back them up. Economists believe the world has never been better, and have reams of data about poverty rates, illiteracy, and human health to back them up. Amusingly, the economist has a survey article about that this week.

[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#499)
by barnasan on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 07:34:28 PM EST

I'm not saying the world is coming to an end.

Though it's an utopistic thought, but logically, it's clear that before nature would be fully destroyed, humanity would be so severely impacted that we couldn't continue with doing it.

What I'm saying is that humans will have a harder life if they go on pissing of nature as thoughtless as today.

OTOH, I think to say that the world has never been better clearly depends on your luck (or lack thereof) of where you're born. I think those economists would have a hard time trying to cheer up African families who are in the process of starving because their farmland became sandy desert.

But ask any economist, and after taking a look at the numbers, (s)he will tell you exactly what I'm saying: it's impossible to feed all of humanity with a Western meat-centric diet. There are simply not enough resources to do it.

[ Parent ]

MLP (2.00 / 1) (#310)
by adequate nathan on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:33:02 PM EST

link!

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!

If you don't like factory farming, go hunting (2.75 / 4) (#314)
by dlur on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:42:56 PM EST

I like to eat meat. It tastes good when properly prepared and it makes me full. Animals are delicious for the most part. I don't particularly care for the notion of factory farming either, but I still eat meat. Want to know how I can be assured that the wonderfully delicious animals that I enjoy with a tossed salad, side of potatos, and a side vegetable are not factory farmed? Because I select which animal I shall eat.

How do I select which animal I will eat, you may wonder? It's quite simple actually, I shoot the animal that I will later eat. If I can't shoot the animal myself, I can be relatively assured that my friends and relatives have not shot the wild game on a factory farm. That's right, I eat wild game. I eat venison, elk, goose, duck, pheasant, grouse, squirrel, and rabbit. They're all delicious, and because they are wild they are low in fat.

Ahh but I live in the city and am unable to hunt you say? The solution here is simple as well. Get out of the big city. Most of them are stinking pits of filth and hatred. Move to the country, talk to some of the land owners, go through a firearms or archery training and safety course, read about hunting and fishing, join some of the wildlife preservation organizations that actually do something to help the habitat (Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever come to mind). And on the other plus side of moving away from a large metropolis, if you can't stomach the wild game you can get to know your local farmer that doesn't run a factory full of pigs or chickens. Ask them if you can select an animal, or if you can't stomach this just ask to see their farm, make sure they aren't cramming 20 pigs into enough space for 5 and ask them to select an animal for you. Ask them to drop it off at the local butcher where you can point out and select the cuts of meat that you wish to enjoy. You'll find that buying a large deep freeze and purchasing half or a quarter of a pig or beef cow will be much less expensive than going to the supermarket and eatting their fatty overpriced garbage meat anyways. Eat something that was home grown by people who care, it'll taste better just knowing that.

For more information on eating only wildlife see Ted Nugent's web site as it has a wealth of information about living wild and healthy. It also has a wealth of information about how organizaitons like PETA are little more than terrorist organizations with a soft cuddly sugar coating.

So in summary: Get out of metropolatin areas, they aren't healthy anyway with all the smog, pollution, hippies that won't get off mah lawn, and filth anyways. Eat wild game, or if you don't feel hunting is proper at least shop for your meat at a local butcher shop not a supermarket, because at a small butcher shop you can find out exactly where that animal came from before you buy it, and in many instances you can purchase the animal directly from the farmer. Don't just eat vegetables, as you wouldn't have evolved the teeth you have right now or the stomach you have right now if you weren't designed to eat meat.



once again. (none / 0) (#393)
by auraslip on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:23:44 AM EST

Look at Carnivores teeth (a lion). Made for eaten animals. Look at those muscles. Made for killing.
Look at a omnivores teeth (lets say, a bear). Look at those teeth, made for eaten meat occasionally. Look at those muscles. Made for over powering animals (Aren't bears scavengers?)

Look at our teeth. Wow man talk about feroucious. I could really eat an animal with those.
The point.
If humans were made to eat meat on a daily basis (and get most of our nutrition from) why don't we have the tools too.

http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/comp-anat/comp-anat-1a.shtml
124
[ Parent ]

Tools? I got your tools. (none / 0) (#399)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:33:47 AM EST

Tools...lets see: gun, knife, BBQ grill, charcoal, matches, fork, paper plates (okay, only from recycled products), and plenty of beer! What other tools do you need?

Oh, for you anti-gun people. The beer is only to be used during the preparation and eating of the meaty meal.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
We do have the tools (none / 0) (#422)
by TheSleeper on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:16:37 AM EST

If humans were made to eat meat on a daily basis (and get most of our nutrition from) why don't we have the tools too.

We do have the tools to do so. They're on the ends of our arms, and we call them 'hands'. Used properly, they are the deadliest, most powerful weapon ever evolved.

[ Parent ]

Yes they are, (none / 0) (#521)
by auraslip on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:20:09 AM EST

but you can't kill a healthy animal with your bare hands can you.
And since humans spent 90% of the 2 million years we have been around uncivilised and mostly toolless I think it's safe to say that we evolved only eating meat as scavegers.
124
[ Parent ]
Tool Use (none / 0) (#534)
by TheSleeper on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 10:47:15 AM EST

but you can't kill a healthy animal with your bare hands can you.
And since humans spent 90% of the 2 million years we have been around uncivilised and mostly toolless I think it's safe to say that we evolved only eating meat as scavegers.

Actually, killing a bird or small mammal with my bare hands is pretty easy. But that's beside the point, since I was really making a reference to hominid tool use.

Your "90% of our 2 million years mostly toolless" is simply false. The first stone tools were used somewhere around 2.5 million years ago, and they were in common use by homo habilis 2 million years ago, and have been intrinsic part of life for every hominid since. While it's not known whether or not habilis hunted, or how important it was to them if they did, it's clear that whether they were hunting or just aggresively scavenging, they ate a good bit more meat than their immediate predecessors.

Further, it appears that hominid evolution from habilis and up until the development of agriculture 10,000 years ago was largely in the direction of hunting and more meat eating. The Neandertals, with which we probably share an ancestor, ate a diet that was almost exclusively meat.

[ Parent ]

Genetic Engineering to the rescue! (4.00 / 2) (#316)
by jhodge on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:47:33 PM EST

Apparently, some people are born with a condition that makes it impossible for them to feel pain (IntelliHealth). If we could isolate the cause of this condition and then genetically engineer it into cattle, chickens, etc., woudl that make it ethically OK to kill and eat them?

Why do I suspect that this would not be an acceptable compromise for the likes of PETA?

HAven't you read hitch hikers?! (none / 0) (#392)
by auraslip on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 02:18:53 AM EST

An even better idea! You just Breed the animals to want to be eaten! Think about it, you could make them smart enough to understand that they deserve to be eaten! Then everyone could eat meat, If you create an animal just to be eaten it's ok right?
OH we could also Geneticly alter people in sweat shops to enjoy sewing shoes. Think about the moral and economical implications of that.
We could also create a breed of dog that likes (or feels no pain) so you can kick it when ever in a bad mood to releive stress.
124
[ Parent ]
Say it aint so! (none / 0) (#398)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:23:55 AM EST

Do you mean those children working in sweatshops for cents a day, don't love their job?!!! Get NIKE on the phone now, someone needs to hear about this!! Oh,and you create a breed of dog that will stop humping my leg and I will stop kicking him. AAAAAhhhh, don't pee on that, come here you little...


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Vegans take themselves rather seriously (2.00 / 2) (#317)
by James Thiele on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 06:50:07 PM EST

Vegans take themselves rather seriously - too seriously, IM(Rarely)HO. After listening to yet another I wrote Bread is Dead , a tongue in cheek satire of radical vegans.

The link 404s (nt) (none / 0) (#423)
by Gully Foyle on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 08:26:57 AM EST


If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

How about this one? (4.16 / 6) (#322)
by Wondertoad on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:13:23 PM EST

Many species survive by developing ways to taste bad to their predators.  Some species even evolve to look like like the bad-tasting species.  In this way, they try to ensure the replication of their DNA.  In the long view of nature, the only thing that matters to a species is if it can reliably and consistently accomplish that task.

Livestock animals figured out an even better plan.  Met with the first predator ever to consciously understand animal husbandry, these species won not by tasting BAD, but by tasting GOOD.  They were also easy to hunt and provided a large amount of the kind of protein their new predators needed.

Amazingly, their DNA was replicated further and in immense numbers -- much greater numbers than ever seen in the bad-tasting animals.

And, in turn, nothing could be worse for it as a species than if it suddenly were to fall out of favor.  What would happen to cows if we stopped eating them?  After 100 years. there would be probably be less than 10,000 of them, and all in captivity.

The livestock animal's fate rests in your hands.  If you want to help it, eat it.  That is its natural desire, its destiny, its plan.


Right. (1.50 / 2) (#368)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:45:07 PM EST

The livestock animal's fate rests in your hands.  If you want to help it, eat it.  That is its natural desire, its destiny, its plan.

I'm sure the cow that's being slaughtered is just thrilled to know that it's fulfilling some grand cow-death destiny you have planned out for it. Yeah, I bet she's downright greatful to you. Why, it would be an injustice not to kill her!


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

please explain (4.00 / 1) (#379)
by dr k on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:22:21 AM EST

how a cow can experience something that is "thrilling"? Can you show me a picture of a cow that is "grateful"? And I'd really like to hear what "injustice" means to a bovine.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Umm... (none / 0) (#426)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:14:32 AM EST

That was sarcasm.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
yes! (none / 0) (#441)
by ph0rk on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 11:08:49 AM EST

everyone knows that by the time cows learn to speak, all they have to say is how happy they are that we will be eating them, and they even proffer particularly tender areas for our enjoyment!

all while we can sit back and watch the end of the universe.
[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]

I believe we should not eat anything at all. (4.20 / 5) (#325)
by mingofmongo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:18:11 PM EST

It would shorten our lives ofcourse, but a couple days of quality agonizing starvation is preferable to years of unethical exploitation of plants and animals.

And after we have stopped the terrible crime of eating, we can turn our energies to drinking water (stop the innocent deaths of protozoa), and breathing (do you know how many gnats are accidentally breathed in each year?).

But seriously folks, that was the most coherent thing I've ever read from a vegan, and I've read a LOT of ramblings from vegans. Maybe they aren't all nuts after all.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Would you if you could? (3.00 / 1) (#331)
by garbanzo on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:36:28 PM EST

I'm going to (risk the flames?) posit that there is probably a relatively high correlation between vegan beliefs and practice and distrust of/resistance to genetic modification and meddling. By "genetic mod" I mean anything from the whole frankenfoods realm to active meddling in ("improvement of") the human genome.

Okay, so vegans probably don't like these things but such things are probably going to happen anyway. Bad things happen, whatever your perspective on "bad" might be.

Suppose someone, some future gene meddling bastard, offered vegans a gene therapy that would enable them to photosynthesize. Need a snack? Stand in a field and soak up some sunshine and sip some water and maybe nosh a little compost.

Would any vegans accept this as an option? Looking for answers from vegans here and definitely I would like to see any answers explained. Note that being able to photosynthesize will shut those Plant Defense League bastards up but quick.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

A few things (none / 0) (#377)
by carbon on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:19:01 AM EST

You seem fairly convinced that genetic alterations of any kind are a Bad Thing (tm). What's your reasoning for this?

As for photosynthesis specifically, I can't think of too many downsides. That is, provided that it gave full nutrition and didn't have health side effects, and didn't require you stand out in a grassy knoll at all hours of daylight. Well, wait, there's still radiation.

Alright, we can just use sun lamps which are filtered for radiation. Maybe we can use sun power or some other renewable source to power them in turn, to avoid energy consumption issues. Still, though, that leaves the loss of taste; you'd still have taste buds, but why eat anything?.

I propose, then, that while we're in the realm of fantasy psuedoscience solutions, what would be really great is a perfect molecular replicator. It could work on solar power (probably a station somewhere closer to the sun beaming energy back would be the way to go), and could generate unlimited amounts of anything it had a pattern of.

All you'd need would be a few thousand or so pattern copies of every food item and recipie ingredient known to man. Not to mention one hella lot of storage space, without even getting into all the backups that would be required. At a point this far into the future, though, you can probably put 500,000 terabytes into your finger nail, but then how many fingers does it take to hold the complete molecular structure of a Big Mac? And, if you cheated, pulled out MS Nuclear Paint, and did the atomic equivalent of a pattern fill, would you be able to taste the difference? Star Trek's replicators certainly didn't do so well with more subtle flavors like coffee...

There are probably other solutions like these that involve no loss of actual life in creating food products. But with any, the question still remains: what happens to all those huge herds of domesticated farm animals?


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Clarification (none / 0) (#588)
by garbanzo on Sat Jul 20, 2002 at 11:41:57 AM EST

No, I'm not against genetic modification at all. I see it as the continuation by other, more efficient means, of the work that people have done for millenia in domesticating plants and animals for the benefit (mainly) of people. Since I'm a people and I like other people, I see that (big picture) as a good thing. Small picture, I think we need to remain careful (I think we are actually being pretty careful, at least in the US, from what I've seen). I am, of course, disturbed and appalled at the military applications of genetics. Just plain stupid to make a gun that also shoots the shooter.

Sorry to have misled you with my rhetorical posing.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
does it work? (none / 0) (#480)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:26:38 PM EST

and how many people and animals are you going to injure trying to achieve this nirvana?

[ Parent ]
Sorry for the lateness of the reply (none / 0) (#587)
by garbanzo on Sat Jul 20, 2002 at 11:36:59 AM EST

The real world is just now much more distracting than this virtual one. But enough about me.

I guess the core of my question is this: does a positive thing (technology, method, etc.) have any provenance? E.g. does money spent on a good thing still bear its bloody past with it? Is technology tainted by the evil done to make it? Your reply drives right at this core. I'm presuming that (regardless of the bodycount of people and animals harmed in achieving the objective) that someone might try it. No, I don't really think anyone wants to be photosynthetic, but bear with me in the thot experiment. And forgive me for next putting words in your mouth, particularly if you don't agree with them...

I'm interpreting your question to mean that your answer to the core thought is "yes: a good thing is tainted by the evil done to attain it." Not only does the end not justify the means, but also: abhor and avoid an end gained by evil means. The knowledge gained in evil human-subject studies by the Nazis still taints the positive outcomes that other doctors achieved by reading their results.

It appears that if animals and people are harmed in research (even if you boycott those products, those institutions, even if you protest loudly and actively) you would prefer to not benefit from the knowledge thus gained.

I guess that is internally consistent. I find I can't easily place the bar so high. I can't place the same value on all lives and life forms. I know if my loved ones are sick, I care more about them than rats, dogs, and monkeys who will suffer while we grope towards a cure. I also have been known to enjoy a nice juicy steak, although not as often as the Beef Council might like me to.



sure, it's all fun and games--until someone puts an eye out

[ Parent ]
insect pain, and fish (4.33 / 3) (#334)
by Bandar Log on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:40:43 PM EST

Dear all,

I once worked at a neuroscience lab. The model organism for the research we did there was a cricket. We slew thousands of them, to be able to investigate how the terminal ganglia work. (That's basically a CPU/multiport hub that sits inside the ass-end of the bug. Fascinating system!)

From a neurological perspective, pain is a type of electrochemical signal that informs the organism that something about the local environment is Dreadfully Wrong.

Crickets do experience pain.

Plants don't have nervous systems in the sense that arthopods and vertebrates do, so I have no clue whether they experience pain or not.

Do I care about those crickets we slew? Not really. I do care about people we slay as a result of American foreign-policy bungling, but a bug is a bug.

But yes, bugs know that Death is Painful.

I was surprised (to greenrd) you didn't mention fish. Neurologically, fish experience pain, but many vegans/vegitarians I know seem to think that's all right. I think the whole pain argument is pretty feeble. Other arguments for non-traditional-american eating patterns make more sense to me (e.g. personal health or ecological sustainability).

When we are worried more about how people treat non-hominid animal life than how we treat other people, it seems to me we have a case in which our basic values are sorely out of whack.



Types of vegitarians (5.00 / 2) (#357)
by pla on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 09:19:02 PM EST

Neurologically, fish experience pain, but many vegans/vegitarians I know seem to think that's all right

You have to distinguish between the different types of vegitarian. You can break it down roughly into no-red-meat, ovo-lacto, and vegan. Within each, you have those who practice it for health reasons, for ethical reasons, and aesthetic ("ickyness" or "cuteness") reasons. You won't see many ethical-no-red-meat'ers, or health-vegans, however, for the obvious reasons.

I consider myself an ovo-lacto, bordering on veganism, for ethical reasons. I eat eggs and cheese, because they do not kill or harm the creature they come from (no, eggs do *NOT* kill baby chickens... If you ever found an actual fertilized egg, which sometimes (but rarely) gets through, you would feel somewhat disgusted). I only eat eggs and cheese from free-range animals, though, for precisely the reasons outlined in the parent article (factory farming et al).

Anyway, I do not go fully vegan for one simple reason... Vegitarianism causes a generally lowered state of health. Yeah, I expect to get a million responses arguing that, but it holds 100% true. The balance of nutrients one gets from plants, even taking care to get enough protein, vitamins, and essential oils, does *NOT* match what we evolved to need. Even eating eggs and cheese, and understanding human nutrition fairly well, switching to a vegitarian diat has made me heal slower, thinned my fingernails, I bruise easier, and my hair went from "unmanageably healthy" (ie, had a life of its own) to "dry and brittle". Personally, I recommend anyone going veggie for health reasons take the no-red-meat route. Fish and (non-factory) poultry eating, in moderation, will provide what a pure vegitable diet cannot.

On the other hand, among those who don't eat meat for ethical reasons, you often see a confusing swapping of traits with vegans (usually the most "extreme" form of vegitarianism)... While some vegans will *use* animal products, such as leather (technically, they just won't eat them), many ethical ovo-lactos will avoid the use of any animal *products*, placing the cutoff point at "an animal died or suffered for this".


[ Parent ]
human rights ... unconnected? (none / 0) (#479)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:23:57 PM EST

some vegans dont give a shit about human rights.

others do.

others even see a connection, for look at the wars of history, books like 'changes in the land' showing how land-use patterns required by domesticated animal ranches influence the genocidal nature of american land conquest. and have you ever heard of the 'range wars' between ranchers and farmers in the old west? brutal and bloody.

think of it, without cows thered be no cowboy and no cowboy machismo, no john wayne swaggering.



[ Parent ]

incisors (4.00 / 4) (#337)
by j1mmy on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:44:15 PM EST

I have incisors for tearing meat and I might as well use them.

I have a gun for shooting.. (2.66 / 3) (#371)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 11:01:18 PM EST

errr.. Oh. Wait. That doesn't end well. Maybe there's a flaw in your argumentation style?

notices the "Don't feed the trolls" sign

Whoops.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

chewing = killing? (none / 0) (#396)
by obyteme on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:00:48 AM EST

Hmmm...so chewing meat equates to shooting something?

---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
what are guns for? (none / 0) (#416)
by werner on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:41:28 AM EST

Well I see no other possible reason to buy a gun unless you intend to shoot things.

[ Parent ]
Let's try again, slowly this time.. (none / 0) (#427)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:16:32 AM EST

His argument was that our having teeth that were "designed" (in so much as evolution designs anything) to eat meat was justification for our doing so. My response was that my having a gun was justification for me shooting people - showing that simply because you happen to have the ability to do something doesn't mean you're justified in doing so.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
Apples to Billy Goats (none / 0) (#585)
by obyteme on Thu Jul 18, 2002 at 01:24:22 AM EST

OK, I read slower this time. The ability to chew food = the ability to take a life. Or...using something that you are born with = using something that you have to purchase, and have a permit for.

This common sense thing is just getting in the way.


---------------------------------------:-p
To err is human, or I could be wrong.
If you can't poke fun at it, get a sharper wit.


[ Parent ]
Oh yes. (none / 0) (#401)
by i on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 03:59:13 AM EST

You have a gun for shooting? Use it.

Just don't shoot me. In return, I promise not to eat you. Deal?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#428)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:17:44 AM EST

I suppose if you and the cow can come to some agreement, we'd all be happy.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]
I'd like to. (5.00 / 1) (#432)
by i on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 09:43:41 AM EST

But I'm presently too busy negotiating with a tomato over a glass of Bloody Mary. It's one hell of a job, mainly because tomatoes can't talk.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
OK (none / 0) (#435)
by Ni on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 10:05:25 AM EST

(Firstly, I laughed when I read your comment. +1, funny)

So if you can't negotiate with the cow (or the tomato, for that matter) what impact does your initial comment have? Or are you simply saying that you won't eat me simply because it's in your best interests not to?

This is, of course, a moral debate. There's little doubt that we are capable of eating all the cows we want to (well.. I mean, maybe it's not medically wise, but you get the idea), the question is whether it's right to.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

I have an account for trolling. (none / 0) (#519)
by j1mmy on Wed Jul 10, 2002 at 12:00:01 AM EST

It never ends well =)

[ Parent ]
If God Didn't Want Us to ... (3.25 / 4) (#342)
by icastel on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 07:50:51 PM EST

... eat animals, then why did He make them taste so good?




-- I like my land flat --
Strawman... (none / 0) (#350)
by RadiantMatrix on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:22:16 PM EST

Your argument (while intended to be amusing, no doubt) is spurrious. Let me illustrate:

If God had intended for us to fly, He'd have given us wings.

That argument was actually used to debunk attempts at mechanized flight. Makes one think, no? Besides, the author never said that eating meat was wrong -- he said that eating meat that you don't know for sure is cruelty-free is wrong.

I solve the problem much more simply by paying a slight bit more to small, local, organic, cruelty-free farmers. But, to each their own...

--
$w="q\$x";for($w){s/q/\:/;s/\$/-/;s/x/\)\n/;}print($w)
[ Parent ]

Pish. (5.00 / 1) (#355)
by pla on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:58:37 PM EST

Your argument (while intended to be amusing, no doubt) is spurrious.

Spurious? Why, next you'll point out the fallacy of "If god intended us to run aroung naked, we would come into this world that way."

And, don't forget, "If god didn't intend for us to eat people, why did he make them so tasty?"


[ Parent ]
*sigh* (5.00 / 2) (#370)
by Ni on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 10:59:51 PM EST

And, don't forget, "If god didn't intend for us to eat people, why did he make them so tasty?"

One of my first comments on k5 was (effectively) this. It got a very poor rating, unfairly in my mind. To compensate, and in my one yearly act of blatant Rating-For-The-Wrong-Reasons, you're getting a 5.


<mrgoat> I can't believe I just got a cyber-handjob from ni.
[ Parent ]

if god didnt want us to be vegetarians (none / 0) (#477)
by turmeric on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 05:20:14 PM EST

she wouldnt have given us the ability to live witohut meat? this logic is silly. anything we can do becomes justified by 'if god didnt blah blah blah'. if god didnt want us to kill people then he wouldnt have given us the ability to make nuclear weapons?

[ Parent ]
Mood Music? (4.00 / 2) (#344)
by MstlyHrmls on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:05:35 PM EST

The first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this article is a song by one of my favourite "obscure Canadian bands".

Carrot Juice is Murder by The Arrogant Worms covers this theme in a slightly more light hearted manner. If you've just gotten here after reading the hundreds of previous comments, treat yourself to a break and give it a listen.

Mike
--
Don't anthropomorphise computers. They hate that.

isn't there (none / 0) (#382)
by jnemo131 on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 12:28:20 AM EST

some Tool song about murdering carrots, too? I don't remember... its something like that...

"I heard the droning in the shrine of the sea-monkey"
-The Pixies
[ Parent ]
What a respectful article, greenrd. (3.50 / 2) (#354)
by joegee on Mon Jul 08, 2002 at 08:47:25 PM EST