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trancelikestate

Question for vegetarians

66 posts in this topic

I can respect (in some way) that you kill (most of) your own meat because I think most people wouldn't be able to do that (me included). I think there is a big difference between hunting your own meat and simply buying it down at the shops, where somebody else has done that. That old saying "out of sight, out of mind" springs to mind. It doesn't mean I think it's the right thing to do and I think I made that abundantly clear; in my ideal world the thousands of years of slaughter comes to an end. Of course, this will never happen because $$$$$ rules this world and so does the selfish/ignorant majority. It's easier to simply forget what these animals go through (on a mass scale) rather than have what is supposed to make us different from animals and that's to have a conscience.

I'm sorry but I just don't buy the argument that vegetable farming causes comparable suffering.

I understand why it's hard to swallo. But it does. You have to have an understanding how mass agriculture affects ecology. How herbicides and insecticides affect small waterways, and how soil errosian is a pain unlike any other that we will pass to our grand children and all if it to many generations of wikd life. The small vegetable farmer... No. They are mostly going organic these days anyway. But trust me. Our current agriculture practices are not sustainable and will evenchually lead to famine for humans and ecological disaster for wikd life. You are a young smart guy my. I think you will start to see where I'm comeing from before to long. You can't have a heart and intelligence at the same time without evenchually realizing some of this.

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True, but what gives us the moral right to kill animals for the sake of pleasure, amusement, and convenience?

Killing animals for meat has nothing to do with pleasure or amusement. Yes there are some animals that our body doesn’t need to eat but there are a few that our body needs. Human brain is complex and requires more nutrients then other animals.

Best diet for our well-being is one high in fish. Fish provides our brain with EPA and DHA which our body does not naturally produce. EPA and DHA lowers blood pressure, boost immunity, decreases inflammation and helps to prevent depression. We cannot rely on seeds to produce DHA because that is useless. Vegetarians generally lack DHA and this can cause health problems. Example India largest vegetarian population and they have the highest rate of blindness due to the lack of DHA in their diet. Eyes are built on DHA.

Another animal that aids in our well-being is turkey due to its high levels of tryptophan which makes the neurotransmitter serotonin

Animals kill other animals to survive. Humans need to eat certain animals so that our brain is supplied with the correct nutrients so it can perform at its peak.

Really, can you not see fear or sadness in a cow? Just take a look at a slaughterhouse and you will see fear. Take a look and listen to a cow ball all night long after its calf is taken away. We've known about emotions in animals for a long time now. Darwin wrote about this in 1872. For cows specifically, there are plenty of academic studies.

Sorry what I meant was that animal does not think about the future. Cow isn’t born with worries of being eating for dinner or do they look at each other and think to themselves hope I’m not going to be made into human food

So it's ok to mutilate animals because it's not a permanent state of pain? As for pets, indeed, I am in favour of abolishing the use of animals as pets. Animals don't need human rights or legal rights, they only need one right, the right not to be property.

Again, I submit there is no such thing as humane slaughter, just like there is no such thing as humane rape or humane slavery.

We can kill animals in non-stressful environment we don’t have to subject the animal to unkind killing methods. Rape and slavery is a completely different topic all together and is not related in any way to this topic.

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Posted (edited)

Killing animals for meat has nothing to do with pleasure or amusement.

Sure it does. Meat tastes yummy! It's pleasures your taste buds. When people are enjoying a nice big juicy steak, they aren't thinking of the amino acids and other nutrients in it, they simply are savouring the taste. You left out convenience. It is very convenient to give in to the constant bombardment of commericals and billboards that advertize cheap and fast hamburgers. That's the fault of government which is in collusion with big agri-business for economic reasons.

Yes there are some animals that our body doesn’t need to eat but there are a few that our body needs

Not so, there are no nutrients in meat that you can't find elsewhere. Otherwise vegans like Carl Lewis would not be able to win 9 Olympic Gold medals.

Sorry what I meant was that animal does not think about the future. Cow isn’t born with worries of being eating for dinner or do they look at each other and think to themselves hope I’m not going to be made into human food

Neither do infants or severely mentally handicapped people, you already said this. And again I think this is the wrong criteria when considering whether to kill a sentient being or not. Again, 'The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but Can they suffer?'

We can kill animals in non-stressful environment we don’t have to subject the animal to unkind killing methods. Rape and slavery is a completely different topic all together and is not related in any way to this topic.

These are all grave moral issues and not subject to mere opinion. All three are examples of causing unnecessary harm to other beings, no matter how comfortable you make the victim.

p.s. I don't how or why you are quoting both my replies and your text, it makes it harder to respond to your individual claims.

Edited by redhen

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Agreed.

Interesting thought experiment but highly impractical.

Sounds lovely but animals are routinely mutilated and suffer from all kinds of "humane" practices. There is no such thing as "humane" farming". So the rest of your argument is moot I'm afraid.

But there's other healthy and tasty food available.

Farmers can generate income from growing crops.

Vegetation can grow without any manure.

That's the animal welfare argument. I disagree, I adhere to the animal rights argument. “To say that a being who is sentient has no interest in continuing to live is like saying that a being with eyes has no interest in continuing to see. Death—however “humane”—is a harm for humans and nonhumans alike.” -- Gary Francione

same argument, see above.

What is missing from this argument is intention. There is a significant moral difference between killing an animal for the express purpose of consuming it and the baby mouse that is run over by a farm tractor.

It's not a thought experiment. It's breaking down an issue so that it can be marginalized. This is a classic kind of argument in economics, though in economcs we call it utility which basically is the sum of good and bad. There are even economic laws that bear the term. ( the law of diminishing marginal utility). It allows human choice to be quantified and the mathematics of economics to born so that we can have graphs and equations.

Sounds lovely but animals are routinely mutilated and suffer from all kinds of "humane" practices. There is no such thing as "humane" farming". So the rest of your argument is moot I'm afraid.

;) you are flirting with an unverifiable opinion here. Of course there is such thing as humane farming. If you are saying that killing animals is inhumane, you might want to ask yourself why the humane society puts down 3-4 million animals per year. And we are now open to the possibility that driving is inhumane.

http://m.humanesociety.org/animal_community/resources/qa/common_questions_on_shelters.html

You are anthropomorphisizing ( dam that's the biggest word I have used in a while) animal 'interests'. Most Animals do not have the cognitive abilities to be interested beyond anything in their imeadiate awareness and instincts ( this is scientific fact). You however have an interest in weather that animal lives or dies, in reality the animal does not. It can't. It has nothing to do with the animal and everything to do with you.

I would agree with the opposite of your opinion. To carelessly harm wild life and ecology, to me, is more grievous than consuming an animal on purpose while being concious how it's treated and how it's life or death affects the environment and other life.

There is also a significant difference between a baby mouse being run over and 877 million pounds of pesticides and 185 million pounds of herbacides being poored over our food (2007 statistics). If we are going to give the chicken rights, what about the mantis?

http://www.panna.org/blog/long-last-epa-releases-pesticide-use-statistics

Vegetation can grow without any manure

CROPS cannot grow without nutrients. Chemical fertilizers contribute to soil depletion, is a poor substitute for organic matter, and are highly dangerous. Some of our worst accidents in history are a direct result of storeing chemical fertilizers for agriculture.

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It's not a thought experiment. It's breaking down an issue so that it can be marginalized. This is a classic kind of argument in economics, though in economcs we call it utility which basically is the sum of good and bad.

That may be fine for economics but I don't think it is applicable to moral matters.

you are flirting with an unverifiable opinion here. Of course there is such thing as humane farming. If you are saying that killing animals is inhumane, you might want to ask yourself why the humane society puts down 3-4 million animals per year.

Well opinions are just that opinions, and verifiability is not the goal, I'm just echoing a certain school of philosophical thought, professor Gary Francione calls it abolitionism, which is borrowed from the anti-slavery movement. As for HSUS animal euthanasia, I disagree with several or their policies, euthanasia is one of them. Justin Bieber had to surrender his pet monkey in Germany recently. When he asked how long he had before they euthanized it they informed him that they don't euthanize pets in Germany. So it can be done, we're just not as compassionate or efficient as the Germans.

You are anthropomorphisizing animal 'interests'. Most Animals do not have the cognitive abilities to be interested beyond anything in their imeadiate awareness and instincts ( this is scientific fact). You however have an interest in weather that animal lives or dies, in reality the animal does not. It can't. It has nothing to do with the animal and everything to do with you.

“To say that a being who is sentient has no interest in continuing to live is like saying that a being with eyes has no interest in continuing to see. Death—however “humane”—is a harm for humans and nonhumans alike.” ― Gary Francione

I would agree with the opposite of your opinion. To carelessly harm wild life and ecology, to me, is more grievous than consuming an animal on purpose while being concious how it's treated and how it's life or death affects the environment and other life.

I submit that there is a difference in our interactions with wildlife and animals that we have domesticated. By doing so we bear some responsibility towards them.

There is also a significant difference between a baby mouse being run over and 877 million pounds of pesticides and 185 million pounds of herbacides being poored over our food (2007 statistics). If we are going to give the chicken rights, what about the mantis?

There you go again with your imaginary measurement scale of moral good and bad. Anyways, you are leaving out intention again. I'll say it again, there is a big difference between killing an animal specifically for its flesh or fur and the accidental killing of an insect. This idea is expressed in our laws by the two criteria for convicting someone of a crime. You need two criteria; an actus reus (guilty act) and a mens rea (guilty mind)

CROPS cannot grow without nutrients. Chemical fertilizers contribute to soil depletion, is a poor substitute for organic matter, and are highly dangerous.

I already stated that vegetation can grow without any fertilizer, neither chemical or manure. Our ancestors have been doing this for thousands of years.

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Posted (edited)

I already stated that vegetation can grow without any fertilizer, neither chemical or manure. Our ancestors have been doing this for thousands of years.

Actually plants need nutrients to grow properly and produce well. In nature the ecoystem puts nutrients back into the land as its plants and animals die and degrate back into basic compounds. In those areas which we harvest from this doesn't happen so fertilizer, whether it be chemical or natural compost, is needed or after a while the land will be depleated and difficult to grow in.

Edited by trancelikestate

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Let me pose another question. How many vegetarians refrain from killing insects such as misquitos as they are biting you? I would guess very few people do. So to those people, in your opinions, why are insect lives worth less than those of say chickens or pigs?

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Let me pose another question. How many vegetarians refrain from killing insects such as misquitos as they are biting you? I would guess very few people do. So to those people, in your opinions, why are insect lives worth less than those of say chickens or pigs?

I believe it is immoral to kill animals for the sake of pleasure (taste of meat), amusement, and convenience (animals that are in the way, i.e. culls). I believe it is not immoral to kill animals in self defense, which is self explanatory. I classify mosquitos that are attacking me in this category.

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Posted (edited)

I believe it is immoral to kill animals for the sake of pleasure (taste of meat), amusement, and convenience (animals that are in the way, i.e. culls). I believe it is not immoral to kill animals in self defense, which is self explanatory. I classify mosquitos that are attacking me in this category.

Perhaps if an animal like a bear is trying to kill you it is self defense. A misquito biting you brings you no harm other than mild discomfort. So your saying it's ok to kill for your own comfort? How is that any less selfish than killing for taste?

Edited by trancelikestate

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Perhaps if an animal like a bear is trying to kill you it is self defense. A misquito biting you brings you no harm other than mild discomfort. So your saying it's ok to kill for your own comfort? How is that any less selfish than killing for taste?

Mosquitos can carry some deadly diseases and viruses. But more to the point, I don't believe insects such as mosquitos, fruit flies, etc. can experience pain. First, they don't have a brain which is necessary for the crucial emotional, subjective experience of pain. What they have is a ganglia, which is just a cluster of neurons. Of course we will never know the subjective experience (qualia) of a mosquito or any other animal for that matter. Hell, we can't even know what it's like to be another person.

Perhaps it might be useful to observe how insects react to trauma. Insects can carry out many normal functions while critically incapacitated, including feeding and mating, right up to the point of death. From what I understand, some insects have observed to live for days without a head !

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That may be fine for economics but I don't think it is applicable to moral matters.

Well opinions are just that opinions, and verifiability is not the goal, I'm just echoing a certain school of philosophical thought, professor Gary Francione calls it abolitionism, which is borrowed from the anti-slavery movement. As for HSUS animal euthanasia, I disagree with several or their policies, euthanasia is one of them. Justin Bieber had to surrender his pet monkey in Germany recently. When he asked how long he had before they euthanized it they informed him that they don't euthanize pets in Germany. So it can be done, we're just not as compassionate or efficient as the Germans.

“To say that a being who is sentient has no interest in continuing to live is like saying that a being with eyes has no interest in continuing to see. Death—however “humane”—is a harm for humans and nonhumans alike.” ― Gary Francione

I submit that there is a difference in our interactions with wildlife and animals that we have domesticated. By doing so we bear some responsibility towards them.

There you go again with your imaginary measurement scale of moral good and bad. Anyways, you are leaving out intention again. I'll say it again, there is a big difference between killing an animal specifically for its flesh or fur and the accidental killing of an insect. This idea is expressed in our laws by the two criteria for convicting someone of a crime. You need two criteria; an actus reus (guilty act) and a mens rea (guilty mind)

I already stated that vegetation can grow without any fertilizer, neither chemical or manure. Our ancestors have been doing this for thousands of years.

Incorrect, moral matters are about human choices. Economics is the study of choice. People think economics is about money, money is a good measure of choice. This entire topic is an economics topic because we are discussing choices and the utility gained from such choices weather it be moral utility or caloric.

We are not quote mineing or using apeals to authority to make points now are we? ;)

We bear responsibility for our actions period, weather it's dusting an ecosystem with insecticides that find its way into the entire food chain or dumping round up on huge corn fields and destroying the creyfish populations in the nearby slews or scalding a live chicken in boiling water with a mechanical claw.

The moral quantification is not imaginary. There is a point of marginal utility gained or not gained by each decision that we make in which we will not make or make that decision. When talk about a unit of utility or in my example good and bad which is really just positive and negative utility, we are talking about an average of something gained or not gained. It cannot be quantified in the sense of a measurement because it exists in our minds, but it is certainly still there. When you really think about it even a meter is an arbitrary measure of space. Being arbitrary dosnt make it imaginary. It's a way to discuss something in a quantitative terms so that we can critically analyze them with graphs and equations. I'm not makeing any of this up, this is the way human choice is discussed in universities. I have a BA in economics.

Example: if you are a vegitarian for moral reasons, you gain more utilty from not consuming meat than you do from the pleasure of eating it.

Utility from eating meat (EM) < (NEM). All this says is that you gain more satisfaction from avoiding meat than you do from eating it. If you did not, you would not be a vegitarian. In fact it may be that your guilt would cause you negative utility if you ate meat, but it's really the same thing.

But let's use this to analyze a choice you might have to make. Let's keep it simple.

Eating 1 unit of meat gives you -1utility.

However..... You are in a situation where you have to eat meat or starve to death.

The satisfaction of living gives you 100U. You will without out a doubt eat 99 units of meat despite the negative utility it gives you. Unless of course eating a unit of meat gives you -101U. This means you would rather die before you ate any meat at all.

You see the measurements are arbitrary ( all measurements are) but they are not imaginary. The point behind any large policy should be to maximize the utility in our society. This is the ultimate goal behind economic theory, though unfortunately human beings are very good at pushing their moral judgments onto others, and the very concept of self interest puts utility seeking ahead of utility averaging for large groups. It's a constant struggle and the foundation of the struggle for freedom... Anyway im drifting off here, but I hope you understand that it's not imaginary at all.

There are many crimes that happen without intentions. It's called neglect.---- I did not mean to leave my kid in the hot car while grabbing a couple shots at the bar, I just forgot--- ---- we don't mean to destroy massive amounts of wild life and ecosystems through agriculture and profit seeking, it just happens----

Our ancestors used a very limited supply of flood plains to grow things in which fields were refertilized with anual floods or crops that were natural to that particular environment ( this is the basis for permaculture). Modern agriculture requires organic matter or chemical fertilizers to operate.

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Incorrect, moral matters are about human choices.

From what I understand (I don't have a degree in moral philosophy) ethics is concerned with actions which are either right or wrong. Morality is concerned with judgements, either good or bad. I know morals and ethics get interchanged all the time but I try to keep them separate. So technically morals are not about choices or actions.

Economics is the study of choice. People think economics is about money, money is a good measure of choice. This entire topic is an economics topic because we are discussing choices and the utility gained from such choices weather it be moral utility or caloric.

Again you are assuming we need to consume animal flesh to stay alive, but that's not the case.

We are not quote mineing or using apeals to authority to make points now are we? ;)

Well I'd rather directly attribute a quote rather than plagiarize. Anyways, appeals to authority can certainly be a valid argument as long as the expert authority is in a position to know.

We bear responsibility for our actions period, weather it's dusting an ecosystem with insecticides that find its way into the entire food chain or dumping round up on huge corn fields and destroying the creyfish populations in the nearby slews or scalding a live chicken in boiling water with a mechanical claw.

Granted.

The moral quantification is not imaginary. There is a point of marginal utility gained or not gained by each decision that we make in which we will not make or make that decision. When talk about a unit of utility or in my example good and bad which is really just positive and negative utility, we are talking about an average of something gained or not gained. It cannot be quantified in the sense of a measurement because it exists in our minds, but it is certainly still there. When you really think about it even a meter is an arbitrary measure of space. Being arbitrary dosnt make it imaginary. It's a way to discuss something in a quantitative terms so that we can critically analyze them with graphs and equations. I'm not makeing any of this up, this is the way human choice is discussed in universities. I have a BA in economics.

I don't have an indepth knowledge of utilitarianism, but I generally agree with its premises and so I agree with you here. What I find most interesting though is that the father of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham, is also credited with being one of the early modern philosophers who championed animal rights. His most quoted phrase is "The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

Example: if you are a vegitarian for moral reasons, you gain more utilty from not consuming meat than you do from the pleasure of eating it.

Refraining from eating meat is not a sacrifice, so I do not grant the rest of your thought experiment about imaginary units of measuring good and evil.

However..... You are in a situation where you have to eat meat or starve to death.

The moral argument for veganism starts with the basic assumption; all things being equal. We are not talking about Inuit in the Arctic, whose soles source of food is meat. We are talking about people who live in a modern agricultural society where there are healthy alternatives.

There are many crimes that happen without intentions. It's called neglect.---- I did not mean to leave my kid in the hot car while grabbing a couple shots at the bar, I just forgot--- ---- we don't mean to destroy massive amounts of wild life and ecosystems through agriculture and profit seeking, it just happens----

While the accidental and incidental harm done to wildlife in the course of agricultural practices is not negligible, my point is these animals are not killed specifically for their meat, unlike cattle. That remains a categorical difference in my books.

Our ancestors used a very limited supply of flood plains to grow things in which fields were refertilized with anual floods or crops that were natural to that particular environment ( this is the basis for permaculture). Modern agriculture requires organic matter or chemical fertilizers to operate.

Here you are stating what is the case, and claiming therefore it should be the case. That's a logical fallacy.

Thanks for the conversion, you made think. I like thinking. :)

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Im not a vegetarian but my girlfriend is, so we can coexist :tu:

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Posted (edited)

Mosquitos can carry some deadly diseases and viruses. But more to the point, I don't believe insects such as mosquitos, fruit flies, etc. can experience pain. First, they don't have a brain which is necessary for the crucial emotional, subjective experience of pain. What they have is a ganglia, which is just a cluster of neurons. Of course we will never know the subjective experience (qualia) of a mosquito or any other animal for that matter. Hell, we can't even know what it's like to be another person.

Perhaps it might be useful to observe how insects react to trauma. Insects can carry out many normal functions while critically incapacitated, including feeding and mating, right up to the point of death. From what I understand, some insects have observed to live for days without a head !

But they are still alive and still have a nervous system of sorts, we can't prove 100% that they don't have feelings.

I believe your right though, I think they are beings of pure instinct. But I also believe fish and other "lower" life forms are as well. Some scientists agree ( Link to "Fish don't feel pain article.")

Is it ok by your moral standards to than eat insects and fish?

Edited by trancelikestate

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You see the measurements are arbitrary ( all measurements are) but they are not imaginary. The point behind any large policy should be to maximize the utility in our society. This is the ultimate goal behind economic theory, though unfortunately human beings are very good at pushing their moral judgments onto others, and the very concept of self interest puts utility seeking ahead of utility averaging for large groups. It's a constant struggle and the foundation of the struggle for freedom... Anyway im drifting off here, but I hope you understand that it's not imaginary at all.

Ok, I grant that these numbers are not imaginary, but as you say they are arbitrary. I agree it is a struggle. While I generally agree with utilitarian logic that seeks the greatest good for the greatest number, the Devil is in the details as they say. I understand the necessity of cost-benefit analysis; where I disagree is with putting a dollar value on life, not just human life but non-human as well.

I came across this Harvard lecture on utilitarianism with specific examples of it in practice; a Philip-Morris cost-benefit analysis about the the cost of smoking (dollar on human life) versus the tax revenue gained. The second example is the infamous Ford PInto case where the company weighed the cost of lawsuits for wrongful deaths (after their cars exploded which they knew they had a tendency to do) versus adding a $11 part to fix the problem. I remember this case from 35 years ago, Ford decided not to add the part and let people burn to death. Nice.

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It's a 55 min lecture, but the two cases are presented in the first 15 min.

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But they are still alive and still have a nervous system of sorts, we can't prove 100% that they don't have feelings.

Yes they are alive. So are the thousands of bacteria organisms that I kill every day when I brush my teeth. But they don't feel pain or suffer so I don't feel guilty.

I believe your right though, I think they are beings of pure instinct. But I also believe fish and other "lower" life forms are as well. Some scientists agree ( Link to "Fish don't feel pain article.")

Is it ok by your moral standards to than eat insects and fish?

I believe fish feel pain, so does the European Parliament, based on credible scientific studies. The Treaty of Lisbon “recognises fish as sentient beings” and commits the EU to paying “full regard to the welfare requirements of the animals”.

As a general rule when it comes to lower forms of life, I tend to err on the side of caution.

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