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Still Waters

If You Know How a Cow Feels,Will You Eat Less

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Inside a lab on the Stanford University campus, students experience what it might feel like to be a cow.

They donned a virtual reality helmet and walked on hands and feet while in a virtual mirror they saw themselves as bovine. As the animal was jabbed with an electrical prod, a lab worker poked a volunteer's side with a sticklike device. The ground shook to simulate the prod's vibrations. The cow at the end was led toward a slaughterhouse.

https://www.scientif...u-eat-less-meat

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People should ware the viturality hat of the tofu eating lion.

Vegetarians, ect. get too much glory IMO, animal standards is what should be in focus not eating choices.

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Except cows aren't self aware (to our knowledge) so if we strip away the rational thought all you get is pain and fear that animals suffer through anyway (when they are hunted by other animals).

Good study though.

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""If somebody becomes an animal, do they gain empathy for that animal and think about its plight?" Bailenson asked. "In this case, empathy toward the animal also coincides with an environmental benefit, which is that [not eating] animals consumes less energy.""

How does empathy with a sentient beings pain equate with environmental conservation? That does not logically follow. More waste of tax payers money.

Instead of expensive and complicated VR equipment, why don't they take the volunteers down to the nearest slaughterhouse? Granted they would be refused entrance, but they could watch and listen as the animals are unloaded. Or cheaper yet, just watch Earthlings.

I guess that would negate the need for such "scientific" studies and peoples academic careers. Obviously more studies and grants are needed.

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Except cows aren't self aware (to our knowledge) so if we strip away the rational thought all you get is pain and fear that animals suffer through anyway (when they are hunted by other animals).

Good study though.

I don't know how we can possible assess whether cows are self-aware or not. If I sneak up behind one and give him a good swift kick, he seems self-aware to me.
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That we evolved in an uncaring natural environment where suffering is the driving force of evolution does not carry with it the implication that we are justified in carrying on with it.

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Posted (edited)

I don't know how we can possible assess whether cows are self-aware or not. If I sneak up behind one and give him a good swift kick, he seems self-aware to me.

Awarness is not the same as self-awareness. We dream, self awarness may not be present in the dream....we can step back. most of us in our normal waking life, know what we are, human beings, we have a name, we ponder the meaning of life, do mucis etc.... not sure cows can do that, well they can't. They have awarness of course, and we should do all that we can not to be cruel, but they are part of the food chain, so eating them is not a problem for me. However, again, we should look at better ways to dispatch them that lessens their suffering somewhat. In the natural world, animals do suffer when hunted, not sure they have anxiety disorders, since they may not be able to anticipate that way humans do, so we most likely project a lot on to them that is not actually real. I doubt they think about tomorrorw or yesterday for that matter.....they live 'now', in the present, which for the most part is no doubt quite pleasant for them.

peace

mark

Edited by markdohle

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You assert that self-awareness and awareness are not the same. I am not sure. (This is not a denial on your part -- I really am not sure). I can see two arguments. First is sentience -- the ability to experience the world via qualia rather than reflexively. Neurologists pretty much agree that animals that have evolved serotonin pathways have this, which would include mammals and birds and probably dinosaurs but not many if any modern reptiles.

The second is this hazy notion we have of "self-awareness" (the mirror test has been looked at and found wanting) that maybe only humans have because of language or maybe all sentient animals have. We don't know and have no imaginable way of finding out.

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I do however have a more serious problem with what you say now that the pedantic part is over: suffering is suffering. What the hell difference does it make if the animal dying for our benefit suffers a lot or only a little?

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I don't know how we can possible assess whether cows are self-aware or not. If I sneak up behind one and give him a good swift kick, he seems self-aware to me.

Oh, I mean he can't recognise himself in the mirror. Like babies can't until they're 3-4 and they realise the world exists outside of them and become aware of their self in the mirror, like te smudge test? I don't know how to explain it, also I'm on my phone so sorry if I don't make sense!

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Some animals seem to recognize themselves in the mirror tests, others of the same species don't. There are problems with interpreting the results anyway in the context if self-awareness. It might be evidence or it might not -- animals might be quite self-aware but not passing the test and vice-versa.

There is a also a moral problem with drawing the line at self-awareness anyway. An animal that suffers is suffering. That we can dismiss this by saying they are not self-aware seems at best problematic and way too self-serving. I am put in mind of Voltaire's writing a vivid description of the vivisection of a dog in a public square in Paris as a demonstration of the "dogs have no soul and hence don't suffer" teaching of Descartes.

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Inside a lab on the Stanford University campus, students experience what it might feel like to be a cow.

They donned a virtual reality helmet and walked on hands and feet while in a virtual mirror they saw themselves as bovine. As the animal was jabbed with an electrical prod, a lab worker poked a volunteer's side with a sticklike device. The ground shook to simulate the prod's vibrations. The cow at the end was led toward a slaughterhouse.

https://www.scientif...u-eat-less-meat

Well. They should have tried cutting their throats without anestisia. Because that is what the halal/kosher crowd insists on.

I take modern, western animal slaughter methods anytime. Of course, they have to be supervised and enforced properly.

Frankly, I think it is outrageous that the religionists are allowed to circumvent our animal protection laws by referring to some medieveal oriental gods. Crazy!

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Posted (edited)

"the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

- Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) founder of Utilitarianism

Edited by redhen
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"the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"

- Jeremy Bentham (1748 - 1832) founder of Utilitarianism

Well, that is a bit of of a slippery slope. Depending on who you ask, fish can suffer, even plants can suffer. If you follow that line, you run into the problems that radical Jains do...

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Well, that is a bit of of a slippery slope. Depending on who you ask, fish can suffer, even plants can suffer. If you follow that line, you run into the problems that radical Jains do...

Yes we all run into that problem, as well as a lot of other moral problems as we make our way through life. The real problem is moral absolutism -- the idea that we must somehow be "without sin" in Christian terms. Buddhists have a slightly less difficult time of it, being only commanded to do less harm than good.

As a personal choice I don't eat meat except when it is offered to me as a guest. It isn't good for me anyway. As a personal choice I tell the truth, except when the truth is going to hurt someone. Then I lie.

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I think the problem is very simple. It not somuch the eating of meat, but the scale and manner in which the meat is cultivated.

We should all eat less meat, and the meat we do eat should have had a rich, healthy life.

Capitalist fundaments would beg to differ, Im affraid.

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I think the problem is very simple. It not somuch the eating of meat, but the scale and manner in which the meat is cultivated.

We should all eat less meat, and the meat we do eat should have had a rich, healthy life.

Capitalist fundaments would beg to differ, Im affraid.

I always buy 'happy chickens' as in the ones that have been living in a field I dont buy the the ones that are sad because they are all cooped up and stuffed in to cages, the happy ones taste better.

I grew up poor and on the out skirts of a farm we used to get free poultry so from a dietary point of veiw I know from experience that the ones that live a stress free. happy life tend to be better..

I am totally against the way supermarkets seem to encourage mass produced meat, and dont seem to care where it comes from.. but Im no vegetarian. I agree that the way that livestock is treated can be pretty shocking, and really at the most basic level it should be quality over quantity.

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I've had dreams of being a deer, but I still want to hunt and kill and consume at least one deer in my lifetime.

I'd think an experience like the one in the study would give participants a greater appreciation for the creatures sacrifice. If that translates to eating less meat, well, these people aren't me.

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You should only eat pests or those that would eat you first.

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Alleviating suffering has little to nothing to do with the animal. It has everything to do with making the person doing the killing feel a bit better about taking a life. I don't want an animal to needlessly suffer because I'm not a psycho, but that doesn't make the animal feel any better. It's still dead. Plus, it ruins the flavor of the meat. It's best if they go quickly and peacefully.

I've had dreams of being a deer, but I still want to hunt and kill and consume at least one deer in my lifetime.

I'd think an experience like the one in the study would give participants a greater appreciation for the creatures sacrifice. If that translates to eating less meat, well, these people aren't me.

Rodents are disease ridden. Carnivores taste horrible -- or so I've been told.

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Look, if we weren't meant to eat animals, they wouldn't have evolved to be delicious

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If I knew how a cow felt when being bred and led to slaughter, I would not eat less meat. I would eat less cow and make up for that lack with other meats.

I still would not know how the other animals feel.

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Alleviating suffering has little to nothing to do with the animal.

The animals would disagree with you.

It has everything to do with making the person doing the killing feel a bit better about taking a life.

Not so. Some people cannot act otherwise. The same impusle compels people to jump into rivers to save human strangers without even thinking.

I don't want an animal to needlessly suffer because I'm not a psycho, but that doesn't make the animal feel any better. It's still dead.

There's a difference between euthanasia and torture, you just said so, but then you claimed it didn't matter. Maybe I'm not following you here.

Plus, it ruins the flavor of the meat.

Other cultures (asian) would say the opposite. Even in Britain bull baiting (with dogs) was seen as a way to increase the flavour.

It's best if they go quickly and peacefully.

But meat consumption is not necessary to a healthy body, so it is thus cruel.

Rodents are disease ridden. Carnivores taste horrible -- or so I've been told.

Well, millions of consumers in Asia must think cats and dogs taste yummy because they eat a lot of them.

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Look, if we weren't meant to eat animals, they wouldn't have evolved to be delicious

Surely you jest. We've bred cattle so that the females have udders so big they can barely walk, so we can have all the milk we want. Evolution has nothing to do with it.

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I think it is true; we evolved as omnivores, which includes meat. That doesn't mean anything other than that meat tastes good. We can still abstain if it offends our moral scruples or if our doctor tells us to.

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