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Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

This forum is set aside for the BHA Humanist Vegetarian Group. All of Think Humanism's registered users are welcome to participate. If you wish to receive news and announcements from this group, please register with the HVG user group. See instructions near the top of the HVG forum.

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gregory
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#101 Post by gregory » February 10th, 2008, 12:54 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Well, when I referred to vast amounts of land loss I was meaning the Amozon rain forest of course and it may or may not be true that humans are using it up a bit fast and that higher primates (not as high up as we are) are losing their lives. I may be wrong here.

What I would like to say is that both the ecological arguments and the vegetarian one are both worth considering and that either view does indicate that we are trying in our own way and that is why we use the vegetarian forum to discuss these things.

Hopefully while we can't agree totally about our viewpoint we can maybe come to an understanding and find our differences useful to go forward with this problem.

The veggies can maybe eat more local food and the ecologists can eat their home grown organic which contributes to keeping overseas animals being used less perhaps especially endangered ones and maybe we will not be ruining eco-systems quite so much.

I am sorry if I express myself clumsily but I feel that there has been a bit of a breakdown in our once reasonably nice forum.

If I have contributed to this I apologise.

I hope we start to get on better again.

I am away to have something to eat so my mood will become mellow. I hope I am only eating what I need.

We do not want to live in a world without animals I do not think. How to go about this is debateable but I do not think we should criticise each other for our different ways of doing it.

I hope our next subject will be more enjoyable and I hope the gardening goes well for those who do it.

Moose was starting to garden for herself so all the best Moose.

Hope you all have a good Imbolc (which is the Celtic festival of ewes milk. I know someone who has just had lambs so there seems to be some truth in it.)

Also Vegetarian Humanists have been trying to solve the problem of halal meat so please do not say we haven't - I think I read that right that you didn't think we had.

We could all have a good meal and a rest if we can and maybe talk about the lovely snowdrops and the milder weather.

There was a proposal from BHA for a Green group but it didn't get off the ground as far as i know.

If we had a Green group too we could try to resolve the problems and if we can't we will just have to learn to live side by side.

As I said separate groups are for support and interest and I would like a Green group too.

If some problems are solvable then we will just have to accept that but I still think we shuld respect each others reasons more.
There'll be blue birds over
The white cliffs of Dover

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jaywhat
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#102 Post by jaywhat » February 10th, 2008, 3:46 pm

You buggers are at it again - mentioning no names of course.
You know, I think one of the problems is the title of this thread. It is an aggressive start point. The ideological gets the meat-eaters backs up and the idea that you have to be veggie to be humanist is a bit strong. What is humanist vegetarianism anyway? What is humanist socialism?
What might admin think about this?

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#103 Post by Edward Hawkins » February 10th, 2008, 7:03 pm

jaywhat wrote:You buggers are at it again
You seem to be a rather aggressive pussy. Perhaps you've been eating too much meat.


:pointlaugh:

Nick
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#104 Post by Nick » February 10th, 2008, 11:11 pm

gregory wrote: I am sorry if I express myself clumsily but I feel that there has been a bit of a breakdown in our once reasonably nice forum.

If I have contributed to this I apologise.
Absolutely not required G, and I don't mean that ironically. :kiss:

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#105 Post by Maria Mac » February 10th, 2008, 11:38 pm

jaywhat wrote:You buggers are at it again - mentioning no names of course.
You know, I think one of the problems is the title of this thread. It is an aggressive start point. The ideological gets the meat-eaters backs up and the idea that you have to be veggie to be humanist is a bit strong. What is humanist vegetarianism anyway? What is humanist socialism?
What might admin think about this?
gregory wrote: I am sorry if I express myself clumsily but I feel that there has been a bit of a breakdown in our once reasonably nice forum.

If I have contributed to this I apologise.
I don't find it particularly surprising that people should get irate during lengthy discussions about questions they feel strongly about. I haven't seen any post or language that could be described as uncivil and I don't agree there's been "a bit of a breakdown". So I can only suggest that anyone who finds this thread unpleasant to read stops reading it. :shrug:

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#106 Post by clayto » February 11th, 2008, 4:09 pm

Gregory ----- the proposal for a BHA Green Group was for a Green PartyGroup. I expressed my reservations to BHA Membership Officer and on the BHA Forum to the name because I thought it would cause confusion and even annoyance to Party supporters like Green Liberal Democrats (a organisation which exists) and the Green wings of Conservatives and Labour. And because it might then make it difficult to set up a genuine non-Party green / environmentalist group which I think could be very worthwhile. I did not object to a Humanist Green Party Group as such although I am a member of another Party which is in competition with them, as I support the idea of the BHA recruiting support through a wide variety of special interest groups, I believe in diversity (with all its disagreements) rather than a false unity brought about by narrow uniformity. I corresponded for a while with the Green (Party) Group organiser expressing support for what he was trying to do. My impression at the moment is the Group was set up but so far has not flourished (unlike some other Party Groups, the Science Group and HVG).

Chris
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Re:

#107 Post by Rami » August 13th, 2008, 9:44 am

"tubataxidriver"]Peter Singer covers the religio-social history of vegetarianism well, but states:
If animals have rights, ...
and much of his approach and argument is based around this issue. This is key for me, because I consider that, in the absence of an absolute moral / religious code, organisms (humans included) have no rights ab initio. Organisms only have those rights that society collectively chooses to assign to them.
Yes. But are these rights purely arbitrary? Or is there a reasoning behind them? And is there a logical coherence that connects them? I think there is.
Hence society currently outlaws bear baiting and cruelty to domestic animals, but permits some animal experimentation and meat eating.
Yes. Why? Because clearly bear baiting and cruelty to domestic animals is seen as unnecessary, and therefore unjustified. However, animal experimentation and meat eating is, at this point of our social discourse, seen as necessary. I, a vegan, say that animal products are entirely unnecessary for our survival and well-being.
Singer's argument in favour of mass vegetarianism on the grounds of cruelty to animals falls away if most of society does not assign such rights to animals, and carries on eating meat.
But, again, let us not pretend that this assignment of rights is merely willy-nilly. There is a reason human societies do not assign rights to animals. That reason is speciesism. It is a prejudice, not grounded in reason. I am not saying that all animals ought to be assigned rights equivalent to human rights, but I think it is unreasonable to deny rights to all animals based solely on the fact that they are not human.
All cultural adoptions of vegetarianism appear to me to have a historic basis in some aspect of supernatural religion, and hence can be discounted.


Only if religion were the reason for their vegetarianism. As I am sure most of us have observed, religions often serve as convenient justifications for people's needs, desires or agendas. So, it is quite possible, indeed likely, that the Jains, for example, became vegetarians for some actual reason and then codified this lifestyle in their religion.
However, on an individual basis vegetarianism is a valid position to hold and lifestyle to adopt if you personally assign such rights to animals.
I am not OK with this statement. It makes it seem like it is a mere matter of taste. Assigning rights to beings, deciding who is entitled to life and freedom and who is not cannot be arbitrary; it must be reasonable, especially for us, humanists and rationalists - in the 21st century. Why is it that we assign rights to humans? What is the criterion? Genetics? Intelligence? Sentience? Gender? Social class? Wealth? Race? Pedigree? (this is especially effective if with each subsequent question the reader's intonation rises a bit, a-la-Stewie :laughter: ) Clearly most of us on this board would agree that gender, social class, wealth, race and pedigree are not the criteria by which we determine human rights. So what is it then? Genetics? No. A fetus does not have the same rights as a human being (nor should it). A single human cell does not have the same rights either. Intelligence? No. We do not take human rights away from stupid people or people whose brains have been damaged. Sentience? I think if anything, this is it. If a person is sentient - if it has the ability to feel - it is entitled to human rights. A person whose brain is damaged to the point where s/he is no longer aware and no longer capable of feeling anything is no longer a person.

So, if sentience is the relevant factor, then on what basis is it that we withhold rights from sentient animals? I'll tell you - speciesism. The prejudice on the basis of the fact that animals are not humans.
Is this nonsense or do people agree?
You ask some good questions. Thanks for engaging in this dialogue.

Rami

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Re:

#108 Post by Rami » August 13th, 2008, 9:55 am

"Alan C."]I've said this before, but I'll repeat it here.
There is no way either myself or my wife, would condone cruelty to any animal, but we do eat meat.
We buy pork from Yell (an island north of us) We buy beef from Orkney and Shetland, and of course we get Shetland lamb and mutton (given by friends and neighbors) On the rare occasion we buy chicken, we buy Scottish free range chicken.

We are able to see for ourselves the way these animals are kept, this is not factory farming for maximum profit, these are crofters making a very modest living the only way they can (the land and terrain here is no good for growing crops) Shetland folk on the whole, are very big on animal welfare, their livelihood depends on it, come up here and you'll see every little croft house has huge sheds adjacent, so the animals can be taken in for winter, hell! you only have to go back 40 or 50 years, and they were still keeping livestock in the house for winter.

I am total opposed to "factory farming" And would never buy meat from a supermarket. But I am quite happy to eat the meat (and fish) that we do, and no; we don't buy farmed Salmon or Cod either.
Alan, while I do commend your effort to make conscientious choices, eating meat IS condoning cruelty. Killing an animal IS cruelty to the animal. No matter how swiftly it is done, it is still an action that deliberately harms an animal. It is an action that deprives an innocent animal from its life. If the animal were a predator that was threatening your life, by all means, kill it. If you were starving to death and were desparate for food, by all means, kill it and eat it. But when such killing is unnecessary for one's survival and wellbeing, I consider such killing to be unjustified. Yes, it's wayyyy better than factory farming, but it is still cruelty to animals. And more to the point, it is unnecessary cruelty to the animals.

I know I am new here, and I don't mean to be ruffling any feathers so early on, but I did feel that I needed to interject and object. :D

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Re:

#109 Post by Rami » August 13th, 2008, 10:13 am

"Nick"] I am, however, a tad concerned that humanism may become linked in the minds of the general public (whom in my experience, tend not to have thought things through) with a bunch of nutters (pun, not insult, intended) as they may see them.


I don't know how to take that except as an insult, Nick. I am a vegan who believes that to deliberately cause the unnecessary suffering of a sentient being is unjustified. If that makes me a "nutter", so be it. I think it makes me reasonable.

By the way, please know that not much offends me. I would much rather enjoy honest, direct conversation, than have people tip-toe around my perceived sensibilities. So, please do not think I was put off by your words. And I hope you do not feel that I am being hostile.

Also, a-propos the idea of a link between vegetarianism and humanism. Until recently I posted on a vegan board. According to one of the polls conducted there, almost exactly 50% of the posters (only vegans were allowed to post there) were atheists/agnostics. Some were spiritual in some vague sense... Surprisingly few were followers of the traditional religions.

So, I wonder if a link between vegetarianism and humanism does in fact exist. I wonder what percentage of humanists are also vegetarians/vegans. I bet you the percentage is higher than in the general population.
And on the whole, veggies have attempted to apply reason more than most.
I appreciate your saying that. It was reason that led me to veganism.

Rami

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Re:

#110 Post by Rami » August 13th, 2008, 10:23 am

Nick wrote:The most famous veggie restaurant I know is called 'Cranks', and very successfully it has been too. If I were to open another, or maybe a vegan restaurant, I think I'd call it 'Nutters'.

As one who continues to accept with a smile and a shrug the jocular Werewolf, Grizzly Adams, Santa, Father Christmas, Missing Link, Beardy Weardy, Messiah, Old Nick, Father Time, Bluebeard, Old English Sheepdog Kenny Rogers etc etc, I wonder if you are being a little thin skinned.

We (or at least I) have regularly called christians 'bonkers'. Football fans are described as football mad, or football crazy. In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it's the greatest crime to call veggies 'nutters', and scarcely a "destructive weapon" especially when it was used to demonstrate succinctly the precise point I was trying to make.

I am disappointed you feel you can't be humanist without being vegetarian, and concerned that you are hitching your wagon to other peoples horses. But we are not going to agree on that point. Let's hope I'm wrong.
Hi Nick,

I see I was not the only one who noticed your use of "nutters." I am not offended by it, though I do think it was intended as a put-down. And it is the reason for this perception that bothers me. I am troubled that vegans are viewed as extremists, as radicals, as kooks. It bugs me that we are viewed as odd little people who are bleeding-heart treehuggers and just want to sit very still lest they disturb nature. That's all. No hurt feelings at all. It's just that your use of that word reminded me of how we are perceived by so many who know so little about who we are and why we are vegans.

Sorry I jumped you there...

Rami

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Re:

#111 Post by Rami » August 13th, 2008, 10:38 am

"I Am That I Am"]It's a pretty weird experience for me; I am so familiar with the arguments put forward by vegans because I used to dish them out myself. Now that I'm no longer vegetarian I can view these arguments and moral perspectives from a more objective angle. The vegan arguments / morality do definitely have a tendency to provoke and ruffle non-vegetarians and it's really not surprising. It's a direct criticism of them and a very different way of thinking. When I was a vegan, despite my best efforts to convince myself that I was not being judgmental of meat eaters, in truth I actually was; my lifestyle was a living criticism of the culture I'd been raised in. I believed I was morally superior to people who chose to eat meat. From my own experience I can only guess how other vegans think about this and I can't claim to know that most ethical vegan feels superior, morally, to people who eat meat (and eat dairy foods, etc) but I strongly suspect it!
Guilty as charged. I became a vegan for ethical reasons alone. I am a vegan because I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the most ethical one. I believe that the choices I make are ethically superior to the choices made by vegetarians and omnivores. I am not saying that I am ethically superior. I don't really think "ethical" can be a human trait; rather actions can be described as ethical or unethical. But yes, in general, that's me. I have no intention of forcing anyone not to eat meat or to live a vegan lifestyle, but I am judgmental of those who are non-vegan. How could I not? It was ethics that led me to veganism. I am not going to pretend that for me it's a matter of "to each his own." It isn't. Deliberately causing unnecessary suffering of sentient beings is something I view as unethical. If you are engaged in any such activities, please know that I am constantly frowning upon you. ;-(
I must point out that I believe vegans and vegetarians do mean well. They are not motivated by a mean-spirited superiority, and they really are personally distressed by the cruelties they are aware of; cruelties that aren't really a necessary part of life for many of us - but within the framework of our established culture they are unavoidable (the fact they aren't necessary is probably what makes them cruel - for instance, Alan, as the Inuit culture bases its eating habits on what is available in the harsh environment they live in, it would be meaningless to talk about their hunting practices being cruel as they have no viable alternatives).
Very well said indeed.
Even so, I now believe that a vegan lifestyle is not necessarily the answer (which I think I partially explained in a previous post in the Veggie group forum.)
The answer? To what? What was the question? :smile:

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#112 Post by Alan C. » August 14th, 2008, 10:20 pm

Rami
Guilty as charged. I became a vegan for ethical reasons alone. I am a vegan because I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the most ethical one. I believe that the choices I make are ethically superior to the choices made by vegetarians and omnivores.
Rami, that one word says it all choices some folk don't have the choices you have, would you deny them food?

Do you think it's wrong for a lion to kill a zebra? Do you think it's wrong for an Orca to kill a seal? We are all just animals, trying to survive, and the fact is, the human animal is the only animal that kills it's prey humanely (well apart from the Muslims and the Jews :smile: )
If you would find the time to read all the threads in this section (a pain, I know) you would see that most, if not all your points, have already been discussed.
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#113 Post by LilacHamster » August 14th, 2008, 10:37 pm

Alan in many regular slaughterhouses animals are not killed without suffering, in practice there is little difference between regular slaughter and ritual slaughter because the slaughtermen rush the job and often do not stun the animals properly before cutting their throats. There have been many undercover investigations that show this. I'm sure you would not knowingly eat meat from an animal that has been ritually slaughtered, but just because stunning is supposed to be done in most slaughter does not mean it is always done effectively. The only way you can be really sure of how the animal died is if you only eat meat from animals you kill for yourself, or would you dispute this?

We are of course animals, but we are also able to empathise with our "prey" and think of alternatives while those other omnivorous and carnivorous species do not have this capacity. I also would not judge those people living in parts of the world where eating some animals is a matter of survival but I assume most on this board are not in that situation.

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#114 Post by Alan C. » August 14th, 2008, 11:24 pm

LilacHamster
Alan in many regular slaughterhouses animals are not killed without suffering, in practice there is little difference between regular slaughter and ritual slaughter because the slaughtermen rush the job and often do not stun the animals properly before cutting their throats.
LilacHamster, you have been asked in other threads, to provide "backup" for what you assert.
Please show me where slaughtermen have rushed the job and often not stuned the animals properly before cutting their throats. Thanks.
Assertions need evidence.
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Re: Re:

#115 Post by Nick » August 14th, 2008, 11:33 pm

Rami wrote:I see I was not the only one who noticed your use of "nutters."
Well, Rami, if you care to read through these veggie threads, as you have been doing, you will readily see that Clayto frequently misunderstands what I am trying to say, so I wouldn't find any support in that quarter. :)
I am not offended by it,
Good, as no offence was intended in any way.
though I do think it was intended as a put-down.
In which case you thought 100% wrong.
And it is the reason for this perception that bothers me. I am troubled that vegans are viewed as extremists, as radicals, as kooks. It bugs me that we are viewed as odd little people who are bleeding-heart treehuggers and just want to sit very still lest they disturb nature. That's all. No hurt feelings at all. It's just that your use of that word reminded me of how we are perceived by so many who know so little about who we are and why we are vegans.
no time to comment right now, (honestly!)
Sorry I jumped you there...
Apologies not required

Kind regards

Nick

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#116 Post by Rami » August 15th, 2008, 10:25 am

"Alan C."]
Rami
Guilty as charged. I became a vegan for ethical reasons alone. I am a vegan because I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the most ethical one. I believe that the choices I make are ethically superior to the choices made by vegetarians and omnivores.
Rami, that one word says it all choices some folk don't have the choices you have, would you deny them food?
Of course not. When it is a matter of survival or well-being, by all means, one should do whatever one needs to. But I doubt that any of us on this forum lack the choices I do.
Do you think it's wrong for a lion to kill a zebra? Do you think it's wrong for an Orca to kill a seal?
Of course not. For one thing, animals do not have ethics. But even if they did, carnivores have no real choice. They MUST eat meat in order to survive and be well. We do not. We have a choice. And I would prefer that this choice be ethical.
We are all just animals, trying to survive,
But Alan C, you are not asserting that our eating of meat is a matter of survival, are you? We do not need meat in order to survive. Frankly, we are more likely to survive and enjoy good health if we don't eat meat. So, survival is not an issue for most of us who live in the "developed" world.
and the fact is, the human animal is the only animal that kills it's prey humanely (well apart from the Muslims and the Jews :smile: )
Sometimes the killing is done "humanely", sometimes it is not. And we are the only species that imprisons, enslaves and tortures its "prey". I know what you are trying to say, but that does not make it better, Alan C. The bottom line is, if the harm is unnecessary for our survival and well-being, then it is unjustified.

Yes, we are "just animals." But that does not mean that we should behave as "just animals." Animals do not have ethics. We do. We have a choice. After all, ducks practice what we humans would call "gang rape". Have you seen them? It's pretty disturbing, actually. But it's "natural". Should we, then, follow suit, and argue "we are just animals, trying to spread our seed and pass our genes on to the next generation"? I don't think so. We are animals that have ethics, ethics, according to which gang rape is unethical. Likewise, unnecessary harm is unjustified. How can it be otherwise?
If you would find the time to read all the threads in this section (a pain, I know) you would see that most, if not all your points, have already been discussed.
Oh, man... You are going to make me do homework?.. Thanks for responding, Alan C.

By the way, a little aside. A few years ago we went to see a one-woman "play" called "Late Night Cathechism" in which a nun is teaching a class. The audience is the class. The night I went, the nun called on some guy in the audience and asked him what his name was. He said "Alan." The nun said "That's a pagan name, isn't it???" The guy was kind of embarrassed... The nun said disapprovingly "I don't recall there being a Saint Alan". Oh, it was a hoot. You had to be there, I guess. Anyway, ever since then, every time I hear the name "Alan", I think to myself "That's a pagan name, isn't it?" hahaha!

So, when was the last time you heard the name Rami? :smile:

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#117 Post by Rami » August 15th, 2008, 10:35 am

Alan C. wrote:
LilacHamster
Alan in many regular slaughterhouses animals are not killed without suffering, in practice there is little difference between regular slaughter and ritual slaughter because the slaughtermen rush the job and often do not stun the animals properly before cutting their throats.
LilacHamster, you have been asked in other threads, to provide "backup" for what you assert.
Please show me where slaughtermen have rushed the job and often not stuned the animals properly before cutting their throats. Thanks.
Assertions need evidence.
I agree that assertions need evidence. Just a few months ago there was a big crack-down on a local California slaughterhouse. There was an undercover investigation that revealed some pretty disturbing animal abuse. "Inhumane" is probably too soft a word for it, "sadistic" is more like it. If I were not lazy and if it were not 2:30 AM< I'd probably google it all and I'd post a link... But there is plenty of information on the Internet about this. There are some disturbing videos on youtube as well...

But besides the issue of how an animal is killed, there still remains the fact that for those of us who live in the "developed" world, animals do not have to be killed in order for us to survive. And then there is the issue of animal rights. Why is it not OK to kill a human animal and eat their flesh, yet it is acceptable to kill an animal of a different species? Speciesism is the only answer. And we, enlightened individuals that we are, do not support our arguments with prejudices.

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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#118 Post by LilacHamster » August 15th, 2008, 11:31 am

Alan here is one clip which is probably of the case in California which Rami has mentioned, not of the actual slaughter itself but the abuse of downed cows prior to the killing,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWmAJlwLnQI

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Re: Re:

#119 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » August 15th, 2008, 12:06 pm

Rami wrote:I became a vegan for ethical reasons alone. I am a vegan because I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the most ethical one. I believe that the choices I make are ethically superior to the choices made by vegetarians and omnivores. I am not saying that I am ethically superior. I don't really think "ethical" can be a human trait; rather actions can be described as ethical or unethical. But yes, in general, that's me. I have no intention of forcing anyone not to eat meat or to live a vegan lifestyle, but I am judgmental of those who are non-vegan. How could I not? It was ethics that led me to veganism. I am not going to pretend that for me it's a matter of "to each his own." It isn't. Deliberately causing unnecessary suffering of sentient beings is something I view as unethical. If you are engaged in any such activities, please know that I am constantly frowning upon you. ;-(
Hmmm. We're getting into very difficult territory here. And I confess that it's an issue I've spent most of my adult life avoiding. I don't have any vegan friends. My mother, sister and nieces are, and my father was, lacto-ovo-vegetarian. And all the other people I love are meat- and/or fish-eaters. I have never told any of them that I think they're behaving unethically. But that's not just to avoid hurting their feelings. It's also because I don't think it's a fair judgement.

I became a vegan for ethical reason, yes, but also because I could. I didn't like eggs particularly, and I couldn't stand milk. So all I was really giving up was cheese. I've had the time and money and inclination to do a fair bit of research on vegan nutrition (though I'm by no means up-to-date these days). I live in London, where access to a wide range of vegan foods is particularly easy. I like cooking. And I don't have a particularly busy social life that involves eating a lot in restaurants or at other people's houses. I feel pretty confident that I don't need to eat animal foods to stay healthy, and to live a satisfying life. I'm the one to judge that. Not anyone else. And I'm not prepared to judge other people, and say that they don't need to eat animal foods to stay healthy, and live a satisfying life. Not even my own partner. So I suppose for me it is a matter of 'to each his own'.

My lifestyle isn't simply a 'vegan lifestyle'. The choices I make are not just about what I eat or drink or wear or use. For example, I give a small proportion of my (small) income to charities. I could give more. I spend some of my money on frivolous things, like CDs and (vegan) lipstick [---][/---] things that are not necessary. If I gave everything I don't actually need (to stay alive and healthy) to charity, then I could be doing more to help alleviate unnecessary suffering. And maybe I should. But that has to be my decision. And if I did that (and I confess that it isn't likely) then I certainly wouldn't frown on other people who didn't. People have to make their own judgements about what a satisfying life is, and what they need to achieve it. We might not approve of those judgements, and in certain cases we might even voice our disapproval. But I don't think not-being-vegan is one of those cases. I am happy to encourage people to be vegan if it's something they want to do, and I'm also happy to inform people about the way certain animal foods are produced, if they don't know already, but what I don't want to do is try to shame people into becoming vegan [---][/---] especially if it's something that would be very difficult for them, physically, socially or economically. Apart from anything else, I just don't think it works! :D

Emma

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Alan C.
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#120 Post by Alan C. » August 15th, 2008, 11:59 pm

I became a vegan for ethical reasons alone. I am a vegan because I believe that the vegan lifestyle is the most ethical one.
Belief without evidence can be a dangerous thing.
I believe that the choices I make are ethically superior to the choices made by vegetarians and omnivores. I am not saying that I am ethically superior.
Of course you are.
I am judgmental of those who are non-vegan. How could I not? It was ethics that led me to veganism. I am not going to pretend that for me it's a matter of "to each his own." It isn't.
Now you are sounding "evangelical" and that will win you no friends.
Deliberately causing unnecessary suffering of sentient beings is something I view as unethical. If you are engaged in any such activities, please know that I am constantly frowning upon you. ;-(
And you Know that I Deliberately cause unnecessary suffering of sentient beings? I take spiders out of the bath and set them outside, I apologize to worms when I (unavoidably) cut one in half, while digging the garden, I even went so far as to research the myth that each half of the worm, becomes a new worm, it doesn't, the head half lives and the tail half dies.

So don't you come here preaching to me about animal welfare, or "frowning" on me because I choose to eat meat.

Rami, I would suggest you read through the threads in this vegetarianism section of the forum, and then come back, I am not prepared to go over all the same arguments that I've had with others already.
Read the debates, and if you have anything new to add, we'll discuss it.

Please try to answer the question below, and not just change the subject (as others have done)

If you remove all the food animals from the land that can't support crop growing, and you remove all the seafood provided by the seas and oceans that can't provide alternative crops, from the food chain, what are you going to replace it with? What?
It's all very well wishing for a vegetarian world, but in reality, half the population would starve to death.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Ideological basis for humanist vegetarianism?

#121 Post by Emma Woolgatherer » August 16th, 2008, 2:19 am

Alan C. wrote:Please try to answer the question below, and not just change the subject (as others have done)

If you remove all the food animals from the land that can't support crop growing, and you remove all the seafood provided by the seas and oceans that can't provide alternative crops, from the food chain, what are you going to replace it with? What?
It's all very well wishing for a vegetarian world, but in reality, half the population would starve to death.
I know this was directed at Rami, but the comment "as others have done" is hard to ignore, and I'm rolling up my sleeves now. I apologise if I've avoided answering this question before. Perhaps I assumed that, as I'm not advocating global veganism or vegetarianism, I didn't have to. If I ever "wish for" a vegan world, it's a world so far into the future that it's impossible to predict what the circumstances will be, what the population will be, what the climate will be, what habitats and ecosystems will still exist. I also didn't understand what you meant by "remove from the food chain". I still don't, really. Vegetarians are never going to be responsible for removing all the fish and shellfish from the oceans. They'd still be there, as part of the food chain [---][/---] as I understand the term. They wouldn't need to be replaced. The global fishing industry, on the other hand, may very well, if it's not careful, end up removing a number of entire species of fish and shellfish from the oceans, and then there really would be a gap in the food chain, with who knows what consequences. So if you're asking what humans would replace fish with in their diet, I think that's a much broader question, and should not just be directed at vegetarians and vegans. In any case, fish counts for just 16% of the animal protein in the diets of human beings worldwide, and only 10% in Western Europe and 7% in North America. (In Africa and Asia, of course, there is currently a much greater dependence on fish. And there are also serious problems of overfishing. See, for example, "West Africa: Overfishing Linked to Food Crisis, Migration".)

If humans (gradually) stopped breeding livestock for food, and therefore (gradually) stopped growing feed for livestock, that would free up a lot of land that can be used for growing crops for direct human consumption. This is not "changing the subject"; it's relevant. In large countries like Brazil, China, Russia, Mexico and the US, in particular, vast areas of land are used for growing soya, maize, cottonseed, sorghum, alfalfa, etc. that are fed to cattle and other livestock. And since those animals are inefficient food converters (in the US, the feed-to-meat ratio for farm animals as a whole has been estimated at 6.2 to 1), the land freed up will produce much more food for humans than it currently does. (Food that's deemed not fit for human consumption that is currently fed to animals could be used for other useful purposes, such as biofuels.) According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, grazing occupies 26 per cent of the Earth's terrestrial surface, and feed-crop production requires about a third of all arable land (Science Daily). Livestock rearing has led to widespread soil erosion, desertification and deforestation in many parts of the world. So the proportion of land suitable for growing crops (including trees) is declining because of livestock production. And the problem is growing. As the demand for meat increases, in countries like China and India, the more land will be used to produce it. If we reverse that demand, if we stop rearing livestock on the huge scale that we currently do, we'll have more food for human beings, not less, as well as more habitats for wild animals, more biodiversity. Yes, it is true that we would have even more food if we continued to graze animals on land that's not suitable for crops. But if we've changed land use elsewhere as a consequence of widespread vegetarianism, we won't need that extra food. There's no reason to assume that anyone will starve [---][/---] let alone half the population [---][/---] simply because we've stopped grazing animals and allow land that's unsuitable for crops to recover slowly, and perhaps eventually revert to forest (which is itself a valuable economic, social and environmental resource for people and other animals in many parts of the world). In fact, it strikes me that an increased demand for meat in the growing economies, and therefore for grazing land and land for growing fodder crops, is far more likely to lead to the increased displacement and impoverishment and starvation of people in many parts of the world.

So tell me, Alan. Why do you think that "wishing for" a vegetarian or vegan world is more irresponsible than "wishing for" a world where meat is consumed [---][/---] on the scale it is today in Scotland, say, but extrapolated to the whole world? Because that's where we seem to be heading, and it's going to need some pretty clever wizardry to solve that one. And I haven't even mentioned climate change ... (Where's a "flounce" smiley when you need one!)

Emma

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