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bun-u
05-12-2005, 10:39 PM
Some people think that eating meat is similar to child abuse...other see vegetarianism as misplaced empathy.

I'm with the latter, but wouldn't mind hearing some views...?

martin
05-12-2005, 10:56 PM
Well, some people are vegetarians because of religious reasons, or because they don't want to up their chances of falling prey to e-coli or colonic cancer or CJD - they don't particularly care about 'animal welfare' nor do it solely out of empathy. But I think this whole concept of veggies and vegans screaming 'Murderers!' at us bacon fans is a bit of a cliche' - I've only come across one person like that, and she occasionally ate fish anyway, the hypocrite.

If you're talking hardcore ALF types, well, good luck, that's another planet altogether

infinite thought
05-12-2005, 11:38 PM
I hate animals, they're disgusting...wouldn't want them anywhere near me...

this is the only good reason for being vegetarian :D

Omaar
06-12-2005, 08:54 AM
This discussion should definitely incorporate the expression 'subconscious abbatoir' at some point - ted hughes?

I'm vegetarian cos I wouldn't kill an animal myself, and thus wouldn't expect someone else to kill one for me in order that I might eat it.

There are environmental reasons too (animal vs vegetable protein production), although soy production is destroying the amazon at the moment apparently.

tryptych
06-12-2005, 04:11 PM
^ A friend of a friend used to keep both regular and soy milk in the house. She would offer guests the choice of "cow pus" (apparently some statistic about sores on udders in mass-milk production leading to % of pus in milk) or "monoculture environmental destruction"....

Jezmi
06-12-2005, 04:45 PM
If someone doens't eat meat because of the ways of agriculture, I fully understand.
I try to get in animal protein with every meal, but boy is there a difference between the cheapest stuff and free-range meat. It's all about what your putting through your body, and meat from mass-production isn't even a natural substance anymore.
However, if someone doesn't eat meat because it's cruel.....well, i think thats a bit fuzzy and let's have peace for everyone, happy, happy, haaaaaaappy


Ono last thing: if you get your cologn cleansed, the largest part of what comes loose is old meat -- meaning that you probably still have a bit of those spare-ribs you got for your 11th birthday dinner...... which would mean it's (your age minus 11) years old

dogger
06-12-2005, 06:17 PM
^ A friend of a friend used to keep both regular and soy milk in the house. She would offer guests the choice of "cow pus" (apparently some statistic about sores on udders in mass-milk production leading to % of pus in milk) or "monoculture environmental destruction"....

Arf. :D No contest there tho: it has to be the cow pus. If there is such a thing as liquid cardboard, I'm sure it tastes like soya milk.

Paqamaq
07-12-2005, 12:22 PM
Arf. :D No contest there tho: it has to be the cow pus. If there is such a thing as liquid cardboard, I'm sure it tastes like soya milk.


There is, and it does.

bassnation
07-12-2005, 12:34 PM
Well, some people are vegetarians because of religious reasons, or because they don't want to up their chances of falling prey to e-coli or colonic cancer or CJD - they don't particularly care about 'animal welfare' nor do it solely out of empathy. But I think this whole concept of veggies and vegans screaming 'Murderers!' at us bacon fans is a bit of a cliche' - I've only come across one person like that, and she occasionally ate fish anyway, the hypocrite.

there are lots of veggies and vegans who care about animal welfare, or empathise with chimps having their brains operated on without anaesthetic.

are we really so post-modern that the only valid reason for caring are selfish ones? (e.g. how does this food affect *me*?)

and its possible to care without being self-righteous or jumping down peoples throats. i was a veggie for a long time, and to be perfectly honest it was more the other way round - meat eaters shoving a bacon sarnie in your face, saying "go on, you want some really" when you might not have even expressed an opinion.

its an individual choice and people do it for many reasons, all of them valid. we can survive without meat and some people don't want it on their conscience. however, theres just as many reasons to carry on eating it - maybe we should have mutual respect for each others opinions.

Omaar
07-12-2005, 12:50 PM
Personally I've never liked cow milk, and am fairly ambivalent about soy although I did have some pretty fantastic freshly grinded soy milk in China recently.

It's not at all 'fuzzy' (jezmi) to say that farming practices often involve cruelty being inflicted on animals; Battery farming of pigs, chickens, other species is pretty abominable by any standard really.

luka
07-12-2005, 01:02 PM
i'm vegetarian and i agree with what bassnation says.

labrat
07-12-2005, 01:48 PM
meat eaters shoving a bacon sarnie in your face, saying "go on, you want some really" .
I've seen this happen shitloads of times - sad geezerhumour
makes me ashamed to be a meat-eater










obv not THAT ashamed

martin
07-12-2005, 01:57 PM
are we really so post-modern that the only valid reason for caring are selfish ones? (e.g. how does this food affect *me*?)

That's hardly the point I was making, I was just trying to show it's not always about 'misplaced empathy'.

Jezmi
07-12-2005, 02:14 PM
Originally Posted by bassnation


are we really so post-modern that the only valid reason for caring are selfish ones? (e.g. how does this food affect *me*?)


That's hardly the point I was making, I was just trying to show it's not always about 'misplaced empathy'.

Isn't caring solely for onself the way used by most species of making sure the species survives, and therefor part of evolution?
And if that is the case wouldn't claiming that reason to be post-modern, be post-modern in itself? :confused: (thoughts are getting a tangled now)

bassnation
07-12-2005, 02:55 PM
obv not THAT ashamed

well, to be fair its best not to get too upset about these things anyway - ultimately they don't mean that much. :)

bassnation
07-12-2005, 03:01 PM
Isn't caring solely for onself the way used by most species of making sure the species survives, and therefor part of evolution? And if that is the case wouldn't claiming that reason to be post-modern, be post-modern in itself? :confused: (thoughts are getting a tangled now)

lol, me too!

theres been a lot of research into altruism, previously a bit of a mystery to scientists who didn't understand how "unselfish" acts could benefit an individual.

you are correct in saying that even though a specific selfless act does not help the individual concerned, over an entire species or community it balances out. so i guess you are right.

this research overturned social darwinism (using "survival of the fittest" to justify right wing ideologies about the poor deserving their lot) by proving that it doesn't really have roots in scientific fact.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/altruism-biological/

bassnation
07-12-2005, 03:03 PM
That's hardly the point I was making, I was just trying to show it's not always about 'misplaced empathy'.

fair enough. whether the empathy is misplaced is a relative judgement, and one i don't really agree with. not wanting uncessary suffering to be carried out in your name doesn't necessarily mean you become a misanthrope (although i reckon this applies to a large section of the more nutty ALF types)

infinite thought
07-12-2005, 03:06 PM
well, to be fair its best not to get too upset about these things anyway - ultimately they don't mean that much. :)

they might if it turns out hell is run by animals! then everyone who's ever eaten so much as a cocktail sausage will be forced to count grain for all eternity. or something.

I'm interested in apocalyptic vegetarianism. I genuinely suspect that if all animals got it together they could easily take us puny humans down - it might be better to hedge one's bets and not eat meat for this reason alone.

bassnation
07-12-2005, 03:10 PM
they might if it turns out hell is run by animals! then everyone who's ever eaten so much as a cocktail sausage will be forced to count grain for all eternity. or something.

I'm interested in apocalyptic vegetarianism. I genuinely suspect that if all animals got it together they could easily take us puny humans down - it might be better to hedge one's bets and not eat meat for this reason alone.

i read a dreadful pulp horror novel the other week which was a reinterpretation of george romeros zombie films. in this version the animals could be zombies too - cue loads of hitchcock-style attacks from huge clouds of zombie birds trying to claw peoples eyes out. if there is an animal hell, i reckon it will be like that - even though i've never eaten a sparrow in my whole life.

bun-u
07-12-2005, 03:44 PM
I find the different attitudes people towards animals quite fascinating – and this is why (while accepting that abstinence from meat can be done on health and religious grounds) I am interested in this notion of empathy. Why some people think that animals should have virtually the same “rights” as people? Why some people think that certain types of animals should have more rights that others? If the animals are not aware we are giving them rights, then surely these are ‘human rights’ for people who like (or can’t abide the mis-treatment of) animals? If most if not all human rights/ moral codes are based on some form of discernable payback or benefit to us as a species, then what are we getting back from helping animals? In banning fox-hunting are we saving defenceless foxes or outlawing the perverse enjoyment some individuals get out of it?

I have a (possibly strange) emotionless response to animals and I’m trying to figure that out in relation to other people responses.

bassnation
07-12-2005, 04:02 PM
I have a (possibly strange) emotionless response to animals and I’m trying to figure that out in relation to other people responses.

i don't think its that strange. people have to survive, resources have to be consumed from somewhere. if you don't care about it, then thats probably the way the majority feel.

there is a human rights connection in my opinion - but not so much trying to proscribe them for animals.

putting aside from the animals-as-utility argument (which i have sympathy with) its worth noting that people who torture animals (NOT referring to fox hunting here which is another discussion altogether) sometimes go on to become serial killers. our attitude towards other sentinent life reflects how we treat other human beings.

don't mean to sound pompous here, or self righteous. i'm not holding myself up as some saint like example, but it is something that interests me.

Jezmi
07-12-2005, 04:18 PM
Why some people think that animals should have virtually the same “rights” as people? Why some people think that certain types of animals should have more rights that others? If the animals are not aware we are giving them rights, then surely these are ‘human rights’ for people who like (or can’t abide the mis-treatment of) animals?

Isn't killing and eating other animal species, but treating own species differently the exact behaviour of the animal kingdom? And therefore doesnt everyone/thing/animal have the same rights? (and i'm limiting myself to being a vegeterian or not, leaving out mistreatment of animals)

infinite thought
07-12-2005, 04:34 PM
its worth noting that people who torture animals (NOT referring to fox hunting here which is another discussion altogether) sometimes go on to become serial killers.

ah, yes, but psychopaths also tend to have an extreme <i>affection</i> for animals...just look at Tony Soprano's love of ducks!

owen
07-12-2005, 04:38 PM
sleevenote to Rapeman's 'Two Nuns and a Pack Mule'-

'we don't hate vegetarians, we just think they're funny'

(i was a veggie for over a year, and to my shame what made me break it was corned beef hash...)

bun-u
07-12-2005, 04:38 PM
ah, yes, but psychopaths also tend to have an extreme <i>affection</i> for animals...just look at Tony Soprano's love of ducks!

You could also trot out the well-worn line about Hitler being a veggie

infinite thought
07-12-2005, 04:46 PM
but he wasn't really tho - his personal cook at some point stated his favourite meal was stuffed squab (pigeon): http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/hitler.html

But let's not get started on this!!!! No doubt the dark recesses of the interweb will turn up billions upon billions of contradictory statements...killer question briefly unearthed tho: If Hitler loved animals, "and especially dogs", then why did he test his suicide pills on Blondie, his cherished canine companion?

ho ho ho

bassnation
07-12-2005, 04:49 PM
You could also trot out the well-worn line about Hitler being a veggie

lol, but surely a mention of hitler on a discussion thread automatically loses the argument!

(even if it is a valid point)

owen
07-12-2005, 04:55 PM
what actually annoys me a little about vegetarianism is its assumption that you can somehow ethically opt out of an inherently brutal system- i.e, all of us in some way participate by proxy in destruction of forests, wear clothes made sweatshop conditions, buy stuff made in maquiladoras etc ad nauseam etc- i find it a bit of a leap to tolerate this and then draw the line at factory farming...

bassnation
07-12-2005, 04:58 PM
sleevenote to Rapeman's 'Two Nuns and a Pack Mule'-

'we don't hate vegetarians, we just think they're funny'

(i was a veggie for over a year, and to my shame what made me break it was corned beef hash...)

jesus, really? corned beef hash? :)

i went back to eating meat after 15 years of vegetarianism because i realised i didn't care in the same way that i did as a teenager about the issue.

for food, or other resources i think its fair game. the things i have a real problem with, still, are killing chimps or whales. too close for comfort, intelligence wise. i realise this is not entirely consistent, as moral frameworks go.

i've got a lot of mixed up sometimes contradictory emotions about meat eating.

don't you hate it when you can see both sides of an argument simultaenously?

tryptych
07-12-2005, 05:18 PM
I find the different attitudes people towards animals quite fascinating – and this is why (while accepting that abstinence from meat can be done on health and religious grounds) I am interested in this notion of empathy. Why some people think that animals should have virtually the same “rights” as people? Why some people think that certain types of animals should have more rights that others? If the animals are not aware we are giving them rights, then surely these are ‘human rights’ for people who like (or can’t abide the mis-treatment of) animals? If most if not all human rights/ moral codes are based on some form of discernable payback or benefit to us as a species, then what are we getting back from helping animals? In banning fox-hunting are we saving defenceless foxes or outlawing the perverse enjoyment some individuals get out of it?

I have a (possibly strange) emotionless response to animals and I’m trying to figure that out in relation to other people responses.

The empathy response is an interesting one. Empathy is currently a hot field of research in the cognitive/consciousness sciences, and there has been some interesting work that has shown that people will develop empathic relationships with decidedly non-sentient things (plants, inanimate objects..) if they are made to move artifically in a way that is suggestive of intelligent (human) behaviour, even though they are fully aware that such things are non-sentient.

Whether this could be used to suggest that all empathy with non-humans is, to an extent, misplaced, is a bone of contention.

I'll dig up some refs if people are interested.

dogger
08-12-2005, 12:29 AM
jesus, really? corned beef hash? :)

i went back to eating meat after 15 years of vegetarianism because i realised i didn't care in the same way that i did as a teenager about the issue.


Lol, so did I. Well, 8 years to be precise. I think one of the main things was that I was fed up eating cheese sandwiches. So I moved on to tuna sandwiches and felt much healthier. (Was living in a college room with no cooking facilities at the time.) Now I like rare steaks...



for food, or other resources i think its fair game. the things i have a real problem with, still, are killing chimps or whales. too close for comfort, intelligence wise. i realise this is not entirely consistent, as moral frameworks go.


Yeah. An attempt to come up with a consistent moral framework on this issue was made by Peter Singer. But some people really didn't like it. He basically concludes that we evaluate a creature's moral worth by its intelligence (ergo, its capacity to feel pain?). But this leads him to the conclusion that babies born with certain types of terminal conditions should be killed since morally, they are worth less than some animals. Controversial. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer

dogger
08-12-2005, 12:33 AM
Oh and before I forget, there's also a very convincing (in my opinion) argument for the moral validity of meat-eating in the introduction to the River Cottage Meat Book. :) Tho he does stress it should be from small organic producers. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall... I so agree with his views and yet I find him so *very* annoying...

DJ PIMP
08-12-2005, 02:24 AM
don't you hate it when you can see both sides of an argument simultaenously?Nope - contradiction/hypocrisy keeps me humble :)

To an extent...

Omaar
08-12-2005, 11:00 AM
what actually annoys me a little about vegetarianism is its assumption that you can somehow ethically opt out of an inherently brutal system- i.e, all of us in some way participate by proxy in destruction of forests, wear clothes made sweatshop conditions, buy stuff made in maquiladoras etc ad nauseam etc- i find it a bit of a leap to tolerate this and then draw the line at factory farming...

But not consuming battery farmed animals is something you can actually easily not to do, if only to ease your conscience. Its only a small action, but it's one you can very easily have control over. Opting out of Capitalism on every level is impossible.

Capitalism for me means making compromises all the time, but this is one aspect of my life where I can act according to what I believe.

er, what is/are maquiladoras?

Anyway, the animals will have their revenge one day. Has anyone read oryx and crake? fantastic.

I don't understand how anyone could argue that it's OK to keep an animal in a cage so small that it can't move for it's entire life. Even if you don't have any empathy for animals, surely this must strike you as being a particularly abominable practice?

owen
08-12-2005, 05:30 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maquiladora
obv not mentioned here is the near-slave labour conditions these things tend to have

my point was- what necessarily is the point of this particular ethical choice other than conscience-easing? when one is unaviodably embroiled in all manner of other horrors?

jasonh
08-12-2005, 05:49 PM
Anyway, the animals will have their revenge one day. Has anyone read oryx and crake? fantastic.

I don't understand how anyone could argue that it's OK to keep an animal in a cage so small that it can't move for it's entire life. Even if you don't have any empathy for animals, surely this must strike you as being a particularly abominable practice?

Yes - Oryx & Crake is a brilliant book, and a salutory warning of where we are going.

I remember an old 2000AD comic strip from years ago with a potato going back in time and executing people for eating chips. The potatoes had evolved after a nuclear war. Point being - can plants feel pain? Don't they contribute to an ecosystem? Aren't they farmed? I know its a bit of a belaboured point, and you may not be able to wholly equate plants and animals, but....

I have no issue with vegetarianism, and I believe animal welfare to be paramount. I would always try to buy organic local produce - again, you try to make the choices in a "capitalist" system that are less damaging and compromising, but you have to make a choice one way or the other.

Omaar
08-12-2005, 07:08 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maquiladora
obv not mentioned here is the near-slave labour conditions these things tend to have

my point was- what necessarily is the point of this particular ethical choice other than conscience-easing? when one is unaviodably embroiled in all manner of other horrors?

ah, tah for that.

Anyway, the issue goes back to some of things discsussed here, eh:

http://dissensus.com/showthread.php?t=697&highlight=ethical+consumer

Hmm, I guess it sort of depends on how you look at ethics. In one sense you might not eat meat so that you're not violating a particular principle (conscience easing - thou shalt not kill etc), but in another perhaps more existential way of looking at it you might look at the issue on a sort of case by case basis where every action has an ethical component to it, and in performing a particular action you may or may not be playing a part in a broader structure that you disagree with in terms of ethics. If you look at it in this way, the action is either completed or not completed not as a matter of conscience easing or in the hope of changing larger structures - looking at it on a micro level like this means you don't need to look at this action in the context of other ethical decisions.

er, I hope that made sense.

fldsfslmn
10-12-2005, 01:10 AM
I quit eating meat in order to migrate my overall consumer demographic and start receiving better quality junk mail.