• chatterbears
    168
    My objection was to the practicality, I didn't claim there weren't 100% vegan alternatives, I claimed that (for most I've seen) it was inpractical to obtain them. Perhaps they are easier to aquire where you live. Did you consider people living in countries that banned GMO? Are you aware that some supplements sold as vegan still contain substances of animal origin without this being mentioned on the product?Tomseltje

    Is it impractical to obtain plant-based products where you live? Because as i have stated before, every single person I have talked to, owns a computer. They also live near a grocery store, which sells fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. It is as simple as going down a different isle, nothing more. And yes, I acknowledge that some places have it harder to achieve a plant-based diet, but everyone I have talked to does not. So to refer to other places is a deflection, as I want to know why YOU have not changed your diet.

    The main vitamin that Vegans need to worry about is B12. Which can be found in fortified foods, or supplementation. And yes, I am aware that we cannot know 100% of where our food/vitamins are coming from or how they are being created. But the point is, do the best that you can with as much research as you can, and make an informed decision. If you find out later than the supplement you have been taking for B12 was actually created from substances of animal origin, look for another supplement.

    We can't even get past the idea that eating meat is immoral and worse for the environment, let alone which supplements are better than others. And as far as practicality, is the vegetable isle too far from the bacon? Practicality isn't a valid justification for people who live near a grocery store. Which i can reasonably assume, all of us in this thread do live near a grocery store.
  • Tomseltje
    7


    Ah now I see where your confusion comes from:

    I am referring to people who own farm animals and allow them to live without harm or death.

    I'm sorry to be the one bringing you the bad news, but even those animals suffer, eventually they all die. Allowing animals to live without harm or death is not within the capabilities of humans. All humans can do is reduce the suffering. They can't prevent all suffering, nor death.
  • chatterbears
    168
    I'm sorry to be the one bringing you the bad news, but even those animals suffer, eventually they all die. Allowing animals to live without harm or death is not within the capabilities of humans. All humans can do is reduce the suffering. They can't prevent all suffering, nor death.Tomseltje

    Preventing suffering is one thing. Causing suffering is another. Eating meat CAUSES suffering. Not sure how you don't see the difference here? I am not suggesting we prevent all suffering from every animal in existence. I am suggesting that we prevent any suffering that we are causing them directly, if reasonably possible.

    And to say that even the farm animal suffers because they eventually die, is like saying us humans suffer, because we eventually all die. That's not even remotely comparable to what factory farms are doing, which is direct harm, torture and abrupt death caused by humans.
  • Tomseltje
    7
    Is it impractical to obtain plant-based products where you live? Because as i have stated before, every single person I have talked to, owns a computer. They also live near a grocery store, which sells fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and grains. It is as simple as going down a different isle, nothing more. And yes, I acknowledge that some places have it harder to achieve a plant-based diet, but everyone I have talked to does not. So to refer to other places is a deflection, as I want to know why YOU have not changed your diet.

    The main vitamin that Vegans need to worry about is B12. Which can be found in fortified foods, or supplementation. And yes, I am aware that we cannot know 100% of where our food/vitamins are coming from or how they are being created. But the point is, do the best that you can with as much research as you can, and make an informed decision. If you find out later than the supplement you have been taking for B12 was actually created from substances of animal origin, look for another supplement.

    We can't even get past the idea that eating meat is immoral and worse for the environment, let alone which supplements are better than others. And as far as practicality, is the vegetable isle too far from the bacon? Practicality isn't a valid justification for people who live near a grocery store. Which i can reasonably assume, all of us in this thread do.
    chatterbears

    So you are not actually interested in the philosopical ethical discussion as much as you are interested in my personal choises in the matter. Well sorry to dissappoint you, but I'm not gonna let you know. Especially not since you make unwarrented assumptions about me clearly demonstrated by your statement " I want to know why YOU have not changed your diet."

    How do you know I didn't change my diet?, and why is it even relevant to the philosophical discussion about the ethics of eating animals?
    Wether I choose to do the ethical thing or not is totally irrelevant to the discussion about what is ethical.
    I'm here for the discussion about what is ethical, not for polarizing the community in this forum by pointing out the ones behaving according to my (possibly flawed) ethics and the ones who don't.

    The discussion wasn't about eating meat, the discussion was about the ethics of growing animals for food. Single celled sessile animals can be eaten, but are not meat, since meat is the muscle part of an animal, not all animals have specialized muscle cells. You only find those in multicelled animals. you keep conflating the three questions. So I will sum them up again and accompany them with my answers to them:

    1 Is it ethical to farm animals for consumption?
    Obviously yes, since it's possible to do so without causing any additional suffering, especially in the case of farming animals without a nervous system.

    2 Wich animals can ethically be farmed for consumption?
    All animals as long as it is done without causing additional suffering to the animal.

    3 Is the treatment of animals we currently farm for consumption ethical?
    Commercially no, we still have much to improve before all commercially farmed animals no longer endure additional suffering that could have been prevented.
    Yes in some cases where people have their own farm and treat their animals well as a part of the family untill they start suffering too much from old age.
  • Pseudonym
    789
    Pain and death go hand in hand, as they are both causing harm.chatterbears

    No, they don't. For many people living in pain is worse than death, a short but happy life may be considered by many to be preferable to a long but miserable one. Pain and death are most certainly not sufficiently similar that an argument about one can be substituted for an argument about the other. It is perfectly legitimate, for example, to argue that the shorter but comfortable life of an humanely farmed cow is preferable to the perhaps longer but less comfortable (diseases, fear of predators, variable food supply) life of that same animal in the wild. I personally would not agree with that argument because I value autonomy and the freedom to express our natures and so I extend that value to sentient animals, but it's certainly not as cut and dried as you're making out. If your argument is to minimise net harm you could easily argue that that could be satisfied by taking an animal from the wild and rearing it for meat, giving it a shorter but much happier life. That is why, philosophically it so important to get at the distinction between death and suffering.

    If it were possible for all 7.6 Billion of us to kill one deer and live off the protein for months, it would be much better than both vegetable farming and meat farming. But since that is not possible, vegetable farming is the lesser of the two harmful industries.chatterbears

    The Forestry commission in Scotland alone kill 30,000 wild red deer every year and that is still not quite enough to keep their population stable (numbers are still increasing and they're also spreading geographically). One deer produces about 9kg of meat, enough to meet a persons protein requirements (by RDA) for half the year, so Scotland's forestry estate alone could feed 1% of its population. Since the forest Estate occupies less than 1% of Scotland, a move to greater consumption of wild meat would be far from insignificant, yet your advocacy of vegan ism would have us ignore such a valuable contribution.

    If you add to this the amount of grass-fed and scrap-fed animals in farming (almost the entire world's lamb production, for example, is grass-fed), you can see why people are accusing you of fundamentalism. You've taken a very sound argument against mass production of corn-fed beef, caged chickens and factory pork, and concluded that it's therefore immoral to eat all meat. The way meat is grown seriously needs reforming. The way vegetables are grown seriously needs reforming (see the impact of pesticides on the world's bee population, for example), and all of this can be affected by our consumer choices, but none of it requires that we give up eating meat.
  • Pseudonym
    789
    Would it be possible for you to grow some of your vegetables, grains, nuts, etc...? And whatever you cannot get, buy at a local store?chatterbears

    Of course it would, I'm pretty much self-sufficient in leaf and pod vegetables, but to grow enough legumes to meet my protein requirements would require the clearance of another few hectares of land. Plus all deer, rabbits, pigeons, and squirrels threatening the crop are shot and eaten, moles, mice and voles are controlled by lethal trapping if required (I don't eat them, but perhaps I should?). All this death would have to be expanded to expand my vegetable growing. Any food I buy at the store simply entails someone else doing all that killing for me, except I expect most of their meat just goes to waste.
  • Tomseltje
    7
    Preventing suffering is one thing. Causing suffering is another. Eating meat CAUSES suffering. Not sure how you don't see the difference here?chatterbears

    Nonsense, in case of scavenging I can eat meat without causing any additional suffering, the animal is dead already.

    I am not suggesting we prevent all suffering from every animal in existence. I am suggesting that we prevent any suffering that we are causing them directly, if reasonably possible.chatterbears

    Then the discussion should focus on what one considers to be reasonable possible instead. Again my position is that as long as humans can do it in a way it causes equal or less amount of suffering to the animal than it would suffer otherwise in nature without being farmed, it's ethical enough.


    And to say that even the farm animal suffers because they eventually die, is like saying us humans suffer, because we eventually all die. That's not even remotely comparable to what factory farms are doing, which is direct harm, torture and abrupt death caused by the humans.chatterbears

    Life is suffering, ethics are about what people do in order to increase or decrease suffering. I made it clear already that I consider the abusive treatment disproportionally increasing the amount of suffering to the animals in said factories for monetairy gain to be unethical.
  • Pseudonym
    789
    We incarcerate humans because they have a higher ability in thought, and can understand a deeper level of right and wrong.chatterbears

    We eat animals because they have a lower ability in thought, and cannot understand a deeper level of right and wrong.
  • Moliere
    1.1k
    What I meant by this was, how do you differentiate between right and wrong? What mechanism do you use to morally justify an action as right/correct?chatterbears

    I don't think there is such a thing as a mechanism which justifies action as morally right or wrong. Differentiating between right and wrong takes judgment, choice, and a willingness to look at the effects of your actions. The various calculi proposed can help in thinking through any choice, but they are just tools for reflection.

    There is only judgment, action, and living with the choices you make.

    Some humans aren't moral agents, such as mentally disabled peoplechatterbears

    I don't think this is the case at all. If you are human then you are a moral agent, and deserve the respect that this entails. There are circumstances of character or environment which mitigate responsibility, but that does not then mean that the person is not a moral agent.

    Consider, for instance, how strange it would be to hold your dog as morally responsible for digging through the trash. That's just silly.
  • Uber
    58
    I'm going to violate my earlier self-imposed ban on this thread.

    I wanted to make some general comments to chatterbears. As I said before, I'm also a dedicated vegan, so on a practical level we are on the same wavelength. Watching this debate unfold, I've noticed you have provided different kinds of justifications for veganism. You started out with a valiant Kantian attempt, a kind of categorical imperative that should be universally applied. You then shifted to some utilitarian reasons in the later stages of the debate. I think it's this bouncing around between deontological and utilitarian reasoning that has a lot of people confused, and rejecting some of your arguments. For me, it's much easier to defend veganism on utilitarian grounds: it's good for our health, it's good for the ecological basis of civilization, and it simply makes you feel good (whenever I think about meat, I remember how hard I wanted to punch myself 10 minutes after finishing at McDonald's). There are lots of great, positive, and utilitarian arguments in favor of veganism. I explained some of them in my first post in this thread. There may be some kind of categorical imperative for it too, but I think it's going to be extremely difficult to find a consistent moral standard for why you shouldn't eat meat. This thread has already gone down the toilet, so maybe you can consider this advice going forward, when you debate other people on the merits of veganism.

    Having said all that, I can empathize with the routine nonsense you have encountered here, because obviously I've encountered it too in my life (Don't vegans need animal supplements? How can you eat plants, which are also living things?). The first time anyone finds out I'm a vegan, that person immediately becomes an expert nutrionist, economist, scientist, philosopher, and every other academic professional you can imagine. In reality, these people are just projecting the fears of the capitalist system, which needs people to eat and consume garbage so the profits can keep flowing to the meat and dairy industry. As I emphasized in my original post, this debate is no longer about normative ideals, but about the hard descriptive reality that people have power over animals and can treat those animals as waste and fodder for profit.

    Anyway, I appreciate the valiant effort you have shown here in defending veganism.
  • chatterbears
    168
    For me, it's much easier to defend veganism on utilitarian grounds: it's good for our health, it's good for the ecological basis of civilization, and it simply makes you feel goodUber

    In this thread, as well as other people I’ve talked to in person, they have rejected the health evidence. They think it is just as healthy to include meat into your diet. They reject the environmental evidence, and state that farming vegetables causes as much harm as farming animals. They also say the opposite in regards to what feels good. They have actually used it as a justification for continuing to eat meat, which is “eating meat gives me pleasure.”

    I switch to different arguments depending on how much science and fact they are willing to reject. As you said, people suddenly turn into health and environmental experts when the topic of Veganism is brought up, while rejecting the actual scientific evidence.

    I find it most effective to argue from a consistency standpoint. And this can be done through universal rights or even an empathy/compassion perspective. Or you don’t have to bring any of that up and just simply ask “why are you ok killing one living being but not another?” - From there you push for consistency within their own subjective views. This leaves no room to talk about what science they want to reject for health or environmental factors.
  • Uber
    58
    But people reject scientific evidence quite often when the rejection helps to justify their lifestyles. Exhibit A: climate change. Of course there will be people who insist that eating meat is healthier than being vegan. That's not a reason to stop pressing the scientific evidence. It's an opportunity to educate the ignorant.
  • chatterbears
    168
    Agreed. Which is why I have posted my google doc multiple times throughout this thread. But even with that, people throughout this thread have appealed to God or have stated things like “Animals feel pain in a different way than we do, so they should be treated differently.”

    Arguing with meat eaters is like playing whac-a-mole. Once you get rid of one justification, another one pops up.
  • Uber
    58
    Like I said, this thread went down the toilet a long time ago. I'm talking about beyond this thread, when this issue comes up again in your life. I think you will find the greatest success by emphasizing utilitarian thinking. Doesn't mean there is absolutely no room for Kantian ethics, of course. But just know that this latter route is littered with mines. You can try and cross it, but it will be very difficult.
  • Pseudonym
    789
    people suddenly turn into health and environmental experts when the topic of Veganism is brought up, while rejecting the actual scientific evidence.chatterbears

    I've literally just given you the scientific evidence. The UK forestry experts agree that deer need to be culled in order to allow natural regeneration of woodland. Killing a wild deer causes one death, farming the equivalent protein quantity of legumes requires the deaths of tens, if not hundreds of potential pests (deer, moles, voles, rabbits etc). Not to mention the fertilisers, eutrophication, pesticides, herbicides, habitat loss, soil degradation, etc. Wild or grass-reared meat is better for the environment because it's the best way to manage open space, it causes least deaths overall, and it provides healthy meat. So please don't accuse me of ignoring the scientific evidence. I have a degree in ecology and a masters in countryside management I know how ecosystems respond to grazing and I know how they respond to intensive arable treatments.
  • chatterbears
    168
    Admittedly it is much harder to apply one type of argument to multiple people, such as in this thread. In person discussions have went much more smoothly for me, as I tend to focus on what one person finds important and work from there. If they are health freaks, I can point them to the health benefits. If they are environmental minds, I will supply them with the evidence for that. There’s no one good argument for Veganism, as I think there are many. Just really depends on your audience, their current scientific knowledge and what they are willing to accept.
  • Moliere
    1.1k


    :D

    Vegan apologetics spoken like a true believer. It reminds me of missionary work -- if the person you wish to convert believes this, then respond with that, if something else then this argument works better.
  • chatterbears
    168
    except Veganism has scientific evidence to support its claim. And philosophically, I can use reason and logical consistency to back up my position. Missionaries do nothing of the sort, as they have automated responses that they were told to say. I have done research and created my own perspective by myself.
  • Moliere
    1.1k
    Every missionary has their bible and their conversion story. But without a passion for a value the reason and logic won't do the work that the missionary does.
  • Uber
    58
    I don't know how much attention you were paying in your ecology classes, but it looks like you missed a few important things. Mouthing off about your degrees will impress no one.

    You may have missed the fact that a substantial fraction of all agricultural land globally is devoted for grains to feed and fatten livestock, 60 billion of which are slaughtered every year. Ending factory farming would free up much of that land for human food production. 'Grass-reared' animals is a very funny joke, kind of like 'cage free' chickens. Factory animals are kept in confined spaces and fed whatever is necessary to put meat on those bones. Do you honestly think this capitalist system cares about providing them healthy or nutritious food?
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