View Full Version : Roadkill, dogmatism and cannibalism

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Oct 1st, 2004, 04:46 PM
You use the term 'vegan' to define a dietary choice. The way I understood it (after several months of calling myself vegan, and through reading Jo Stepaniak's definitions, plus others), was that the dietary choice that vegans make is strict (or total) vegetarianism. Veganism goes beyond simple dietary choices.

I agree that veganism goes beyond simple dietary choices. I use the term vegan to describe a dietary choice as well (as in 'vegan food'), but this doesn't mean that I suggest that veganism is only about food...

As an aside, did the restaurant you went to in Sweden use the V-label (http://www.v-label.info) to identify the vegan food choices? No, just pen and paper.

And I still wish cows could talk - they're such cool animals! :cool: They are - but they look a bit bored at times, don't you think? :)

I understand that everyone on this forum feels that way, but group-think doesn't impress me all too much. Group think doesn't sound good in my ears either.

Specifically *what* is it that you 'don't understand' and that you think that everybody here (except yourself?) feels the same about ?

Maybe, since you write that 'I wouldn't eat any flesh, regardless of how it was obtained, so maybe I don't need further understanding', you actually do 'understand' and feel the same as most other vegans do.

My father was a painter, and always, when people said 'I don't understand abstract art', he would say, 'there's nothing to be understood about abstract art'.

I don't understand what you don't understand :) -

The word ethics can be tricky. Did you see my subtitle about Gandhi carrying guns? If a pacificst would carry a gun, and never use it, it wouldn't harm anyone directly, and therefore not be in conflict with his ethics, but... there's just something you 'just don't do', which is not really about ethics as such. I'd say it's about ethics' twin sister, 'taste'. After some years away from meat and dairy products, it feels even more 'wrong' to even think about ie. eating meat, even from a roadkill, where you are not responsible for it's death. I never consider 'why not' a relevant question; 'why' is an interesting question.

If an oak tree would fall over a sleeping animal and kill it, why would some people consider eating the animal and not the white bark of the oak tree? Habit! One could say meat is full of nutrients, but white oak bark provides vitamin B12, calcium, iron and zinc! This is about something even more scary than 'group think'. In 'group think', people might become slaves of others' opinions. If you are a slave of your own thinking and habits, there's a risk that you won't ever realize that you are your own slave.

I saw a squirrel in a tree a few days ago, and got an association to the 'roadkill' discussions here. If a kid would shoot the squrrel and run away, there are many reasons I wouldn't even conisder eating it, but I don't think 'ethics' is involved. For me, it would only be disgusting, bad taste (not taste as in tastebuds), and, in short out of question. The decision would not only need no ethics involved, it wouldn't even involve logic. I think most important decisions are made that way.

Oct 1st, 2004, 04:56 PM
In response to CC:
Under normal circumstances I would also be just as likely to eat a dead human as a dead animal. However, my actions are not the sole definition of my ethic. Under normaly circumstances, I also don't eat potatoes - not for ethical reasons, but 'cos I don't like them. I realise the two are vastly different, but someone observing me might feel that they are both equally abhorrent to me. The question is why I wouldn't do each one. That's where the big difference lies. Right now, I know that I wouldn't eat any animal product, but I guess I don't always know why I wouldn't. Maybe I do. I just don't know... :confused:

In response to Korn:
I read your response after writing the above. Now I do get it. Thank you :D ! I only noticed your subtitle after responding to you. Very good. Very subtle. And very to the point.
I still can't put it into words, but at least (I think) I have the understanding that I can mull it over for a few weeks, you know, like a cow, swallow it, and bring it up later for reconsideration... :)

Oct 3rd, 2004, 08:58 PM
mysh, Keep up the good work. Asking questions, questioning beliefs (be it others or ones own) please save us from the idiots.

NO HARM IN ASKING!! It's questioning what every one else thinks is right that has taken me on a very interesting journey.

p.s. I'm suprised your so inquistive, most people ( not all of course ) I've met from the states seem to have thier heads firmly up thier own arses. :)

Oct 3rd, 2004, 10:30 PM
oh I almost forgot the most compelling part of his hypothesis - can you think of any other new born 'land' animal that gives birth to an infant that can happily swim under water?

Oct 4th, 2004, 01:05 AM
mysh, Keep up the good work. Asking questions, questioning beliefs (be it others or ones own) please save us from the idiots.

NO HARM IN ASKING!! It's questioning what every one else thinks is right that has taken me on a very interesting journey.

Thanks. I agree - question everything. You can gain knowledge through rote learning, but you can only gain understanding through questioning the knowledge. And sometimes you find out that the knowledge was wrong all along (e.g. "humans must eat flesh to survive"...)

p.s. I'm suprised your so inquistive, most people ( not all of course ) I've met from the states seem to have thier heads firmly up thier own arses. :)

I'm afraid I must agree with you. Most of my friends are open-minded - like seeks like, I guess. I'm actually not from here. Born in Germany (even less questioning than Americans!), and went to English schools, and spent some time living in France. Each of those countries has their own set of assumed truths. They can't all be right. I found living in different countries (and hence, cultures), to be very enlightening - and a lot of fun! :D

Oct 5th, 2004, 03:09 AM
Thank you Korn for this post, I enjoyed reading it as I enjoyed reading the article in the link you provided, too. :)

Oct 5th, 2004, 08:00 PM
You are right, Banana - this is a fascinating discussion! As long as we remember (which I don't doubt), and remind omnis, that the actions of our ancestors don't justify our actions. We now have the technology that John mentions, that enables us to mostly understand our dietary needs, and to completely replace any and all need for meat. So why wouldn't we?
You'll find almost noone, not even omnis, who sails from the US to Europe. Everyone takes advantage of the conveniences offered by modern technology, and flies (or cruises) instead.
Nonethless, this is a very interesting discussion, and I loved Korn's first post - very cool (and persuasive) stuff!

Jun 10th, 2005, 01:39 AM
i agree....roadkill...isnt totally dispondent though to me as my species killed that animal..cars are not natural..not vegan even if we get really strict (which i am not) .if an animal has died of old age, then yes technically i am not being cruel if i eat him or her BUT as a vegan by societial standards i wouldnt then be a true one, at all!

if i was starving to death..then yes i may eat a dead animal for survival..but i do not beleive at any situation, i need to eat meat or want to no matter how it iskilled..

Jul 15th, 2005, 01:53 PM
vegans are classed as people who do not 'indulge' in any form of animal product. Then why, OH WHY are you contemplating eating roadkill? I personally believe in complete equality not just between humans, but animals too, and if i were to see a road accident it would not cross my mind in the slightest as to eat the carcass. Animals are to be treated with respect in life and death; Personally i would find the sight very upsetting and secondly rather. erm. disgusting?

I say we rid the world of cars.

Jun 6th, 2007, 09:25 AM
Now I would like to ask, in the same vein, what are the ethical considerations on eating, for example, roadkill? Or animals that have died of old age?

Sorry if this has a) been said already, and b) dragging up the old posts, this isn't to do with the ethical stance of eating roadkill/dead animals found, more a health warning :)

Some friends of a friend are vegetarian, but whilst out driving they found a deer dead by the side of the road. They decided it would make a tasty snack (can't think of anything worse myself!). Morale of the story? They got *really* *really* sick!!

Animals living in the wild are much more prone to disease than any of the 'farmed' meat you get, partly it's not full of anti-biotics, and any 'seriously' ill ones (mad cow disease, tb, whatever) are just killed and discarded. That deer was probably full of god knows what... worms for one.

The second reason you shouldn't eat any roadkill you see lying at the roadside is because it's quite possible (though not perhaps the most likely thing) that a passing vet has actually put it down. This means if *you* eat it, you can get seriously ill/potentially even die. A vet friend told me that this is quite common where owners let their dogs sniff and eat at carcassess only for the dog to get an unhealthy dose of 'blue juice' too, and their dog then dies :eek:

So errr... stick to salads :)

Jun 6th, 2007, 01:23 PM
I may have missed it, but I didn't see anyone mention the fact that roadkill still more than likely died by human hands. To me it's no more ethical than going to the supermarket and getting a few pounds of processed dead animal.

Jun 6th, 2007, 05:50 PM
Purple - do you mean the friend was actually vegetarian but still decided to eat roadkill? If you did mean that they did, did they say why they suddenly decided to do it - that seems very odd.
Maybe I'm reading what you said wrongly?

Jun 6th, 2007, 08:43 PM
Aphrodite - The story I've told you was told to me by the friend, not the friend of the friend in question, but from what I recall...

they were vegetarians who ate and grew a lot of their own vegetables, quite into their environmental stuff, and thought 'hey, it's roadkill, by eating that we're still not supporting any meat industry etc' so they took it home and ate it.

I have no idea whether they're 'vegetarian' or 'vegetarians who eat fish' or even 'vegetarians who eat fish and chicken' I'm afraid cos I've never met them.

But I agree, it's a very strange thing to do.

A bit like my school teacher who brought in a maggot infested fox that she found dead by the side of the road because she thought we'd find it interesting to look at :eek:

Jun 6th, 2007, 09:05 PM
Weird to see a dead animal on the street and think mmm that is making me feel hungry, unless you are a hyena or something.
Your teacher sounds like a freak as well :eek:

Jun 7th, 2007, 03:35 AM
I'm a vegan because I am against humans killing, harming, hurting, manipulating etc. animals. As Odinsfury, earlier, points out, roadkill probably did come about due to actions of people, so I think it is a bad example for our hypothetical question. How about this one instead: While walking in the woods you see a healthy deer instantly struck dead by a bolt of lightning, right before your own eyes. Being a vegan may you eat the carcass or keep the antlers as art? Although I of course wouldn't, I think technically it is permissible for a "rather odd" vegan to do so. Why? Because the rotting corpse in front of you is not really an animal anymore. It doesn't have a soul, feelings, emotions, pain, life, etc. It is decaying flesh in a transitional stage of slowly turning into soil. Anyone against using soil?;)

Or this one: Again, while walking in the woods (not a park) you stumble upon a pretty bird feather on the ground. Are you allowed to take it home to turn it into art or jewelry? To me this is the same as the lightning struck deer carcass. No animal is being killed, harmed, manipulated etc. by humans, so it is allowed.

As for "Did humans always eat meat?" I'd assume we've been doing it ever since it became easy; when we invented spears, knives, hatchets etc. [as someone else pointed out].

Jun 7th, 2007, 03:58 AM
This is a very iffy subject indeed. I think the use of an animal that died of natural causes is still not a vegan quality. The way I see it, vegans stand for not using animals regardless of the way that they died. Even if one were to take this lightning struck deer and use it, innocent as it may seem, we may still be intervening on the natural order of an ecosystem. If humans are not intended to eat meat, (and I believe that they are not) then taking this now dead deer could be taking food out of the mouth of another animal needlessly.

Jun 7th, 2007, 04:07 AM
True, I guess eating the lightning struck deer is stealing food from the maggots that will soon be feasting on the carcass if you just leave it there, but what about the antlers or the bird feather example?

Jun 7th, 2007, 10:25 AM
But why would any vegan want a pair of antlers on their wall even hypothetically? It would confuse any omni that saw and goodness knows they get a bit confused by us vegans already!

I know the definition of vegan is to be against animal exploitation or cruelty but I think it is easier to think of it as not using anything of animal origin.
I was actually trying to think of an example of where I would be willing to use an animal product.

I have a compost bin where you can put cat hair that you pick up from vacuum cleaner to break down and recycle.

I was thinking you could make cushions and put cat hair to fill them up which would be using an animal product but not being cruel or exploiting them.

Jun 7th, 2007, 06:22 PM
But why would any vegan want a pair of antlers on their wall even hypothetically? It would confuse any omni that saw and goodness knows they get a bit confused by us vegans already!

I'm not saying I would but perhaps some people would be into this sort of thing. I know the famous artist Georgia O'Keeffe used animal remains as a common theme through much of her life:


This one "Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory," was sold at a Christie's auction for $3,419,500 (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.thecityreview.com/s02camp1.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.thecityreview.com/s02camp.html&h=360&w=528&sz=124&hl=en&start=47&um=1&tbnid=laoy1Hr9wfEfcM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=132&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgeorgia%2Bokeefe%2Bcow%2527s%2Bskull% 26start%3D40%26ndsp%3D20%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26h l%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3DGGLG,GGLG:2007-15,GGLG:en%26sa%3DN) !

I think we are all in agreement that animals are beautiful creatures, so it only makes sense to want to incorporate them into works of art. I'm not against doing this if it is from wild animal remains or fossils found in nature.

Stumbling upon a random set of antlers or an animal skull is a rather rare occurrence for most of us (not living in arid New Mexico, as O'Keeffe did) but perhaps more people could relate to this: Have you ever known someone to collect empty seashells found washed up on the beach? I can't really say that I "collect" them, but I do own a seashell I found myself on the beach and I don't feel I have broken any vegan rules by taking it home.

Jun 7th, 2007, 07:07 PM
Oh thats interesting Mahk, I had never thought of that or heard about that artist.
I know some artists use a lot of stuff (including their own body parts) in art.

I suppose that I want to get to a point personally when I disregard vegan rules or whatever and just do what I think is best. Its easier said than done though.

Jun 8th, 2007, 02:33 AM
In Indonesia road kill is often consumed usually as sate on road side or market stalls. This can be any meat including monkey, dog, chicken etc. These animals are considered highly respected until they die through either natural causes or accident, then they are considered food. I think this is mainly an economic decision. The Indonesions seem fairly healthy.

Jun 12th, 2007, 04:54 PM
Living proof of strange people eating road kill


Jun 12th, 2007, 08:15 PM
You could argue that it is not natual to be driving a car in the first place.

Aug 9th, 2007, 10:43 PM
I recently read this (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=426) very interesting thread concerning the ethics of eating unwanted and unfertilised eggs.

Now I would like to ask, in the same vein, what are the ethical considerations on eating, for example, roadkill?

Pretty minimal, I think. The animal was, I assume, killed accidentally. By eating its flesh, one would not be contributing to the demand for more animal killing and thus necessitate that another animal be killed to fill this need. The only possible negative ethical consideration I can imagine is that if people start doing this, then it could perhaps lead people to be less considerate of animals and not try that hard to avoid hitting them - because, after all, somebody is bound to stop by and benefit from its flesh.

Or animals that have died of old age?

I have no ethical problem with that. At this time... Things can and often do change...

Before the flaming starts - I have no plans to do either, and I understand the responsibility borne by humans in the creation of roadkill. I also understand that "VEGANS DO NOT EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS". That isn't the issue though, is it?

I agree. That is just dogmatism.

I mean, do you not eat animal products because you don't eat animal products (i.e. is the not-eating the goal of your veganism), or do you not eat animal products because you refuse to partake in the exploitation of animals?

The latter. When I was an omnivore, I adored the taste of meat. When I was an ovo-lacto-pesco vegetarian I loved the taste of cheese, eggs and fish. I gave it all up because I can no longer think of myself as an ethical person if I am contributing to the suffering, torture and death of innocent animals.

If the latter, it would seem (to me) somewhat difficult to use that to forbid the eating of the carcass of an animal that died of old age. And please don't use the "that's gross" argument, as that always reminds me somewhat of the purile tone of the omni argument of "if animals weren't meant to be eaten, why do they taste so good".

"That's gross" is not an objection on ethical grounds, anyway. Ethically, I see no problem with it. And frankly, in theory, I have no ethical objection to the eating of the flesh of a human that has died of old age.

I am also interested in a hypothetical situation of consuming cow's milk (another bad habit I have rid myself of). Now, obviously, the issue is once again the exploitation of the animals. As we all (rightly) view animal keeping as slavery, I will take an analogy from slavery. It is obviously unethical to use a shirt made by a slave. Yet if the slave is freed, and continues making shirts, for a good wage, in good working conditions, of his own free will, it is clearly entirely acceptable to use this shirt (once you've paid for it). The Indian philosophy of "a'himsa" (sp?) claims that cow's milk is a gift given by the cow, and as such not the result of doing harm to the cow. Again, we would all agree that this is incorrect, as nobody can claim that were able to make the cow understand all the implications of these actions, as well as getting full buy-in from the cow.

It is no different than going up to a lactating woman, squeezing her breasts and colleting milk from her.

So my second question is, if the cow were able to clearly and unambiguously communicate to us her desire to share her excess milk with us, would veganism allow us to partake of this gift?

If the cow (or the woman) was able to give me her unambiguous informed consent, then no problem - ethically speaking only, of course.

Aug 9th, 2007, 11:16 PM
I also understand that "VEGANS DO NOT EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS". That isn't the issue though, is it?
It sure is the issue, and for a reason... wait - for at least two reasons, actually.

The word vegan needs to have one meaning, not many. When visiting a cafe, and ask for a vegan meal, lots of people (vegans, lactose intolerant people etc) want to know that this meal doesn't contain animal products. They want to make their own decision about what they want to eat, and not to leave it up to the chef to put in some animal products there (eg. eggs from so called free range eggs, or honey) if he personally thinks that there isn't a conflict between 'vegan' and eggs or honey. If someone would succeed in launching the idea that the fact that vegans don't eat animal products is just 'dogmatism', the word 'vegan' would start loosing it's meaning and therefor become less useful.

Vegans have never discussed including meat from certain animals and not from others - or eggs from certain hens and not from others - into their diet. IMHO, this is not based on dogmatism. You won't hear 'Ooops, I'm a vegan now, so unfortunately I can't even eat meat from animals who died a natural death - I would have loved to, but I'm not allowed to - by... myself' from a vegan.

If a person who is against eating animal products is offered an animal product and eats it 'because it was there anyway, and it's not my fault that it's there/dead', the harm he causes is just as un-needed that the harm an environmentalist causes if he drives around in a polluting private airplane 'because it was there anyway - my dad gave it to me, and it's not my fault that I got it'. If this environmentalist wants as little pollution as possible, he sells or gives away this airplane to someone else, who are OK with using that sort of airplane for his private trips, and finds another way to move around instead. If a vegan has access to 'free range eggs' or meat from roadkill, he can also pass these animal products over to someone who would have bought eggs or meat from a factory farm instead. This way he'll reduce the money put into supporting these industries a bit.... just a bit, but that's the case if you avoiding eating a chicken too.

do you not eat animal products because you refuse to partake in the exploitation of animals?
I wouldn't eat an animal product from an animal that had lived a happy life every second of it's life and then was killed by a tasty, gentle 'killer pill' (causing it to just fall asleep and die without feeling any pain). I wouldn't eat the meat of an animal killed in a car accident or of old age for the same reason an average meat eater wouldn't eat human meat from the same situations. This average meat eater doesn't look at human meat as food for humans - I don't look at animal meat as food for humans.