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Klytemnest
Aug 5th, 2008, 03:48 AM
Often people say "because it tastes good".

Personally I think it's a fairly lame argument stacked against the ethics of veganism, but it's hard to counter directly as :
- it's about their personal perception (i.e. how it tastes to them) and they are presumably experts on their own taste buds, and
- some people choose not to give a damn about the ethics of veganism

The counter argument I guess is something along the lines of "a plant based diet taste good too" but it's kinda week because omni's can, in principle, eat all the variety of flavoursome vegan food that we do aswell as meat (even though in practice they don't).

I think the argument alot of people actually use is "I don't want to think about it. la la la la la" as they stick their metaphorical fingers in their ears. What they are actually doing is choosing not to give a damn, just as I choose not to give a damn about sci-fi. That's also pretty difficult to argue against.

Thanks for your response. I agree about their choosing not to care. A friend of mine is like that and it is very difficult for me to go out to eat with her, especially since she always makes a point of telling the waiter "Unlike Rami, I'm a meatatarian." Oy...

"It tastes good" may be a "reason", but it's not really an argument. What I was looking for were ethical arguments they use in defense of omnivory (is that a word? And if it's not, can we make it one?). In other words, how do they ethically justify their choices?

Thanks again,

Rami

Korn
Aug 5th, 2008, 03:49 AM
I am not going to go there with you, Korn. We've been down this path and last time you threatened to kick me off the forum. I'll probably respond to your post later, but no - I didn't threaten you in the Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter? (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19734)-thread - I encouraged you to participate in the actual discussion and respond to the questions that you were asked. Look for question marks in that thread and you'll see what I mean... ;)

You registered a year ago and told us then that you have decided to go vegan back then, and I don't criticize you for sometimes 'thinking like a non-vegan'; it's not you I'm after, it's some of the myths normally promoted and kept alive by non-vegans I'm after... :)

Klytemnest
Aug 5th, 2008, 04:07 AM
[quote=Korn;491540]Even deaths in the wilderness can happen quickly. Personally, I'd rather have a happy life as a deer in the wilderness, and a messy, quick death, than a life in captivity with a slightly quicker, less messy death.

How about if the deer had a happy life in the wild and then had a clean, quick death, killed by a hunter? (Asks Omni)


Plus: nature is nature, and as a human, I can't really do anything with tigers that eat deer anyway, but I can do something with my own diet.

I agree. Personally I think that it sucks that animals have to be killed and eaten by carnivores... It's unfortunate. But we are not carnivores. We do not need meat or any animal products. So we do not have to cause suffering.


We already have threads about elephant (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18605) and roo (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8204) culls. If you feel OK about being killed if/because there are too many humans around, I guess you are OK with killing deer as well. If not...

It sounds as if you are addressing me directly. Once again, I want to emphasize that I am not presenting my own point of view when I present some of the arguments used by omnivores. I hope that by phrasing your sentence the way you did, you were not implying that my position was in accord with theirs. Then again, I know English is neither mine nor your first language, so perhaps this is the reason it raised a red flag for me.

Having said that, I must say I agree. "Helping" the ecosystem because there are too many humans in a given geographic area by killing a number of them is no less ethically reprehensible than killing deer because of an overpopulation "problem."

Korn
Aug 5th, 2008, 04:19 AM
I know you are playing the Devil's advocate here (mainly.. you have been using some of the same arguments earlier), and I don't have a problem with that, but maybe it's a good idea to start separate threads about all the potential topics that may pop here (like deer culling)... after all, we have a lot of threads about traditional arguments coming from omnis already, and even a poll (with discussion) about the most common comments from omnivores (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3024)...



How about if the deer had a happy life in the wild and then had a clean, quick death, killed by a hunter? (Asks Omni)
If the omni have a happy life and still is OK with being killed because some guy happens to like hunting or the taste if his flesh I understand that he thinks the same way on the behalf of the deer, but I doubt that anyone is happy with having their happy life converted into... food.

Klytemnest
Aug 5th, 2008, 04:29 AM
I'll probably respond to your post later, but no - I didn't threaten you in the Vegan/non-vegan: Does 'natural' matter? (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19734)-thread - I encouraged you to participate in the actual discussion and respond to the questions that you were asked. Look for question marks in that thread and you'll see what I mean... ;)

You registered a year ago and told us then that you have decided to go vegan back then, and I don't criticize you for sometimes 'thinking like a non-vegan'; it's not you I'm after, it's some of the myths normally promoted and kept alive by non-vegans I'm after... :)

I appreciate you saying that, Korn. For a while now I have wondered if you do not suspect me of being a "troll" who has slyly snuck into this vegan oasis, intent on promoting an omnivorous agenda. And that has made me feel very uneasy. I feel I have much to gain from an exchange with a seasoned vegan and sophisticated thinker you, but because of this I have stayed away from engaging you in conversation. I don't want to feel uncomfortable anymore. I want to clear the air.

You are right. I am still a baby in terms of being a vegan. This is new to me. Heck, just today I bought my first bottle of Agave Nectar. (Oh, dear god, is that stuff good!!!!) But I do not think like a non-vegan. At least I do not think I do. When I present these arguments, it is not that I am looking for a loophole that will justify eating meat again. Just in case that is what you think, let me assure you, it is not. I am a vegan for life. Ethics are of paramount importance to me. The reason I debate religion so much is because it has an impact on ethics. And ethics must be reasonable. Our choices must be reasonable. All I am trying to do is complete an air-tight, reasonable defense of my choice to live a vegan lifestyle. I am not here to challenge or oppose any vegan ideals. Please know that.

I do not want there to be any antagonism between us and I hope that with this exchange we will have cleared the air and that we can start anew.

Are we cool again?

Klytemnest
Aug 5th, 2008, 04:37 AM
[quote=Korn;491548]

If the omni have a happy life and still is OK with being killed because some guy happens to like hunting or the taste if his flesh I understand that he thinks the same way on the behalf of the deer, but I doubt that anyone is happy with having their happy life converted into... food.


I hear what you are saying, but I know Omni will say "but the deer's happy life will (most likely) be converted into food - by a predator. So why is it OK for the wolf to kill the deer, but not OK for a man to kill the deer?"

If the happiness of the deer is the issue, then shouldn't we try to save the deer from the wolf?

Wow. I have spent almost the whole day in front of this computer, on this forum. I am going to the gym. See you tomorrow.

eve
Aug 5th, 2008, 05:34 AM
The wolf is a carnivore (and can't help eating meat) but the man does not need meat.

Klytemnest
Aug 5th, 2008, 07:18 AM
The wolf is a carnivore (and can't help eating meat) but the man does not need meat.

So then, the "happiness" of the deer is not the issue?

I agree with you, eve. The issue is the necessity of suffering. Like it or not, it is necessary for the wolf to kill the deer. Thus the suffering of the deer, as unfortunate as it may be, is necessary. That is not the case with us humans. It is unnecessary for us to eat meat. Everything we need we can obtain from other sources. Therefore, the deliberate causing of animal suffering is unjustifiable. This is why I am vegan.

But, what about places like rural Alaska, parts of Canada, and Siberia, where plant sources of nutrition are scarce? What about the native Americans who for thousands of years have lived largely on the meat of animals they have hunted? What is the solution? Don't live there? Is veganism a reasonable option for parts of the world where it is not sustainable on the local level? What do you think? It's easy for me to pontificate about the virtues of veganism - because I live within a couple of miles of Trader Joe's, Henry's and Whole Foods, and I shop at a Seventh-Day Adventist vegetarian store near the university where I teach. I have all kinds of vegan options to choose from? Not everyone is as fortunate as I.

Korn
Aug 5th, 2008, 09:10 AM
Are we cool again?

:) Have we really been 'uncool'? I don't think so...

I trust that you aren't a troll, but due to what probably is only habitual think, you 'argued' like a troll in that other thread... One doesn't need to think that humans are natural herbivores to be a vegan, but a real discussion is more enjoyable (and useful) than just presenting our conclusions to each other.

At the same time, I don't really think one person can change another... on the contrary, if one tries to hard to influence someone, they might just as well take a step in a the opposite direction. The reason I asked the questions I did in that other thread, was that I'm pretty convinced that if you actually answered these question you'd find out that the common reasons for assuming that humans are natural omnivores are rather... thin, but I'll rather post a little something in the other thread instead of making this into a new Are humans Natural Omnivores-thread. But of course: no bad feelings. :)


"It tastes good" may be a "reason", but it's not really an argument. What I was looking for were ethical arguments they use in defense of omnivory (is that a word? And if it's not, can we make it one?). In other words, how do they ethically justify their choices?

'Taste' is probably the most reasonable explanation behind their actions, but as you say, it's not an argument. Plus, if we look at an argument isolated from other arguments, we can't really evaluate how valid it is: Even if I like hummus with pita, that's not a valid reason for walking into some poor mans house and eat his hummus. The fact that cannibals like human meat isn't a valid reason for taking a humans' life, and the problem with omnivores is that they don't seem to have one single, valid argument for eating animal products.



But what about hunting? The killed animal would most likely have been killed by a predator. If the killing was swifter and more humane, is this not preferable to the animal being torn apart limb by limb by its predator? From what I have read, in the wild most animals simply do not die a peaceful death. [quote]
I can't find a valid reason for hunting, and my viewpoints about animal hunting are the same as I have about human hunting. I simply have no right or desire to decide when another living being shall die. Besides - it doesn't need to die (for my taste-buds or nutrient needs) and again, if the human population would try to live off hunting in today's world, most of us would starve after a few days. It would stop itself.


[quote]When their predators perceive that they are weak or dying, they go after them because they are easy to catch. So, the world in where old and sick animals die a "natural" death is utopian. If carnivorous animals only kill animals that are weak or dying, it would only show that they make more sense than humans who kill the animals they eat many years before they are ready to die, but I think many carnivores eat young animals as well.




How about if the deer had a happy life in the wild and then had a clean, quick death, killed by a hunter? (Asks Omni) If an omnivore would ask me that, I'd just ask the same question to him. What if you had a happy life and another human or animal would suddenly would 'give' you a clean, quick death? If that wouldn't be desirable acceptable for you, why would it be OK for another human or non-human animal? We don't need animal products, animals don't want to die, so why even discuss ways to kill them with an omnivore?


Jerry Seinfeld:

Some of the events in the Olympics don't make sense to me.
I don't understand the connection to any reality...
Like in the Winter Olympics they have that biathlon.
That combines cross-country skiing with shooting a gun.
How many alpine snipers are into this?
Ski, shoot a gun... ski, bang, bang, bang...
It's like combining swimming and strangle a guy.

To me, the link between being happy / being killed is a lot more absurd... If I'm happy, I want to experience that happiness, and not to be killed by someone who happens to like human meat, and in this respect, I think animals and humans are equal.

Korn
Aug 5th, 2008, 09:29 AM
But, what about places like rural Alaska, parts of Canada, and Siberia, where plant sources of nutrition are scarce?
If these people would have been vegans, they probably wouldn't even have lived there, or have found a way to store plants (enough for survival) throughout the winter.


What about the native Americans who for thousands of years have lived largely on the meat of animals they have hunted? What is the solution? Don't live there? Since humans can survive relatively cold winters in the Himalayas without meat, I can't see why the native Americans living relatively close to Equator - and not in the mountains - would need to hunt. Maybe the hunting (and cannibalism) started in periods of draught or hunger, and then they just continued - or maybe the hunting happens as a result of not enough knowledge about how one can survive without animal products. Eskimos also traditionally lived mainly on animal products, but the result was a much shorter lifespan than other humans.

Here's our thread about being vegan in cold climates. (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3146)

One last thing - just like apes, humans 'ape' as well, and throughout history we have looked at what carnivorous animals and to some extent copied what they did, at least in periods / many areas. The problem is only that our way of aping others aren't always very smart. Unlike chimps, we continue to ape even when we don't need to. Look here:
Apes 'Ape' More Rationally Than Humans (http://www.veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=491596#post491596)

Zero
Aug 5th, 2008, 10:36 AM
There are plenty of flawed arguments, which can be argued against fairly easily.

At some point or another the argument seems to come down to taste, convenience or tradition.

I very often hear "I just like meat" or "This is the way the world is". Weak reasoning indeed. In my opinion there is no good arguments so from my experience these must the "best" or perhaps most popular arguments I have been offered.

horselesspaul
Aug 5th, 2008, 01:04 PM
The world would be full of marauding killer sheep.

sandra
Aug 5th, 2008, 08:19 PM
In other words, how do they ethically justify their choices?

That's the point though, there is no argument that can 'ethically justify' an omnivorous lifestyle. :)

missbettie
Aug 5th, 2008, 10:03 PM
What about the native Americans who for thousands of years have lived largely on the meat of animals they have hunted?

what native americans are you talking about?

Klytemnest
Aug 6th, 2008, 01:31 AM
:) Have we really been 'uncool'? I don't think so...

It felt like it to me. I felt that you were this close to kicking me off the board. And it made me stay away from responding to any of your posts - because I was afraid that just one more disagreement would lead to my being exiled.

[QUOTE]I trust that you aren't a troll,

You don't sound convinced... ;)


but due to what probably is only habitual think, you 'argued' like a troll in that other thread... One doesn't need to think that humans are natural herbivores to be a vegan, but a real discussion is more enjoyable (and useful) than just presenting our conclusions to each other.

It wasn't habitual think, Korn. I think long and hard about these things. I said all I had to say on that thread. Our disagreement was basically about what "adapted" means. I chose not to engage in conversation with you at that time because I was sensing aggressiveness in your posts. And let's face it - you are the god of this forum, so I did not want to piss you off by continuing the conversation. I felt it was my right to make that choice. But let's not go over this all over again. You and I disagree. And our disagreement is not really about substance but about what the word "adapted" means in the statement "Humans are/are not adapted to eating meat."

Furthermore, whether or not we are adapated to eating meat is utterly irrelevant. So, why waste all that energy - on this forum? Like you said, one does not have to believe that humans are natural herbivores in order to be a vegan.


The reason I asked the questions I did in that other thread, was that I'm pretty convinced that if you actually answered these question you'd find out that the common reasons for assuming that humans are natural omnivores are rather... thin, but I'll rather post a little something in the other thread instead of making this into a new Are humans Natural Omnivores-thread.

I have thought about this. I have answered those questions. But, with all due respect, I just cannot engage you in conversation about this again. I'll end up pissing you off again, and this time you'll kick me out for real. I know it's an issue you feel passionately about. It's not something I am passionate about - because I see it as irrelevant. Besides, my blood pressure is nice and low right now. I like it that way... :D


But of course: no bad feelings. :)

Fantastic! Platonic hug? :satisfied:



the problem with omnivores is that they don't seem to have one single, valid argument for eating animal products.

I agree. Their basic position is "I want to because I like it. Who are you to tell me not to?!" And when they say this, I use the analogy of rape. Why shouldn't we rape? Unfortunately this strikes a nerve (it must) and they say that this is a bad analogy since eating chicken is not the same as raping someone. Why, I ask? Well, because raping a woman is wrong and killing a chicken is not. So we are back at square one. To them the concept of equal consideration of interests is something very foreign and strange.



[quote]But what about hunting? The killed animal would most likely have been killed by a predator. If the killing was swifter and more humane, is this not preferable to the animal being torn apart limb by limb by its predator? From what I have read, in the wild most animals simply do not die a peaceful death. [quote]

I can't find a valid reason for hunting, and my viewpoints about animal hunting are the same as I have about human hunting. I simply have no right or desire to decide when another living being shall die. Besides - it doesn't need to die (for my taste-buds or nutrient needs) and again, if the human population would try to live off hunting in today's world, most of us would starve after a few days. It would stop itself.


I feel the same way. But let me see if I can crystalize our position. Omni's point is that the deer would, in a way, be better off, if it were killed by a bullet, than torn apart wolves. Our objection to hunting is that we should not be in a position to make life-and-death decisions for anyone else, just as we would not want for anyone else to make those decisions about us.

I don't know if this relates at all, but this brings to mind how I put my beloved Paolo to sleep on January 19, 2007. I have agonized about it ever since. He had a horrible oral cancer that was incredibly aggressive and was approaching his brain. It was so difficult for me to make that decision - the decision to kill my cat. But I felt that it was the merciful thing to do. Letting him die a miserable death, letting "God" decide when his time was up would have been inhumane. As wounded as I still feel by experience, I want to believe that what I did was the humane thing to do. So, in some instances making life-and-death decisions is desirable. Don't you think?


If carnivorous animals only kill animals that are weak or dying, it would only show that they make more sense than humans who kill the animals they eat many years before they are ready to die, but I think many carnivores eat young animals as well.

That's a good point. Hunters often kill animals that are in the prime of their lives, thereby robbing them of their chance to experience existence. And let's face it, hunters don't really do it for the food. They do it as a sport. A friend of mine is moving to Missouri. She's been looking for a house there. One advertisement said that the house had a "trophy room" - where one can mount the heads of animals they have killed. I shuddered.


If an omnivore would ask me that, I'd just ask the same question to him. What if you had a happy life and another human or animal would suddenly would 'give' you a clean, quick death? If that wouldn't be desirable acceptable for you, why would it be OK for another human or non-human animal? We don't need animal products, animals don't want to die, so why even discuss ways to kill them with an omnivore?

It's not for our edification, Korn. We are already convinced. It is so that we can understand their position, their reasoning, so that we can better argue against them. I wanted the opinions of other vegans on this board, so that in the future I will have a nice catalogue of answers to offer.




Jerry Seinfeld:


To me, the link between being happy / being killed is a lot more absurd... If I'm happy, I want to experience that happiness, and not to be killed by someone who happens to like human meat, and in this respect, I think animals and humans are equal.


Is Jerry Seinfeld a vegan???? I must say, I was a little disappointed with the message of his Bee Movie... I think it was someone on this board who must have been influenced by it because they argued that using honey will cause the bees to make more honey, and thus will help the bee population, which in turn will help the plants.

Klytemnest
Aug 6th, 2008, 01:50 AM
That's the point though, there is no argument that can 'ethically justify' an omnivorous lifestyle. :)

Obviously we feel that way. If we didn't we wouldn't be vegans.

But what I am interested is how they justify their choices, what reasoning they use to defend them - so that we (well, I) can formulate a reasonable counter-argument.

Please remember, as a vegan I am a two-year old baby. Much of this stuff is not a no-brainer to me - yet. I actually have to think about it. Your input is appreciated.

Klytemnest
Aug 6th, 2008, 01:52 AM
what native americans are you talking about?

Well, the ones up in the extreme north, like Canada, Alaska, where planting and harvesting is just not practical or even possible.

missbettie
Aug 6th, 2008, 01:53 AM
oh ok...i was about to say "what the hell are you talking about?!" lol

Klytemnest
Aug 6th, 2008, 02:32 AM
oh ok...i was about to say "what the hell are you talking about?!" lol

Hahaha. Yes, those Native Americans... There is probably a more specific name for them, but I am ignorant of it.

How is the weather in Ventura today? I was there a few days ago. It was kind of overcast...

Oh, by the way, have you eaten at SpiritLand in Santa Barbara??? Oh, sweet Jesus, the BEST vegan food ever!!!! Google'em!

Ciao,

Rami

missbettie
Aug 6th, 2008, 03:19 AM
lol I think they like to be refered to as whatever their tribe name is, it gets reeeeallly complicated, especially with the Chumash here. But as a group i think the most politically correct term is now Ingenious People...but thats the last i heard. I've spent a lot of time around different tribes, i grew up with a bunch of archeologists and at pow wows.

Its actually been quite overcast but it starts to burn off in the afternoon. I actually move to Ojai a few months ago...its always hot here...i think its 87 degrees F right now, its always interesting going from home to work ( i work in Ventura) once you get over the hill the weather is totally different...I've never eatten there before!! I must try it! Next time you are in Ventura go to Mary's Secret Garden...best Vegan food ever!!! If you need an address just PM me!!

I had no idea you were so close to me Rami!

eve
Aug 6th, 2008, 04:22 AM
missbettie, You say: "i think the most politically correct term is now Ingenious People"

Do you mean indigenous people?
'Native Americans' is also used - better than 'red indians'!

missbettie
Aug 6th, 2008, 04:30 AM
ya i did, however i cannot spell. it is better but there was some arguement that they actually aren't "native" americans.

sandra
Aug 6th, 2008, 11:26 AM
But what I am interested is how they justify their choices, what reasoning they use to defend them - so that we (well, I) can formulate a reasonable counter-argument.


I have always found in discussions with omnivores they usually can't 'justify' their choices. They try all the usual statements and then petulantly state, 'Well, I like the taste of meat' as if that makes it all right then.
Heaven forbid we get to the stage where we all do what we like just because we 'want' to. :rolleyes::)

runnerboy
Aug 6th, 2008, 11:46 AM
If society sees animals as products and commodities then it is logical to use and profit from them. There is no reason to be vegan or vegetarian from this POV other than health or maybe environmental reasons.

Vegans mostly don't see animals as products or commodities.


I agree. I have had long discussions about veganism with other people before and the conversation always seems to end up in the same place; whether we value our fellow animals as equals or not. I do, and as a result I do not feel comfortable with their exploitation. However, if you do not (and there is no way of telling who is right - in the absence of religion anyway) then there is no reason why you should avoid products whose production has harmed animals.

This understanding of other people's fundamental views makes me realise how pointless it is to try and preach to people (and also further cements my own beliefs). However, if someone asks, I'm happy to explain veganism to them!

Korn
Aug 6th, 2008, 12:22 PM
I was afraid that just one more disagreement would lead to my being exiled.
People aren't being 'exiled' for disagreeing here. :)




You don't sound convinced... ;)
I'm not always convinced that you are convinced :)



But let's not go over this all over again.
No need to, but maybe you can help me with responding to the questions I just posted in that other thread... as I wrote over there, I'd like to make a questionnaire for non-vegans, and since you are the main 'humans are natural omnivores' guy here, you're the perfect beta tester for such a survey! And by the way, I think the 'humans are natural omnivores' topic is highly relevant to the topic of this thread...



Furthermore, whether or not we are adapated to eating meat is utterly irrelevant. So, why waste all that energy - on this forum? I disagree - see above. It's just as relevant as this thread, since it deals with opinions or pseudo-opinions many non-vegans have.



Like you said, one does not have to believe that humans are natural herbivores in order to be a vegan. True.




I have answered those questions. No, you haven't - and even if you had, as you can see - I have 40 new questions for you now. :)



I'll end up pissing you off again, and this time you'll kick me out for real. Invalid myths may trigger something in me, but you don't piss me off. Plus, again: we don't kick people out for their opinions (unless they are anti-vegans, in which case they have come to the wrong site)...



I know it's an issue you feel passionately about. It's not something I am passionate about - because I see it as irrelevant. It's very relevant for the 99% of the population that aren't vegans...!







It's not for our edification, Korn. We are already convinced. It is so that we can understand their position, their reasoning, so that we can better argue against them. I know, which is why I'm still responding... :)




Is Jerry Seinfeld a vegan????
Apparently he's a vegetarian, but due to your quoteophobia, you set up what I wrote so it seems that he said what I actually said. :)


So - sorry, but no Platonic hug yet - please answer my questions first.:D It's good for your blood pressure!