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Seaside
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:37 AM
Thank you spo! I always enjoy your posts! :)
I forgot to mention before that scallops also have eyes, which are pretty complex structures. ChartT did not mention actually eating octopi, but I recall a story about one that was kept at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Critters kept vanishing from other tanks, and it was a mystery until this octopus was caught escaping from its tank at night, entering the other tanks to feed (octopi are not vegan :( ) and returning to its original tank before morning. Octopi are considered the most intelligent invertebrates, (and this one had the most intelligent vertebrates fooled for a while!) and clams, mussels, oysters and scallops are their cousins, so who can tell what they may be capable of? :o

spo
Apr 19th, 2005, 06:15 AM
Hey, hi to two of my favorite people on the forum, Seaside and Sniv. How are you guys doing? I hope all is well. :)

To talk to you first, Seaside, I agree 100% with both your posts!! :D
Pretty much par for the course with us, yes? :cool: You kind of answered some of Sniv's concerns, too, I think -- but, of course, that is for her to say.
I saw a television program about 5 yrs. ago where a marine biologist was studying two octopi and had them in separate tanks facing each other. When he looked at the nighttime camera trained on them, he saw them making a series of complicated moves. He then studied the tape and found that one octopus was teaching the other how to move in order to learn his specific "language". Before too long, the researcher could see them communicate with their movements, such things as "pick up the pink shell and throw it into my tank"!!! Wow!! Thank God the guy came to his senses and he let the two octopi go free - back out to sea! :)

Anyway Sniv, clams have a nervous system and it is not true, from a biological standpoint, to say a brain is needed for perception-- all you need is a network of neurological tissue to send info across from one cell to another. I admit it is a less complex form of perceptual ability, but serves as a clam's "brain" if I might be so bold as to name it that. :o
A reflex must, by its definition, be a simple and rapid "cause and effect" behavior. Example: you put your hand up to poke my eye, and I blink- that's a reflex, and occurs too fast to be processed by our brains-- it occurs in the sensory neurons of the eyelids--no brain there.
But if you execute a series of directed and different behaviors, such as burrowing into and out of sand, opening and closing your shell for food and to extend the siphon for water expulsion - that is more than one series of behaviors, not just reflexive avoidance of danger. Remember, too, that if it was a reflex to avoid danger, then they would just close their shell. But clams extend their muscular foot and move away, and they also use the foot to bring themselves closer to a food source. That is a series of behaviors that have multiple goals and require directed perception. Anyway, the "Taxonomy Classification System" call Mollusks 'sea animals', and that should put them "right out" as a food source for vegans.
Anyway isn't it a sort of "specie-ism" to think of a brain as only being the type of complex neurological structure mammals possess? Just more food for thought :o

Anyway Sniv, just to get a little off topic -- I thought you expressed the abortion versus "eating a clam" argument so well and very insightful as to the different variables involved.

Hey, what can I say? I think the two of you contribute truly stimulating intellectual discourse in all your posts, without being rude or nasty.
Many thanks to both of you for your ideas, which I really value :D :D
love-spo

snivelingchild
Apr 19th, 2005, 07:28 AM
Thanks spo! I tried to search for very simple explanations of mollusk biology, but all I seemed to find were things telling me where all the organs are, and I couldn't seem to find much about their nervous system. (though I, admittedly, didn't look very hard)

If only I was still seeing an ex of mine, all my questions would be answered immediately. He was a vegan (though I heard he recently ate cheese :( ) who was obsessed with mollusks, and whose girlfriend (don't ask) was a zoology major, and knew all sorts of stuff.

And I've always had such a respect for octopi. I love reading about them because they really are the smartest non-human animal I can think of. Dolphins, eat your heart out! There was this gret article once in Discovery, and not only is their muscular system amazing, so is their intelligence in the way they use it. In the one octopus they were talking about, a man opened up a jar with food inside it in front of an octopus, and the octopus figured how to open the jar quite with ease just from watching. But that isn't nearly the most impressive thing I've heard of octopi doing.

Sorry, maybe I should create a thread on octopi! :p

Seaside
Apr 19th, 2005, 07:48 AM
ChartT and Zool, you might be interested in the thread entitled "Eating Fish: Is veganism only about not causing physical pain?" in the Not a Vegan Yet forum.

Astrocat
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:44 PM
Prove that clams, etc., think. Prove that they sense is some fashion other than stimulus-response. Prove that they possess the desire to continue their existence. Prove that they are sentient.


Prove that they don't.

CharT is a "vegan who eats meat" due to using questionable foundation to support consuming meat despite saying that he is a vegan, so I'd say that the ball is in his court to prove that his claims are true before demanding that they be disproven by others as if they are true.
Which so far, he has not done.


Let's remember what veganism is essentially about before we start getting into each other's faces with the 'I'm a vegan and you are not!' type of comments.

Hasha, not everyone discusses veganism in a primarily comparative or competitive way, as I'm sure you must already understand.
As can clearly be seen John is not making any comment of the sort, he is just noting that CharT isn't vegan. Which he isn't.

Using abstract vegan philosophy like "sentience defines whether something is vegan or not" could go a step further and technically also include vegans who eat eggs and cheese, since an egg isn;t considered to be sentient, and for obvious reasons neither is a block of cheese.
They are both animal products - but obviously the cheese and eggs don't have sentience themselves.

And again, how do people here feel about vegetative-state people ?
Do those who would condone vegan consumption of those not proven to have sentience condone consumption of these people for vegans who feel urges to consume them, since they don;t have any more sentience or potential for thought , concern for their welfare, etc, than clams do ?

John
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:25 PM
I started off just wanting to briefly state the obvious and I got drawn in, repeating and clarifying myself. People often ignore the value and power of semantical issues. That is, meaning.

Concerning compassion, I believe that it is possible that clams, etc. feel pain. I know that they at least suffer by being killed. Many people do not believe that any non-humans feel pain. The best thing to do is give the clams the benefit of the doubt.

Hasha
Apr 19th, 2005, 11:57 PM
Using abstract vegan philosophy like "sentience defines whether something is vegan or not" could go a step further and technically also include vegans who eat eggs and cheese, since an egg isn;t considered to be sentient, and for obvious reasons neither is a block of cheese.
They are both animal products - but obviously the cheese and eggs don't have sentience themselves.

And again, how do people here feel about vegetative-state people ?
Do those who would condone vegan consumption of those not proven to have sentience condone consumption of these people for vegans who feel urges to consume them, since they don;t have any more sentience or potential for thought , concern for their welfare, etc, than clams do ?

There's a big difference between clams and cheese/eggs. In order to obtain cheese and eggs, a great deal of suffering needs to be deliberately imposed on beings that are most definitely sentient, namely cows and chickens. This does not seem to be the case with clams. The only two objections to eating clams that I can think of (other than the 'it's gross!' argument) are that 1) in the process of catching clams, higher beings are hurt, and 2) it disrupts the oceans. As for 1), well, this is comparable to hurting, say, frogs on rice fields; it is considerably different from raising cows/chickens for milk/eggs. Still, I think that the two reasons against eating clams are fairly good reasons; at least, they're good enough to me (although, in my case, there's the 'gross factor', too).

As for humans in vegetative state... Well, no, I wouldn't eat one. There, the 'gross factor' would be even higher for me, and besides, I can't imagine that that could possibly be healthy (the human form of BSE comes to mind). But if the vegetative-coma-person's relatives wanted to let wild animals eat him/her, that would be fine by me...

Zool
Apr 20th, 2005, 12:11 AM
Since this thread started I've been reading about the nervous systems of mollusks. It's very important not to compare squids & such to clams. Though they're in the same phylum they are in different classes entirely. The entire nervous system of bivalves (clams, scallops, etc...) seems to consist of nothing more than 3 sets of ganglia. (nerve bundles) They're in the front, back, and foot of the animal. It's also been determined that they typically only respond to touch, light, and chemicals. The few who have eyes have very simple ones that can only sense & react to light. Bivalves probably can't feel pain, instead the nerves just make the body react to do what's the most favorable to the animal's survival. (Move where there's a higher food concentration, get away from physical touch, etc...) It's really not unlike how some flower blossoms will shut when you touch them. I found this article fascinating: http://www.theosophy-nw.org/theosnw/brother/br-jvmj2.htm Squids and octopusses however have very complex brain structures and are a huge step up in evolution.

After reading the article referenced in the paragraph above and a few related resources, I realize that there has to be a point where you draw a line. A point where you say, "I will give all potential foods due process." Be it plant, animal, fungus, bacteria, mineral, etc... After all isn't it discrimination to lump foods into categories? Even as broad as "plant" or "animal"? Hell even yeast is an organism. I find it inherent that ALL life wants to continue existence. For us to continue our own, things have to die. It's a fact of nature. People have to look at their individual ethics though. Vegans especially have to admit that there is a grey area where not everybody (even fellow vegans) will all agree. Reality is not all black & white. Many things are obvious but there's a point at which you can't tell if you're causing damage & suffering or not. Then it's a judgement call. But if you do your research and weigh the facts and make the best, most ethical decision you can, then you most definitely have the "vegan spirit". Someone shouldn't be told they're flat out not vegan because they've chosen to listen to their own conscious. We all learn more about making the right choices every day. It's not all one hardcore leap saying, "You're either for us or against us." The fact you care, keep your self aware of the world and how you affect it, and do your absolute best to not cause harm is what being vegan is all about. It's called compassion. Everybody on this forum has it or they wouldn't be here.

Incidently, I also read about how clams & such are "harvested". It's a process called dredging where large metal screens or cages are dragged across the ocean floor to scrape them up. Possible ecological damage was suggested before and sure enough it causes quite a bit. For that reason I personally feel it's wrong to eat these things. But that's just me.

(Sorry about the rant, my brain gets spun up pretty easily. :p )

John
Apr 20th, 2005, 01:19 AM
Someone shouldn't be told they're flat out not vegan because they've chosen to listen to their own conscious.

Don't worry, I'm not tired of repeating myself. I'm not putting CharT down for his opinions. The truth is, eating a piece of meat from any animal might not be a cruel act at all. If a bird flew into your kitchen and died of old age next to the oven, why not eat that animal? Give up? Because vegans don't eat meat. There are people who think that it is impossible to survive and be heathy without meat or animal products. We vegans prove them wrong. If you want to eat that bird, by all means, go ahead--but a vegan wouldn't.

Seaside
Apr 20th, 2005, 07:33 AM
Posted by Astrocat:

And again, how do people here feel about vegetative-state people ?
Do those who would condone vegan consumption of those not proven to have sentience condone consumption of these people for vegans who feel urges to consume them, since they don;t have any more sentience or potential for thought , concern for their welfare, etc, than clams do ?

That did occur to me, Astrocat, when the level of sentience was brought up. After 20 years of being vegan, I would have to stop thinking of myself as a vegan if I developed an urge to ingest any sort of flesh, whether it was my own placenta, wild duck eggs in an abandoned nest (ducks used to nest in my front yard when I lived on dry land), road kill, or brain-dead people! If genetic scientists one day manage to clone animal bodies without brains and nervous systems in order to provide cruelty-free flesh to the starving masses I will not eat it because flesh is not food.

Starfish are natural predators of mollusks. They have five powerful arms with hundreds of suction-cup feet that pull apart the valves of the mollusk just far enough to insert their digestive organs and devour the flesh inside. There are predatory snails with very coarse mouth parts that they are able to move in a rotating fashion to essentially drill a tiny hole in the shell and prey upon the soft body parts of the mollusk. Humans have no such natural tools to use to attack these creatures and obtain their flesh. Our teeth, digestive systems, fingernails, inability to breathe underwater, etc. indicate that mollusks are not intended to be available to us a source of food. Our dna is not aware that we are able to use technology to prey upon organisms that are not our proper food. We are biologically designed to be herbivores (and don't ask why we have sharp canine teeth; gorillas are basically fruitarians and use their well developed canines for display rather than function) and we have been conditioned to believe wrongly that animals are food to us. Animals, regardless of their level of sentience or ability to feel pain, are no more food for humans than sawdust or tree bark.

spo
Apr 20th, 2005, 08:06 AM
After 20 years of being vegan, I would have to stop thinking of myself as a vegan if I developed an urge to ingest any sort of flesh, whether it was my own placenta, wild duck eggs in an abandoned nest (ducks used to nest in my front yard when I lived on dry land), road kill, or brain-dead people! If genetic scientists one day manage to clone animal bodies without brains and nervous systems in order to provide cruelty-free flesh to the starving masses I will not eat it because flesh is not food.

This is so right and to the point, thanks again, Seaside. I am going to steal this line of yours: "flesh is not food". Believe me, it will save me a thousand words, at least. ;)


Our dna is not aware that we are able to use technology to prey upon organisms that are not our proper food. We are biologically designed to be herbivores (and don't ask why we have sharp canine teeth; gorillas are basically fruitarians and use their well developed canines for display rather than function) and we have been conditioned to believe wrongly that animals are food to us. Animals, regardless of their level of sentience or ability to feel pain, are no more food for humans than sawdust or tree bark.

Boy, I have to steal this whole paragraph. It is logical and states the vegan ethic in one of the best ways. Thanks, again for these two insights!! :)
spo

Happiness
Apr 25th, 2005, 08:49 AM
I'm deeply enjoying this thread and everyones input. I'm new here and a bit shy of talking on such a hot topic but as a marine biology student I thought I'd throw in my two bits:

Oysters are part of the phylum molluska (as we've determined) and while they have no brain they do have three pairs of ganglia. Ganglia is a grouping of nerve cells essentially. They also have a heart. And blood. And gills. They are acually towards the top of phylogenetic tree for inverts. Species of bivalves have been found in fresh water, salt water and even thermal vents where they rotate from areas of high sulfur concentrations (for feeding) to low (to keep from poisoning their blood). Damn that's cool, these animals have my respect.

And I know I am new to veganism and I still have the stars in my eyes but from what I have read veganism was founded on the principle of ahimsa (dynamic harmlessness) and that it is not "sufficient to simply avoid specific foods and products; it is neccessary to actively participate in beneficial selfless actions as well". And in my book that means every living creature is sacred in its own right. Brain or no brain. We are all connected and one.

spo
Apr 25th, 2005, 02:47 PM
And I know I am new to veganism and I still have the stars in my eyes but from what I have read veganism was founded on the principle of ahimsa (dynamic harmlessness) and that it is not "sufficient to simply avoid specific foods and products; it is neccessary to actively participate in beneficial selfless actions as well". And in my book that means every living creature is sacred in its own right. Brain or no brain. We are all connected and one.

Dear Happiness:
Wow--it's great that you posted about this. I'm glad you put in your educated information. It is as I suspected -- there is good scientific evidence of clams' sentience. Thank you for this contribution!! :D :D

As a Hindu convert, I totally agree with the above quote. IMO, Ahimsa is the foundation principle of a vegan ethic. You stated the principle of Ahimsa and its practice in veganism in a succinct and correct way. Again, I thank you for this! :D
spo

Artichoke47
Apr 25th, 2005, 05:16 PM
Not another meat-eater claiming to be a vegan. I will send Korn a PM about this. This thread should be in the "Not a Vegan Yet" section. Actually, I don't think this person ever intends on being a vegan (or vegetarian, for that matter).

To be honest and upfront, you might want to describe yourself as an omnivore who doesn't consume dairy, eggs, and animal clothing items.

Korn
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:47 PM
I do eat clams, oysters, scallops and occasionally mussels, on the basis that they do not have a brain or a centralized nervous system capable of processing thought.


Scallops can escape attack by clapping their shells together rapidly and pumping water through their valves, and thus they can "swim" away from predators fairly quickly. Clams can rapidly burrow into soft sediments to get out of reach of predators.

What would be a good reason to eat something that (having what we know as a brain or not) tries to escape attacks tries to get out of reach of predators?

One thing is clear to me: I don't want to go to a vegan cafe and get a meal with clams, oysters, scallops and occasionally mussels because some persons who define themselves as vegans mean that research show that these 'beings' do not feel physical pain. There are other kinds of pain, some beings feel pain when someone from their group is being attacked. Please don't get this wrong, but I think it's important to distinguish between the definition of vegan and vegan ethics. I don't want any animals in my soup, not even those who died a natural death, not roadkill, not birds who are crashing into my kitchen windows. It's important to keep the definition of vegan food closely linked to plant based food, because finally, after 60 years, lots of people now understand what the word means. There will always be people who discuss if it's unethical to eat roadkill, or if it's wrong to eat a bird that died a natural death, just like there will be people who will discuss whether it's wrong in an emergency situation, like after a airplane crash, to eat humans, or if fish can feel pain or not. There will be new research.

I don't want to base my life on which studies that currently are getting the top rankings at Google. I don't want to eat something that doesn't want to be eaten, or which feels and smells like living beings to me. Like John said, the best thing to do is give the clams the benefit of the doubt. There's just no reason to eat clams, oysters, scallops and mussels anyway.

A while ago, I heard about an article that claimed that humans have two brains (http://www.boingboing.net/2002/02/06/humans_have_two_brai.html) 'Though few know about it, humans have a second brain that handles most of the body's digestive functions. Study of the enteric nervous system is a rapidly growing specialty, offering insight into malfunctions of the "gut brain" as well as the more complex cranial brain'. We know very little about what scientific studies will tell us in the future. If I ever come across an apple that tries to escape my 'attack', I won't eat it. It doesn't matter to me if this apple has a brain or nervous system or can feel physical pain. We know little about bonds between ie. fish, and we don't know if know all there is to be known about ie. clams or scallops. If a human or animal is capable of feeling pain isn't even important to me. I don't want to eat something/someone that feelslike a living being I can't find a reason to do it.


Clams, oysters, scallops and mussels have never been defined as vegan food (which is clear if you look at B12 research related to vegan food), and to expand the definition of vegan to include these 'beings' would be completely wrong.


They don't think or feel in any way that I can figure. If this is valid definition for vegan food, I know of several politicians that could end up on our dinner plates! ;)


The inner content is: vegans do not exploit animals, as they are thinking and sensing beings to some extent or other. I believe this is the first time I actually see 'thinking' as a part of anyones definition of vegan.


I don't believe I have it all figured out; nowhere do I indicate that I have it all figured out; that I have it "all figured out" is a faulty conclusion.If you don't have it all figured it out, why try to convince vegans to eat something vegans normally don't eat?


Ownership requires some level of thought
No. People in coma may not be able to think, but that doesn't give you the right to eat them.

Happiness
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:50 PM
oh my i hope you are not talking about me aritchoke. I am a vegan! I promise. No meat or animal items here! I was just saying that veganism is ment to be more then just avoiding specific foods and items, its about respect. hahaha no no no...i'm vegan on that I can assure you.

Happiness
Apr 25th, 2005, 07:54 PM
wait...my bad. I just realized then was the first post for you artichoke on this thread. You more then likely weren't talking to me. hehehe sorry.

Artichoke47
Apr 25th, 2005, 11:25 PM
No, I realize that you don't eat animals, Happy! :)

Seaside
Apr 26th, 2005, 03:49 AM
Posted by Happiness:

I'm deeply enjoying this thread and everyones input. I'm new here and a bit shy of talking on such a hot topic but as a marine biology student I thought I'd throw in my two bits:

Don't worry about that Happiness! I've only been here a few weeks myself! ;)

Posted by Korn:

We know little about bonds between ie. fish, and we don't know if know all there is to be known about ie. clams or scallops. If a human or animal is capable of feeling pain isn't even important to me. I don't want to eat something/someone that feelslike a living being I can't find a reason to do it.

Though he is not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, I think, Dr. Andrew Weil says that lobsters mate for life! :p

EcoTribalVegan
Apr 28th, 2005, 04:53 AM
Hey this has got me doing a bit of research, and there's no conclusive evidence that these animals don't feel pain. And even if they don't they're obviously in extreme discomfort since they try to escape touch. Maybe Chart T could provide conclusive evidence they don't feel pain. I've heard a lot of, "they possibly don't," or "unlikely they do" feel pain. Yet nothing conclusive.

pixeequeen
Apr 30th, 2005, 11:31 PM
Hi ChartT and welcome. I have just found this thread and it has been an interesting read. While I personally dont agree with eating clams etc, there is one single important thing... A big welcome to anyone who cares about animals and does not wish to be part of their suffering. That is the fundamental point of this all I feel, and can get a bit lost in the stigma of definitions. While I may think that clams and co may suffer, if you don't but care about all the other animals then I praise what you are doing than criticise what you don't. I get the feeling you may be an active member, and there may be some interesting discussions to come! So enjoy ChartT

Seaside
Apr 30th, 2005, 11:58 PM
Posted by pixeequeen:

A big welcome to anyone who cares about animals and does not wish to be part of their suffering.

That's just the point though, pixeequeen. ChartT claims that clams do not suffer when killed, stubbornly refuses to consider that there might be a small chance that they do and should be left alone in case this is true, and is way more interested in justifying his refusal to give these animals up as sources of food than in being convinced that vegans do not eat flesh, whether it can feel pain or not. He has even posted an argument with John in the "Insects" thread that asserts that if John thinks it is okay to kill termites it should be okay for ChartT to eat clams. He clearly is way more interested in arguing than in being vegan.

pixeequeen
May 1st, 2005, 12:14 AM
it is just my opinion that caring about others should be encouraged, and while I agree that clams suffer, ChartT has shown that he has thought about it. Yes we may think him wrong, but there a a billion meateaters out there who dont give it a second thought. If we really want to ease animals suffering then we should be encouraging people to be thinking things through, it is the ignorance of people that I find hardest to deal with. However I dont want to get drawn into the debate, cos I can see your point too Seaside, and I dont wish to sound like i condone the flippancy towards eating clams. But I do want to make ChartT feel welcome, on my part. Plus he has inevitably questioned his clam-eating a hundred times being on this forum!

Seaside
May 1st, 2005, 04:47 AM
Posted by pixeequeen:

If we really want to ease animals suffering then we should be encouraging people to be thinking things through, it is the ignorance of people that I find hardest to deal with.

That is a good point, too, pixeequeen. :)

And I will welcome reading more of ChartT's thoughts as long as they do not involve justifying the eating of mollusks. Over half of the posts ChartT has made in this forum so far involve his reasons for why he thinks it is okay to eat them. :confused:

tails4wagging
May 1st, 2005, 06:19 AM
I guess he eats them because he enjoys them!!!.

I, as a vegan, has had to give up such things as 'bacon' and cheese. If you are a commited animal lover and believes all things living are sentient then you have to make sacrifices.

Just because clams etc,. are different physicalogically doesnt mean they have no thought processes, how do we know?. If these creatures have a heart, blood and ganglia and they obviiously would feel pain, they are 'flesh' therefore as vegans we should not eat them.