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ChartT
Apr 15th, 2005, 01:04 AM
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Seaside
Apr 15th, 2005, 04:37 AM
Hi ChartT! There is a lot that can be learned here. The animals you consider okay to eat are trapped in one place for their lifespan, with the exception of scallops and some clams. 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. This to me indicates that they have enough of a brain and central nervous system to be aware of danger and interested in preserving their own lives, and I'm sure the ones who cannot escape capture are just as interested in continuing to exist. Vegans acknowledge that all animals are entitled to continue their lives as unmolested by human beings as possible. We are all responsible for unavoidable deaths; it is our duty to make sure we do not voluntarily choose to use, harm or kill other beings, regardless of how complex they may or may not seem to us. :)

Cal
Apr 15th, 2005, 04:44 AM
I adopted the approach that understands vegan as doing what I can to remove animal products from my life. On that basis, I do not eat meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs or honey. (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. To understand this, I talked at length with a friend who is a vegetarian and a biologist.)
Welcome ChartT. Perhaps you could explain how you rationalise eating clams, oysters etc when you say you are doing what you can to remove animal products from your life? :confused: Are these not animals by your definition? :(

Imapeach
Apr 15th, 2005, 07:29 AM
Hi ChartT, it's great to have a new face around here and it's nice to see you seem to have a thoughtful view of the world :)

I also battled with the question of clams, muscles etc while I was a lacto-ovo for the exact same reasons you've cited. However, as a vegan I cannot condone their consumption. Molluscs and shellfish do not photosynthesise, therefore they are not plants, therefore they will not be a part of my diet.

As for the intelligence question, I know a lot of "people" who have brains and vertebrae who do not seem to be capable of processing anymore rational thoughts than the average mollusc :p

Also, you may wish to visit this site, if you haven't already http://www.pcrm.org/health/reports/fish_report.html

Welcome to the forums!

Stu
Apr 15th, 2005, 09:03 AM
Hi ChartT. That's amazing that you've started a mass debate (oo-er) with your very first post.

It made me laugh that you're so specific: "I describe myself as 96% pure". Good one!

Anyway, welcome to the site. You're obviously a very intelligent bloke. Nice to have you around.

Hasha
Apr 18th, 2005, 02:20 AM
Hmm... I don't know. I don't eat oysters etc. for basically two reasons: 1) it would remind me of the meat of 'higher' animals, and 2) I can't imagine that in the process of catching these simple animals, no higher animal gets hurt (although I do realize, of course, that growing the soybeans etc. that I eat involves hurting both a number of sentient beings and the environment). I don't know the details, but I don't imagine that people go into the oceans to pick oysters one by one, making sure that nothing else gets hurt. Speaking of which, I prefer just leaving the oceans alone as much as possible. We (humans) are causing enough (global, environmental) harm as it is... :(

Hasha
Apr 18th, 2005, 02:31 AM
Molluscs and shellfish do not photosynthesise, therefore they are not plants, therefore they will not be a part of my diet.

Well, neither do fungi, I believe. And yet, vegans don't normally have issues with eating mushrooms. As the matter of fact, I do believe that fungi were classified as animals at some point, I guess it has something to do with their tissue structure or whatever (any biologists here?), and now they are classified as - fungi. Neither animals nor plants.

Seaside
Apr 18th, 2005, 04:54 AM
Posted by ChartT:

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.

That's exactly the point. They are not animals by my definition. They don't think or feel in any way that I can figure.

They are not capable of thinking, much less having an interest in continuing to exist. They do not feel. They do not process any sense of danger.

If you're going to eat plants, eat clams, etc. From a vegan perspective there is no difference.

Since you've already got it all figured out, what are you doing here? :confused:

Quote:
Originally Posted by John

I'm going to state the obvious here. You are neither vegan nor vegetarian.

By the way, this is not a place to argue the definition of vegan.


Posted by ChartT:

The problem is, it is not obvious - as good people do disagree. But if you like, we can sidestep the definition.

John is right, and it is very obvious. We at this forum are vegans, and I'm sure none of us wish to sidestep the definition. The definition of a vegan is one who does not harm, exploit, or kill animals.

Hasha
Apr 18th, 2005, 01:28 PM
You know guys, I don't understand how one can refuse to eat clams on the basis of compassion, and yet be pro choice. (Just to clarify: I am very much pro choice, and I don't eat clams etc.) Isn't one of the pro-choice arguments that a fetus at the stage at which it is aborted is no more sentient than a clam? :confused: So, what I'm saying is, give the guy a break! We are getting too caught up in definitions. Now, as I said before, I don't think that eating these animals is a great idea, but if you're not eating them in order to avoid their own suffering, then I think you're missing the point.

snivelingchild
Apr 18th, 2005, 05:15 PM
I find that almost offensive that you compare a woman who chooses to end a fetus's life out of some need to someone who eats a clam. What good reason could someone possibly have to "need" to eat a clam, and bringing a child into the world has far greater consequences than not eating a clam. :rolleyes:

I hope that noone is being to hard on him. There is no reason to attack a person for what they do, but I'd like to think that whether or not it is ethical to eat a clam a pertinant subject for discussion of a vegan forum. However, if CharT is offended that it is discussed in his welcoming thread, I'm sure we can move this somewhere else.

And the only reason that the arguement for being pro-choice is that a fetus is not sentient or feeling is that the mother is, and you must choose between the interests of the two. I don't think someone's interest in eating a tasty clam compares to a pregnant woman's.

snivelingchild
Apr 18th, 2005, 05:18 PM
And the main subject of this (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=46750#post46750) post I think applies to this, as any situation where the exploited animal does not feel pain or does not physically seem to "suffer".

tails4wagging
Apr 18th, 2005, 06:52 PM
Anything that has a heart, brain, circulation is a living, breathing being therefore has a right to life like any other creature in this world.

Any living being responds to painful stimuli so they feel pain!!. So who are we to inflict pain on another living creature??

John
Apr 18th, 2005, 07:33 PM
CharT, I'm sure that you are a nice person, most meat-eaters are, but you are not a vegan. Not in practice and not in spirit.

Even though clams have a nervous system and some mollusks like the octopus are intelligent, I can't prove to you that clams, etc. feel pain. I'm not a biologist. Regardless, we vegans believe that clams and other mollusks own their own bodies. They do not belong to us.

We try our best not to kill or exlpoit animals. Of course, a situation may arise where we must kill an animal but there is no need to go out into the ocean and kill shellfish. We can get all of the nutrients from non-animal sources.

For decades vegans have been creating a new lifesyle. One free from animal products. We vegans can say that we are healthy and thriving without eating animal products. You can't say that you are healthy without meat, CharT.

Whether an animal feels pain during death or not, a vegan won't eat an animal. If the animal were unconscious, or even feeling pleasure during death, a vegan would not eat an animal.

I know that you are almost vegan and that's cool. If you were almost vegan and had the goal of giving up meat you would be "vegan in spirit" so to speak. Instead, you try to pull the definition of veganism closer to your lifestyle.

There are people who eat meat who are concerned about the suffering of animals. I commend their compassion but they are not vegan.

Hasha
Apr 18th, 2005, 10:43 PM
I find that almost offensive that you compare a woman who chooses to end a fetus's life out of some need to someone who eats a clam. What good reason could someone possibly have to "need" to eat a clam, and bringing a child into the world has far greater consequences than not eating a clam. :rolleyes:

What exactly is your point, Sniv? That both a fetus and a clam are sentient beings, but ending the life of a fetus is justifiable while ending the life of a clam isn't? Or that a clam is sentient, while a fetus isn't? Or something else...?

And for the record, I'm not being nasty or anything, I'm just trying to understand what you're saying.

Hasha
Apr 18th, 2005, 10:44 PM
Anything that has a heart, brain, circulation is a living, breathing being therefore has a right to life like any other creature in this world.

Any living being responds to painful stimuli so they feel pain!!. So who are we to inflict pain on another living creature??

But the question is whether clams etc. can feel pain at all.

Zool
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:18 AM
Hi ChartT! There is a lot that can be learned here. The animals you consider okay to eat are trapped in one place for their lifespan, with the exception of scallops and some clams. 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. This to me indicates that they have enough of a brain and central nervous system to be aware of danger and interested in preserving their own lives, and I'm sure the ones who cannot escape capture are just as interested in continuing to exist. Vegans acknowledge that all animals are entitled to continue their lives as unmolested by human beings as possible. We are all responsible for unavoidable deaths; it is our duty to make sure we do not voluntarily choose to use, harm or kill other beings, regardless of how complex they may or may not seem to us. :)

I wouldn't eat these animals simply because I don't think they taste that great but I do feel ChartT has a point. No brain & no central nervous system=doesn't know suffering=safe to eat. People shouldn't be so hung up on a definition without questioning the ethics of what they're deciding first. That's where religions go so horribly wrong. They start with a good idea, place a rigid belief structure around it, and blindly enforce it without ever questioning anymore. I'd hate to see veganism head that direction.

By the same reasoning quoted above, you could conclude that since plants will lean into sunlight or bleed sap to protect their "wounds", that they are also very interested in continuing to exsist. Yet we all cruelly devour them every day :D .

My favorite example is the venus fly trap. They act on stimuli to ensure their continued existence, yet they eat flies which I think we all here agree are sentient beings. How can we let such an atrocies take Place? :confused: We should rally for a carnivorous plant holocaust. After all, we'd sooner bite the head off a live plant than ever harm a fly. Just food for thought. :p

Astrocat
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:28 AM
I wonder though, whether CharT would also be quite happy to to eat a person who was in a vegetative-state coma....

When people who are in long-term comas are referred to as being in a "vegetative" state, it is for a good reason - it is because they have lost their awareness of the self - thus not having "ownership of themselves" nor sentience, and are not expected to recover.

Clams etc. have bodies made of flesh just like vegetative-state humans do.... so if sentience is your benchmark for what you are happy to consume, then really what is the difference ?

Zool
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:45 AM
I wonder though, whether CharT would also be quite happy to eat a person who was in a vegetative-state coma....

I wouldn't. I'm trying to watch my cholesterol. :D

Hasha
Apr 19th, 2005, 12:48 AM
I'm with Zool here. Both about the clams and about humans in coma.

John
Apr 19th, 2005, 01:42 AM
This has already been discussed and dismissed. Merely repeating previous statements with a condescending opening adds nothing to the quality of the discussion.

I'm not condescending to you, CharT. In fact I am doing opposite. I am trying to communicate that I do not believe that non-vegans like yourself are evil people. I do not claim that veganism is the only legitimate lifestyle in this world. I do not believe that vegans do no harm or necessarily do less harm than flesh eaters. I'm not judging your lifestye but you are not a vegan if you eat flesh.

Saying that no one is vegan because we are forced to use animal products to some extent in our lives is silly. There are the basic items that vegans swear off. If you can go past these basic items that's great but not essential.

Allow me to digress. I have a great respect for pacifists. I believe that they are highly evolved people. Part of me would really like to be a pacifist but I do not totally agree with pacifist philosophy. Maybe someday I will be a pacifist but I am not one yet. Therefore I do not call myself a pacifist. I do not say that I am 96% pacifist. I do not argue that no one is a pacifist because everyone pays taxes, hurts animals, lives on stolen land, blah, blah blah. I respect how pacifists wish to define themselves and do not call myself a pro-war/fist-fighting/only-for-a-good reason pacifist.

Hasha
Apr 19th, 2005, 02:20 AM
John, while I can see advantages to keeping the purity of definitions, I think that saying that ChartT wasn't 'vegan in sprit' was unwarranted and condescending. It is my understanding that ChartT seeks to minimize the suffering of sentient beings by not eating them and otherwise not using their products. (He eats clams etc. because he believes - and I tend to agree - that these beings are not sentient.) To me, that makes him look very much like someone who is 'vegan in spirit'. Also, I hope you have read Zool's post. 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.

Cal
Apr 19th, 2005, 03:40 AM
John said about ChartT:


If you were almost vegan and had the goal of giving up meat you would be "vegan in spirit" so to speak. Instead, you try to pull the definition of veganism closer to your lifestyle.
and I agree with John as I feel this exactly sums up ChartT's approach to a vegan lifestyle. :(

snivelingchild
Apr 19th, 2005, 04:27 AM
What exactly is your point, Sniv? That both a fetus and a clam are sentient beings, but ending the life of a fetus is justifiable while ending the life of a clam isn't? Or that a clam is sentient, while a fetus isn't? Or something else...?

And for the record, I'm not being nasty or anything, I'm just trying to understand what you're saying.

I understand. :) I meant that I believe they are both on the same level, without sentience, but that I do not think the two situations were comparable because one does not kill a fetus just to satify their taste buds (at least I hope not). I meant that a clam and a fetus can be viewed as basically the same thing, consciousness-wise. I think the important difference between the two situation is that a woman who chooses an abortion views it as necessary, and choosing between herself and the fetus is necessary because her needs are different than that of the fetus. Meanwhile, someone who eats a clam does so out of want, not out of need, or at least what they feel they need (unless they think their lives will be readically changed without eating clams or other such creatures). Does that make what I was saying clearer?

And CharT, I'm sorry if it bothers you I talk about a subject there is a different thread about, but I think what I am saying has more pertenance to this discussion that to the issue of abortion, since that is not what I am trying to debate. I am just saying that the comparison made between the two didn't make sense to me.

I do wish that this discussion would stick to the issue that CharT brought up, and not the person who partakes in it. This really has no relevence to our opinions and can lead to misconceptions and assumptions is we're not careful.

That being said, I realized with this thread just how civilized people on this forum are, even in heated debate, especially compared to most. It feels so nice to be able to have meaningful discussions without the distraction of attacks seen in massive amounts elsewhere. Sorry for going off-topic. No more, I swear. :o

Anyway, I think it is a good point that how can we say they deserve rights when they don't have sentience like other animals and are more comparable to plants, which we do not give these rights to, or at least say we cannot live without. Of course, I am saying this with no knowledge of these particular animals, so I think I will try to learn more about the subject. Things like this never entered my mind before because I never thought of things like this as food, ewwwww. :D Too gross for me. If we grant something rights just because it is technically classified as an animal, then that is no better than not eating meat simply because that's what a vegan does, with no reason behind it. We should decide for ourselves things such as this.

*off exploring biology*

spo
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:27 AM
Oh boy!! Here I go again --- Geez guys, I hate doing this again: you know, coming off as the "Big Authority". But what should I do here-keep quiet, when I have some info that could clear this up? :confused:
When I got my nursing degree, I also got a minor in biology, specifically microbiology, but I sure did take a lot of Bio courses that included the study of life forms under the "Standard Taxonomy" or Classification System of Biologists. That whole classification thing can clear this up, for sure.

Clams and oysters are classified as Phylum Mollusca or Mollusks, a group of over 100,000 species that also includes snails, octopus species and squid. I'm sure you already see where I'm going here: there are not many people who would say an octopus or snail is not a life form, with a nervous system, and capable of directed independent movement, with the ability to feel pain and seek to avoid it.

Clams are capable of opening and closing their shell at will. Clams generally live beneath the surface, in the bottom sand. They can extend or retract a muscular foot from inside their shell. They use that foot to burrow deeper under the sand to avoid danger. If they are capable of independent movement to avoid danger, then they must be able to perceive such danger and take a meaningful action intended to "avoid" that threat. Perception is one of the indicators of consciousness, and I would like to ask ChartT if he thinks plants have these biological qualities of "danger avoidance"?

In addition clams have a siphon that reaches out from their shell when they are beneath the sand and is used by them, much like we would use a straw, for sucking in and discharging water from their body cavity to maintain equilibrium--this is another conscious action taken to preserve their life functions.
Should I really go on further? The intention here is not an academic discussion of sea ANIMALS, but rather the ethics of vegans. If you are a vegan, you do not harm sentient beings, and you do not consume them for food because you practice compassion. I think I clearly showed that clams possess a type of sentience, and to me, they are deserving of being accorded the compassion we vegans extend to all conscious beings.

Thanks all, for reading this--I hope this will shed some light, and not add to more heat. I really believe that a person who truly is practicing a vegan ethic would know this instinctively. :o
spo

snivelingchild
Apr 19th, 2005, 05:35 AM
I understand and appreciate your post, spo, but a point was made earlier I believe that such actions are merely reflex, not coming from consciousness, and that no sentience can exist without a brain. I am not saying I agree with this, because I don't know yet, but do you have any input on these opinions?

Though there is something that really bothers me and I do not understand. I don't understand how such an animal could recognize danger without being able to percieve. Also, some mollucks have eyes. How can they gain information from such senses of they don't have a brain? How could such organs work without thinking or something to process the information taken in?