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veganmike
Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:14 PM
About Robert Cohen of Notmilk.com:

"Statement from the UK Vegan Society Regarding Robert Cohen and Stephen Walsh" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/vegan_society_walsh_cohen.htm)
"Open letter to Robert Cohen" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/walsh_openletter.htm)
"Beware of Robert Cohen aka the NotMilk Man" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_index.htm)
"Robert Cohen and Integrity: Summary Statement" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/kaufman_cohen1.htm)
"Robert Cohen: Dangerous Disinformation" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/walsh_cohen1.htm)
"Honest Advocacy" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/baumel_cohen1.htm)
"Vegans say no to extreme 'not milk' spin" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_nelson1.htm)
"Special note: Response to "Lisa" Cohen" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_nelson1.htm)
"The Sad Truth About Robert Cohen. Do honesty and character count in an activist?" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen/)
"On Slavery, Silk, Carrageenan, Animal Studies and Soymilk Makers" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/silk3.htm)
"Rebuttal to Cohen's Latest Nonsense" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/silk4.htm)

beforewisdom
Aug 8th, 2004, 04:13 AM
About Robert Cohen of Notmilk.com:

"Statement from the UK Vegan Society Regarding Robert Cohen and Stephen Walsh" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/vegan_society_walsh_cohen.htm)
"Open letter to Robert Cohen" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/walsh_openletter.htm)
"Beware of Robert Cohen aka the NotMilk Man" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_index.htm)
"Robert Cohen and Integrity: Summary Statement" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/kaufman_cohen1.htm)
"Robert Cohen: Dangerous Disinformation" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/walsh_cohen1.htm)
"Honest Advocacy" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/baumel_cohen1.htm)
"Vegans say no to extreme 'not milk' spin" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_nelson1.htm)
"Special note: Response to "Lisa" Cohen" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen_nelson1.htm)
"The Sad Truth About Robert Cohen. Do honesty and character count in an activist?" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/cohen/)
"On Slavery, Silk, Carrageenan, Animal Studies and Soymilk Makers" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/silk3.htm)
"Rebuttal to Cohen's Latest Nonsense" (http://www.vegsource.com/articles/silk4.htm)
All of these links are vegsource sites, which might lead some people to think that all of these links only express one side of the story.

After The Rain
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:23 PM
All of these links are vegsource sites, which might lead some people to think that all of these links only express one side of the story.

They're pretty biased, as the site is hosted by one of the persons involved in the conflict.

I didn't know that Robert Cohen accused Stephen Walsh and Jack Norris for being "infiltrators" until I heard about their conflict recently, and I am not connected with the notmilk-site or Cohen at all, but it has struck me several times that these two persons (Walsh/Norris) in particular cause a lot of harm to the vegan movement.

veganmike
Aug 15th, 2004, 10:49 PM
In what particular way do Mr. Walsh and Mr. Norris cause harm to the vegan movement?

After The Rain
Aug 15th, 2004, 11:33 PM
In many ways. Most of the animal rights stuff on their sites are based on the ways animals are treated in todays society - factory farming and all that. It's the way animals currently are treated that gets the main focus, not that humans have no right to harm or kill others, animals or not. This can indirectly lead to quasi-vegan ideas about "humane" slaughtering and hunting and so on.

They focus so much on nutrition and facts, and so little on ethics.

I know you agree with the Jack Norris approach to B12, but I'm totally against it. It looks convincing at first, but if you read what he writes a few times, you'll see that he (and Stepen Walsh) has almost no interest at all in telling people that the problem with B12 for vegans isn't the plants, but they way we live.

The Vegan Society could have done a lot to distribute and generate information about the vegan diet being a natural choice. They could have funded in depth reseach. But they don't seem to care. Many people leave their sites and think that it's weird to recommend a certain diet and then spend so much energy on warning people how unhealthy they'll end up living on it (unless they take sublingual B12 daily for the rest of their life). (OK, I'm exaggerating a little........)

Why don't they inform about all the risks involved with an unnatural life style?

It's like the vegan movement has got a right wing and a left wing, and they both belong to the right wing. They support each other, refer to each other, ignore a lot of really interesting facts, and want everybody else to get the impression that they represent true veganism. The way I see it, they are far from it.

I went vegan overnight more than 3O years ago after having read a few pages explaining in a very convincing way how we are meant to eat plants, and that nature has so much more to offer than most people believe. The Norris/Walsh approach to veganism, which could be described as a "mathematical" approach to veganism often just makes me yawn.

They are both very good at giving the impression of being unbiased - but they're not. They represent a very specific type of veganism, and unfortunately, many newcomers now think that veganism is only about nutrients and factory farming.

veganmike
Aug 16th, 2004, 09:39 AM
Thank you for taking time to write down your comments and thoughts.


In many ways. Most of the animal rights stuff on their sites are based on the ways animals are treated in todays society - factory farming and all that. It's the way animals currently are treated that gets the main focus, not that humans have no right to harm or kill others, animals or not. This can indirectly lead to quasi-vegan ideas about "humane" slaughtering and hunting and so on.

This comment applies more to Vegan Outreach, than Vegan Society. Here's why. As you might have noticed VO's approach is based, to a large extent, on Singer's utilitarian philosophy. In short, reduce suffering and increase happiness. According to this philosophy factory farming deserves to be a priorioty for animal advocates because it generates the majority of animal suffering.

Speaking of "quasi-vegan ideas", Singer in "Animal liberation" writes that he would not object eating animals reared in a human way and killed painlessly, if we would bring another animals into existence. He admits though that it would be very difficult in practice (price of meat would skyrocket etc.) and humans would be logcally obliged to procreate as much as possible.


They focus so much on nutrition and facts, and so little on ethics.

That is only partially true. No wonder they Norris and Walsh focus on nutrition and facts, I mean, Norris is a dietician and Walsh has a PhD in Process Systems Engineering. They write about things they were taught to write, it's their job to focus on nutrition and facts.

Anyway, VO website is PRIMARILY focused on ethics. They have many essays which do talk on ethics. I know it because I translated them into Polish.


I know you agree with the Jack Norris approach to B12, but I'm totally against it. It looks convincing at first, but if you read what he writes a few times, you'll see that he (and Stepen Walsh) has almost no interest at all in telling people that the problem with B12 for vegans isn't the plants, but they way we live.

Neither Norris nor Walsh talk only about B12, but yes, they give a great deal of attention to it. It's nothing wrong since vegans are notorious for their high rate of B12 deficiencies.

Stephen Walsh and Vegan Society are currently conducting clinical studies on possible B12 source in chlorella so I'd say they do have an interest in telling people that the problem with B12. What I like about Walsh/Norris is that when it turns out that chlorella is not a reliable source of B12, he will admit it. They are not interested in telling fairy tales about poor little vegans living in a hostile unnatural world which deprived them of B12.


The Vegan Society could have done a lot to distribute and generate information about the vegan diet being a natural choice. They could have funded in depth reseach. But they don't seem to care. Many people leave their sites and think that it's weird to recommend a certain diet and then spend so much energy on warning people how unhealthy they'll end up living on it (unless they take sublingual B12 daily for the rest of their life). (OK, I'm exaggerating a little.).

I don't know exactly what you mean by saying that VS "could have distribute and generate information about the vegan diet being a natural choice". Does it mean they should contradict and deny the fact that we are omnivores? They recommend vegan diet because they believe that ethical aspect of veganism is more important than "being natural" and I have no problem with it. Even if it takes taking sublingual B12 daily which I'm gladly practicing.


Why don't they inform about all the risks involved with an unnatural life style? Lack of time? No, because they have got lots of time to attack other parts of the vegan movement that disagree with their non-visionary "veganism".

Because everybody knows that already, I guess. People won't quite their jobs and stressful lifestyle just to go vegan. It's the veganism that has to be adjusted to their lifestyle.

I don't see VO/VS spending particularly much time on attacking anyone. When they disagree with someone, they'll just tell it. I don't think there's anything wrong with that.


It's like the vegan movement has got a right wing and a left wing, and they both belong to the right wing. They support each other, refer to each other, ignore a lot of really interesting facts, and want everybody else to get the impression that they represent true veganism. The way I see it, they are far from it.

It's normal for people with similar beliefs to get together and support each other. I don't think that they think of themselves as representatives of "true veganism", they just have their own ideas on how to spread it.


I went vegan overnight more than 3O years ago after having read a few pages explaining in a very convincing way how we are meant to eat plants, and that nature has so much more to offer than most people believe. The Norris/Walsh approach to veganism, which has been described as a "mathematical approach to veganism" often just makes me yawn.

Different strokes for different folks. See, that's the beauty of it, for me ""mathematical approach to veganism" is convincing and fascinating and the whole talk about nature, for me, is null and void.


They are both very good at giving the impression of being unbiased - but they're not. They represent a very specific type of veganism, and unfortunately, many newcomers now think that veganism is only about nutrients and factory farming.

Yes, I agree with you that veganism is not only about factory farmed animals, but nutrition is probably the single most important part of the story here. If vegans can't be healthy, then the case fo veganism does not exist. Norris/Walsh try to do what they can to make people as healthy vegans as possible. When it comes to nutrition I think they are painfully objective (presenting strong sides and weak sides of vegan nutrition and how to deal with the latter).

We need people like Norris/Walsh percisely because of their "mathematical" approach (to nutrition). They have been doing a fabulous job at debunking many anti-vegan myths in the mainstream media/institutions. If we don't have our own experts in the field of nutrition and science, then we're gonna lose it.

phillip888
Aug 16th, 2004, 07:47 PM
After The Rain, you know what's sad? Cohen said many of the things you did (and I find them to be true). There are definitely lobbyists posing as vegans, much more than people realize. You know, corporations are not above astroturfing and posing to create, destroy, and subvert grass roots movements and counter cultures. It's been a common practice in the US since day one, but oddly people pretend it can't be so. I think it's worth looking in to.

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 09:09 AM
Do you think that less suffering and more happiness go well along with losing your life because someone wants to eat you? Are dead animals happy?

He sounds like a true egotarian.

Just for the record, I'm merely stating Singer's opinion, by no means I'm expressing my views here. He thinks that if animal had a pleasurable life and was killed painlessly (another condition is that animal in question is not capable of having plans for future) it is OK to eat it, if we bring another animal into existence which will lead the same pleasurable life. Please see latest edition of "Animal liberation" for Singer's explanation.

Korn
Aug 17th, 2004, 09:53 AM
He thinks that if animal had a pleasurable life and was killed painlessly (another condition is that animal in question is not capable of having plans for future) it is OK to eat it, if we bring another animal into existence which will lead the same pleasurable life.

What does "if we bring other animals into existence" actually mean? Animals are brought into existence all the time - not by humans, but by animals.

And, does he explain why he is fine with eating animals (under given circumstances), but not humans, if "bringing others into existence" is his criterion? Is it OK to kill two people if you have two babies? Of course not. Yo me, it sounds like he is saying, is, "I don't respect an animals right to live". In other words: the opposite of veganism.

If eating animals are OK given that the animals had a good life, maybe eating pets would be a perfect choice for him?

And, what about all the well documented side effects of eating animals (cancer etc) - are they 'OK' too? He doesn't sound like a vegetarian or vegan at all.

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 10:25 AM
Why do you make me explain things that I don't agree with? :) I mentioned before, these are not my views so I don't really feel obliged to defend them. If anyone wants to know what Singer thinks, pick up "Animal liberation" (1995 edition) or at least check an article "Animal Rights Theory and Utilitarianism: Relative Normative Guidance" (http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arusgfrancione1997.htm) by prof. Gary Francione.

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 10:28 AM
I forgot, it's funny we brought up Singer in this thread as I know loads of vegans who think that Peter Singer and those who follow his philosophy (i.e. PeTA and Vegan Outreach) are doing a great deal of harm to the movement.

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 12:30 PM
Norris runs a site which to a large extent is based on Peter Singer's philosophy. Peter Singer is not even against eating meat as such, he's only against the way our society currently treats and kills animals. If someone who represents a vegetarian or vegan foundation (Walsh) has "similar beliefs" as someone who has no trouble with eating meat per se, something is wrong somewhere. I'm not surprised that this looks like infiltration to someone. Personally I don't think it is infiltration, but someone is in bed with the wrong people here.

Now you got it all wrong.

When I wrote what Peter just quoted I meant knowledge of nutrition, not philosophy. I don't know what Stephen Walsh's philosophy is, you can always e-mail him and ask about it.

I do not agree with Singer's philosophy, but I know one thing - he is explicity pro-vegan. He is a vegan himself. Norris and Vegan Outreach promote veganism. So I don't think the word "infiltration" fits here, unless someone here is into conspiracy theories which I'm far from.

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 01:27 PM
I do not agree with Singer's philosophy, but I know one thing - he is explicity pro-vegan. He is a vegan himself. How can he be a vegan if he thinks it's OK to kill an animal an eat it?

Ok, if you insist on not calling him vegan, let's say that he is vegan in dietary terms.

Korn
Aug 17th, 2004, 02:21 PM
Ok, if you insist on not calling him vegan, let's say that he is vegan in dietary terms. He wouldn't even be a 'dietary vegan' (a self-contradiction) if he ate a 'happy' animal that was killed in a 'painless' way - which he might do anytime if he is not against it. Is there's actually a reason to think that he doesn't do it on a regular basis if he has no problem with it?

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 02:34 PM
BBC World has this talk-show, HardTalk, where the host asks all sorts of confrontational questions to his guests. Singer appeared there 4 or 6 weeks ago. They talked mostly about animal issues and Singer's latest book on Bush. At the end of the show the host asked him: "So you are vegan, yes?". Singer replied: "Yes, that's correct". That's how I know he doesn't eat meat.

Korn
Aug 17th, 2004, 03:15 PM
1) Peter Singer calls himself a vegan. 2) Peter Singer has no problems with killing an animal and eating it under what he considers the 'right' circumstances. 1+2=3) According to Peter Singer, you can be a vegan and still be OK with killing animals and eating them, as he is an example of that himself. 4) Peter Singer says on TV that he is a vegan.

Doesn't that only tell us that Peter Singer is a vegan according to how he defines vegan, which in his very special case obviously means that you can be a vegan even if you are OK with killing animals and eating them, since he is an example of this himself? In other words, based on Peter Singers definitions, he could eat meat and still call himself a vegan. I don't know much about Peter Singer, but based on what you write, it could be like a perfect example of how to save the meat industry and fight against veganism, (http://veganforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=804) couldn't it?

veganmike
Aug 17th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Everybody can read "Animal liberation" and decide for themselves. I disagree with Singer and subscribe to the philosophy of animal rights, not that of (anti-speciest) utilitarianism.

Korn
Aug 19th, 2004, 10:33 AM
Everybody can read "Animal liberation" and decide for themselves. I don't think that there are many vegans that would be interested in wasting time on reading a book by a guy who thinks it's OK to kill and eat animals.

I don't understand you, veganmike. You have posted many links to Jack Norris' site, links that mainly attacks another 'vegan authority', Robert Cohen, because,
he [Robert Cohen] is not the vegan advocate I'd like to support

You also write that you disagree with Singer. But over the last year you (and now also Steve/beforewisdom) have been very active in advocating Jack Norris' sites, which, to a large extent, are based on the philosophy of a guy that's not even against eating meat. You say that Robert Cohen is not the vegan advocate you want to support, but you and Steve are supporting a site that promotes the philosophy of a guy who are OK with KILLING animals?

Is such a 'vegan advocate' someone you really want to support?

No second thoughts? As you admit, you know 'loads of vegans' who think that Jack Norris of Vegan Outreach is doing a great deal of harm to the movement!

If you support someone who is harming the vegan movement, you are harming the movement yourself, and thereby, indirectly, harming animals.

veganmike
Aug 19th, 2004, 12:20 PM
I don't think that there are many vegans that would be interested in wasting time on reading a book by a guy who thinks it's OK to kill and eat animals.

The book itself is still worth reading. It's very well written and has some good points, although I disagree with author's overall conclusions and some of his argumentation. I don't think one can discuss Singer's philosophy without reading his books.



I don't understand you, veganmike. You have posted many links to Jack Norris' site, links that mainly attacks another 'vegan authority', Robert Cohen, because,

You also write that you disagree with Singer. But over the last year you (and now also Steve/beforewisdom) have been very active in advocating Jack Norris' sites, which, to a large extent, are based on the philosophy of a guy that's not even against eating meat. You say that Robert Cohen is not the vegan advocate you want to support, but you and Steve are supporting a site that promotes the philosophy of a guy who are OK with KILLING animals?

While I was VERY enthusiastic about Vegan Outreach approach to veganism, this has changed recently. I still think it's good they are around. They are doing a great job at introducing people to veganism.

When talking about Norris we have to distinguish two things - his philosophy and his work as a dietician. The latter I support in 100% and I have no problem with him as far as nutrition is concerned. So I don't think I'm being incosistent here.


Is such a 'vegan advocate' someone you really want to support?

As a dietician and vegan health advocate, yes, absolutely.


No second thoughts? As you admit, you know 'loads of vegans' who think that Jack Norris of Vegan Outreach is doing a great deal of harm to the movement!

The people I know and object to VO approach to veganism do it because VO, whose final goal is animal liberation, supports welfarist regulations as well.


If you support someone who is harming the vegan movement, you are harming the movement yourself, and thereby, indirectly, harming animals.

Like I said, I support them mainly because of their nutritional information which, in my opinion, can only benefit the movement.

beforewisdom
Aug 19th, 2004, 01:07 PM
You also write that you disagree with Singer. But over the last year you (and now also Steve/beforewisdom) have been very active in advocating Jack Norris' sites, which, to a large extent, are based on the philosophy of a guy that's not even against eating meat.
No second thoughts? As you admit, you know 'loads of vegans' who think that Jack Norris of Vegan Outreach is doing a great deal of harm to the movement!

I quoted the site veganhealth.org, which is part of vegan outreach, which has papers on vegan nutrition, by Jack Norris. I quoted that site because it highlights the essentials of a healthy vegan diet. My opinion is that getting information across is essential to expanding the movement.

If people don't feel well when they try veg*n diets they will not stay veg*n. If all the veg*ns someone meets look obviously unhealthy that person will be less likely to give veg*sm a try. No one wants poor health for him/herself.

I've been a vegan for 14 years and a vegetarian for 26, but I am not well acquainted with the AR community.

Why do you think Jack Norris and Vegan Outreach are harming the AR or the veg*n movement?

Steve

beforewisdom
Aug 19th, 2004, 01:12 PM
I see him quoted all over the place in veggie literature.

I am surprised he has no problem with killing animals provided that it is done in a humane way.

Does anyone know if actually does eat meat?

beforewisdom
Aug 19th, 2004, 01:17 PM
PETA, but I am not referring to the usual reasons people quote.

This new site of theirs really bothers me:
http://www.peta.org/accidentallyVegan/default.asp

It encourages eating all of the foods that I have heard many vegan health authorities ( degreed health professionals who are themselves vegan ) blame for the rising poor health of the vegetarian community.

IMHO it is counterproductive to PETA's goals.

Vegan, but junkatarian diets don't make people feel well. If people do not feel healthy on a vegan, but junkatarian diet and they don't know that a vegan diet can make them feel well, they will go back to being omnivores.

I have seen this happen a lot.

I have perused PETA's site, their "nutrition" section and their starter kit.
Nowhere do they encourage healthy eating or tell people to seek it out.

veganmike
Aug 19th, 2004, 01:32 PM
I see him quoted all over the place in veggie literature.

I am surprised he has no problem with killing animals provided that it is done in a humane way.

Does anyone know if actually does eat meat?

As I stated earlier, Singer eats vegan, but if he is on the road and if something contains small ammounts of dairy and there's no alternative, he will eat it. In "Animal liberation" Singer promotes vegan or near-vegan diet.

Korn
Aug 19th, 2004, 02:50 PM
I don't think one can discuss Singer's philosophy without reading his books. I agree. And since I'm not interested in Singer's philosophy, I'm not going to read his books. :)


When talking about Norris we have to distinguish two things - his philosophy and his work as a dietician. In real life, if you keep recommending his sites (and I have noticed that people who recommend Norris' sites tend to do it continously), you actually support not only part of what he represents, but 'the whole thing'.



The people I know and object to VO approach to veganism do it because VO, whose final goal is animal liberation, supports welfarist regulations as well.

Please tell more...

Korn
Aug 19th, 2004, 03:08 PM
If all the veg*ns someone meets look obviously unhealthy that person will be less likely to give veg*sm a try. Of course. But if people don't even want to give it a try because it seems unnatural and requires a lot of supplements... then what?


Why do you think Jack Norris and Vegan Outreach are harming the AR or the veg*n movement?

I prefer to talk about how to improve things, and try to avoid personal attacks on people I disagree with. If we shall discuss this further, I'd like to know if you agree that veganism is based on respect for life, and as such represents the total opposite viewpoint than the philosophy of one who is OK with killing animals? We are against killing, aren't we? If you look at sites that promote the quasi/anti-vegan 'humane slaughtering'-ideas, do we agree that they harm the vegan movement? If you are a vegan and sends people to a site that recommends (and makes money on) selling books by people who defends killing animals and 'humane' slaughtering, do you agree that you partially, indirectly promote the opposite of veganism, pr at least a 'watered out' veganism?

From http://www.campusprogram.com/reference/en/wikipedia/v/ve/vegan.html:
"Vegan philosophy has close connections with the concept of Ahimsa. Ahimsa is a Sanskrit word for non-killing and non-harming. It was taught by Mahatma Gandhi to his followers. The American vegan society website says: "It is not mere passiveness, but a positive method of meeting the dilemmas and decisions of daily life. In the western world, we call it Dynamic Harmlessness." Ahimsa is also an acronym: Abstinence from animal products, Harmlessness with reverence for life, Integrity of thought, word, and deed, Mastery over oneself, Service to humanity, nature, and creation, and Advancement of understanding and truth."

If Singer defends 'humane' killing, why would he have any problems against using animal products (in shoes, household products etc) that vegans are known to avoid?

Isn't anyone who is basing his ideas on the opposite of what veganism represents, harming veganism if he writes books about his philosophy - compared to one who promotes why he is against harming animals (and that we don't even need it)? Killing is harming, right?