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Thread: Roadkill, dogmatism and cannibalism

  1. #1
    mysh's Avatar
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    Default Roadkill, dogmatism and cannibalism

    I recently read this very interesting thread concerning the ethics of eating unwanted and unfertilised eggs.

    Now I would like to ask, in the same vein, what are the ethical considerations on eating, for example, roadkill? Or animals that have died of old age?
    Before the flaming starts - I have no plans to do either, and I understand the responsibility borne by humans in the creation of roadkill. I also understand that "VEGANS DO NOT EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS". That isn't the issue though, is it? I mean, do you not eat animal products because you don't eat animal products (i.e. is the not-eating the goal of your veganism), or do you not eat animal products because you refuse to partake in the exploitation of animals? If the latter, it would seem (to me) somewhat difficult to use that to forbid the eating of the carcass of an animal that died of old age. And please don't use the "that's gross" argument, as that always reminds me somewhat of the purile tone of the omni argument of "if animals weren't meant to be eaten, why do they taste so good".

    I am also interested in a hypothetical situation of consuming cow's milk (another bad habit I have rid myself of). Now, obviously, the issue is once again the exploitation of the animals. As we all (rightly) view animal keeping as slavery, I will take an analogy from slavery. It is obviously unethical to use a shirt made by a slave. Yet if the slave is freed, and continues making shirts, for a good wage, in good working conditions, of his own free will, it is clearly entirely acceptable to use this shirt (once you've paid for it). The Indian philosophy of "a'himsa" (sp?) claims that cow's milk is a gift given by the cow, and as such not the result of doing harm to the cow. Again, we would all agree that this is incorrect, as nobody can claim that were able to make the cow understand all the implications of these actions, as well as getting full buy-in from the cow.
    So my second question is, if the cow were able to clearly and unambiguously communicate to us her desire to share her excess milk with us, would veganism allow us to partake of this gift?
    Last edited by Korn; Sep 4th, 2007 at 10:11 AM. Reason: Changed title
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    Actually, not only is there the issue of exploitation and harm to animals, but also the unhealthiness of eating animal carcass and secretions. Plant-based foods are nutritious; that's all my body needs to thrive. I have no reason to even THINK about consuming animal products; it's not necessary for my survival, regardless of the circumstances.

    And yes, it's disgusting, and that's not an "argument," as you stated; it's an opinion shared by many of us here.
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    Yes, I agree with the disgusting, and I agree with the unhealthfulness, however, neither of those (in the end) played any role in my conversion to strict vegetarianism. That was because I wanted to stop the harming of animals in my name.
    Either way, I'm just wondering if a) what I mentioned originally would be an issue, and b) if it's even relevant.
    I'm trying to examine the boundaries, I guess, of veganism as a life-ethic. I am fairly new to this ethic, and haven't yet completely formed my foundation, if you see what I mean. By exploring the shadowy areas of my understanding, I hope to more clearly see where the boundaries lie, or where I want to place the boundaries myself.
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    Driving home from work, another, more reality-based thought crossed my tiny mind, and almost escaped me. Luckily it got stuck in my earwax, and I am now able to store it here in this forum for all posterity (please excuse any remaining earwax).

    What about animal manure? Is it veganically ethical to use this to grow your crops, assuming it was collected from free animals, living in the wild?
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    Listen, if you want to eat roadkill, eat it. No, you won't have to feel bad about it. It is not the same as keeping an animal enslaved and torturing that animal untill you feel like killing him or her to eat. However, if you do eat roadkill or discarded eggs or meat out of a garbage can, don't call yourself a vegan. It isn't that vegans are part of an exclusive club. It is that we are proof that you can survive, be healthy, and thrive off of a diet which contains no animal products. So, if you call yourself a vegan and eat animal products, meat-eaters look at you and say, "See, I knew people couldn't survive without meat."

    Does that answer your question?

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    Omni's seem to love to throw the 'what if it died of natural causes, would you still eat it?' question at me and my response is always that, in theory, yes I could eat roadkill or animals that died of old age. Purely from the point of view that I became vegan because animals shouldn't suffer for me to live. Obviously, I would never dream of eating something like that because, as John said, we don't need meat to survive.

    As for the milk thing, I can't imagine that a cow that got pregnant by choice and fed it's calf as long as it naturally needs to, would actually produce excess milk that it would like to share with us. Isn't the whole point of it that a mother (of any species) produces enough milk to sustain her baby and so wouldn't have excess anyway? I'd have to say that, no, I would never drink the cow's milk. Besides, if we lived in a world where the cow could talk to us, we probably would never had started eating them or drinking their milk in the first place.....

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    John - your response doesn't directly answer what I asked, but I think it does address what I meant. Between what you and Artichoke47 said, I get something like:
    Vegans (attempt to) live their lives in a way that does not cause harm to any living beings. This includes themselves. Eating meat, no matter how acquired, causes harm to the eater.
    Does that sound like a reasonable extrapolation?
    I don't agree with the "we are proof..." thing, though. My vegetarianism is a manifestation of my belief that I should harm no others, not an "I told you so".

    Leigh - some humans produce excess milk, at least as far as their own children are concerned. In some African tribes, the grandmother might help feed a baby, with her own breast milk, even when she hasn't recently been pregnant (ain't hormones a wonderful thing?) So she is now providing milk for someone other than her own child. The same is sometimes done in the West by adoptive mothers of newborns.
    Either way, the milk question was stoopid of me - sorry.
    Although it would be cool if the cows could talk to us - I bet we could learn a lot from them...
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    Do you want to know what we think or do you just want to argue with our views? What's the point of posting in this thread? You ask a question, you get answers, and then you tell us you disagree. Well, I don't really frankly care if you disagree with me; my opinion won't be changed by you or anyone else. Thanks.
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    I'm sorry that I'm not as intelligent as most people on this forum.
    I do want to kow what you think, but more than that, I want to understand it. I am certainly not trying to change your opinion, rather I am trying to learn from those who have already had time to think things through, and form their opinions, so that I might see which ideas "click" with me, if you see what I mean.
    I got most of my questions answered by existing threads, both in the old forum and now in the new, but some questions were still bothering me. I do appreciate your input on these issues.
    I apologise if I'm coming across as obnoxious.
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    this is really messed up. i saw some poor dead creature on the side of the road tonite and was wondering the same things. i couldn't decide.

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    Question 58 from the manual of animal rights, see HERE.

    What if I made use of an animal that was already dead?

    It is not the eating of meat that is wrong but the killing of animals unnecessarily. As meat eating is unnecessary and generally requires the killing of an animal, it usually follows that meat eating is wrong. If, however, you managed to obtain some meat without killing an animal (or by paying someone else to kill it for you) -- for example, by stumbling across an animal that was already dead -- then I can see no moral objection to your eating it. Of course this also applies to human meat. Recent archeological evidence suggests that early humans were much more inclined toward scavenging than hunting.

    The manure thing, theres several threads floating around about that.

    "Either way, the milk question was stoopid of me - sorry". I respect your honesty.

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    Question 21 from www.animal-rights.com

    What if I made use of an animal that was already dead?

    There are two ways to interpret this question. First, the questioner might really be making the excuse "but I didn't kill the animal", or second, he could be asking about the morality of using an animal that has died naturally (or due to a cause unassociated with the demand for animal products, such as a road kill). For the first interpretation, we must reject the excuse. The killing of animals for meat, for example, is done at the request (through market demand), and with the financial support (through payment), of the end consumers. Their complicity is inescapable. Society does not excuse the receiver of stolen goods because he "didn't do the burglary".

    For the second interpretation, the use of naturally killed animals, there seems to be no moral difficulty involved. Many would, for esthetic reasons, still not use animal products thus obtained. (Would you use the bodies of departed humans?) Certainly, natural kills cannot satisfy the great demand for animal products that exists today; non-animal and synthetic sources are required.

    Other people may avoid use of naturally killed animal products because they feel that it might encourage a demand in others for animal products, a demand that might not be so innocently satisfied.

    This can be viewed as a question of respect for the dead. We feel innate revulsion at the idea of grave desecration for this reason. Naturally killed animals should, at the very least, be left alone rather than recycled as part of an industrial process. This was commonly practiced in the past, e.g., Egyptians used to mummify their cats.

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    Weathering the "What Ifs"

    What would be the "official" vegan stance on the consuming of meat from an animal that died of natural causes (i.e. old age, natural predator, etc.)? I was asked this question, and found it difficult to answer, save the rather uneducated, "Ick! But it's meat!" By Joanne Stepaniak, HERE.

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    Ha! I just used the "stolen goods" analogy on another thread and here it is. I thought that I had been the first to think of that.

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    I'm sorry, Mysh. It just seemed that you were waiting for answers to argue with. I misinterpreted your intent.
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    Reading through the above mentioned thread on manure brings one to Soilman's website:
    http://www.materials.addr.com/index.shtml
    I guess I have my reading materials for the next week or so!
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    This may be stupid but, I don't consider a switch from farmed animal meat to "naturally deceased" animal meat to be more vegan because there are other species that actually rely on those dead animals to survive and they would end up facing starvation if there were alot of humans consuming those animals.

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    Yeah - I believe I mentioned that in one of my responses in the honey thread. But I only realised it after posting this one. Disturbing the ecological balance is a bad thing...
    Where I live, the turkey vultures are very efficient at scavenging, and they keep the roads pretty clean.
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    Default Would it harm anyone if Gandhi always would carry a machine gun?

    Hi, prepare yourself for a long post, which partially also is a reply to a message in another thread (I'll post a link there...)

    In an attept to answer your questions, Mysh, I think it's important to understand that veganism is not a religion. It's a definition that covers a group of people who have decided that they are against killing or harming animals, and therefore ie. don't eat animal products. Veganism was born out of the need to go a step further than those who called themselves vegetarians: it was essential to establish a defintion, a word, that covered people who did not want to eat animal products at all and use animal products as little as possible in general.

    Now, even water from a well or tap water normally contain traces of animals, so if we want to make it complicated, we could say that you can't drink water and be a vegan. Humans need water...

    But we want to make it simple, not complicated. Language is language, and words are meant to make communication simpler. If I go to a cafe and a meal is desrcribed as vegan, I know that there there are no eggs, meat or milk of any kind in it, wherever I go. Even if I travel to the Northern parts of Europe or Alaska, in the winter, where they can't grow vegetables for months... if someone offer me a vegan meal, I want the definition 'vegan' to always mean that there are no animal products in the food - in the real-life sense of the word, not the complicated 'even-water-contains-traces-of-animal-products-so-you-can't-eat-or-drink-anything' interpretation.

    I was travelling in Sweden a month ago, and found a few really small veggie- or semi-veggie cafe's that was very clear about what was vegan and what was not. The vegan desserts had 'Vegan'-stickers on them. The people who worked there knew the definition of vegan, and avoided milk, butter, cheese and so on in the vegan meals. This was around the birthday of 94 year old Donald Watson, who invented the word vegan, and when I saw these little 'vegan'-labels, I caught myself thinking that his decision in 1944 to create a word that, when used on food, always implies that there are no dairy products, egg or meat in the food... his 'little' idea 60 years ago makes my life a lot easier when I communicate with people today.

    Imagine vegan organizations, websites or cafe's throughout the world now when veganism is being spread much faster than before. IF someome chould change the common meaning of 'vegan food' into 'food that contains no products from animals unless the animals were not harmed or killed on purpose in the process of obtaining them', we would immedieatly need to, again, try to repeat Donald Watsons brilliant idea from 1944: we would need a word that, when it comes to food, always meant that there were no animal products in it.

    An extremely small number of people insist that they are vegans and still allow animal products in food under given circumstances: 'the animal died a natural death', 'the egg wasn't fertilized', 'I killed the animal myself, I didn't buy it', 'I live in an area where it's so cold that I need to eat meat to survive', 'I live in an area where there are lots of wild animals in the neighbourhood, and I can't see anything wrong in hunting'.... Try to imagine what would happen if the definiition of veganism should change, and from now on include animal products under these or other conditions:

    1) Vegan cafe's in cold, areas/climates would have animal products in them.
    2) There would be a need to distinguish between meat 'approved by vegans' and other meat.
    3) In parts of the third world/rural areas/cold climates, vegan cafes and cook books would have recipes containing animal products.
    4) Vegan webistes, run by, say people in the third world in cities near areas where 'vegan hunting' would have recipes containing meat, unfertilized eggs (and possibly milk from cows that could talk ).
    5) Being invited to a dinner with a vegan could in some areas mean that the meal he offered you contained meat from roadkills, or from his neighbour's dog, that died a natural death last weak.... :-(

    We don't want that. Eating the meat of animals or even humans that dies a natural death doesn't mean that these animal or humans have been harmed or killed for food purposes. If veganism was a religion, and the word 'vegan' should be redefined to include meat, eggs, dairy etc. on under given circumstances, the word would loose it's meaning: communication about vegan food would much more complicate. Being vegan would be something different than it is and always has been.

    Veganism was born out of the wish not to harm or kill animals, including not keeping them captured for leather, eggs and other animal products. Today, since many people eat only plant based food even if they are not vegans, it's more important than ever not to change the definition of 'vegan'. Since the word 'vegan' always means no eggs (of any kind, fertilized or not), no meat (not even from roadkills or animals who died of old age) and so on, all kinds of people who don't want to eat animal products can ask for a vegan meal and know what they get. If you ask for 'vegan food', it means plant based food, and not meat, eggs or dairy - everywhere: in 'primitive' cultures, in all climates and in all countries, for rich and for poor.

    If you are stuck on the North Pole and need to eat fish to survive, then you need to eat fish to survive, but fish is still not vegan food!

    (Talking of fish, I just read that Norwegian anthropolgists got a surprise when analyzing stone age findings along the coastal line of Norway (well, Norway IS a coastal line, sort of). This wasn't even Southern Norway, but from an area which has really cold and long winters. They seem to have found out that they didn't eat fish at all, but a lot of raspberries and hazelnuts (just like me! ), and only food 'from the soil'.)

    You may say that since some people insist that they 'go vegan for health reasons alone', the definition of 'vegan' is alread washed out. My opinion is the total opposite: as I said, since many people want plant based food for many different reasons (special diets, taste, milk allergy or lactose intolerance, ethical reasons, or general health concerns), let's make life easy for all of us and just continue to use 'vegan' about food that does not contain animal products, period. If someone wants to discuss the ethics concerned with eating dead animals in certain situations, they discuss ethics, not vegan vs. non-vegan.
    Last edited by Korn; Oct 9th, 2004 at 09:31 PM.
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Geoff
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    Bloody brilliant Korn! My thoughts exactly. (I would have said all of the above but I'm too tired / lazy / old!)

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    ConsciousCuisine
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    Korn, beautifully articulated and expressed in a compassionate, non-judgemental way (as always).

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    Korn - thank you for your detailed and thorough response. As with all your responses, this one has been very helpful to me.
    Just to prove Artichoke right about my argumentative nature , I would like to add some things. You use the term 'vegan' to define a dietary choice. The way I understood it (after several months of calling myself vegan, and through reading Jo Stepaniak's definitions, plus others), was that the dietary choice that vegans make is strict (or total) vegetarianism. Veganism goes beyond simple dietary choices. It adds things like not wearing leather or wool, not buying beeswax candles, and so on. This is why I started referring to myself as a strict vegetarian (or sometimes a dietary vegan, or veganish). I still wear (old) leather, my car (bought used 4 years ago) has leather covered seats, I still kill stinging and biting bugs, etc. Veganism, as a general concept, is clearly an ethic, not just a dietary choice.

    I agree that using the term "vegan" for food is clear and (fairly) unambiguous, and should stay so. I used to piss off waiters at restaurants by asking for vegetarian suggestions, and rejecting everything that they suggested because it contained dairy, eggs or fish(!). My wife explained about language being there to communicate, so it's irrelevant if I'm technically right if the other guy doesn't understand me. So I'm on-board now with the use of "vegan" to describe food with certain properties. Although even here there are discrepancies - for example methods of preparation of sugar and alcoholic drinks. I buy "vegan" sugar, yet would still accept food sweetened with non-vegan sugar in a restaurant. I do not buy vegan alcohol, yet stil consider myself having a vegan diet. I do understand your "best effort" definition, which is why I allow myself the above exceptions, and don't beat myself up too badly when I miss an ingredient.

    As an aside, did the restaurant you went to in Sweden use the V-label to identify the vegan food choices? I wish that were used in the US - it would make lots of things much easier! You can see how much I liked it - it's even in my avatar.

    I guess the upshot of all my incoherent ramblings is, consuming already dead animal flesh is not part of a vegan diet. Conversely, as long as this act does not remove food from the food chain of other animals, it is not necessarily at odds with a vegan ethic (although it probably is for most vegans). It is, however, at odds with just about any definition of good taste...

    And I still wish cows could talk - they're such cool animals!
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    ConsciousCuisine
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    Eating animals or their secretions goes against any sensible Vegan's ethical code, reguardless of how or why or when the poor creature expired or secreted said substance; This has nothing to do with removing it from the "food chain"of other animals. Eating animals or their secretions under any circumstances violates the code of ethics and the beleifs and convictions that have gathered and been integrated into one's consciousness and create the desire to become and stay vegan.

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    CC - I don't really understand why. If I haven't understood it after 3 pages, I doubt I will anytime soon... *sigh* Obviously I wouldn't eat any flesh, regardless of how it was obtained, so maybe I don't need further understanding. I understand that everyone on this forum feels that way, but group-think doesn't impress me all too much. Thanks anyway for trying to explain.
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    Under "normal" circustances, not stranded in the Arctic or after Nuclear War,

    Would you eat a dead human?
    I would be just as likely to eat a dead human as a dead animal.
    That's 'cause I'm Vegan and regardless of how or why the animal is dead, I don't consider it to be food, just as I don't consider a human to be food.

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    Quote mysh
    You use the term 'vegan' to define a dietary choice. The way I understood it (after several months of calling myself vegan, and through reading Jo Stepaniak's definitions, plus others), was that the dietary choice that vegans make is strict (or total) vegetarianism. Veganism goes beyond simple dietary choices.
    I agree that veganism goes beyond simple dietary choices. I use the term vegan to describe a dietary choice as well (as in 'vegan food'), but this doesn't mean that I suggest that veganism is only about food...


    As an aside, did the restaurant you went to in Sweden use the V-label to identify the vegan food choices?
    No, just pen and paper.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In response to Korn:
    I read your response after writing the above. Now I do get it. Thank you ! I only noticed your subtitle after responding to you. Very good. Very subtle. And very to the point.
    I still can't put it into words, but at least (I think) I have the understanding that I can mull it over for a few weeks, you know, like a cow, swallow it, and bring it up later for reconsideration...
    Last edited by mysh; Oct 1st, 2004 at 06:02 PM. Reason: Clarify target of reponse, and add response to Korn.
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    mysh, Keep up the good work. Asking questions, questioning beliefs (be it others or ones own) please save us from the idiots.

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

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

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    oh I almost forgot the most compelling part of his hypothesis - can you think of any other new born 'land' animal that gives birth to an infant that can happily swim under water?

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    Quote homage47
    mysh, Keep up the good work. Asking questions, questioning beliefs (be it others or ones own) please save us from the idiots.

    NO HARM IN ASKING!! It's questioning what every one else thinks is right that has taken me on a very interesting journey.
    Thanks. I agree - question everything. You can gain knowledge through rote learning, but you can only gain understanding through questioning the knowledge. And sometimes you find out that the knowledge was wrong all along (e.g. "humans must eat flesh to survive"...)

    Quote homage47
    p.s. I'm suprised your so inquistive, most people ( not all of course ) I've met from the states seem to have thier heads firmly up thier own arses.
    I'm afraid I must agree with you. Most of my friends are open-minded - like seeks like, I guess. I'm actually not from here. Born in Germany (even less questioning than Americans!), and went to English schools, and spent some time living in France. Each of those countries has their own set of assumed truths. They can't all be right. I found living in different countries (and hence, cultures), to be very enlightening - and a lot of fun!
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    Thumbs up

    Thank you Korn for this post, I enjoyed reading it as I enjoyed reading the article in the link you provided, too.
    Knowing the truth is freedom, all else is a prison {?}

  32. #32
    mysh's Avatar
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    You are right, Banana - this is a fascinating discussion! As long as we remember (which I don't doubt), and remind omnis, that the actions of our ancestors don't justify our actions. We now have the technology that John mentions, that enables us to mostly understand our dietary needs, and to completely replace any and all need for meat. So why wouldn't we?
    You'll find almost noone, not even omnis, who sails from the US to Europe. Everyone takes advantage of the conveniences offered by modern technology, and flies (or cruises) instead.
    Nonethless, this is a very interesting discussion, and I loved Korn's first post - very cool (and persuasive) stuff!
    No Gods, No Masters.

  33. #33
    sugarmouse
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    Default Re: Roadkill

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

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

  34. #34
    emerald
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    Default Re: Roadkill

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

    I say we rid the world of cars.
    hurrah!

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Roadkill

    Quote mysh View Post
    Now I would like to ask, in the same vein, what are the ethical considerations on eating, for example, roadkill? Or animals that have died of old age?
    Sorry if this has a) been said already, and b) dragging up the old posts, this isn't to do with the ethical stance of eating roadkill/dead animals found, more a health warning

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

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

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


    So errr... stick to salads

  36. #36

    Default Re: Roadkill

    I may have missed it, but I didn't see anyone mention the fact that roadkill still more than likely died by human hands. To me it's no more ethical than going to the supermarket and getting a few pounds of processed dead animal.
    And alas I have arrived, like a whirlwind at a kindergarten picnic.

  37. #37
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Roadkill

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

  38. #38
    Purple's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roadkill

    Aphrodite - The story I've told you was told to me by the friend, not the friend of the friend in question, but from what I recall...

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

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

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

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

  39. #39
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Roadkill

    Weird to see a dead animal on the street and think mmm that is making me feel hungry, unless you are a hyena or something.
    Your teacher sounds like a freak as well

  40. #40
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Did humans always eat meat?

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

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

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

  41. #41

    Default Re: Roadkill

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

  42. #42
    Mahk
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    Default Re: Roadkill

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

  43. #43
    BlackCats
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    But why would any vegan want a pair of antlers on their wall even hypothetically? It would confuse any omni that saw and goodness knows they get a bit confused by us vegans already!

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

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

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

  44. #44
    Mahk
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    Quote Aphrodite View Post
    But why would any vegan want a pair of antlers on their wall even hypothetically? It would confuse any omni that saw and goodness knows they get a bit confused by us vegans already!
    I'm not saying I would but perhaps some people would be into this sort of thing. I know the famous artist Georgia O'Keeffe used animal remains as a common theme through much of her life:




    This one "Ram's Head, Blue Morning Glory," was sold at a Christie's auction for $3,419,500 !

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

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

  45. #45
    BlackCats
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    Oh thats interesting Mahk, I had never thought of that or heard about that artist.
    I know some artists use a lot of stuff (including their own body parts) in art.

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

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Roadkill

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

  47. #47
    Purple's Avatar
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    Default Re: Roadkill

    Living proof of strange people eating road kill

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...re/6742407.stm

  48. #48
    BlackCats
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    Default Re: Roadkill

    You could argue that it is not natual to be driving a car in the first place.

  49. #49
    Klytemnest
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    Quote mysh View Post
    I recently read this very interesting thread concerning the ethics of eating unwanted and unfertilised eggs.

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

    Or animals that have died of old age?

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

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

    I agree. That is just dogmatism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  50. #50
    Ex-admin Korn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Roadkill, cannibalism & dogmatism

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

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


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

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

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

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