Member # 3252
written Tuesday, January 6 2004 09:22
quote:I agree, and I do beleive that animal exploitation is a valid reason to choose a vegan diet. And as for chickens laying eggs, do you believe they'd choose to lay them in a factory setting in which they're stuck in a cage roughly the size of their body, have their beaks cut off so that they can't peck the eyes out of other chickens, be force fed antibiotics with thier food, and a host of other conditions imposed by factory farming? I see a crucial diffrence here.
quote:Why exactly is it preposterous? Is self-awareness the only condition which separates us? Try not to forget that humans, despite all arguments to the contrary, are still a form of animal life. We hold a niche within the same ecological community that all other forms of life occupy. From what power do we derive the right to set ourselves apart and say that the lives of other creatures are worth nothing, because they do not resemble us in form and bearing? Just for arguments sake, try listening to the scream of a pig being gutted, or a cow being slaughtered, and tell me that that animal feels no pain. This argument is similar to that mechanized veiw of the animal kingdom which arose during Descartes's time, when bear-baiting and fox hunting were populkar sports.
quote:My response is that pessimissim is a self-fulfilling prophecy. As long as you believe this is a fixed reality, it will hamper all efforts to make a change. Do people have to live this way? More importantly, is it possible for this lifestyle to continue indefintely? To both, I say no. America's current model is not a sustainable one; it's dependent on fossil fuel consumption, when Hubert's Peak indicates that the crisis point for this resource is fast approching. It's dependent on a system of agriculture which destroys topsoil at a catastrophic rate. It's dependent on an agricultural system of factory farming which exploits the animals and laborers alike. If these facts existed alone in a vaccum, independent of any activism or public action, they wold be enough to ensure the eventual toppling of the current American way of life. Combined with the societal preassures arising from environmental organizations, anti-animal exploitation groups, social justice groups, and labor organizations, I cannot help but see the potential for change.
quote:Exactly. This is absolutely true, and that truth is part of the reason I discuss these issues with the people around me. An indivdual may not be able to affect a significant change, but a group certainly can. Veganism is more than a diet, or a fad; it is a movement.
quote:I recognize that there is a great deal of validity in what you're saying here. Large-scale retail of food in America is certainly supportive of exploitive labor practices. This is not to say that alternatives to such practices don't exist. For example, I do my shopping at our town's local co-op grocery. The food sold is produced regionally and organically. I choose to shop there because it agrees with my principles. So I don't think it's fair to say that every vegetarian is a hypocrite, and I think it's especially unfair to lump every vegetarian together as upper-class. This is certainly untrue. Most of my friends are vegan or vegetarian, and they come from a whole range of social backgrounds: working class, middle-class, low income, high-income. Social conscience is not a privillage of the elite. Look at the history of organized labor, of women's sufferage, of abolition. These were issues that were persued successfully by the lower classes of society, because they had an interest in doing so. Today, they have a compelling interest in persuing an end to exploitive farming practices in this country because it is an industry whose workers are derived almost exlcusively from the lower class. Putting an end to the slaughterhouse industry, and all the backbreaking toil, low wages, and health risks that accompany it, putting an end to the factory farms which are dependent on a steady influx of migrant labor from mexico, putting an end to dangerous working conditions prevalent within packing plants; these are surely not elite issues - they are of the utmost concern to the laboring classes.
Learn About The Man Behind the Messiah.
Posts: 137 | Registered: Tuesday, July 22 2003 07:00
This Side Towards Enemy
Member # 3098
written Tuesday, January 6 2004 10:34
Ever heard of free-range? Factory farming doesn't necessitate veganism.
Many animals found in the farming industry depend on the farming industry for survival. Whilst cows and pigs might just about get by, with a lot of depredation from predators, sheep are unlikely to do too well without sheperds and wild chickens just result in fat foxes (studies show that the greatest cause of death amongst pheasants raised for shooting is from foxes.)
If we stop eating meat, we cause the deaths of almost every animal in the industry (there being no economic imperative to keep them alive.) From a species point of view, the relationship between human and farm animal is symbiotic. We get an easy source of protein, they get a rather greater chance of surviving infancy than they would otherwise (I realise farming on a large scale kills the animals before this so as to retain a stable population.)
To summarise, I see universal veganism as morally doubtful and since predators will eat anyway, I don't see that it makes sense for me to stop.
And as an aside, I understand that the US reached Hubert's Peak in 1971, it's just that it hasn't happened to a few other parts of the world yet.
Also, what would be your opinion of animal testing to find a cure for conditions such as Alzheimers?
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
I'll tell you my story, man
Though I wish I'd never been born
I'm loose at the seams,
I've broken my dreams
And my hand it shakes the pen
Come on, come on now baby,
Let the good times roll again
Posts: 961 | Registered: Thursday, June 12 2003 07:00
Member # 2786
written Tuesday, January 6 2004 12:29
quote:Perhaps you're right. Utilitarianism more usually manifests itself as 'greatest happiness for the greatest number', which is seriously flawed. But maybe I've just been exposed to a narrow range of possible moralities that fit the word 'utilitarian'.
Anyhoo, that rule I mentioned necessitates veganism for me; nice to see another vegan, Militant!
I'll address some of the arguments against it...
quote:It almost does. True cruelty-free animal agriculture is extremely rare. In any case, eating animals is still killing them.
quote:I don't see how that is relevant. Any change in consumer spending will come about gradually, and veganism (if it catches hold) will effect a slow change in the animal industry. There will never be an overnight release of all farm-animals.
quote:Hmm, I think that needs clarification. Morally doubtful? How's that? And what do the actions of predators have to do with our habits? That argument could be easily altered to excuse murder.
quote:It all depends; morality isn't absolute. If the animals were treated well and there was a near-certain payoff, I'd probably support experimentation.
EDIT: More about my personal beliefs: I'm not among the vegans who believe life is sacred. Like I've said, morality doesn't *exist*.
I choose, however, to respect the interest of others, be they pencils, clouds, people, or squids. Luckily for me, pencils and clouds have no interests. Neither do plants. But conscious animals have a vested interest in life and I try to respect that; my own interest in temporary satisfaction of the taste buds is trivial. Especially since I can fulfill it through eating quinoa chole instead of calamari or fellow humans.
[ Tuesday, January 06, 2004 12:48: Message edited by: realbumpbert ]
Working on it...
Posts: 18 | Registered: Monday, March 17 2003 08:00
Member # 869
written Tuesday, January 6 2004 15:20
The term "utilitarian" can be used to describe any consequentialist ethical theory in which the greatest good is regarded as the maximisation of some universal "utility function", where that which is good produces positive net utility and that which is bad produces negative net utility.
There are, of course, non-trivial difficulties involved in defining and quantifying the utility function. One of the best-known modern utilitarians, Peter Singer, espouses "preference utilitarianism", in which positive utility is defined as the fulfilment of "preferences", in a broad sense of that term (in his usage, it basically boils down to the same thing as "interests" when referring to animals, in the sense that it's assumed animals would prefer not to be violently killed and so forth, but it's a little less ambiguous than "interests" when referring to humans).
I won't deny that utilitarian philosophies, like all other philosophies, have led to a few moral disasters by almost anyone's standards -- Jeremy Bentham, after all, was responsible for the Panopticon -- but utilitarianism is still a valuable and influential ethical system. The field of medical ethics in particular is strongly influenced by utilitarianism.
Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
Member # 2786
written Tuesday, January 6 2004 18:31
I guess I AM a utilitarian, then. :)
Working on it...
Posts: 18 | Registered: Monday, March 17 2003 08:00