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Why Vegan?

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Why Vegan?
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*SD*User avatar
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

The many differences constitute the context (including intent, which is the most important part in my opinion)


Then we disagree here and this is not resolvable. Outside of complete accidents, I don't see that intent matters. It might make you feel better because you can write it off as 'sadly necessary' (which is what you argued in the other thread) but it makes no difference at all to the animal in question. As I pointed out previously it is of no consolation whatsoever.

Total accidents have no intent at all behind them, animals killed during the production of crops are not accidental, they are a direct consequence of it which you are aware of. You know that wheat products have involved the suffering and death of animals and you support this industry.

It helps my case because reducing animal farming will also reduce the crops used to feed them, and thus reduce their associated collateral deaths (and this reduction could be substantial, maybe 50% depending on how we interpret the statistics).


But the collateral damage/deaths would increase because we'd need even more crops to feed humans if that's all they're going to eat. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, it seems to me that most of the collateral damage done during farming, whether that be animal deaths or some environmental aspect is done in the arable sector not the livestock sector. I', not trying to pull rank on you here, but as someone who has worked in the farming industry for many years I have direct experience to speak from. There are definitely more collateral deaths caused through wheat harvesting (for example) than there are from having some cows and milking them.

This is a misrepresentation of my position


It doesn't seem like it to me.

I am not arguing for a label.


I know, you've said. I disagree with you that the label is unimportant. I like to know what people are talking about when they refer to themselves as XYZ.

The label can be anything you want


I completely agree, I don't mind what label you want to use for your position, but I reject that 'vegan' is a legitimate one to wear. You are an individual who wants to reduce animal death/suffering to some extent. But not the maximum reasonably possible and practicable. That's not veganism under a mainstream definition, and even if it were I'd still submit that such a definition would be bullshit. Given that you are guilty of the same things you're criticizing, I don't see that you are in a position to moralize.

Just one more time - animals die during the production of wheat, which is a product you purchase and therefore finance, it is then reasonable to say you 'support' this industry, you wouldn't die if you didn't and yet you still do. So if you're allowed to have animals killed for something clearly non-essential, you are in no position to object to me killing an animal in order to eat it.

Labeling a meat-eater "vegan" will not necessarily make them "vegan", somewhat like calling a bike "car" will not make it an actual car


I totally agree with you here, this has been argued by my self and others, and yet you think this supports your position? It doesn't, it supports mine (and others)

Of course a meat eater cannot be legitimately labelled vegan, as you point out it's like calling a bike a car. Kinda silly, right? I gave you a few analogies a while back. Tee totallers who drink alcohol, Christians who don't believe in Jesus etc. Someone who willingly funds a non essential industry that kills animals is not a vegan under any definition I'd be willing to accept. You can't knowingly do this and then moralize at others just because they make use of the animals they kill. Whatever animals I kill, are made use of. The ones you pay to have killed are wasted.

And when it comes to being vegan, being partially vegan (for example vegan-at-home) is better than not being vegan at all, there is nothing deep here, merely a recognition of practical reality.


Once again, we disagree. You cannot be tee total and drink alcohol. You can't be anti-pollution and drive a monster truck.

You are free to do as you choose, you can accept that vegans can eat meat 'sometimes' or only on Tuesdays or something if you want to, that's your prerogative, but nobody else is obliged to join you in accepting this as an ok definition. You can call your self an astronaut if you like, nobody can stop you, but if you're not really an astronaut then you're not really an astronaut.

Avoiding non-vegan sandwiches is less constraining than avoiding all sandwiches (and all pizzas, and pasta, and many other things).


Even though bread contains wheat and after 7 pages you should now be fully aware that producing wheat also kills animals. Which is the very thing you are supposedly opposing. And whilst I agree that avoiding non vegan sandwiches is less constraining than avoiding all sandwiches, we are still left with this problem. Well, you are. Your self imposed constraints are exactly that - self imposed.

And importantly, as we seem to agree, avoiding wheat will do nothing if it is replaced with something that uses the same means of production


Avoiding meat isn't going to do anything either. I know you'd probably like to blow this off as an appeal to futility fallacy, you can if you like but it's going to remain true whether you label it a fallacy or not. It's quite alright for you to feel as though you're 'doing your bit' by not buying/eating meat - I have no problem with that but when you support other industries that also kill animals I have trouble escaping the notion that you are in fact, a hypocrite. And I do not mean this in an insulting way, although I'd understand if it's received as such.

a bit like eating less chicken but more turkey


Spot on. If we all give up meat we're going to have to eat loads more of other foods, the production of which kills animals.

In addition, avoiding stuff for a vegan today is an artifact of living in a non-vegan society where non-vegan products are widely available. In a hypothetical vegan world, there would be nothing to avoid and this constraint would not exist (in practice, the more vegan products are available, the less constraining veganism is).


Yes but as you correctly observe, this is not reality. I have no interest in idealism. Plus you'd have to rely on people adopting veganism anyway, I mean there are people who have the option to but still elect not to. This leaves you arguing ethics, and I don't think you can win on ethical grounds given the points argued repeatedly throughout this thread.

This doesn't make sense. I am arguing for a reduction in consumer demand for animal products, in the hope of reducing animal exploitation to as close to zero as possible


Aside from the fact I think any significant (impact creating) reduction in demand is unlikely, for a plethora of reasons, this statement is as woolly as a mammoth. As close to zero as possible? How close is that? How much effort should 'vegans' (cough) make to get this number as close to zero as possible? However close that is? In your case, Vego, and once again I mean no offense here, your efforts consist of what you can be arsed to do and nothing more, as already exposed earlier in the thread.

You're still going to be left with the indefensible position of exploiting them for wheat (and a million other non-essential things) whilst trying to argue that exploiting them for meat is immoral. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be a cunt but this reeks of hypocrisy. A massive, glaring double standard.

The flexibility (for which I can't take credit, I was inspired by others)


The flexibility was brought about due to non-vegans calling out the hypocrisy of 'vegans' so they redefined it to be "killing animals is fine as long as it's for wheat or other things vegans like to have, but it's not fine for things 'carnists' like to have" - this is what happened. I gave you examples of the exact same thing happening within the theism/atheism debate. They redefined omnipotence because the original was obviously flawed and unworkable, they did the same with the Kalam Cosmoligical embarrassment argument.

Now the term 'omnipotence' just means "can do stuff that it's possible to do" - might as well say nothing really.

is a recognition of real-life constraints, and a rejection of binary thinking which, in my opinion, is damaging to veganism


You call it binary thinking, I call it a recognition that terms are supposed to mean things. Without words meaning things communication would be impossible. And as I've pointed out, and should be abundantly evident by now - I'm not here to support veganism. I'm here to support my own position, one shared by the overwhelming majority of the human population. It doesn't mean my position is correct because it's shared by 99% of people, so I'm not committing an appeal to popularity fallacy here, I'm just noting that as yours is the minority position and you are advocating for change, the burden of proof falls upon you to argue your case. Thus far I have seen nothing compelling so will not, at this present moment, be going 'vegan'

I already spent decades of my life as a non-vegan, does that mean that I can't be called vegan?


Not at all, provided you actually are vegan. Astronauts spent years not being astronauts, but if they're genuinely astronauts now it's perfectly reasonable to refer to them as such and they are more than entitled to use that descriptive label. I reject your use of the term 'vegan' because I don't see that it legitimately applies to you. You are someone who wants to reduce the death/harm/suffering of animals a bit. That's not veganism. Or if it is then veganism is a meaningless term.

If I stop being vegan at some point, would I not have been vegan until then?


Provided you really were vegan during that undefined period of time, yes it's perfectly legitimate to claim such.

If someone consumes animal products once a year (for example during family gatherings) does that make them non-vegan?


I would strongly argue that yes it does make them non-vegan. A person who does this is simply someone who eats meat (read: animal products) very rarely. That person is not a vegan. Do you actually disagree with this or are you just bouncing an idea off me? I don't mind if you are. If you do disagree then we're now in a world where vegans can eat meat/animal products and the term is literally meaningless. That person is just someone who eats less meat than me, and this is not a sound foundation for an ethics based argument.

Actually I do. You seem to be engaged in some sort of "No true Vegan" fallacy.


On the contrary, I've taken quite some time in previous posts to point out that this is not what I think. I'm not sure why you are ignoring this.

*SD* wrote:This is true, I am indeed generalizing. I do so based on the not inconsiderable amount of time I've spent on this topic over the years, and more specifically of late. It's quite possible that my generalizations don't apply to you, if you live your life in a certain way and either do or don't do certain things (I know that's vague but I'd need to know more about your lifestyle to be clearer)

I doubt you fall far outside of my generalizations but I'm absolutely fine with you proving me wrong. The gist here is that I haven't found a vegan yet who lives as consistently as reasonably possible with their vegan ideology. They all claim they do, but this is easy to pick apart. If you're going to be the first, then I'm fine with that


*SD* wrote:No. But when arguing for veganism it would be more productive and successful overall if they were more consistent with their own position.


*SD* wrote:I also conceded that vego could be a true exception in that he does everything he can reasonably do to avoid (or at least not fund) industries that cause animal suffering, death and exploitation - but then he revealed that he wasn't. Which is what I suspected


And some other posts but this should be enough to clear it up.

This has nothing to do with my position. And killing is just one of the problems with animal farming (I would object to animal exploitation even without the killing part).


Then my point about you being quite the hypocrite stands. You're fine with killing animals as long as it's to produce something you think is ok. You're entitled to hold that view, of course, but nobody else is obliged to hold it along with you.

This is not logically valid: we need food, but it doesn't have to be animal products


Yes, it is [logically valid]

It doesn't have to be wheat either. And we know what happens with wheat by now don't we? You don't have to be on the internet posting to this forum, yet it's very existence will have displaced and killed animals. The server farm (wherever this site is hosted) will have displaced animals, transporting all the components is sure to have killed a few, the electricity it requires to power it will have done the same. I realize this is an extreme example, and it's not something I'd call upon you to boycott in the name of 'veganism' because I think that would be unreasonable. But it does serve to prove the point. The food on your plate, as Sparhafoc pointed out either in this thread or the other one, also has consequences.

You are essentially arguing that it's ok to kill animals for non essential thing X, but not for essential thing Y. Which is arbitrary and not a position I'm willing to get on board with. I dislike arbitrarity anyway but even more so when it's combined with hypocrisy.

And even if we have to kill, this is not a good justification to kill more than we need


Well, who is the arbiter of what is 'needed'? I don't even disagree with you here but I know this is going to boil down to your own personal preferences, so I can't accept it as an argument. If you want to argue that eating meat is not essential, therefore not needed (leaving aside the fact that this is arguable for now) then so are who knows how many things you support non-essential. Using 'need' in this way, why is it ok to kill animals so you can be on the internet, which is something you surely won't die without, but it's not ok for me to kill them so I can put food in my belly - something I surely will die without?

Vego, the bottom line is this - if you want to be 'vegan' then by all means do so, to whatever extent you're prepared to, but arguing that others should join you, as evidenced by the many replies in this thread - is sort of pointless. You might convince one or two who are already half way there in any case, and if that makes you happy then more power to you. I am thus far unpersuaded, for all the reasons stated by my self and others.

It's like when JW's come knocking. If they want to believe in strange things backed up by only crap arguments and demonstrably false premises - they are free to do that. Just keep it at home. I'm not suggesting you've been pushy in any way, you haven't, but the way you argue it seems like a you thing, and you can definitely do you. But you can't do me. No homo intended :)
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Mon Jun 11, 2018 7:11 pm
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SparhafocPosts: 2293Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Why Vegan?

You are essentially arguing that it's ok to kill animals for non essential thing X, but not for essential thing Y. Which is arbitrary and not a position I'm willing to get on board with. I dislike arbitrarity anyway but even more so when it's combined with hypocrisy.


Absolutely, and in fact, it's a terrible argument.

It is absolutely not more ethical to kill animals merely as collateral to produce your food over killing animals specifically as food. It's less ethical as far as I am concerned.

Thus the notion that this is a step in the right direction in terms of ethics seems monstrously far from reality for me.

Whatever possible justification given - actually it was purely economical/pragmatic - the exact same justification can operate for the intentional consumption of meat. It's just more economical/pragmatic, so /shrug
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

Sparhafoc wrote:Absolutely, and in fact, it's a terrible argument.


Yes, it's a massively shit argument.

Sparhafoc wrote:It is absolutely not more ethical to kill animals merely as collateral to produce your food over killing animals specifically as food. It's less ethical as far as I am concerned.


Agreed, I argued earlier that collateral damage is worse than a deliberate act (within the context of the subject matter)

Sparhafoc wrote:Thus the notion that this is a step in the right direction in terms of ethics seems monstrously far from reality for me.


Agreed. It's so far departed from reality it doesn't usually warrant serious consideration, I only entertained the notion as Vego (to his credit) kept coming back for more.

Sparhafoc wrote:Whatever possible justification given - actually it was purely economical/pragmatic - the exact same justification can operate for the intentional consumption of meat. It's just more economical/pragmatic, so /shrug


Indeed. The thing is, and I don't want to cast aspersions upon Vego, he's probably been in some echo chamber / circle-jerk of vegans telling him his arguments are fantastic and can't possibly be refuted. They're just the standard crap vegan arguments that don't hold up to scrutiny. Vego, if you come back to read this then this isn't intended to be a cheap shot, it's another generalization:

I spent a lot of time in vegan echo chambers hoping to hear some persuasive argumentation, all I heard was reinforcement of obviously problematic ideas and shit arguments. Just take a brief glance at certain vegan activist YouTubers to see what I'm talking about. They all have their little army of sycophants followers, who drool over every word they utter, high five each other at the end of every discussion and don't care that they're arguing PRATT's.

I know I'm prone to making comparisons, I've always felt like it's a good way to hammer home a point, it's like WLC fans cheering every time he says something stupid. They don't care that he's wrong, they only care that he's saying what they like to hear. I can't operate like that. It baffles me how anyone could, let alone want to.

I don't know if Vego will be back or not, hopefully he will be. He's engaged in a generous dollop of cognitive bias and he has obvious double standards. He's almost engaged in special pleading.
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:21 pm
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Dragan GlasContributorUser avatar
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

Greetings,

I spotted this recently:

Vegan YouTube 'drama': 'I was falsely accused of offering online sex'

Kindest regards,

James
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"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

Dragan Glas wrote:Greetings,

I spotted this recently:

Vegan YouTube 'drama': 'I was falsely accused of offering online sex'

Kindest regards,

James


I would. I'm sorry I just would :D
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:47 pm
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VegoUser avatarPosts: 86Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: Why Vegan?

Dragan Glas wrote:But it is an important variable, I think you'll agree, given that they'll have to be fed.

What I am saying is that it is a distraction. For a given population size, veganism requires theoretically less resources. This advantage is still there however the population changes. (To be fair, not all vegan diets are equivalent, and fruitarianism for example is probaly not very good for efficiency.)

Dragan Glas wrote:This is a more detailed explanation of protein digestion.

Thanks, but I'm not sure what your point is.

Dragan Glas wrote:with plant (versus animal) sources

Your link points to a page titled "Plant Sources Vs. Animal Sources for Digestive Enzymes", and it is about "the proposed benefits of supplemental digestive enzymes for reducing symptoms of digestive distress, improving immune function, and treating disorders such as pancreatitis" and no references are provided. It is not relevant to our conversation.

Dragan Glas wrote:one has to supplement to make up for the missing nutrients, and aid digestion.

I am not sure what you expect me to get from this link. This is from a website that sells supplements, so of course they are going to present things to make it look like their products are required. They claim "The problem with vegan protein is that it can be hard to digest": why is that a problem? Are vegans suffering from protein deficiency? They mention a few chemicals (like phytates) but their claims are of the type "reduces absorption of X": so what? Where is the evidence that it is actually a problem for vegans following proper advice? Most of their references seem to be about in-vitro experiments, so I am not sure how relevant they are. They quote a paper saying "diets containing a high proportion of calories as carbohydrate for 2 weeks are associated with lower interdigestive and postprandial pancreatic secretion than diets that have a high fat content.": why should we care about interdigestive and postprandial secretions? Besides, there are many plant sources of fat, so it's still not an issue for veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:the difficult choice of starving or being exploited is a poor ethical argument for such exploitation

I am not arguing for exploitation, all I am saying is that veganism is not the main cause here. This is a problem that is largely dependent on human will: humans cause human exploitation, and this can be addressed independently of veganism.

Dragan Glas wrote:Given veganism being applicable to a small percentage of the population, its benefits are far outweighed by the other criteria.

This is an empty claim. How exactly are the benefits of veganism "far outweighed" by other criteria? Which benefits did you consider, which other criteria, how did you conclude that the benefits are not just outweighed, but far outweighed?

Dragan Glas wrote:I think you're glossing over the complexity of a well-planned vegan diet

You are just avoiding my question. All I am saying is that a well-planned vegan diet (following recommendations by qualified dietitians) can be healthy. You keep claiming that it is not, and so far you don't have any evidence for it. As for difficulty, injection is not generally required (as far as I know). And more generally, what an individual requires will depend on personal circumstances. This has always been my message: get informed first, and then make informed decisions.
"Violent ideologies have a special set of defenses that enable humane people to support inhumane practices and to not even realize what they're doing." (Melanie Joy)
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:53 am
VegoUser avatarPosts: 86Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: Why Vegan?

*SD* wrote:You know that wheat products have involved the suffering and death of animals and you support this industry.

To be clear: you are the one fixated on wheat, but for me this is not about wheat, the issue is related to plant farming practices. Even if we banned wheat, it wouldn't solve anything. Given our current technology, our civilization can keep going without animal products (theoretically) but it couldn't sustain itself without modern plant farming: this makes these deaths unavoidable unless we change the practices.

We are breeding, exploiting and killing farm animals (fishing is also a major issue), this is all under our control, and we can decide to stop it. Apart from the death aspect, everything else is different when it comes to plant farming. As far as I can tell, we just can't do otherwise without putting our survival at risk.

*SD* wrote:But the collateral damage/deaths would increase because we'd need even more crops to feed humans if that's all they're going to eat.

No, it's the opposite. I discussed this with Dragan Glas, but to sum up: if we replace animal products with nutritionally equivalent plant foods, the "human plant food" production would increase slightly, but the "total plant food" production would decrease (mostly because of the food that we wouldn't be growing for animals anymore).

*SD* wrote:There are definitely more collateral deaths caused through wheat harvesting (for example) than there are from having some cows and milking them.

That depends on what the cows are fed. But more generally, this is a pointless comparison: half of total crop production is used to feed animals, so unless there is something different with crops used for animal feed, animal products as a whole probably cause at least as much collateral damage as plant products (and this collateral damage is in addition to the direct damage).

*SD* wrote:a non essential industry that kills animals

No single food item is essential, but plant farming is.

*SD* wrote:producing wheat also kills animals

You are completely missing the point: wheat is not the issue. Farm animals are avoidable. Field animals are a completely different category, and we do not have the same level of control.

*SD* wrote:Avoiding meat isn't going to do anything either.

On the contrary: avoiding meat means less exploitation and killing (direct and collateral).

*SD* wrote:If we all give up meat we're going to have to eat loads more of other foods, the production of which kills animals.

Not exactly (not "loads") and the net result is still going to be less killing overall.

*SD* wrote:Plus you'd have to rely on people adopting veganism anyway

Well yes, clearly if I am the only one it won't work.

*SD* wrote:I don't think you can win on ethical grounds given the points argued repeatedly throughout this thread.

Veganism is better on ethical grounds, I haven't seen any serious argument against that.

*SD* wrote:As close to zero as possible? How close is that?

I don't know, it depends on people with medical conditions preventing them from being vegan.

*SD* wrote:How much effort should 'vegans' (cough) make to get this number as close to zero as possible?

Being dietary+lifestyle vegan should be enough.

*SD* wrote:You're still going to be left with the indefensible position of exploiting them for wheat

I have said this several times already, animals are not exploited for crops (unless you are talking about pollinators).

*SD* wrote:exploiting them for meat is immoral

Exploiting sentient beings for anything is immoral in my opinion. To my knowledge, field mice are not being exploited, and I don't know whether pollinators are sentient (even if they are, I don't know how our civilization can exist without them).

*SD* wrote:Thus far I have seen nothing compelling

This is because you are trying to not see. You seem to be asking me for a reason to not eat meat, whereas from my perspective it is eating meat that requires a reason. Plant products involve collateral deaths, but animal products involve both direct and collateral death. And, in theory, animal products can be eliminated (at least in some regions of the world), whereas plant products can't: in my view, the distinction (and advantage of veganism) is quite clear.

*SD* wrote:You are someone who wants to reduce the death/harm/suffering of animals a bit

No, I wish for a complete elimination of animal exploitation, and I believe that veganism can accomplish that. However, I also think that partial veganism is better than non-veganism, and this is a compromise that seems attainable in the short term (in the long term, it is not enough to eliminate animal exploitation).

*SD* wrote:Do you actually disagree with this or are you just bouncing an idea off me?

I don't really have an answer to my own question. If someone does that and they want to call themselves mostly-vegan or plant-based-but-not-vegan or whatever else, the label does not matter to me. What matters is the reduction in animal exploitation.

*SD* wrote:I haven't found a vegan yet who lives as consistently as reasonably possible with their vegan ideology

This is the fallacy I was talking about: you are essentially saying that you know what veganism is supposed to be, and apparently anyone who doesn't match your standard is not a real vegan.

*SD* wrote:You're fine with killing animals as long as it's to produce something you think is ok.

No, this is not what I am saying. It is my current understanding that modern plant farming practices (which result in collateral death) are unavoidable. It is not about producing something that I think is ok. By contrast, nothing in animal farming (and fishing) is ok because it is exploitative by nature, and it can be avoided (without destroying our civilization) because we are fully in control of it.

*SD* wrote:Yes, it is [logically valid]

No, because we can live healthily without animal products (bar special circumstances).

*SD* wrote:It doesn't have to be wheat either.

I am not claiming that our civilization needs wheat, I am claiming that our civilization needs modern farming practices. Wheat is not the issue, and if we eliminate it, something ethically equivalent will probably replace it (other cereals, corn, soy, ...). On the other hand, nothing ethically equivalent will replace animal products, because the plant-based replacements will be ethically better (quasi-elimination of exploitation and overall less collateral death).

*SD* wrote:You are essentially arguing that it's ok to kill animals for non essential thing X, but not for essential thing Y.

No, this is not an accurate representation of my position. Wheat itself may not be necessary, but the production method (which is what causes the issue) is necessary for our civilization.

*SD* wrote:something I surely will die without?

Unless you have a medical condition or a lack of access to resources, you will probably not die by not eating animal products (to be clear: you would have to eat something else instead, not starve yourself on purpose).
"Violent ideologies have a special set of defenses that enable humane people to support inhumane practices and to not even realize what they're doing." (Melanie Joy)
Last edited by Vego on Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:20 am
VegoUser avatarPosts: 86Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:32 pm

Post Re: Why Vegan?

Sparhafoc wrote:
You are essentially arguing that it's ok to kill animals for non essential thing X, but not for essential thing Y. Which is arbitrary and not a position I'm willing to get on board with. I dislike arbitrarity anyway but even more so when it's combined with hypocrisy.


Absolutely, and in fact, it's a terrible argument.

And it is not my argument (plant farming is essential, animal products are not essential).

Sparhafoc wrote:It is absolutely not more ethical to kill animals merely as collateral to produce your food over killing animals specifically as food.

And once again, killing is only one aspect. We don't just kill farm animals, we have a full system designed specifically to breed, exploit and kill them. It is not the same thing as the collateral damage of plant farming. Not even close. We choose to cause this unnecessary harm to farm animals, whereas we (currently) can't avoid the harm done during plant production. Plant food is clearly more ethical.
"Violent ideologies have a special set of defenses that enable humane people to support inhumane practices and to not even realize what they're doing." (Melanie Joy)
Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:25 am
SparhafocPosts: 2293Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Why Vegan?

Vego wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:Absolutely, and in fact, it's a terrible argument.


And it is not my argument (plant farming is essential, animal products are not essential).


Animal products ARE essential for the majority of human life on the planet, as we've already established and you've acknowledge dozens of times.


Vego wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:It is absolutely not more ethical to kill animals merely as collateral to produce your food over killing animals specifically as food.


And once again, killing is only one aspect.


And it's the aspect you will consider important when it comes to the consumption of meat, then inconsequential when it comes to the production of grains.


Vego wrote: We don't just kill farm animals, we have a full system designed specifically to breed, exploit and kill them. It is not the same thing as the collateral damage of plant farming. Not even close.


Irrelevant. We're not saying 'it's the same thing' - so I am not sure what your response is meant to achieve.

You can tell I don't consider them 'the same thing' by the very post you're responding to.


Vego wrote:We choose to cause this unnecessary harm to farm animals, whereas we (currently) can't avoid the harm done during plant production.


Cop out. You choose to cause this harm to wild animals in exactly the same way as others choose to cause this harm to farm animals. The difference is that for you their deaths are a by-product, wholly unnecessary towards the desired end. Whatever arguments you present to meat-eaters to prick their consciences apply wholly to your own attempts to explain away the harm you cause to animals for your preferred dietary consumption.


Vego wrote: Plant food is clearly more ethical.


Well, you've got 2 of the wise monkeys down.
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Mon Jun 18, 2018 4:48 am
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

Vego, it is not MORE ethical to kill animals as a wasted by-product than it is to kill and make use of them. Whatever else this act (collateral) may be, it certainly isn't more moral or somehow 'better'

You know those irritating TV ads for no win no fee lawyers? Sounds appealing, doesn't it? However, if you look at it from a different angle, what they're really saying is 'if we win your case we're going to bill you into oblivion and take a big chunk of your money'

It's exactly the same thing with your argument. I know we're not wording it the same as you would, we're looking at it from a different angle and still accurately representing it as killing animals is fine for loads of different reasons, it's fine to kill them and not make use of them, but it's not fine to kill them and make use of them. That's your argument, only phrased differently.
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Mon Jun 18, 2018 10:44 am
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Posts: 221Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:00 amLocation: Wales, UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Why Vegan?

To be clear: you are the one fixated on wheat


It's not a fixation, it's something very relevant to the topic we're discussing as a whole. Wheat is an oft argued point in these discussions, for good reason.

We are breeding, exploiting and killing farm animals (fishing is also a major issue), this is all under our control, and we can decide to stop it. Apart from the death aspect, everything else is different when it comes to plant farming. As far as I can tell, we just can't do otherwise without putting our survival at risk.


Apart from the death aspect? The death aspect is what we're arguing about! You can't just trivialize it like that in the hopes it'll slip under the radar.

No, it's the opposite. I discussed this with Dragan Glas, but to sum up: if we replace animal products with nutritionally equivalent plant foods, the "human plant food" production would increase slightly, but the "total plant food" production would decrease (mostly because of the food that we wouldn't be growing for animals anymore).


I am not convinced. I admit mathematics is by far one of my weaker subjects but there is a problem with this idea. It's not like we can just take the grain/whatever we feed animals and use that for ourselves. The grain fed to cattle is low grade, not really fit for human consumption. You could eat it, I suppose, but I don't think this is a likely outcome. Not many people are going to be willing to eat the quality of harvestings we feed to cattle.

Additionally, sheep, which make up a large percentage of the farmed animals in existence are not fed grains, so there's nothing we can 'take' (you know what I mean) from them and feed to ourselves. Cattle are generally grass fed, even in winter. Beef stock (Mr Cows) are fed some grain, usually barley but I'm not sure how much this accounts for. But again, it's low grade and isn't a realistic option to feed to humans.

That depends on what the cows are fed


See above.

But more generally, this is a pointless comparison


Why? Because it's inconvenient for your position?

so unless there is something different with crops used for animal feed


There is, see above.

half of total crop production is used to feed animals


I'm skeptical of this figure. As someone who spent years working on farms, this doesn't seem likely. Some is fed to them, I highly doubt it's half. But even if it is we're still left with the quality problem.

No single food item is essential


Then my point stands about necessity not being the criterion for food items. You've just defeated your own argument. You've conceded that wheat etc is not an essential food item, so by your reasoning (with your view that meat is not an essential food item) we shouldn't be killing animals for wheat.

but plant farming is.


And I don't have a problem with it or how it's done. My position doesn't require me to have a problem with it, yours does.

You are completely missing the point: wheat is not the issue


No, I'm not - you are trying to avoid the point. Wheat IS the issue because I'm making it the issue, and for very good reason. You can't just say 'that's not the issue' and hope it goes away, when it quite clearly IS the issue. You are objecting to animal death/exploitation when it comes to meat and cheese, wheat production ALSO (for the eightieth time) causes the death and suffering of animals so of course it has a well earned space on the issue table.

Farm animals are avoidable.


No they aren't. How else are people supposed to eat meat if not for farm animals?

You're back to this assumption that it's necessarily wrong to eat meat. Why? Because killing animals is wrong? Have I mentioned that wheat production also kills animals?

Field animals are a completely different category


You can categorize them how ever you like, they are still animals and they're still being killed as a direct consequence of food production for humans. This undermines your argument because killing animals is the very thing you're simultaneously supporting and objecting to.

Let's say you're having a bowl of cereal, and let's say that for that one bowl of cereal one rabbit had to die. You'd be ok with that. So what about when I go out and shoot one rabbit so that I can eat it? No? Double standard.

On the contrary: avoiding meat means less exploitation and killing (direct and collateral).


If enough people get on board with the idea then sure, but that's some hypothetical future situation we're not in. A few handfuls of individuals boycotting meat isn't changing anything. If I go vegan right this instant, the reality of the farming industry changes not one iota.

Not exactly (not "loads") and the net result is still going to be less killing overall


Alright then - more. I don't think loads was an exaggeration, though. Meat makes up a significant part of people's food intake. Using my self as an example, if I cut out all meat and dairy my plate would be very sparse. Something else is going to have to occupy that empty real estate and there's going to need to be quite a lot of it.

There's also the question of getting the same amount of bang for your buck. What I mean is, say I remove the steak from the plate and substitute with, say carrots, an equal amount of carrots as the steak (whatever that would look like) am I getting the same amount of energy, nutrients, vitamins etc etc? I don't think this is the case, but in all honesty it's not something I know that much about. Obligate herbivores spend pretty much every waking moment eating and shitting, presumably because green things don't pack the same punch as meat. Carnivores and omnivores do not appear to have this issue.

This isn't a major argument, it's just an idea I wanted to float.

Well yes, clearly if I am the only one it won't work


8-) Yeah! I mean all I can really do is speculate here. Personally, I don't think mass scale veganism is at all likely. I know many people, including meat eaters who disagree with me. Some people seem to think mainstream veganism is not only likely, but practically a certainty. I don't see any reason to think this.

Veganism is better on ethical grounds, I haven't seen any serious argument against that.


Umm, you have.

I have said this several times already, animals are not exploited for crops (unless you are talking about pollinators).


They're fucking KILLED, Vego! KILLED!

Exploiting sentient beings for anything is immoral in my opinion. To my knowledge, field mice are not being exploited, and I don't know whether pollinators are sentient (even if they are, I don't know how our civilization can exist without them).


Well, that's as you say, your opinion. And you're entitled to it. But I see nothing immoral about milking cows.

I have a goat, rescued it years ago. She has a fantastic life, and if she could talk I'm 100% confident she'd tell you the same thing. Is it immoral for me to milk the goat?

This is because you are trying to not see


No, I'm not 'trying not to see' at all. You seem to think the only reason for rejecting your position must be a lack of understanding. Does it not occur to you that someone could, quite genuinely understand your position and the issues at hand and still not accept it, and give good reasons as to why they don't? Nobody here has just said 'nah' and then failed to expand as to their reasoning. Well, maybe austral did in the beginning, but I think he was just having some fun.

You seem to be asking me for a reason to not eat meat


Obviously. Among other things.

from my perspective it is eating meat that requires a reason


Do you know Leroy?!

Eating meat is the default position. If you wish to change this paradigm the burden of proof is on you. You can't seriously think the omnivore has to justify a perfectly normal diet.

Plant products involve collateral deaths, but animal products involve both direct and collateral death.


Unless your case is specifically, and SOLELY that less death is the goal, I don't see that the comparative quantities are relevant. How many is it ok to kill and for what reasons? 2? What about 3? 4? That's only one more than 3, not much difference.

If that's your aim then fill your boots, but that doesn't make for much of an argument. And there are a million tangents we could go off on here. There's also the fact that what is acceptable or unacceptable, justified or unjustified to you may not hold true for the next person.

And, in theory, animal products can be eliminated (at least in some regions of the world), whereas plant products can't: in my view, the distinction (and advantage of veganism) is quite clear.


If you're willing to ignore all the massive, glaring problems with it then I suppose it's quite clear. Christians think it's quite clear that God exists, but to anyone who isn't in that particular club this is just not the case.

No, I wish for a complete elimination of animal exploitation, and I believe that veganism can accomplish that. However, I also think that partial veganism is better than non-veganism, and this is a compromise that seems attainable in the short term (in the long term, it is not enough to eliminate animal exploitation).


I don't think abolition is a realistic goal but what ever floats your boat. I still reject this concept of partial veganism for the reasons previously stated.

I don't really have an answer to my own question. If someone does that and they want to call themselves mostly-vegan or plant-based-but-not-vegan or whatever else, the label does not matter to me. What matters is the reduction in animal exploitation.


At least that's honest.

I know what you mean with the label thing, but we need a word otherwise we have to use huge descriptions all the time. It seems to me that the law of non contradiction should come into play here, you can't be vegan and not vegan at the same time.

This is the fallacy I was talking about: you are essentially saying that you know what veganism is supposed to be, and apparently anyone who doesn't match your standard is not a real vegan


It's not a fallacy, in any way, shape or form. What veganism is supposed to be isn't some big secret, Vego. In general it's not using animal products. You're using the vegan society definition which translates to 'don't use animal products apart from when you want to use animal products'

This whole 'to the extent it's reasonable and practicable to avoid them' thing is so open to interpretation it's useless. I'm hungry so it's not reasonable or practical for me to not shoot that rabbit in the field. Undoubtedly you don't like that. You're making the definition even more problematic than it already is on it's own by advocating partial veganism and sort of veganism and vegan from 2pm-4pm every third Wednesday of the month except during the summer.

*SD* wrote:You're fine with killing animals as long as it's to produce something you think is ok.

No, this is not what I am saying


This is EXACTLY what you're saying. I know you disapprove of my wording, I'm shining the light from a different angle - but this IS your position. I'm not in the habit of telling people what their arguments are, I usually let them tell me, but in this case I'm making an exception.

You want to eat wheat/veg etc, yes?
The production of such harms and kills animals, yes?
You think this is acceptable, yes?
So therefore you condone killing animals when it's for something you want to have.

So let's apply the same questions to meat -

You don't want to eat meat because you think it's bad, correct?
The production of meat kills animals and of this you disapprove, correct?
You therefore think this is unacceptable, correct?
Therefore you do not condone killing animals for this purpose because meat is not something you want to have.

It is my current understanding that modern plant farming practices (which result in collateral death) are unavoidable


They're not unavoidable. They could be reduced. It would require time and effort, but it's quite possible.

It is not about producing something that I think is ok


Six and two three's. Means the same thing.

By contrast, nothing in animal farming (and fishing) is ok because it is exploitative by nature


Nothing? What about my goat I mentioned earlier? What about the chickens my friend has who are kept in the lap of luxury in exchange for an egg or two whenever they feel like laying one?

and it can be avoided (without destroying our civilization) because we are fully in control of it.


I don't think it can in any realistic sense. It's easy enough to say 'well X isn't really essential, we could live without it' (this is NOT a concession that meat is non-essential btw) - implementing it and turning it into a reality is quite another matter.

There's also the issue that just because we could manage without something, it doesn't necessarily follow that we therefore should.

No, because we can live healthily without animal products


Yes. See above.

This point is disputed on other grounds anyway, those grounds being that a vegan diet is, by your own admission - incomplete. Yes, it is possible to address the deficiencies, but for me the question is should one have to? Why deliberately cause your self a deficiency? It hardly bears the hallmarks of a good idea.

I am not claiming that our civilization needs wheat, I am claiming that our civilization needs modern farming practices.


So therefore animals are going to be killed and thus no moral obligation to avoid animal products.

No, this is not an accurate representation of my position


I beg to differ, Vego. I beg to differ.

Wheat itself may not be necessary, but the production method (which is what causes the issue) is necessary for our civilization


It's not necessary in any strict sense of the word. And that's the sense you're applying when talking about meat being 'unnecessary'

Humans survived just fine for thousands of years without combined harvesters, herbicides, pesticides, giant wagons etc etc. Would it be inconvenient without such things? Yes, but that isn't equal to them being necessary.

Unless you have a medical condition or a lack of access to resources, you will probably not die by not eating animal products (to be clear: you would have to eat something else instead, not starve yourself on purpose).


But i will die if I don't eat food, yes? Animals are, whether you approve or not, a very viable source of food. You can't really deny this, to do so is to deny reality itself.
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Mon Jun 18, 2018 1:53 pm
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SparhafocPosts: 2293Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Why Vegan?

But more generally, this is a pointless comparison: half of total crop production is used to feed animals, so unless there is something different with crops used for animal feed, animal products as a whole probably cause at least as much collateral damage as plant products (and this collateral damage is in addition to the direct damage).



This just goes round and round and round.

The meat-eater doesn't necessarily have an ethical issue with animals dying to provide nutrition.
The vegan does (assuming veganism on ethical grounds regarding animal exploitation).
So the collateral deaths should be an issue for the vegan whereas, it's not necessarily so for the meat-eater.

But your argument is couched in shoulds, anyway.

So if people should be concerned, why aren't you? Why are you asking people to live up to expectations you have of them but which you can't even attain yourself?

In your fantasy scenario of a world going vegan, we will need a lot more crops to feed people, and this will necessarily result in an increase in the number of collateral deaths, and when we include aspects like the conversion of wilderness to farmlands to support those crops, then we're not talking a couple of slow mice and an unlucky vole. So in your scenario, the individual* cows, pigs, and chickens gain an undeniable benefit from no longer being intensively exploited, but a host of other animals suffer and entire food webs across vast geographical areas are damaged to produce the food you consider 'more ethical'.

The problem is much deeper than you are allowing it to be.


* although not so as a species, because they're actually bloody successful right now - what would happen to all these species in a human world where cows, pigs, and chickens no longer serve the human societal machinery?
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Tue Jun 19, 2018 7:48 am
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Post Re: Why Vegan?

Sparhafoc wrote:because they're actually bloody successful right now - what would happen to all these species in a human world where cows, pigs, and chickens no longer serve the human societal machinery?


In my experience discussing this topic, abolotionists will typically 'take the hit' so to speak. They'll say that drastic reductions in population (cows, chickens, pigs etc) is worth it in order to get rid of animal farming. Some will even hold that potential extinction (which isn't all that hard to imagine) is ok. In other words, they will go to any lengths, at any cost, to abolish meat and dairy industries.

A very extreme position, but I've seen it held many times.

There is sometimes mention of farm sanctuaries to house the remaining (bazillions) of animals 'left over' after the cessation of farming practices, but never any mention as to who the hell is going to pay to construct and maintain these. Breeding will be off the agenda to avoid creating more animals and thus maintaining the need for such sanctuaries. Presumably we'll just burn them to the ground after all the animals have died off.

To the question of what are all the farmers and countless other people tied to the industry (butchers, carpet makers, manufacturers of farm equipment etc, which is to barely scratch the surface) supposed to do - a deeply unsatisfactory answer of 'they can go work somewhere else' is given.

When argued that left to their own devices these species will probably end up extinct, they'll usually take that on the chin and say extinction is preferable to farming and making use of them.

Not saying Vego will hold this position, but this is often where it goes.
Steak should never be well done. It should be rare to medium rare.

Chop its horns off, wipe its ass and put it on the plate.

Plate optional.
Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:56 am
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SparhafocPosts: 2293Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: Why Vegan?

*SD* wrote:
Sparhafoc wrote:because they're actually bloody successful right now - what would happen to all these species in a human world where cows, pigs, and chickens no longer serve the human societal machinery?


In my experience discussing this topic, abolotionists will typically 'take the hit' so to speak. They'll say that drastic reductions in population (cows, chickens, pigs etc) is worth it in order to get rid of animal farming. Some will even hold that potential extinction (which isn't all that hard to imagine) is ok. In other words, they will go to any lengths, at any cost, to abolish meat and dairy industries.

A very extreme position, but I've seen it held many times.

There is sometimes mention of farm sanctuaries to house the remaining (bazillions) of animals 'left over' after the cessation of farming practices, but never any mention as to who the hell is going to pay to construct and maintain these. Breeding will be off the agenda to avoid creating more animals and thus maintaining the need for such sanctuaries. Presumably we'll just burn them to the ground after all the animals have died off.


Yes, first there's the problem that many of these species were basically created by humans, are wholly domesticated, and have never existed in the wild. Either they're now free to fuck around with already teetering ecologies, or they're doomed to extinction. Is it then clearly more ethical to allow a species to go extinct? I guess it's a pretty final argument: no more animal cruelty if all the animals are extinct! ;)

Secondly, there's the problem that most arable land is already being used. We may save some potential output through a combination of directly using the crops and economies of scale, but we're not going to get enough arable land back from the cessation of pastoral/ranching/livestock rearing for human crops even to offset the loss of that source of protein, let alone to fill in all the nutrition gaps it will cause, or the ever increasing human population.


*SD* wrote:To the question of what are all the farmers and countless other people tied to the industry (butchers, carpet makers, manufacturers of farm equipment etc, which is to barely scratch the surface) supposed to do - a deeply unsatisfactory answer of 'they can go work somewhere else' is given.


This, with no disrespect to the people concerned, is not something we should really worry about in terms of the cessation of animal rearing. This is basically always happening anyway as our economy shifts away from traditional resources. It's not even certain that human labour will be involved in the very near future anyway even if we do keep rearing animals for nutrition and products.


*SD* wrote:When argued that left to their own devices these species will probably end up extinct, they'll usually take that on the chin and say extinction is preferable to farming and making use of them.

Not saying Vego will hold this position, but this is often where it goes.


It's likely going to happen at some point, assuming we don't try and keep a population in zoos and maintain their genetic stock. But it's still a valid ethical conundrum.
"a reprehensible human being"
Beliefs are, by definition, things we don't know to be true.
Tue Jun 19, 2018 1:40 pm
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