This is only a doubt of mine. I have seen people who do not eat meat cos they think its wrong to kill life. Agreed that animals have life and we are killing them as before we make the dish. But dont plants have life too? So by the same logic shouldnt one also not eat plant stuffs?! Well i have heard people repartee that animals feel pain but plants dont so as to rationalise their stand. Well then give the animals a shot of analgesic before you cut their neck. They wouldnt feel pain either?! And as a matter of fact, since half a century back its been know that even plants feel pain. So this vegan thing, as a means to test our own will or as a measure of discipline is fine, but as a logic guided decision, is it rational indeed or am i missing something?!
There seems to be a lot of focus on whether or not the whole pain and suffering bit is just as applicable to plants as it is animals. For the sake of argument, let us assume that plants DO feel something akin to the pain and suffering of animals being killed. What fact-based points are there to discuss?
Humans are Omnivores (The physiological):
While this may be true, the ingestion of cooked animal meat causes physiological problems. When we eat meat, it rots in our intestine. If you were to look at a carnivore’s intestine, it is vastly shorter than ours by comparison, while we have a much longer intestine like our evolutionary relatives, the primates. The shortened intestine in carnivores is because this meat rots, and should not stay in the body for long.
Also, in comparison with carnivores, we do not have as strong of an acid in our stomach to digest meat. In order to digest, acid is released, which goes into the bloodstream. Regular body pH is 7.4 and is necessary for proteins to be properly folded and functional. In order to maintain this pH the body uses the calcium phosphate in bones. The phosphate neutralizes the acid in our blood and the calcium is excreted. This is the driving theory behind osteoporosis in meat-centered cultures. It is also funny how milk is touted to be good for bones when its proteins cause calcium loss.
Our teeth and jaws are NOT designed for ripping flesh. Omnivores and carnivores have mostly sharp, pointed teeth, and will swallow large chunks whole. Humans have jaws that move from side to side for grinding plant matter. We also have enzymes in our saliva that starts breaking down carbohydrates before they even reach our stomach. Carnivores do not have this.
We do not have claws or are naturally fast enough to cast most prey. Although we have obviously found a workaround to this with tools, this is not a natural inclination.
If we were close-enough to the meat eating spectrum of omnivores, then we would be hunting down prey, killing it, and eating it RAW, fur, bones, and all, and will have enjoyed it. To date, I have never witnessed such a thing.
What do we eat that makes us omnivores? We probably ate insects and a little bit of seafood (stuff that didn’t move very fast like oysters).
As for the whole “canine teeth,” there was a post earlier that showed other herbivores with ones even bigger than ours. They are most likely used for piercing the hard shells of some of the nuts we ate.
Next we have what may be efficiency reasons:
The majority of agriculture in the US goes towards the feeding of livestock. I want to say its around 65%, but I can’t find the paper at the moment. If anyone has taken a biology class with a reputable textbook, there a chapter dealing with food chains, etc. It will describe how roughly 10% of the energy of a consumed organism is used by the organism consuming. So if we eat cows that have consumed grains and corn, we are only getting 1% of the energy that the plants obtained from the sun. If we consume other predators, then we are getting even less than 1%.
If we were to take all of the crops grown for livestock feeding, and made the rational leap that it was accessible by all, human hunger would be less of an issue today.
Sometimes animal product is gross:
I’m going to make the assumption that although this is HE, that most of us DO NOT get our dairy products and meat from local operations that treat their livestock like lovestock. When cows are hooked up to milking machines for long periods of time, their udders become infected. The puss in milk has a more acceptable name: somatic cell count. There is puss in the milk that most consume.
A free-range chicken promotes pictures of chickens outside, on grass, eating seeds and bugs to their hearts content (at least for me it does). Free-range means that the chickens have access to the outside. This may be a chicken-sized hole (most likely) to a concrete slab (also likely).
I’ve covered some points that I hope have informed.
Now it’s my opinion time:
People are free to make their own decisions, and one of them is to consume meat. But don’t try and justify your decision with the rational that its plants feel just as much pain or that meat is better for you. If you were truly comfortable with eating meat, you wouldn’t feel the need to justify it to others.
I personally don’t eat meat unless it has been given to me for free. The same goes for dairy, though I eat much less dairy than meat. I guess that makes me an opportunist. And the meat tastes delicious (though usually only if cooked and seasoned properly). I may one day choose not to accept the kind food offerings of others and go completely vegan, as it’s easier than one would think financially speaking.
I’ll leave with this:
You have a family. Your wife is pregnant. You are going to have a child. The doctor says that it’s going to be a boy. One day your wife goes into labor. You drive to the hospital, nervous as well as excited. There are no complications, and you have your baby boy. The alarms go off into the hospital. No one understands what’s going on until they come. The cows. They break into your room where you are with your wife. They’ve come for her. They take her. She struggles to hold onto her baby boy, but they pry your son out of your arms and leave. They hook your wife up to a machine. She cannot move. Can’t even turn around. She defecates and urinates where she is. They suck her tits dry. When she doesn’t give anymore. They artificially impregnate her again, since she won’t give milk without a child. This occurs until she won’t give anymore. Period. Then they send her off to slaughter.
Wow. I got furious just writing that. Though it may not be 100% similarity to what occurs, I dare you listen to the screams of a mother cow as they take her child away from her and enjoy dairy just as you did before.
If you’ve read all of this, then thanks for reading. I hope post has been more informative than anything.
“Plants do not want to be eaten either, that is why they have evolved sap, thorns, bark, poisons, etc. It is pretty sad to rule out consideration for some life but hold other life in an elevated regard.”
Raising plants to feed to animals to feed to humans is inherently inefficient compared with just eating the plants directly. So even if you value plant life as much as animal life, the fact is a plant based diet cause far less harm.
“Animals are a good source of protein”
Yes, but you can also get protein from many plant foods as well like beans, legumes, lentils, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.
“Eating animals is not a morality issue, no more than eating plants or any biological material, but I will agree that the treatment of animals for and before their death is an issue that we should be looking into better regulating toward humane standards.”
No such thing as ‘humane death’, that’s an oxymoron. Same as humane rape, mutilation, molestation etc.
“Some animals have resemblance of sentience, but they are not sentient. A sentient being is a being that can over-ride instinctive and emotional reactions to situations and instead assess the situation, with acquired knowledge and understanding of the situation they can then find a more advantageous application of action that is often contrary to the impulsive base drives.”
Able to perceive or feel things: “sentient life forms”.
sensitive – sensible – susceptible – tender – feeling
There is no difference between humans, and animals with regards to sentience. We are animals just like them. All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life.
“Of course plants do not have a mind, but neither do animals, you say animals have their own purpose but plants do not? Plants did not decide to grow bark or thorns, but animals did not choose to grow horns or claws, advantageous mutations for both, they have them not because they needed protection but because it did protect them.”
Animals do not have a mind? They do have a brain, they are conscious sentient beings and they do have a mind. They are just like us. In evolutionary terms we share like 97% of our DNA with bonobos.. Pigs have been shown to have the intelligence of a 3 year old child.
Again, regardless of plant sentience or intelligence, it is still far less impactful to consume a plant based diet.
“Animals experience fear but they do not have a concept of time, they have the self-preservation instinct, but that is not to be confused with them understanding they are about to die. These things are unique to us. We suffer on a level far greater than animals do because we have concepts of time and our own mortality, inspiring fear on a phenomenal level, and as I said; fear is suffering, not pain. Do not presume to assign the human level of suffering to a non-sentient being, that is not rational.”
I recognise that you do not support factory farming but I’m making a point here. Animals can sense death and they experience fear and pain just like we do.
Anatomically, it would be more accurate to say humans are herbivores –
Carnivore Reduced to allow wide mouth gape
Carnivore Angle not expanded
Herbivore Expanded angle
Omnivore Angle not expanded
Human Expanded angle
Jaw Joint Location
Carnivore On same plane as molar teeth
Herbivore Above the plane of the molars
Omnivore On same plane as molar teeth
Human Above the plane of the molars
Carnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side motion
Herbivore No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Omnivore Shearing; minimal side-to-side
Human No shear; good side-to-side, front-to-back
Major Jaw Muscles
Herbivore Masseter and pterygoids
Human Masseter and pterygoids
Mouth Opening vs. Head Size
Carnivore Short and pointed
Herbivore. Broad, flattened and spade shaped
Omnivore. Short and pointed
Human Broad, flattened and spade shaped
Carnivore. Long, sharp and curved
Herbivore Dull and short or long (for defense), or none
Omnivore Long, sharp and curved
Human Short and blunted
Carnivore Sharp, jagged and blade shaped
Herbivore Flattened with cusps vs complex surface
Omnivore Sharp blades and/or flattened
Human Flattened with nodular cusps
Carnivore None; swallows food whole
Herbivore Extensive chewing necessary
Omnivore Swallows food whole and/or simple crushing
Human Extensive chewing necessary
Carnivore No digestive enzymes
Herbivore Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Omnivore. No digestive enzymes
Human Carbohydrate digesting enzymes
Herbivore Simple or multiple chambers
Carnivore Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Herbivore pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Omnivore. Less than or equal to pH 1 with food in stomach
Human pH 4 to 5 with food in stomach
Carnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Herbivore. Less than 30% of total volume of digestive tract
Omnivore 60% to 70% of total volume of digestive tract
Human 21% to 27% of total volume of digestive tract
Length of Small Intestine
Carnivore 3 to 6 times body length
Herbivore 10 to more than 12 times body length
Omnivore. 4 to 6 times body length
Human 10 to 11 times body length
Carnivore Simple, short and smooth
Herbivore Long, complex; may be sacculated
Omnivore Simple, short and smooth
Human Long, sacculated
Carnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
Herbivore Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Omnivore Can detoxify vitamin A
Human Cannot detoxify vitamin A
Carnivore Extremely concentrated urine
Herbivore. Moderately concentrated urine
Omnivore. Extremely concentrated urine
Human Moderately concentrated urine
Carnivore Sharp claws
Herbivore Flattened nails or blunt hooves
Omnivore Sharp claws
Human Flattened nails
“The fact is, the same drive to exist is in both, that one is further along the evolutionary scale and so has greater rights? That sounds familiar.”
I wouldn’t say either is “further” along the evolutionary scale than the other, I wouldn’t say this about any organism.
“Of course plants do not have a mind, but neither do animals”
To me, this is basically creationism. Animals are our cousins. The differences between us and them in terms of consciousness and them is quantitative, not qualitative. The fact that we have consciousness strongly supports the idea that animals have it or something like it. To suggest otherwise would be akin to leaping up a mountain in a single bound. What stands out to me is that we do not know. We assume, based on our dull perceptions (consider the mass delusions humanity has fallen for throughout history; religion, racism, sexism, patriarchy, genocide of the Americas), that animals are not sentient and take that as “good enough” evidence. Not sure where that leads us, just pointing it out.
“you say animals have their own purpose but plants do not? Plants did not decide to grow bark or thorns, but animals did not choose to grow horns or claws, advantageous mutations for both, they have them not because they needed protection but because it did protect them.”
I only pointed this out because (it seemed to me) that you were assigning agency to the plants. As for animal sentience (your definition of which seems very human-centric, to me), consider this:
I would like to tell you a story that is as true as it is heartbreaking. When I first graduated from Cornell’s School of Veterinary Medicine, I went into a busy dairy practice in Cortland County. I became a very popular practitioner due to my gentle handling of the dairy cows. One of my clients called me one day with a puzzling mystery: his Brown Swiss cow, having delivered her fifth calf naturally on pasture the night before, brought the new baby to the barn and was put into the milking line, while her calf was once again removed from her. Her udder, though, was completely empty, and remained so for several days.
As a new mother, she would normally be producing close to one hundred pounds (12.5 gallons) of milk daily; yet, despite the fact that she was glowing with health, her udder remained empty. She went out to pasture every morning after the first milking, returned for milking in the evening, and again was let out to pasture for the night — this was back in the days when cattle were permitted a modicum of pleasure and natural behaviors in their lives — but never was her udder swollen with the large quantities of milk that are the hallmark of a recently-calved cow.
I was called to check this mystery cow two times during the first week after her delivery and could find no solution to this puzzle. Finally, on the eleventh day post calving, the farmer called me with the solution: he had followed the cow out to her pasture after her morning milking, and discovered the cause: she had delivered twins, and in a bovine’s “Sophie’s Choice,” she had brought one to the farmer and kept one hidden in the woods at the edge of her pasture, so that every day and every night, she stayed with her baby — the first she had been able to nurture FINALLY—and her calf nursed her dry with gusto. Though I pleaded for the farmer to keep her and her bull calf together, she lost this baby, too—off to the hell of the veal crate.
Think for a moment of the complex reasoning this mama exhibited: first, she had memory — memory of her four previous losses, in which bringing her new calf to the barn resulted in her never seeing him/her again (heartbreaking for any mammalian mother). Second, she could formulate and then execute a plan: if bringing a calf to the farmer meant that she would inevitably lose him/her, then she would keep her calf hidden, as deer do, by keeping her baby in the woods lying still till she returned. Third — and I do not know what to make of this myself — instead of hiding both, which would have aroused the farmer’s suspicion (pregnant cow leaves the barn in the evening, unpregnant cow comes back the next morning without offspring), she gave him one and kept one herself. I cannot tell you how she knew to do this—it would seem more likely that a desperate mother would hide both.
All I know is this: there is a lot more going on behind those beautiful eyes than we humans have ever given them credit for, and as a mother who was able to nurse all four of my babies and did not have to suffer the agonies of losing my beloved offspring, I feel her pain.
I’d also like to add that our evolutionary history has no bearing on how we should act as moral beings. Yes, it may have implications on how to strive for optimal health, but that’s about it.
Finally, for all the moral relativists out there:
I’m not saying that you’re “wrong”, just asking you to consider the implications of your position.
@nakedape, Good points, except your understanding of sentience. A three year old has an extremely limited understanding of concepts. What defines sentience is a disputed issue, like what consciousness is, but there are levels of awareness, to me sentience is a level of awareness that encompasses an advanced conceptual understanding.
Animals are afraid of pain, pain warns them that they are in danger of harm or death but they do not understand what death is, not what it means, they do not have any concept of what being dead is, neither do we, but we can at least hypothesize on it. Animals do not know death is an unknown, they do not consider it to be undesirable, they have no opinion on it, we do. That is a huge difference and a huge factor of sentience.
They do not consider living to be desirable, they simply live because they are alive and they instinctively work to stay alive for reasons they do not understand. Pain is a natural warning system that triggers fear that triggers the fight or flight mechanism that sends a rush of adrenaline, they fight or run because they can, they do not know why.
They fight or run because nature has preserved animals that did, evolution is not about developing things that can help you, it is about animals that have survived due to certain traits. The reason animals have fight or flight is because animals that have fought or ran have survived, where animals that did not fight or flee have died, natural selection 101.
I will give you a break down on the levels of awareness; 1) All Life is aware, even single cell microscopic life. That can even be what defines Life. 2) Emotional awareness, I often link this to self-awareness because it is emotion that gives us the higher instincts that result in more successful self preservation. 3) Conceptual awareness, this is the stage humans are at, animals are not at this level, there is no “We are just like them” they are nothing like us.
I was watching an episode of Star-Trek, there was a dog on it, dogs have emotion, in fact dogs are one of the smartest animals there is. Aliens were trying to interrogate the dog for information, but after some time they realized that the dog was not sentient. They even criticized the Captain for keeping a none sentient being as some kind of slave.
You have the wrong idea of what sentient is, it is not about senses or emotion, it is about advanced understanding of concepts, being able to absorb information, process it, then use it to assess situations and find practical applications and solutions. Emotional reactions are impulsive, I am talking about over-riding these natural drives and applying rational thought that can manipulate a result that you would not be able to achieve if dependent only on instinct and emotion.
Animals do not do this, how do we know? Because they do not do it, they react to fear or pleasure only, they are not a mind at work, they are just compulsion. Do not even try to claim humans are just animals, that animals are our equals, all that is ridiculous, it is like comparing a horse drawn wagon to a Humvee, they are not even in the same category.
But good points about farming animals for food, the inefficiency of mass producing plants as food to feed animals. I am not against Vegans, I think society would do better to gradually reduce our dependency on mammal livestock, red meat is basically cigarettes, but fish and fowl, even reptile, amphibian and insect, are a plentiful food supply that are easy to maintain, they are practically efficient.
Even if I was to agree that humans posses a level of awareness far beyond any other animal on Earth, should our basis for eating them be based on those grounds? As someone else earlier stated, if aliens had a level of awareness far beyond ours, would that justify them eating us? Or would we say no.. You can’t eat us because we have the ability to suffer? If so, should we not be extending that same right to animals below our level of awareness?
@nakedape, Before we had concepts like morality and the desire to justify what we do, when we were animals, we ate animals. Nature justifies eating animals by the fact that it does not ask for it to be justified.
I do not hold that humans are superior to other life, I hold that we are a different category. I will not get into hypotheticals on what aliens with an advanced awareness may or may not do to us.
@myselfbaba22, My conclusion is that we each see the logic that our conscience asks us to see. Is Veganism Rational? Obviously they think so otherwise they would not be so committed to it, and defensive about it.
Vegans will be miserable as long as people eat meat, meat eaters will be miserable if you take their meat. Enjoying life is one big thing we all deserve, we shouldn’t rob others of it and we shouldn’t rob ourselves of it based on others not conforming to our own sense of morality.
Rationally, it is best approached in a manner that best balances health with pleasure. I’d suggest cutting back on red meat for health reasons, a single serving no bigger than your fist once every two or three days. When dependency on mammals is reduced, a lot of the environmental inefficiencies of the meat industry become manageable.
I think that as we reduce the use of red meat, we keep bird, fish, plants, but we should start putting reptiles, amphibians and insects on the menu more. People may not like the sound of some of those but with this sudden cultural influx of culinary expertise that is being promoted around the world, these can be prepared in quite tasty ways.
These things have the good stuff that red meat offers while having very little of the bad stuff that red meat has, and they can be mass produced in a reasonably efficient and manageable manner, all the while moral concerns are reduced.
“Enjoying life is one big thing we all deserve, we shouldn’t rob others of it and we shouldn’t rob ourselves of it based on others not conforming to our own sense of morality.”
I wonder if you see the contradiction of this statement.
“Rationally, it is best approached in a manner that best balances health with pleasure.”
Your dietary choices can be based on whatever helps you sleep at night but don’t think it is rational. In a truly rational world, morality would be valued over pleasure.
“I’d suggest cutting back on red meat for health reasons, a single serving no bigger than your fist once every two or three days.”
Regular consumption of red meat significantly increases the risk of heart disease and cancer, so speaking of health, I would suggest cutting it out all together.
We are all part of this world. We should try hard to respect all beings (Human, Animal, Plant, whatever). We’ve seen what happens when you don’t respect plants and the earth (plenty of environmental catastrophes), what happens when you don’t respect animals (large scale slaughter houses, etc, … leading also to more greenhouse gases and ground water problems and more I’m sure), and what happens when you don’t respect people (vilifying each other for the choices they make). Just trying to make conscious decisions and understanding the impulses we have to polarize the world would be a great start.
@nakedape, “I wonder if you see the contradiction of this statement.”
People enjoy eating meat and do not see it as a moral issue, that other do not see it as a moral issue is not reason to be miserable, you conforming to your own morality is really the only factor you should be considering important here, if people do wrong then that is their choice that they have to live with, you should not be liable for the guilt of others.
I do not mean you should not preach your gospel, that also is part of you conforming to your own moral expectations of yourself, I am saying that people who are ignorant to your sensibilities should not be depressing you, incurring a sense of guilt or failure in you. They should not be incurring your wrath, the very purpose of your moral stance is out of some display of love, all that purpose is defeated by a submission to contention.
You are responsible for your behavior, not the behavior of others.
“Your dietary choices can be based on whatever helps you sleep at night but don’t think it is rational. In a truly rational world, morality would be valued over pleasure.”
Anything you do should be done for what helps you sleep at night, that diet is not one of those issues for most people is a good thing, we have enough things to keep us from sleeping at night. It is not rational to over do your guilt trips.
Morality is a responsibility we have in life but pleasure is what we live for, pleasure without a moral guideline is pure hedonism and chaos but a life of morality without pleasure is a wasted life.
“Regular consumption of red meat significantly increases the risk of heart disease and cancer, so speaking of health, I would suggest cutting it out all together.”
The indulgence of red meat is found to be very pleasurable by many people but I agree that they increases those risk factors. Life is not as simple as cutting out all the things that are, or may be, unhealthy for you. People want to live long lives but they do not want to live a long life if it means they have to throw out too many of the things that they enjoy, the things that make life worthwhile.
Small occasional servings can become a treat, a sometimes food, a delicacy, and when regulated properly the health effects become negligible.
To quote one of many strange things you have said
‘They do not consider living to be desirable, they simply live because they are alive ‘
How you know things about who and what animals are and exactly how they think, don’t think, understand things/don’t understand and feel/don’t feel things that is above and beyond anything science or anyone else is aware of is completely amazing.
‘People enjoy eating meat and do not see it as a moral issue’
In my experience a very large amount of people DO see eating meat as a moral issue. One which they actually try to avoid thinking about. I’ve lost count of the amount of people, ‘animal lovers’ who have actually expressed a desire not to know anything about what happens to the animal while it’s alive because they enjoy meat.
@savmot, How animals don’t think is a matter of simple observation, they react emotionally or out of need. They do not display an understanding of concepts, with the exception of a small few on the most rudimentary levels. They can display a rudimentary understanding of causation, to do something will lead to something, but they do not understand how, just that it does.
I should say that people do not see eating as a moral issue, most people understand that animals died for their meat, you think they over-ride compassion because they enjoy it so much, I don’t. Morality is subjective, the morality of others cannot be rationalized, you can only rationalize your own morality.
Morality is a concept, before humans were capable of conceptual understanding they ate meat, that makes eating meat less a moral issue and more a natural phenomena, as I said before; Nature does not ask for justification, it is not until we humans discovered our subjective concept of morality that we started questioning nature, in essence our morality is questioning nature, nature is not questioning our morality.
I think that may be the confusion with this issue.
@trek79, ‘How animals don’t think is a matter of simple observation, they react emotionally or out of need. They do not display an understanding of concepts, with the exception of a small few on the most rudimentary levels’
But how can you possibly state that when scientific and psychological research has barely even begun and already we are seeing that animals can remember and react accordingly, plan, understand concepts such as fairness, ‘paying back favours’, mourn over deaths, understand language, have knowledge of shapes, colours and names of objects… and this is just the tip of a very large and very unexplored iceberg.
Again all this talk of awareness yet the rational question to be asked here, ‘is not can they reason, nor can they talk, but can they suffer?’ Dietary choices justified on the basis of animals having a lower level of awareness than you is not adequate justification. Otherwise, we would be eating human babies and the mentally retarded.
“Enjoying life is one big thing we all deserve, we shouldn’t rob others of it”
Yes, all life deserves enjoyment and to be free of a life of suffering. When Jesus and Buddha and all the other spiritual leaders of the past said ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ they were not being speciesist.
From a moral relativist point of view I have no right to tell you what to do, that is your choice, however I am well within my rights to express my opinion.
“Morality is a responsibility we have in life but pleasure is what we live for, pleasure without a moral guideline is pure hedonism and chaos but a life of morality without pleasure is a wasted life.”
Morality is subjective. Obviously what you deem to be moral is not so for me, so where is the line drawn? Again, I think it comes back to the original question of can they suffer? If you think it should be based on awareness, then by all means continue with that as the basis for your moral guideline, no one is going to stop you from enjoying pig flesh and hen periods.
@savmot, Don’t over reach your case, the animals you are talking about are generally not on the menu, the most intelligent animal we eat is pig and most of the worlds population has been banned from eating it.
@nakedape, I am basing it on nature, not on morality. Read my other posts because I have addressed what you have asked already.
I have said before, suffering is related to fear not pain, pain triggers fear but so does a vast range of other things. In nature animals experience fear far more often than an animal that feels safe in the pasture on a ranch. Technically farmed animals suffer much less than your average animal in the wild.
You said it, morality is subjective, as I said: You cannot rationalize the morality of others you can only rationalize your own morality. Where is the line? There is no line, morality is an artificial concept that we have been conditioned by culture and ourselves to take notice of. If morality were an absolute there would be a line, but it is not an absolute, that is what subjective means.
First of all, I understand what you are saying about morality and the subjectivity of drawing the line etc.. However I’m not asking about society.. I’m asking about you. Where do YOU draw the line? And what is your basis for where you draw the line?
“I am basing it on nature, not on morality.”
What exactly are you basing on nature? And assuming you mean your moral justification for your dietary choices, please define what you mean by ‘nature’.
If you mean ‘nature’ as in human nature, sure.. it’s in our nature to eat animals, murder, fear change, desire pleasure, want to dominate, steal, want to fit in, etc.. However it is also within our nature to empathise with others, show compassion, kindness, courage, respect and love.
Our nature is also a by product of our environment. If you were born into Nazi Germany, I’m sure you’d likely grow up hating Jews. The nature of an individual is not set in stone, you always have a choice, even if you have been brainwashed from day dot to eat meat from all sides of society. It takes someone with a lot of courage to follow their conscience and go against the crowd.
@nakedape, Personally I am not a fan of red meat, I don’t find it any more pleasurable to eat than anything else, so I base it on health, but I also believe it is ungrateful of me to reject food that is granted to me.
I remember a story in the Bible; Jewish people did not eat fowl but a Greek gentile family offered them a meal of fowl, Peter took exception and refused to eat but Paul said (paraphrased) “God has offered you this meal, are you saying that his creation is not good enough for you?”
So I find it inappropriate to reject food that is placed before me, and that is not because of God but because it is an insult to people who do not have such a luxury.
Another thing is I accept that people do not have the same factors of insight I have, not saying I have more just different, and although I offer my brand of logic where I can, where it is accepted, I do not judge others by my standards, I can’t judge them by any standards, my standards are only relevant to me.
What I mean by nature is exactly as I said earlier “Morality is a concept, before humans were capable of conceptual understanding they ate meat, that makes eating meat less a moral issue and more a natural phenomena, as I said before; Nature does not ask for justification, it is not until we humans discovered our subjective concept of morality that we started questioning nature, in essence our morality is questioning nature, nature is not questioning our morality.”
But you are right that humans are of a unique level of awareness, we are capable of over-riding our natural fears and desires to rationally assess situations and find the most appropriate application of our deeds with the goal of finding a reasonably objective optimal benefit.
In this case, there is no real measure to clearly define what is more important; the enjoyment people attain from eating meat or a moral or empathetic consideration for animals. I have pointed out that there are many variables involved in this discussion that offset other conclusions that have been drawn, I have decided it comes down to each our own personal comfort with each our own personal choices.
Well if you are mainly eating animal foods for health you should know that a vegan diet is much healthier (if done correctly)..
Here’s a video which gives a break down on the main things to consider –
“there is no real measure to clearly define what is more important; the enjoyment people attain from eating meat or a moral or empathetic consideration for animals.”
Pleasure vs Morality.. I choose morality.
@nakedape, No, I meant to say I am not a big fan of red meat because it is so unhealthy, but thanks :) I do like the range of non-mammal meat tho, in my Aboriginal culture we eat things like insects and reptiles. There is a witchetty grub, you can cook them but I have tried one live. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witchetty_grub
I once had a girlfriend who was vegetarian except for eating fish. She believed that fish couldn’t feel pain… So similar logic there.
Every human system of philosophy has its shortcomings because it doesn’t entirely mesh with the complexity of the real world. That being said, animal cruelty in factory farming is a fact, and choosing a lifestyle that doesn’t support this is a laudable one.
I once met a guy who told me he was a “seventh level vegan” – he wouldn’t eat anything that cast a shadow.