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Atomik
27-02--2006, 11:32 PM
Veggies often feel that we shouldn't push our views on others. We often feel that our lifestyle and diet is our own moral choice, and we shouldn't expect others to agree with us. This is all very reasonable and considerate of us, but really, is it right? Would abolitionists have argued that slavery was the personal moral choice of the slaver, or would they have fought tooth and claw at every opportunity to make their views heard? So what's the difference? Do we feel that because it's 'only' animals being tortured and abused that somehow they don't deserve us to fight with the same passion on their behalf?

I'm really only pondering here, as I don't know what I personally believe. When I was younger, I was into activism and shouted very loudly. Now, I just get on with my life and keep my views to myself unless asked. But I still wonder if that's the right decision.

Just to complicate things further, we also have to ask what's most productive. Even if we're morally justified in shoving our opinions down the throats of others, is that the best way to persuade them of our case? Will it just push them the other way? Again, I'm kinda on the fence. I've known meat-eaters who've been extremely rigid in their views when challenged, and it seemed that pushing an opinion on them was counterproductive. But after much resistance, one day they'd finally crack and go veggie. I've seen that a few times now. But with others, I think you'd just get their backs up. So maybe it's situational? Maybe each person needs to be approached differently? Or do we even see it as our job to convert others to our view? Just how passionately do we really feel?

Milo
27-02--2006, 11:53 PM
* I just get on with my life and keep my views to myself unless asked. But I still wonder if that's the right decision.

Ha-ha, you old git! Do you know why you changed to inactivism?

* Or do we even see it as our job to convert others to our view?

For me it's certainly not a big part of my "job", but I refuse to be shy about it.

* Just how passionately do we really feel?

If you think of all the fear and pain felt by all the animals in the world (including of course the 850 million animals in the UK and 27 billion in the US) which are unnecessarily badly treated and then unnecessarily killed every year then that, I suggest, would probably be enough fear to convert into your own "passion".

Tortrix
27-02--2006, 11:59 PM
If I was allways brought up with not eating meat them im sure I never would have wanted to eat it. Here in the west there definatley needs to be...not so much pushing as awareness. With alot of people as long as there is a meal on their plate they don't care where it came from (Life can be a bit of a battle for all manner of creatures and some SMEG decided good things should be more expencive). But I think if taken about the right way there could be so many more vegies, or free rangers at least.

As far as all men...People such as those in tribal africa and such still live as such a basic level and such a harsh enviroment that without meat they simply wouldn't last.

jenni
28-02--2006, 12:29 AM
it's never right to be silent when you know something is wrong. in two hundred years folks may look back at the meat industry in its most unnecessary with the same abhoration with which we currently view the slave trade (not that it's stopped completely unfortunately).

people who will not even appreciate that you have a genuine conviction will one day be looked back on as close-minded. folk can be unreasonable in their logic regarding long standing traditions of a culture, but it is up to people who have the good-fortune and freedom of thought to see through it all to encourage others to do the same. opening someone's mind up to another point of view can have very positive ramifications in other areas of life as well.

so yeah, i reckon its wrong not to say what you believe on this issue as with many others. you still have to be sure not to insult anyone as a person as it is just a particular aspect of their lifestyle that you find wrong. i'll inform people where i dont think they are informed and if they are informed and still carry on and have no medical reason to, and after i've exhausted all non ironically violent methods of persuasion i just have to hope that the message that i've given them stays around for a bit.

hmmm....or words to that effect :)

Anusha
28-02--2006, 09:02 AM
My views on this are probably as passionate as they are about being a lifelong veggie...yes of course we talk to meat eaters about our views and why we feel so passionate about animal abuse. But just where do you draw the line? just how far can you go in disrupting someones right to personal space? I have recently converted a good friend to vegetarianism...at first he was adamant that he couldnt live without meat... but a few good meals and to the point conversations over those meals and over the course of just a few months...and a few stomach problems to start with he is now totaly vegetarian and considering becoming vegan... no ram it down your throat attitude or vegan police attitude... just a caring considerate approach..i never insulted or became pushy or even made any throw away sarcastic remarks... just polite education..

now if in my life that is the only time i sussessfully convert someone then thats ok with me...because in turn in his life he will hopefully do the same and so a gradual increase in awareness grows...

a few years ago it was considered cranky to be a vegetarian...not so now... in general we have a lot of respect from meat eaters..and our numbers are growing significantly.. you just have to look around your local supermarket to see the growing space allocated to veggie food to know that its on the increase. its easier than ever for a meat eater to make that first step... but that wont happen where you have vegan police..that attitude just gets backs up..including mine and i have never eaten meat.

Right or wrong moraly, people have a legal right to choose what they eat... and please no one take that out of context.. I'm an occasional smoker and i know that its killing me and the people around me..i know its wrong, and i hate that i do it...but when a non smoker starts shouting all the things that i already know i get defensive and dig my heels in...

ultimately more and more people will convert...meanwhile i believe we should'nt force our opinions on others... no one learns anything that way. I refuse to be called uncaring because i dont insult meat eaters or send them hatemail or plant bombs under their cars.... slowly slowly catchy monkey...i think the saying goes...

and my opinion on this is firmly rooted in the belief that i have no right to enforce my opinion on others... change will come more efectivly with consideration and education. and far from agreeing with anyone who feels that the way to get their point across is to insult..it would anger me enough to jump to the defence of the meat eater... not because i agree with the slaughter of any animal...but because that person has the right to choose and pushing your opinion on someone is arrogant and just doesnt get results.

Milo
01-03--2006, 12:48 AM
* i have no right to enforce my opinion on others...

I doubt it's possible to enforce an opinion, is it.

* change will come more efectivly with consideration and education.

Consideration of what? How? Education by whom? Seen much sign of it?

* that person has the right to choose

And the animals have a right to live?

* and pushing your opinion on someone is arrogant

Correct, I'm certain.

* and just doesnt get results.

Unlikely to be the right ones - agreed.

Anusha
01-03--2006, 03:10 AM
are we agreeing on some things Milo?..great to see as we are both on the same side of the fence...

Question for you though... i believe as strongly as you do that any animal has the right to life.... so how do you deal with friends that are meat eaters?...assuming that is that you dont approach random strangers on a night out at a meat providing resteraunt?

Atomik
01-03--2006, 09:52 AM
and my opinion on this is firmly rooted in the belief that i have no right to enforce my opinion on others... Again, I'm just pondering here. But why don't we have the right to force our opinion on others? If you were living in a society that allowed slavery, how would you feel about people liberating slaves? Would you say they were forcing their opinion on others? Are we saying that animals are so unimportant that it's OK for us to sit back and let people make their own minds up while animals suffer?

PeacePiper
01-03--2006, 08:23 PM
If we lived in a society that allowed slavery. How would you go about disagreeing with a slave owner? In the days when it was acceptable it may have been just as hard as it is nowadays to confront a meat eater. From what I know it changed from -
change will come more efectivly with consideration and education.

Flibbertigibbet
01-03--2006, 09:56 PM
I like to think I live a peaceful life and let others do as they want as it is their choice. I also think animals do not have the same voice as "others" and in my time have been called the "vegan police" on many occasions.......I do respect others people in what and how they decide to live their life but there is a certain part of me that cant stop my spouting........will I ever be at peace with myself or do i need a slap on the head with a mallet?

Atomik
02-03--2006, 12:18 AM
If we lived in a society that allowed slavery. How would you go about disagreeing with a slave owner? In the days when it was acceptable it may have been just as hard as it is nowadays to confront a meat eater. From what I know it changed from -I agree. But I wonder about the validity of arguing that "we shouldn't force our views on others". Expediency is a different issue.

Milo
02-03--2006, 02:41 AM
are we agreeing on some things Milo?..great to see as we are both on the same side of the fence...
Question for you though... i believe as strongly as you do that any animal has the right to life.... so how do you deal with friends that are meat eaters?

Ah, shit, I suppose that one day I was just bound to agree with someone.:D

I don't have a set answer for your question though, but I realise now you're asking that

I pretty well subconsciously weigh up the audience based on what I think is likely to be their susceptibility to what I'm about to say, and in a group situation

I wait for a suitable gap in the chat and

sort-of thoughtfully

with a sad-ish look on my face, :D, no, really,

I drop in, quite quietly, some big point about animal welfare.

If I've already sensed no possible susceptibility, or no appropriate opportunity, I don't bother. But on some other occasion in the same company I might well bother.

On a night out, I'll say loudly, "There's no fucking way I'm going into Walkabout, those fuckers sell kangaroo meat!".

Or I might go in, but buy nothing and say..., well, shout, "I hate this fucking place", list about three reasons why, then add, "AND they sell fucking kangaroo meat!".

Quite often in a one to one, or similar situation, somebody will ask why it is that I don't eat meat and I'll explain, with the sad face, that not only do I not eat meat but that my diet is almost vegan because the dairy industry is really no less beastly (there's an inappropriate word), than the meat industry.

Having been of the no-meat persuasion for such a very long time and having spent so many hours e-debating the topic I find that I have an enormous advantage over any opponent and am never, ever at a loss for an answer.

But the simple answer is based on the fact that no-one, except the most shameful pervert, agrees with avoidable cruelty to animals. However well cared for an animal might be, its totally avoidable death in order to unnecessarily provide food is cruel.

Anusha
02-03--2006, 09:11 AM
then Milo accept for the shouting in restaraunts we have pretty similar ways of dealing with meat eaters...yesterday i walked into my bosses office and he hurriedly hid a half eaten sandwich...before it had even registered what he'd done he said..'oh great...now i wont be able to finish that' ...amused by his reaction i asked why... and he said that even at home if the conversation turns to work and me he's put off his food.. knowing how against animal cruelty i am..and after many an office conversation on the ethics of meat eating he automaticaly imagines the horrific death of the animal that is on his plate and loses his appetite... now hes not about to convert...but it shows he has a concience...so maybe oneday....you never know.. what i have never done is insult his views...just quiet education...giving him the knowledge to make an informed choice. it was a lighthearted conversation on a very grave issue...but it had more of an impact than getting his back up... and it also started a conversation with his new secretary...who is also a meat eater...and so the education continues and you have another willing listener... she now wants me to give her some tasty nutritional veggie recipies...

so my point all along has been this...you dont have to stand on your soapbox and scream murderer.... on the contrary, people are so much more receptive if you approach the subject with some thought...

i know that everything surrounding the meat industry is abhorrant, unnaceptable on any level and inhumane... and its often hard to contain ones passion on the subject...but you have to go with what achieves the best results..and in my experience that doesnt include embarrasing or insulting a meat eater..

Atomik
02-03--2006, 10:18 AM
so my point all along has been this...you dont have to stand on your soapbox and scream murderer.... on the contrary, people are so much more receptive if you approach the subject with some thought...Generally speaking, I agree with you. But on those occasions where it might be more productive to shout, should we feel that it's not our right to force our opinion on others, or should we feel that the abuse of animals actually obligates us to force our opinions on others?

Milo
03-03--2006, 01:36 AM
then Milo accept for the shouting in restaraunts we have pretty similar ways of dealing with meat eaters...

I don't shout in restaurants!

Walkabout (http://www.walkabout.eu.com/010venues.html) is an Australian-themed (Australian-owned?) beer shed where dull music is played very loudly.

Milo
03-03--2006, 01:39 AM
should we feel that the abuse of animals actually obligates us to force our opinions on others?

Y-e-e-e-e-e-sssss!

IMO.

Anusha
03-03--2006, 10:15 AM
or should we feel that the abuse of animals actually obligates us to force our opinions on others?

If i thought it would bring results then yes...but in my experience it doesnt...so i would have to answer no...

Public protests highlight the issues surrounding the meat industry and raises awareness...so i think there should be more of these.. attacking an individual has less impact and possibly has the opposite effect to the one you intended to achieve...

Atomik
03-03--2006, 10:17 AM
That's pretty much my position, I think. I believe shouting is OK in principle, but in practice it doesn't achieve very much. From a practical perspective of achieving results, I agree that the subtle approach is far better (with a few exceptions).

damntheirlies
29-05--2006, 11:44 PM
Veggies often feel that we shouldn't push our views on others. We often feel that our lifestyle and diet is our own moral choice, and we shouldn't expect others to agree with us. This is all very reasonable and considerate of us, but really, is it right? Would abolitionists have argued that slavery was the personal moral choice of the slaver, or would they have fought tooth and claw at every opportunity to make their views heard?

Your comparison here says it all. The point is vegetarianism is not a lifestyle choice, it is an objective ethical law (even if you don't believe ethics is objective as you're currently arguing in the 'morality' post, at the very least, in my 'vegetarian ethics' post, I've shown that if you do hold the principle that 'it's wrong to cause unneccessary suffering' then in order to be consistent, you must also hold that we're morally obligated to be vegetarian). In this says, we are not only at liberty to, but have an ethical duty to attempt to forward vegetarianism, in as much a way as we have an ethical duty to attempt to end slavery, and prevent murder.


So what's the difference? Do we feel that because it's 'only' animals being tortured and abused that somehow they don't deserve us to fight with the same passion on their behalf?

If we were to claim this, then we would be begging the question as it is the equality of rights with animals (again see my 'vegetarian ethics' post) that justifies our being vegetarian. If someone were to argue that 'they're just animals' then they would be presupposing that we agree with the irrational view that animals are less entitled to rights, when it is the rational view to the contrary that has justified our being vegetarian in the first place.



To sum up, the important distinction to make is that animal rights is an ethical issue, not a lifestyle choice. Therefore, if we're under obligation to promote ethics at all (anti-slavery, anti-theft etc.), then we are under the same obligation when it comes to animal rights. We are not being bigoted, trying to force our 'personal views' down anyone's throat - unlike with christians for example, who's beliefs are not based on reason (if anything viable) - rather we are making a rational claim with regard to ethics.

Milo
30-05--2006, 12:11 AM
To sum up, the important distinction to make is that animal rights is an ethical issue, not a lifestyle choice. Therefore, if we're under obligation to promote ethics at all (anti-slavery, anti-theft etc.), then we are under the same obligation when it comes to animal rights.
I'm not being picky for the sake of it, but it'd surely be allright to say that animal rights is an "ethical lifestyle choice"?

Can we deduce that every person of reasonable intelligence who is neither veggie nor vegan (but who lives in those relatively few parts of the world where meat-eating is not essential for their survival) has made an unethical lifestyle choice?

As for promoting ethics, are we up against the high proportion of people who, unless it effects them directly, don't really give a shit about slavery, theft or anything much else?

damntheirlies
30-05--2006, 12:23 AM
I'm not being picky for the sake of it, but it'd surely be allright to say that animal rights is an "ethical lifestyle choice"?

Can we deduce that every person of reasonable intelligence who is neither veggie nor vegan (but who lives in those relatively few parts of the world where meat-eating is not essential for their survival) has made an unethical lifestyle choice?

Well actually, yes we can. They may not have actively made a decision to act immorally, but as I showed in my 'vegetarian ethics' post, they are being inconsistent - and this equates to being unethical. Since ethics are universal, and animal rights are an ethical issue, it is not an "ethical lifestyle choice", but an "ethical law" (I'm not really sure how a subjective lifestyle choice could be called ethical anyway).

NB. I'm not sure there are that many places where vegetarianism is impossible - there are civilisations that have easily encompassed vegetarianism dating back thousands of years.


As for promoting ethics, are we up against the high proportion of people who, unless it effects them directly, don't really give a shit about slavery, theft or anything much else?

Yes unfortunately we are, I know the vast majority of people we come up against don't give a toss about ethics or living morally, but this is no reason why those who do care (namely us) should be silenced.
During the anti-racism days of the late 19th / early 20th century, there was plenty of apathy, but we are all very grateful that those who did care persisted.

Atomik
30-05--2006, 08:26 AM
I've shown that if you do hold the principle that 'it's wrong to cause unneccessary suffering' then in order to be consistent, you must also hold that we're morally obligated to be vegetarianIf you're taking such a position of absolutes though, wouldn't it also follow that in order to be consistent, one would need to be vegan (at the very least)? Isn't the nature of ethics inconsistency due to the limitations under which we struggle? The world makes it all but impossible to take an ethical lifestyle to its logical conclusion, surely?

damntheirlies
30-05--2006, 11:35 AM
If the animals suffer in any way when it comes to milk production or egg laying, then yes we would have to be vegan to be consistent.

I'm not certain this is the case, as I have had mixed reports on the milking process (so long as you buy organic milk), as a cow is fully able to support her baby and a number of other people (the trouble occurs when they're hideously over-exploited as in factories).

I can't really see what's wrong with eating free range eggs, so long as the chickens don't suffer - but if someone is aware of the argument against eating them, I'd be happy to hear it.


However, I don't think exploiting animals in a way that doesn't cause them physical or psychological suffering would be an inconsistency with the arguments I set out in 'Vegetarian Ethics'.

Atomik
30-05--2006, 11:49 AM
If the animals suffer in any way when it comes to milk production or egg laying, then yes we would have to be vegan to be consistent.

I'm not certain this is the case, as I have had mixed reports on the milking process (so long as you buy organic milk), as a cow is fully able to support her baby and a number of other people (the trouble occurs when they're hideously over-exploited as in factories).Well just for starters, male calves have to be disposed of as they're surplus to requirements. So there's little difference there between directly taking a life to eat the corpse and allowing a life to be taken to produce milk.


I can't really see what's wrong with eating free range eggs, so long as the chickens don't suffer - but if someone is aware of the argument against eating them, I'd be happy to hear it.Again, male chicks are generally killed as soon as they hatch.


However, I don't think exploiting animals in a way that doesn't cause them physical or psychological suffering would be an inconsistency with the arguments I set out in 'Vegetarian Ethics'.I agree. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if this is possible as far as food production is concerned.

What about other industries or activities that bring harm to animals? It's pretty much unavoidable in industrialised societies. Doesn't that make us fundamentally inconsistent in the application of our ethics? I drive a car despite knowing there's a good chance I'll hit an animal at some point. I've already killed three. Isn't it ethically inconsistent to put my own convenience above the lives of other species?

This is why I believe that an ethical lifestyle is a journey rather than a destination. We can struggle to do whatever we're able at any given point, but we can never expect to be perfect. The best we can do is to keep moving forwards.

damntheirlies
30-05--2006, 12:18 PM
Well just for starters, male calves have to be disposed of as they're surplus to requirements. So there's little difference there between directly taking a life to eat the corpse and allowing a life to be taken to produce milk.

Well yes, I've heard of this. I'm not certain it always has to be the case though. A cow is able to sustain her baby, and a number of humans as I said. The practice you've mentioned only comes into play due to the colossal demand for milk in today's greedy climate.
You are quite right though, if it is not possible for you to acquire milk in a way that hasn't led to the death of a calf, then it seems you must not use milk in order to be consistent.


Again, male chicks are generally killed as soon as they hatch.

If female hens are kept alone, unable to mate, there never will be any chicks. Again, it is only when we intensively farm these animals that what people consider the surplus are brutally swept aside. On a small scale, this would not be necessary - only if you're aiming to maximise economic output. This issue doesn't arise though if you keep your own chickens, and don't allow them access to males at all (so they won't reproduce).


What about other industries or activities that bring harm to animals? It's pretty much unavoidable in industrialised societies. Doesn't that make us fundamentally inconsistent in the application of our ethics?

I'm not sure which industries you mean. Leather, or animal entertainment are not necessary. If you mean that industries inadvertently harm animals, please see my response below.


I drive a car despite knowing there's a good chance I'll hit an animal at some point. I've already killed three. Isn't it ethically inconsistent to put my own convenience above the lives of other species?

Well, as long as you are taking every precaution not to hit an animal, it doesn't seem you are being ethically inconsistent. After all, you could just as easily hit a thoughtless child or you may even hit an adult human. You are putting many beings at risk when you get behind the wheel, but as long as you take as much care as possible, and don't kill or harm on purpose then I don't see why this would be ethically inconsistent. Someone isn't a thief if an item accidentally drops into their handbag in a shop, just as someone isn't a murderer if they run someone over so long as they take every precaution.

It reminds me of something in Buddhism (I'm not Buddhist, but it makes a lot of sense). Buddhism says not to cause harm to any animal, but concedes that sometimes you can do so completely accidentally. Consider ants that are so easily killed that we sometimes do so despite our best efforts.
All we can ever do is to try our best to stick to these ethical laws, and as long as we are doing so, we can't be called inconsistent if we inadvertently break one.

It's worth noting however that doing your best may include taking public transport instead of driving your car when possible.


This is why I believe that an ethical lifestyle is a journey rather than a destination. We can struggle to do whatever we're able at any given point, but we can never expect to be perfect. The best we can do is to keep moving forwards.

This may well be the case. It's unlikely that anyone ever acts 100% consistently. However, this does not mean that we should not take 100% consistency as our aim. Simply because we know that we may only succeed 95% of the time doesn't mean that we should aim only to succeed 95% of the time. Even if we can't win (although there's no logical reason why we can't), we should still aim to do so - as doing that will ensure we do the best we can.

Atomik
30-05--2006, 12:37 PM
Well yes, I've heard of this. I'm not certain it always has to be the case though. A cow is able to sustain her baby, and a number of humans as I said. The practice you've mentioned only comes into play due to the colossal demand for milk in today's greedy climate.Well yes, in an ideal world, would be possible for a cow to provide milk to both. But that still leaves you with the problem of what to do with all the male calves - and what to do with cows that are past their best milk-yield. It's pretty much academic though, as the dairy industry as it stands is extremely exploitative.


If female hens are kept alone, unable to mate, there never will be any chicks. Again, it is only when we intensively farm these animals that what people consider the surplus are brutally swept aside. On a small scale, this would not be necessary - only if you're aiming to maximise economic output. This issue doesn't arise though if you keep your own chickens, and don't allow them access to males at all (so they won't reproduce).That's impossible in a genuinely free-range environment. In fact, it's impossible in any environment. If the males are kept together, they rip each other to shreds. I used to keep about 20 chickens when I was younger, and they had a good amount of space to roam. Even within that space, keeping two cockerels posed problems. If I wanted more chickes, I couldn't have bred them, as I'd have had to kill the males. So I avoided responsibility by buying hens off a third party. :(


I'm not sure which industries you mean. Leather, or animal entertainment are not necessary. If you mean that industries inadvertently harm animals, please see my response below.It depends how you define 'inadvertent'. You might consider that modern agriculture kills animals 'inadvertently', but you could equally argue that the chance of killing animals is so high that it's essentially deliberate.


Well, as long as you are taking every precaution not to hit an animal, it doesn't seem you are being ethically inconsistent. After all, you could just as easily hit a thoughtless child or you may even hit an adult human. You are putting many beings at risk when you get behind the wheel, but as long as you take as much care as possible, and don't kill or harm on purpose then I don't see why this would be ethically inconsistent.This is where you enter the grey area of ethics. What degree of suffering can we reasonably risk causing in pursuit of our own interests? And how important to us must those interests be in order for us to take a particular risk? How do you quantify such a formula? The only meaningful answer that I can see is that we should take all 'reasonable' steps to reduce the chance of us causing suffering..... but what constitutes 'reasonable' will always be subjective.


All we can ever do is to try our best to stick to these ethical laws, and as long as we are doing so, we can't be called inconsistent if we inadvertently break one.But your 'best' is subjective, isn't it? Your personal 'best' might involve, as you suggest, using public transport as much as possible. Another person's 'best' might involve pursuing a lifestyle that didn't require the use of any motorised transport. Is one of these approaches inconcistent, or neither? If neither, then doesn't that leave us with a subjective interpretation of what's ethically acceptable?


This may well be the case. It's unlikely that anyone ever acts 100% consistently. However, this does not mean that we should not take 100% consistency as our aim. Simply because we know that we may only succeed 95% of the time doesn't mean that we should aim only to succeed 95% of the time. Even if we can't win (although there's no logical reason why we can't), we should still aim to do so - as doing that will ensure we do the best we can.Totally agree. :thumbup: *

*(apart from the bit in bold!)

damntheirlies
30-05--2006, 01:17 PM
This is where you enter the grey area of ethics. What degree of suffering can we reasonably risk causing in pursuit of our own interests? And how important to us must those interests be in order for us to take a particular risk? How do you quantify such a formula? The only meaningful answer that I can see is that we should take all 'reasonable' steps to reduce the chance of us causing suffering..... but what constitutes 'reasonable' will always be subjective.

I suppose it would have to be a rule utilitarian approach (that is measuring up which rule would lead to the greater happiness etc. I think I explained this in the 'Morality' thread)


But your 'best' is subjective, isn't it? Your personal 'best' might involve, as you suggest, using public transport as much as possible. Another person's 'best' might involve pursuing a lifestyle that didn't require the use of any motorised transport. Is one of these approaches inconcistent, or neither? If neither, then doesn't that leave us with a subjective interpretation of what's ethically acceptable?

I'm not sure I agree that 'best' is subjective in the way you're implying. Although the 'best' a fully fit person is able to do in a race is far greater than a disabled wheel chair user's 'best' would be - the best when it comes to making an effort to live ethically doesn't seem to necessarily be subjective. I don't see why someone's utmost would be only to apply ethics to a certain degree. What is it that makes them limited? It seems only to be 'bad-faith' (as in Satre).


Totally agree. :thumbup: *

*(apart from the bit in bold!)

What I meant when I said that it's not logically impossible is that there is no logical contradiction in supposing it were so. A logical contradiction is something like 'P and not P', or 'The parts are greater than the whole', or '2+2=5'. A world where everyone lives 100% ethically does not lead to a logical contradiction, thus it's logically possible (and I'd bet practically possible too, if everyone were in it together - it'd be a lot easier to be vegan if the industries specialised in catering to vegans).

Atomik
30-05--2006, 01:38 PM
I suppose it would have to be a rule utilitarian approach (that is measuring up which rule would lead to the greater happiness etc. I think I explained this in the 'Morality' thread)Where would that leave you with regards to something like animal experimentation, I wonder (assuming for a moment that it could be demonstrated to be scientifically productive)? Would the greater good justify the suffering of the few?


I'm not sure I agree that 'best' is subjective in the way you're implying. Although the 'best' a fully fit person is able to do in a race is far greater than a disabled wheel chair user's 'best' would be - the best when it comes to making an effort to live ethically doesn't seem to necessarily be subjective. I don't see why someone's utmost would be only to apply ethics to a certain degree. What is it that makes them limited? It seems only to be 'bad-faith' (as in Satre).We're all products of our environment, biology, nurture, experiences etc etc. Therefore our ability to be our 'best' in any particular area will be potentially reduced or enhanced by the sum of these factors. Thus one person's 'best' will not be another person's 'best'. In the strictest theoretical sense, I suppose you could argue that these factors could be measured. But in practice, it would be impossible. To all intents and purposes, it's therefore subjective.


What I meant when I said that it's not logically impossible is that there is no logical contradiction in supposing it were so. A logical contradiction is something like 'P and not P', or 'The parts are greater than the whole', or '2+2=5'. A world where everyone lives 100% ethically does not lead to a logical contradiction, thus it's logically possible (and I'd bet practically possible too, if everyone were in it together - it'd be a lot easier to be vegan if the industries specialised in catering to vegans).Gotcha. :thumbup:

damntheirlies
30-05--2006, 01:46 PM
Where would that leave you with regards to something like animal experimentation, I wonder (assuming for a moment that it could be demonstrated to be scientifically productive)? Would the greater good justify the suffering of the few?

Well, I'd bet it would leave us with a ban on it (utilitarianism considers the short term benefits before the long), considering the extent of suffering that the animals would endure. However, if it turned out the benefits of it would outweigh the suffering, then the ethical thing may well be to use it - however, it would also be perfectly ethical to test on the mentally ill or children, if it were ethical to test on animals (for this in far more detail, Peter Singer has spoken extensively on the subject)


We're all products of our environment, biology, nurture, experiences etc etc. Therefore our ability to be our 'best' in any particular area will be potentially reduced or enhanced by the sum of these factors. Thus one person's 'best' will not be another person's 'best'. In the strictest theoretical sense, I suppose you could argue that these factors could be measured. But in practice, it would be impossible. To all intents and purposes, it's therefore subjective.

If a person's 'best' is hindered by nature in a way that makes it physically impossible for them to do any better (like with the wheelchair example I gave in the last post), then there is nothing ethically wrong with their only reaching this extent. However, if they don't live fully ethically because of something like the pressure their parents put on them, or the country, or their own laziness or something like this, then they are not doing their 'best' - rather they are living in 'bad faith' (holding something that they are free to change up as an unchangeable thing). If your point is simply that people's best ability varies due to their physical or mental limitations, then I agree, however this is not really the point.

Atomik
30-05--2006, 01:54 PM
...however, it would also be perfectly ethical to test on the mentally ill or children, if it were ethical to test on animals (for this in far more detail, Peter Singer has spoken extensively on the subject)Yes, I remember reading something by Peter Singer on this subject years ago. It's an entirely valid argument, and one that I've often used when debating with people who support medical research.


However, if they don't live fully ethically because of something like the pressure their parents put on them, or the country, or their own laziness or something like this, then they are not doing their 'best' - rather they are living in 'bad faith' (holding something that they are free to change up as an unchangeable thing).I can't answer this without reference to free will! I really think you should start a thread on that! In a purely mechanical universe, can free will really exist? Aren't we just the product of a series of biochemical reactions? And as such, isn't free will just an illusion? Aren't all our decisions predetermined without us realising them? And wouldn't that make any ethical choice predetermined by our biology and life experiences?

Lychgate
31-05--2006, 03:45 AM
I think it'd be easier to ask why you feel bad for espousing a vegetarian / vegan viewpoint?

Atomik
31-05--2006, 09:29 AM
I think it'd be easier to ask why you feel bad for espousing a vegetarian / vegan viewpoint?Huh??

monkey monkey
31-05--2006, 10:13 AM
Though I may be an omni, I still know that I am wrong for doing it - pretty much all of us have weaknesses. With this in mind, I don't think it is wrong for veggies/vegans to inform others about the badness of their food, in fact, on the contrary, I think it's an important thing for them to do.

I don't believe that it is an 'ethical' argument, as it is fact. Much in the same way that some people (including me) have talked about Macdonalds or Tescos or Nestle and how we should not fund them, it is not a viewpoint, but truth.

Though I don't like being 'preached' at for anything, I do like hearing the truth about certain things so that we can make our own choices. Many veggies I know changed their habits after finding out truths about the industry, and many people who eat meat do not know the truth and if they did, I'm pretty sure they would change their diet.

I began thinking that this topic is similar to religion, and trying to convert people to that, but it is not, as religion is based on views and theories and a certain amount of 'Chinese whispers' of stories through the ages, whereas the food industry is right there in front of us. We go home and stroke our cat, then serve up another mammal for dinner.

I believe in my opinions, and my truths, and I will not stop trying to tell these to people either, even if they come under fire.



I support your values but they're not always realistic.

No offence meant, Earth Whirler, just making a point. :)

(in case you're wondering, this was under the 'I hate Tesco's' thread)

And with a bit of luck, if all the veggies continue to get on the case of the omnis, then I'll finally give up meat (which is all free range and organic, in case that makes a difference...)

damntheirlies
31-05--2006, 10:54 AM
Though I may be an omni, I still know that I am wrong for doing it - pretty much all of us have weaknesses. With this in mind, I don't think it is wrong for veggies/vegans to inform others about the badness of their food, in fact, on the contrary, I think it's an important thing for them to do.

This is a brave thing to confess, though it'd be a mistake to hide behind your 'weakness'. This is 'bad-faith' - implying something that is in your control is not in order to avoid full responsibility. As you are clearly of the understanding to see your errors, as many claim not to be, you have a duty to live by reason.


I don't believe that it is an 'ethical' argument, as it is fact. Much in the same way that some people (including me) have talked about Macdonalds or Tescos or Nestle and how we should not fund them, it is not a viewpoint, but truth.

Agreed, although ethics is fact (see 'Morality' thread in the Philosophy forum). If ethics weren't objective, it'd be undebateable, and it's difficult to see how you could qualify the claim that it's factually wrong not to be vegetarian if ethics were not fact.


Though I don't like being 'preached' at for anything, I do like hearing the truth about certain things so that we can make our own choices. Many veggies I know changed their habits after finding out truths about the industry, and many people who eat meat do not know the truth and if they did, I'm pretty sure they would change their diet.

Rather than preaching, reasoning would be a better tool. As you rightly pointed out, it is fact that we should be vegetarian as it is based on objective reason. Thus, it is not difficult to show the inconsistency in somebody's reasoning when it comes to eating animal flesh (see the 'Vegetarian Ethics' thread in the Vegetarian and Vegan forum).


I began thinking that this topic is similar to religion, and trying to convert people to that, but it is not, as religion is based on views and theories and a certain amount of 'Chinese whispers' of stories through the ages, whereas the food industry is right there in front of us. We go home and stroke our cat, then serve up another mammal for dinner.

This is the key error - religion is not based on valid reason. It's not purely based on faith either as whatever the religious person tells you, they have accepted their religion because it makes sense (or appears reasonable) to them - they are of course incorrect.
Conversely, as you have said, vegetarianism (as it falls within ethics) is within objective rationale, and thus the two are poler opposites.


I believe in my opinions, and my truths, and I will not stop trying to tell these to people either, even if they come under fire.

This seems to contradict everything else you've just said. Truth is objective - thus you cannot possess your own truth or the term becomes meaningless. Opinions are presumably viewpoints, which you have already confessed vegetarianism is not (it is an objective ethical truth). It's difficult to see your meaning here in context with everything else you've said.


And with a bit of luck, if all the veggies continue to get on the case of the omnis, then I'll finally give up meat (which is all free range and organic, in case that makes a difference...)

Agreed, as well as getting on the case of anyone who acts unethically.

sixty_monroes
04-06--2006, 08:33 PM
Even if we're morally justified in shoving our opinions down the throats of others, is that the best way to persuade them of our case? Will it just push them the other way? Again, I'm kinda on the fence. I've known meat-eaters who've been extremely rigid in their views when challenged, and it seemed that pushing an opinion on them was counterproductive. But after much resistance, one day they'd finally crack and go veggie. I've seen that a few times now. But with others, I think you'd just get their backs up. So maybe it's situational? Maybe each person needs to be approached differently? Or do we even see it as our job to convert others to our view? Just how passionately do we really feel?

Hi!
I'm not veggie. I've tried to be many times. Due to living with meat eaters who didn't accept my lifestyle easily, I've caved in to pressure and been eating meat for years now. But I'm starting to feel more and more guilty about it.

I think I'm up for becoming veggie, but would love to have support here. Its purely a moral thing for me - I feel I care about animals and I know that my meat eating makes me a hypocrite - which i don't want to be!

I'm sorry if this post is offensive to anyone, as I'm not a veggie yet, but i kinda just need a push and i want you to give me one - does that make any sense?

Thankyou! xxx

Whirler
04-06--2006, 11:02 PM
i kinda just need a push and i want you to give me oneJoin Us.......Join Us......:)

What is it (other than pressure) that keeps you eating meat? Do you have much awareness of how animals are actually farmed? If you really want to do it, only you can - there are plenty of threads for you to explore about morality and all that jazz.

I'd suggest not making too much of a big deal out of it and when you plan your meals, simply remove the meat and add a replacement.

Urghh, I'm not very helpful this evening......I'll come back when I've more constructive things to say!

Sowy :(

Atomik
04-06--2006, 11:11 PM
....and i want you to give me oneI have nothing to contribute but smut and innuendo. :(

damntheirlies
05-06--2006, 01:14 AM
Hi!
I'm not veggie. I've tried to be many times. Due to living with meat eaters who didn't accept my lifestyle easily, I've caved in to pressure and been eating meat for years now. But I'm starting to feel more and more guilty about it.

I think I'm up for becoming veggie, but would love to have support here. Its purely a moral thing for me - I feel I care about animals and I know that my meat eating makes me a hypocrite - which i don't want to be!

I'm sorry if this post is offensive to anyone, as I'm not a veggie yet, but i kinda just need a push and i want you to give me one - does that make any sense?

Thankyou! xxx


You're right to consider this a moral issue, and, like truth, morality is universal and categorical. If it were not, then the very meaning of the word would be lost. Truth can't vary otherwise it means nothing to say something is true, and the same goes for morality.

Now having said that, vegetarianism and animal equality are the more rational positions to hold (I've written about this in detail on the 'Vegetarian Ethics' (http://www.ukhippy.com/forums/showthread.php?t=5125) thread. Considering this, we're under as much moral obligation to hold to this as we are to refrain from murder of human animals, or theft.

This gives the issue the importance it deserves. When people talk about it being a lifestyle choice they really detract from the importance of the case at hand. A lifestyle choice is something like living in a commune - there is nothing ethically obligating you to live this way, nor vice versa - and no one will be harmed whether you live this way or not (aside from perhaps yourself - which is not an area of morality). Vegetarianism and animal rights on the other hand are very different areas. There is an ethical obligation to one option (namely being vegetarian and supporting animal equality), and someone (many millions in fact) will suffer as a consequence of people choosing to disregard the ethical decision.

When we consider being vegetarian in this light, we see it is not an unimportant consideration, but an imperative need which must be fulfilled as soon as possible. Much like slavery in days gone by, the longer we refrain from living ethically, the more will suffer every single day.

Once we see the importance of this issue, it takes the coldest of hearts not to act upon it.

sixty_monroes
05-06--2006, 10:19 AM
I do agree with you. I think its impossible for people nowadays to really not be aware that animals suffer terribly in many cases, but like most of these people I've refrained from delving too deep into this and visiting PETA website etc, for fear of what I might see! I've been the classic meat eater who sees a cute farm animal in the field and then tries to forget that that's what I'll be eating later.

But I can't be such a hypocrite anymore, so today's gonna be my first day of going veggie. I'm going to make myself take a long hard look at the information which I've always known was available so I'm put off for life. I'm looking forward to not feeling guilty anymore and choosing a more ethical lifestyle! :)

Atomik
05-06--2006, 10:23 AM
so today's gonna be my first day of going veggie.:thumbup:

Good luck! It's really a lot easier than you expect. Being veggie can actually broaden your culinary horizons these days. Be sure to ask if you need any help or advice. :D

damntheirlies
05-06--2006, 01:12 PM
I do agree with you. I think its impossible for people nowadays to really not be aware that animals suffer terribly in many cases, but like most of these people I've refrained from delving too deep into this and visiting PETA website etc, for fear of what I might see! I've been the classic meat eater who sees a cute farm animal in the field and then tries to forget that that's what I'll be eating later.

But I can't be such a hypocrite anymore, so today's gonna be my first day of going veggie. I'm going to make myself take a long hard look at the information which I've always known was available so I'm put off for life. I'm looking forward to not feeling guilty anymore and choosing a more ethical lifestyle! :)

I do know what you mean. Despite all the rational arguments etc. the thing that eventually turned me vegetarian was seeing a piglet locked up alone in Greece (where they treat animals even worse than we do here). It's never easy to choose the ethical choice over the one that'll satisfy our immediate urges most - but it's something we must do nonetheless, and it is commendable that you are doing so now.

So well done.

Milo
10-06--2006, 11:24 PM
What degree of suffering can we reasonably risk causing in pursuit of our own interests? And how important to us must those interests be in order for us to take a particular risk? How do you quantify such a formula? The only meaningful answer that I can see is that we should take all 'reasonable' steps to reduce the chance of us causing suffering..... but what constitutes 'reasonable' will always be subjective.
Hm, yeah, no, but...........

"Reasonable" can be defined in law and determined in various circumstances and therefore not be considered to be (entirely) subjective. It can simply be accepted as a legal fact, I think.

Reasonable:

Suitable; just; proper; ordinary; fair; usual.

The term reasonable is a generic and relative one and applies to that which is appropriate for a particular situation.

In the law of negligence, the reasonable person standard is the standard of care that a reasonably prudent person would observe under a given set of circumstances.

In English and US law (and doubtless elsewhere too) there is a "reasonable man test", or a reasonable person test, or a reasonable and prudent person test. Some would say that the reasonable man is fictional, but don't let that deter you. Only by examining the reasonable person can anyone have any hope of agreeing what is reasonable and what is not, (i.e. reasonable as in what the reasonable man would do or think or say and how he might be expected to react). Anything a reasonable man would not do is patently (openly, plainly, or clearly), unreasonable.

It would be wonderful, wouldn't it, if some individual or organistion could prove to a court's satisfaction (after who knows how many appeals), that

killing an animal for food when it is unnecessary to do so and
causing suffering to the animal in the processis therefore the causing of unnecessary suffering is and is therefore cruel. And Brits don't like cruelty to animals, do we?

Show a jury a slaughterhouse video and they should get the idea. If they don't, they could be shown a video of a qualified vet "putting down" an aged family pet which is quite unaware of it's imminent death and is not being caused any unnecessary suffering at all. Perhaps someone could do some research into how much it hurts to be shot in the head too (as in a hunted animal's death).

Well, I'm a reasonable man and it all makes perfect sense to me!

velvet
19-07--2006, 09:11 AM
Hmm.. I used to be very vocal about why I became a vegetarian, to the point where I'm quite sure it wasn't fun to have dinner in the same room with me.. ;) Nowadays my feelings on eating meat have changed (different story) but I can still be very very blunt about where meat comes from.. the thing I dislike most is people who are doing the 'ignorance is bliss' trip. If you want to eat meat, at least know exactly what you have on your plate.

In English it's even a tad bit worse with the names.. like pig = pork, cow = beef ... here the names are pretty consistent with the animals it comes from.

Some things do still bug me though... on of my (former) gamingbuddies is a chef in a local fish restaurant and there are crab and lobster on the menu. He is such a sweet and great guy and he absolutely HATES boiling life animals, he hardly wanted to talk about it.. they made it so expensive that no one has requested it yet this year but.. I dunno.. I could kill an animal I think but I couldn't slowely boil one. I asked him if he could do the same to a kitten and he said no. Strange thing is though that if someone would be boiling kittens he'd probably be arrested for animal cruelty.. yet if someone boils lobsters you can work in a restaurant and get paid for it.

I dunno.. I still really like that guy, he's a great dad, great gamingbuddy.. but yeah.. think that unless I have an alternative for him it's best to avoid the subject of boiling animals..

So.. anyway.. I'm not the 'converting' type anymore.. I'm more the 'you do know where that comes from right? Ok..' type now.. so not really lecturing but just bluntly give information.

Along the years I've managed to 'convert' one person by just sharing my views on the bio-industry and made some people more aware about their habits (they eat less meat and are more inclined to buy free range stuff).

Difficult subject, definately..