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Can of Worms crossover

I don't think it's wrong to eat meat, it's the natural food chain. I've come around to the fact that since we (humans) are so much smarter than most livestock/food stuff animals, agriculture is culturally natural.

How did you reach that conclusion?  "Culturally natural" with respect to what culture?  I kind of don't get it.  That sounds like many of the arguments used to justify slavery in the south.  Just the first thing that came to mind...

shit I just had this all typed out and my battery died. dammit.

I just want to mention that if you didn't understand, you could have just asked me. Don't start a personal attack and compare me to a slave trader. I think dialogue is the key here, not squabble. 

By "culturally natural" I'm referring to the fact that people are so much smarter than livestock animals. Livestock domestication allows for other elements of our culture to occur, like a sedentary lifestyle. I realize that not all cultures are agricultural, but ours is and that's what I'm referring to. Agriculture is also a more dependable way to obtain food. By domesticating foodsources (like plants or animals) you're not as vulnerable to seasonal fluctuations in food availability. Animal fertility is greater and morality lower when the herd is devoid of predators. So therefore, I think it makes sense that people would domesticate and controll things that they need to survive, i.e. foodstuffs like agricultural crops. We're not a hunter gatherer society in North America (not since the genocide of our aboriginals anyways) and if you live in an area like the northern states or Canada, or Europe, or anywhere without consistently abundant foodsources, you need to domesticate life to live a sedentary lifestyle. If you're eating meat, you'd need to domesticate that too. I think it's natural to eat meat because hey, at the end of the day, we're just really freaking smart animals, and animals eat animals. It's the food chain. Being smarter we've found a way to get at our food whenever we need it, and if you've got a little family farm where your cows can move around and your chickens can actually see the light of day, then good for you. It's the factory farming and industrial farming that sucks balls, and my veganism is a reaction to that industry.Nothing should suffer for your mercedes, not a cow, not a twelve year old in a Chinese sweatshop (and no, I don't think that a cow that lives on a family farm is suffering).

That's a far cry from the slave trade. Africans, Europeans and all the lovely people in between share the same brain size to body ratio ( or encephalization). Animals don't share this with people. We have a higher capacity for intelligence by far. A Sudanese kid has the same potential to do a math problem just as well as a Japanese kid, but a cow can't even read. Exploiting people isn't the same as exploiting animals. A lion exploits it's environment for food, we exploit our environment for food. Exploiting people is a completely different topic altogether, because we're the same species. 

1.  Editorial:  Who the f*** starts a "maybe a can of worms but" thread on the Chit Chat board when there is a News & Debate board.  The statement of "maybe a can of worms" means that the original poster KNEW that there was potential for debate.  Dude.  Figure it out.  Four boards.

2. 
I don't think it's wrong to eat meat, it's the natural food chain. I've come around to the fact that since we (humans) are so much smarter than most livestock/food stuff animals, agriculture is culturally natural.

How did you reach that conclusion?

I just want to mention that if you didn't understand, you could have just asked me.

She did ask.  And she made a comparison, not an attack. 

3.  But, since you brought it up - one of the arguments in favor of slavery was that slaves weren't as smart.  So, your position is that if that were true it would be okay to enslave people.  If it's a matter of intelligence, I'm hella smart, so could I enslave people who were less intelligent than me, specifically?  Also, animals have different types of intelligence.  Dolphins are smarter than humans, supposedly.  It would be okay for dolphins to attack us because of that?

Nice, HH, very nice. I especially appreciate argument #3.
And thank you for the crossover. Much appreciated.

"Exploiting people isn't the same as exploiting animals"... wow.

"The question is not, 'Can they reason?' nor, 'Can they talk?' but rather, 'Can they suffer?'"
-- Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832)

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1.  Editorial:  Who the f*** starts a "maybe a can of worms but" thread on the Chit Chat board when there is a News & Debate board.  The statement of "maybe a can of worms" means that the original poster KNEW that there was potential for debate.  Dude.  Figure it out.  Four boards.

Arabella is really super-new, so maybe she didn't realize there even was a debate board. I agree the topic should have been here, but she posted that two days after registering. It was one of her first topics. I, personally, forgive her for not realizing it was the wrong forum.

Tons of people don't realize the importance of the debate forum, because they weren't here to see all the crap that came from... you know... when it rained drama for 40 days and 40 nights. I left VegWeb for a while because of it. But some folks just don't know how serious a "touchy topic" can be, especially on VegWeb.

That's really all I have to say.... I'm not much for debates, but there's a lot to debate in those there quotes HH put up.

:(

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Is your  :( directed at me?  ???

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No, it's directed at the fact that people in general aren't big enough not to start debates in topics that are obviously GOING to start a debate... although it may not have been the OP's intention because they may not have experience in how drama can escalate online.

Being intelligent creatures you'd think we could overcome it and all just hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya and get past the urge to argue.

That's why I'm  :(

<------Carebear

PS: HH, you know I  :)>>> you. I actually agreed with your random postings of worm pics. I mean, you know, I read an underlying message in them and I assume I agreed with whatever it was... but anyway, I still  :)>>> you.

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Oh goody.  Permission to debate.

And thank you for pointing out, HH, that I DID just ask.  That's exactly what I did.  "If you didn't understand you could've just asked me."  I'm not sure what other way I could have asked.  Also, not one word of my reply was personal.  I did not call Delaware a slave trader.  I said that Europeans assumed dominion over African slaves using that same line of reasoning.  Which is fact.  Totally impersonal--it would be true regardless of whether we all were here debating it or not.  And the remainder of this post will be equally impersonal.

Ethics aside, I find several logical flaws in the argument that humans have a right to enslave animals because they are "smarter" than animals.  For instance, in the original post, the argument reads:

Quote:
I've come around to the fact that since we (humans) are so much smarter than most livestock/food stuff animals, agriculture is culturally natural. That being said, I became a vegan because we're smart enough to know better.

This statement is self-contradictory.  We are so smart that we are privileged to assume dominion over animals.  And simultaneously, we are so smart that we know better than to do so. 

Quote:
I think it's natural to eat meat because hey, at the end of the day, we're just really freaking smart animals, and animals eat animals. It's the food chain. Being smarter we've found a way to get at our food whenever we need it, and if you've got a little family farm where your cows can move around and your chickens can actually see the light of day, then good for you. It's the factory farming and industrial farming that sucks balls, and my veganism is a reaction to that industry.Nothing should suffer for your mercedes, not a cow, not a twelve year old in a Chinese sweatshop (and no, I don't think that a cow that lives on a family farm is suffering).
    This argument implies some distinct boundary between an acceptable farm and a morally reprehensible farm--some threshold in size beyond which a farm is no longer an acceptable institution.  Where are we to demarcate that boundary?  Is a farm which produces only enough for sustenance acceptable?  Can a farm even survive without somehow turning a profit?  And, becoming profitable, don't most farms tend toward larger, less personal, more mechanized farms?  I think the rose-colored notion of the "little family farm" is contrived and skirts the larger issue.  Suppose we encourage people to boycott industrial farms in favor of family farms.  Sooner or later, the family farms will no longer be able to fulfill demand without expanding.  I think this is critical: a farm cannot exist without turning a profit.  And a business cannot be profitable without competing with other businesses.  We live in a capitalist system.  To labor under the notion that small farms are permissible while larger farms are not is to assume ignorance of the basic governing principles by which our society operates.  This is highly irresponsible.
    We fundamentally disagree that a cow on a family farm does not suffer.  Of course, there is no question that the physical wounds inflicted on a factory-farmed cow far outweigh those seen by cows on smaller farms.  However, by her mere existence, the cow embodies suffering and exploitation.  She has no meaningful existence outside of being impregnated, giving birth, giving milk, and repeating the cycle so that humans may drink her milk.  If I bred a certain phenotype of human beings designed to wait on me hand and foot every day, I wouldn't say they were suffering from physical pain.  But it would still be exploitative and wrong.  Also, we don't know the emotional and psychological burdens borne by dairy cows.  We can pretend to know through observation that a family dairy cow does not suffer, but we don't.  I don't know what body of research exists to this end, but a quick perusal suggests that it is scant.  To say you "don't think" a dairy cow suffers has no basis in fact.  That's just the conclusion you've made based on your own interpretation of what suffering looks like. 
    "Intelligence" needs to be defined here.   The claim that humans are smarter than other species is, through a scientific lens, categorically false.  Smarter in what way?  In terms of perception, strength, strategizing, communication, and designing/building infrastructures, species upon species rival human beings.  Human beings are quite pitiful, really.  Of course we, as humans, find ourselves more intelligent because we assess the value of other species' accomplishments through our own lens.  Furthermore, yes, humans do possess many intellectual capacities that other species have yet to demonstrate.  But like Meggs suggested via Jeremy Bentham, that is neither here nor there.  This is playground logic.  If you are less intelligent than I, and I decide to punch you in the face and steal your lunch, that makes me a bully; this is intuitive.  It doesn't matter if you have an abnormally small brain-to-body ratio or a mental handicap.  In fact, that would make my actions against you more deplorable.  That this basic sense of empathy disintegrates across species lines is beyond me.  Since when is "the smart are allowed to use the stupid as they please" a solid moral principle?  Just because we can doesn't mean we should.
    Finally, if we are talking food chain, that's a whole other ball of wax, from a biological standpoint.  We've barely got the physical attributes to classify ourselves as carnivores.  But we can discuss this more later if need be.

Frankly, this type of logic enrages me, and I think it is at the heart of species exploitation, which is why I couldn't bear to let it slide by in the other thread.  Statements such as "a cow can't even read" speak to a frightening ignorance.  If we all judged each other--across cultures, across species, whatever--in terms of performance on the tasks which our own cultures found critical, we'd soon all conclude that we were better than everyone else on the planet.  Let's get some perspective.  Good god. ::)

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Being intelligent creatures you'd think we could overcome it and all just hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya and get past the urge to argue.

Excuse my language, but f*** that.  If no one ever argued these things, veg*nism wouldn't exist.  We're not at some tea party here.  As intelligent people, we can all have a civil discussion without people getting defensive or feeling personally attacked when they have not been.  I am not interested in "overcoming" anything except ignorance.

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I think you and jc are viewing it from different angles.  You like to delve into ideas and challenge viewpoints.  I don't think jc would back down from a debate, but in this case I see her as viewing the veg*n community inclusively and reserving her mad skillz for her MIL.

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I think you and jc are viewing it from different angles.  You like to delve into ideas and challenge viewpoints.  I don't think jc would back down from a debate, but in this case I see her as viewing the veg*n community inclusively and reserving her mad skillz for her MIL.

Yeah, I think that's the case.  But once the veg*n community starts viewing itself as an all-inclusive group united under the almighty cause of saving the animals, and it fails to question motives, purposes, or lines of reasoning, we are not really a movement anymore.  That's called a cult. 

I think people need to be less afraid to speak their truths.  I rarely involve myself in arguments with people in real life unless they ask for it, but as a group we are generally more attuned to these issues and have thought them out more clearly.  If we aren't comfortable discussing them here, without the stakes of turning people away from the movement ('cause I think we're all pretty invested), then where can we discuss them?

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And also I think you clearly distinguish between debating and arguing.  You are a damn fine debater.

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Oh thank you!  I put a lot of thought into that one.  See, this is what makes me think I should go into law at some point.  But then sanity takes hold...

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I'm going to say this then leave it alone.

It's hard to speak your personal truth when you feel like you'll just be shot down or when other people seek to poke holes in your ideas and 'win' a debate rather than try to see your point of view. This is not a college course, this is an online forum for vegans and vegetarians. Most people are not good debaters so while someone who is thinks of it as winning an argument someone less skilled at debating can most certainly feel attacked. Someone doesn't have to be called an idiot to feel scrutinized and attacked, all it takes is a snide comment or joke to offend. Also, its easy to misunderstand someone over the internet as opposed to a real life conversation. It's easy to not find the most appropriate words to express your views (remember the porn thread?).

Whether you like it or not this place is not the best to really say what you feel all of the time unless its the popular opinion (remember the America vs. United States thread?). I really do think that posting in the NEWS and debate forum is a good way to lose good members here. There are quite a few threads that cross the line between debate and fight; between debate and a vegweb dump on someone just for saying something people didn't like. So to say that its just a vigorous debate is not always the case.
Please remember that behind these screen names are people who are just trying to get a point across, not to made to feel like a fool or that you don't know what they're talking about because they are  not a skilled debater. And  unlike a school debate I think it would be a good idea to take other peoples emotions into account instead of just seaking to tear down they're argument. Yes, you can debate here, but must we let our claws come out in their mouth and want nothing from vegweb again. every time a "good"  debate topic comes along? Things get heated and sometimes they get personal  and wether its intended or not some people in debates here could (sometimes, do)  come away feeling attacked. And others are just afraid to post something "wrong" and get piled on be some of the more opinionated people here.

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It's hard to speak your personal truth when you feel like you'll just be shot down or when other people seek to poke holes in your ideas and 'win' a debate rather than try to see your point of view.

But the whole point of a debate is to poke holes into viewpoints.  It's to prod them and defend them and modify them.  I know it has a bad rep, but debate is healthy.

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Whether you like it or not this place is not the best to really say what you feel all of the time unless its the popular opinion (remember the America vs. United States thread?).

It will be a sad day when a group of people whose very lifestyle embodies protest feels that they can only speak if their voice jives with popular opinion.  I will continue to speak even if my voice does not embody popular opinion.  You can choose to do what you like.

Frankly, I don't know if my views are consistent with popular opinion or not.  I know so far that a few people agree and a few do not.

Please remember that behind these screen names are people who are just trying to get a point across, not to made to feel like a fool or that you don't know what they're talking about because they are  not a skilled debater. And  unlike a school debate I think it would be a good idea to take other peoples emotions into account instead of just seaking to tear down they're argument.

If I hurt someone's feelings, that was totally unintentional.  However, any person here can rip my points to shreds, and I will respond accordingly.  If my views are faulty, I want to know.  That is why I posted them.  If people are not interested in having their opinions brought under fire, they shouldn't post in the debate thread.  I'll concede that my original post in the Chit Chat room was out of line, but this room is no-holds-barred.  If anyone cares to direct me to the parts of my posts which are unduly hurtful on a personal level, I'll take that into consideration and modify my posts. 

If you are worried you'll post something "wrong", then you are not in the right mindset for debate.  So don't participate.  Period.  There is no "I want to debate but I don't want people to disagree with me!" option.

Also, I don't seek to simply "tear down arguments."  A survey of my past posts would probably prove that I agree with others more often than not.  I agree when I agree, and I don't when I don't.  And in the context of debate, I'm not holding my tongue.

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But the whole point of a debate is to poke holes into viewpoints.  It's to prod them and defend them and modify them.  I know it has a bad rep, but debate is healthy.

not in the right mindset for debate.

<------- Not in right mindset. My ex used to try to debate EVERYTHING.
            Hence (amongst other things), EX. I just enjoy reading everyone's responses.
            It's really educational and interesting.
            :)

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See, that CAN be annoying when people try to debate you all the time, even when you don't want it.  That's why it's all about context and your will to participate.  ;)b

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Being intelligent creatures you'd think we could overcome it and all just hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya and get past the urge to argue.

Excuse my language, but f*** that.  If no one ever argued these things, veg*nism wouldn't exist.  We're not at some tea party here.  As intelligent people, we can all have a civil discussion without people getting defensive or feeling personally attacked when they have not been.  I am not interested in "overcoming" anything except ignorance.


I was exaggerating a little. And I do see this community as inclusive. I think you're being a little harsh what with the cursing at what I said.

See? Maybe I misunderstood your tone there, but it is my humble opinion that since I didn't say anything at all about anything you said, you shouldn't curse at me. Or, curse at the quoted thing I said.

I can debate, but I end up getting too wrapped up in it so I usually don't. But I'll at least explain what I meant by saying "hold hands and sing Kum Ba Ya."

Everyone here agrees with each other to some degree. We're all on the same road here.

My friend (who was veg*n loooong before I was) didn't give me the page-long list of reasons why I should be. She has never since I've known her outright criticized my parents or aunts & uncles or cousins for the "family farm." She had ceased sending me emails about or bringing up all the gory subjects... and to be honest goodness knows I've stood right there when animals died to end up on my plate, so I wasn't very receptive to any more of it.

None of the harsh crap veg*ns say to omnis ever fazed me. It made me angry at the person, it didn't make me even curious about their point of view. What made me curious was when someone was really considerate of me, and didn't push me, and had all the answers and sources I wanted and absolutely ZERO criticism. I think that people are swayed far more by compassion than by harsh words and actions. Maybe I'm a minority in that.

So, maybe I think of veg*ns as an inclusive group, but I believe that people are good when they choose to be. Just most people don't have the patience or the desire to show others kindness and tolerance. I'm of the opinion that we're stronger together than we are apart, and that maybe just MAYBE if they're shown respect and courtesy, veg*ns who think whatever it is everyone keeps quoting (yes, I read it.... I'm not going to re-quote it) will come around in their own time. You don't have to light a fire under their butts, they're already veg*n.

Someone who is vegan for health reasons saves just as many animals from ending up on a plate as someone who is vegan for moral reasons. So I just don't think people should be criticized too badly for their why's, because when it comes down to it we're all doing a good thing. I don't think the criticism was wholly wrong, I just think it could have been better. I disagree with some of what Delaware said, and with some of what KMK said. However, I don't think it's worth it to pick out words from either one. Each was right and wrong on different points. I also think KMK is a better debater, and Delaware may have been misunderstood on some occasions because it can be overwhelming to try to respond to something that you weren't expecting.

Hell, I'm having some trouble responding right now and I'm kinda old-hat at the whole online thing.

So, there you go. Long story, I know. We probably will always disagree on some things, but now I've got my piece out there in the great wide web so everyone can see. Please don't curse at me, 'cause I haven't been disrespectful to anybody as far as I can tell. I've sure tried to be very careful not to hurt anyone's feelings because I just don't think it's necessary or... well, I guess I just don't think it's very nice.

And I like to think I'm a pretty nice person.

ETA: I guess I should also add that I don't view my lifestyle choice as a protest. I view it as a personal decision not to take part in something I disagree with. Maybe a silent protest, complete with tolerance and a heapin' helpin' of humility. I try to make people feel at ease with my choice, not overwhelmed or obligated.

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Someone who is vegan for health reasons saves just as many animals from ending up on a plate as someone who is vegan for moral reasons.

This is definitely not necessarily the case. A lot of the time, a person who is "vegan" for health reasons, does not take on a vegan lifestyle, but instead focuses solely on a vegan diet. I don't really understand why a person would be "vegan" just for health purposes, AND actually follow a vegan lifestyle. I'm not saying it's not done, it just doesn't really make much sense. If a person is just concerned with the health aspect, why would he/she also be concerned with things such as animal testing?

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Wouldn't that be strict vegetarian instead of vegan?

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I think the main point of contention here has to do with audience.

I would never address someone who was converting to veg*nism (or any omni for that matter) with the same rhetoric I use here.  Of course not!  I think that diplomacy is an important part of being vegan.  So far, I've successfully converted three people to veganism (working on a fourth), and it sure wasn't by ramming them with a diatribe about abolitionist veganism!  I am, however, honest.  There is a fine line between being supportive of a person and being supportive of their actions.  Like, I'm never going to encourage an omni to eat something not-vegan, but I WILL bombard them with vegan food!  I don't hide the fact that I don't agree with eating animal products--my friends know it, my family knows it, my colleagues know it--and there is a way to be assertive without being offensive.  I think Colleen Patrick Goudreau's podcast has helped a lot with this.  But I'm not one to accept excuses in general, and if someone has veg*n sympathies, I'm not just gonna sit there and let them twiddle their thumbs and putz around because they like cheese too much, or some other excuse.  Of course, it depends on your relationship to the person, but I've had great success being assertive without being pushy.  You just have to live by example and answer questions honestly when people pose them.  And it's nice if you can lead them to the questions in the first place.  But there is an in between point between "NO CRITICISM" and "HARSH CRITICISM" called good diplomacy.  It's not black and white.  I don't thinkk either is useful.

Frankly, I have been courteous regarding the aforementioned controversial opinion.  I believe my words were, "How did you reach that conclusion?"  If someone asked me the same question about veganism, I would respond in kind.  I'm not sure what the problem is.  Again, I'll concede that even posing the question might be seen as too brazen for the Chit Chat board.  Fair enough.

So going back to audience, I approach these discussion of "Veg*n Theory", for lack of a better word, with the mindset that all of us already think animal suffering is bad.  And, of course, I know when I am speaking to a vegan, because profiles tell me so.  And I agree, I don't have to light a fire under a vegan's ass--they don't need prodding.  So I figure, OK, we can have a discussion without the fear of that person being turned away.  It's a totally different ball game.  My assumption is that, if a person is compelled to turn 180* away from their veganism due to a comment made on an internet forum, I would question whether that person has a strong foundational belief in it anyway, right?  I don't think that often happens.  But I could be wrong.

Finally, and I KNOW I'll get fire and brimstone for saying it, but I generally shy away from the statement that, "Well, at least so-and-so is doing some good."  I think the reasons you go vegan are just as important as the fact that you are vegan.  I mean, you could go vegan because you think there are aliens living in the flesh of dead animals, but I'm not sure you'd be an asset to the movement.  And let's not get too big for our britches and comfort ourselves into thinking we're making a HUGE, monumental difference by being veg*n.  I mean, how many BILLION animals died for the hundred you saved this year?  There's a lot more work to be done.  We do make a difference, don't get me wrong, but I think the greater impact is seen through the way we demonstrate unwavering adherence to our values in our daily lives.  The most important thing is to live in a way that demonstrates compassion, to be politely but firmly intolerant of cruelty, and to spread the message of veganism in whatever small way you can.  And I do not believe in the particular message expressed earlier.  That's all.

FTR, not criticizing the "why's" is one of the worst things we can do.  In general.  All the time.  Break down everyone else's beliefs and build your own from the rubble.  We need to question each other.  If a vegetarian never questioned another vegetarian, then Donald Watson never would have founded veganism, no?

Please don't mistake the words written here for real-life words I would use on a converting veg*n or some such.  Totally different audience and context.  I would never turn a person away from veganism.  But in the context of debate among veg*ns, I feel safe in hashing out the particulars.

And again, if you are incomfortable with debate, keep to the other rooms.  That's why they are here!  To avoid the bloodshed and the drama.

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