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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?

I don't want to give the impression that I think there is some definition of "perfect vegan" to be aspired to.  There is no such thing.  However, like HH suggested in an earlier post, there is a sense of basic principles.  I think Watson's definition is very inclusive and practical.  It means that you try to abstain from animal products as much as you possibly can. 

The concept that there are different personal interpretations of what "vegan" looks like is one that is brought up here frequently but which I have not yet been able to understand in the slightest.  Vegan means striving to abstain from animal products because you disapprove of the exploitation.  If a person does not find this important, why does she find it important to call herself vegan?  It seems to me that there is an undue attachment to a label rather than a principle there.  I honestly, sincerely don't understand.  Those of you who've discussed this before know I've tried to wrestle with this idea many times.

That being said, anyone can call herself vegan.  That's her right.  I'm just not sure why you'd want to, if you didn't believe in it.  With the exception of practicality's sake at, say, a restaurant, I think calling yourself vegan and then portraying a lifestyle which contradicts the principle is detrimental to the big picture.

Of course, if enough people call themselves vegan who are not really vegan in the Watson sense, the definition will change.  In which case those of us who do follow veganism as a protest to animal exploitation will need to assume a new moniker, or a qualifier, if we want to exist as a cohesive movement.  I find this frustrating because that is why the term exists to begin with. 

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Also, I think non-vegans, or people who may not entirely fit the definition of veganism (no animal products), may perceive judgment from others where it may not exist.  I do not pass judgment on a vegetarian or a dietary vegan or a health vegan.  No one ever said that not fitting the definition of vegan was a HORRIBLE thing.  No one should be ashamed to call herself vegetarian or dietary vegan or whatever she is.  Just call things what they actually are so no one is confused!  It's just a label.  Use the proper label.

And if calling herself vegan is THAT important to a person, she should probably think more about why she is not yet vegan!  (In the Watson sense).  Chances are, she feels she could do more, deep down.  That's my suspicion, at least.

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It's okay to eat animals (to me) because in nature, many other animals do it. It's natural order.

Ok. I "hear" that this is what you are saying, and I very strongly disagree on many levels (neuroscience and veganism, included), but why don't you eat animals, then? Or, do you? I'm confused on that point.

Donald Watson's? 
he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

Well, that is THE ONE. I mean, that's what we all came from. Are there ones that are not just rewordings of the above? If so, I don't really understand why, or how they can apply. It is what it is. KMK just said what I'm trying to say here. That.

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It's okay to eat animals (to me) because in nature, many other animals do it. It's natural order.

By this logic, is it OK for me to eat my young, ransack my neighbor's house and take it for my own, kill my mate when I am done with him, and thousands of other animal behaviors that we find foreign and despicable when extrapolated to humans?  So what if it is "natural" for something to happen?  Since we humans DO have huge brains capable of understanding morals and feeling empathy, it seems to me that it is "natural" for us to spare the suffering of others.  We're not cavemen anymore.  We don't need animal flesh to survive.  Llittle about the way we live is natural.  To say we need to be "natural" is to be ignorant of the context in which we live.

I do not believe in sacrificing lives for the sake of some servicing some exalted "order". 

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It's okay to eat animals (to me) because in nature, many other animals do it. It's natural order.

Can you go out in your back yard and catch an animal with your bare hands then use your teeth to tear through its flesh to eat the meat?  Maybe I'm going out on a limb to assume the answer is no.  Yet that is the natural way every other animal captures their prey, using only their physical attributes.  Will you get sick from eating raw flesh?  Yes, you will.  Will other animals?  No.  Therefore, everything humans do to eat meat is entirely unnatural in comparison to the entirity of the animal kingdom.  Even milk, humans are the only animals who drink milk into their adult lives.  Entirely unnatural.  So to say eating meat is natural is absolutely wrong because if it were natural humans would be able to kill their prey without aid of external tools and would have a digestive system to digest raw flesh.  And we do not.  I have a hard time finding anything natural about humans eating meat...

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I have two minutes to leave for work and I haven't shoveled snow yet, so I just have this to add right now.

If the Watson definition is the working definition:
he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

The phiolosophy of veganism includes benefits to humans, animals, and the environment.  Excluding cruelty and exploitation of animals for food/clothing/etc. are acts that reflect the phiolosophy.  The philosophy is three-pronged and doesn't appear to be ranked; in other words, all three benefits are equally important.  The manifestation of the philosophy would be the same, regardless of whether someone placed more value on one of the three aspects.

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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?

Note that I specified "on a plate." I'm not getting into the other lifestyle choices of veganism because I don't think I'm very qualified yet to talk about those things. I'm not going to say something I don't know as much about. That would be just silly.

On a plate. Meaning... "dietary" vegans don't eat them, neither do "animal rights" vegans. There are other aspects of the different prongs of the fork of veganism that I'm just not the right person to discuss. Hell, I didn't even know some guy made up "vegan" with a definition and whatnot... so I am really not in a position to just blurt out random things I haven't thought deeply about at this point in time. I won't disagree with your sentiments on the greater good of veganism and what its formal definition is, but since I'm not a vegan of any prong yet I don't think I should get myself into that subject and just stick with what I know. So I purposefully only specified the consumption of animal flesh for food, since that's the thing I'm working on now.

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I have two minutes to leave for work and I haven't shoveled snow yet, so I just have this to add right now.

If the Watson definition is the working definition:
he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

I agree about the three prongs, but like AC said, a person who is vegan solely for health or environmental reason would not abstain from animal products in all aspects of life.  For instance, a strictly health vegan wouldn't care about wearing wool.  Which contradicts the other pieces of the definition.  It is clear to me that animal exploitation is the cornerstone here.  The other pieces come as a result. 

I'm not saying that one reason or another is more important for abstaining from animal products--whichever is more important to you is more important to you. 

The manifestation of the philosophy would be the same, regardless of whether someone placed more value on one of the three aspects.

It wouldn't be the same at all.  See my above comment about veganism for health.  It would manifest itself differently in terms of practice, thought, mindset, and the way that person communicates veganism to others.

I think there is no moral distinction between eating animal products and wearing them, and "vegan" in Watson's sense embodies this.  Vegan in the health/environmental sense does not.  They are not the same at all.

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It's okay to eat animals (to me) because in nature, many other animals do it. It's natural order.

Can you go out in your back yard and catch an animal with your bare hands then use your teeth to tear through its flesh to eat the meat? 

Exactly.  Nothing in human design suggests that eating meat is natural.  And we can't say, "Oh, humans are so far above all other life" and then use the "natural" argument simultaneously.  If we want to be natural about it, let's lock ourselves up with a wild mammal and see who succeeds in getting at the other's flesh.

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“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.” --Henry Beston

Also,

"What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do." --John Ruskin

Something KMK said I think reminded me of the first one, and something HH said reminded me of the second one.

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From Vegan Society web pages:

Philosophy

Question: Aren't humans naturally meat eaters?

Answer: Human nature includes traits such as stealing and lying - this doesn't make these morally right. Humans hunter-gatherers have found from 10% to 90% of their food from plants. Wise food choices can add ten healthy years to our lives, and people who don't eat any meat live longer than average. The human animal has evolved to be able to eat plants, fungi and meat. We have also evolved the ability to understand the suffering of others, and the consequences of our choices.

As for the prongs, for me I cannot understand how one can exist separtely from another.  They are all interconnected on some level.  Personally (and I hate to do this but here it goes) I find that at different stages in my life one prong becomes more prevelant than another but that does not say that the other prongs do not have significance.

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For me, it all comes down to following through with the vegan lifestyle. If one became vegan due to health reasons, but soon realized the relevance of the animal protection and environmental aspects, then fine. Same goes for any other "prong." They are all interconnected, yes. They all have significance, but you can't be a dietary VEGAN, and solely focus on diet. You can't be vegan at all without following through with all aspects of what being vegan means. The point that I'm trying to make (and that which I think KMK is agreeing with) is that realizing the importance of abstaining from all things that contribute to animal exploitation is at the core of the vegan lifestyle. Everything else just falls into place.

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As for the prongs, for me I cannot understand how one can exist separtely from another.  They are all interconnected on some level.  Personally (and I hate to do this but here it goes) I find that at different stages in my life one prong becomes more prevelant than another but that does not say that the other prongs do not have significance.

For me, it all comes down to following through with the vegan lifestyle. If one became vegan due to health reasons, but soon realized the relevance of the animal protection and environmental aspects, then fine. Same goes for any other "prong." They are all interconnected, yes. They all have significance, but you can't be a dietary VEGAN, and solely focus on diet. You can't be vegan at all without following through with all aspects of what being vegan means. The point that I'm trying to make (and that which I think KMK is agreeing with) is that realizing the importance of abstaining from all things that contribute to animal exploitation is at the core of the vegan lifestyle. Everything else just falls into place.

It's sort of like you're both saying the same thing here. AC is just furthering the point that she disagrees with the term "dietary vegan". However, the idea that you both share is that veganism encompasses many aspects of health, animal suffering, and environmental issues. For me, I'd always had a passion for animal rights, but it was silly because I was a meat eater- I was uneducated. Then, due to health reasons, I adopted a vegan diet. After that, many things just fell into place for me-- my animal rights beliefs made sense because of it, I read more about the environmental benefits (of which I had no clue about prior to the switch) and just overall became more educated.

Still, I appreciate the Watson view and on a daily basis try my best to avoid purchasing anything with animal products. Do I always succeed? Probably not. I am still learning. Do I have the luxury or freedom at this point in my life to buy all of the things I'd like to buy, ideally? No, but by following threads such as these and learning from you guys, I am arming myself with the knowledge to not only educate others but to reinforce my beliefs and do my best.

I have since taken "vegan" off of my profile (not like anyone can see, haha) because after this, I don't know what I am anymore. I left it blank, and I'm ok with that! :)

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For me, it all comes down to following through with the vegan lifestyle. If one became vegan due to health reasons, but soon realized the relevance of the animal protection and environmental aspects, then fine. Same goes for any other "prong." They are all interconnected, yes. They all have significance, but you can't be a dietary VEGAN, and solely focus on diet. You can't be vegan at all without following through with all aspects of what being vegan means. The point that I'm trying to make (and that which I think KMK is agreeing with) is that realizing the importance of abstaining from all things that contribute to animal exploitation is at the core of the vegan lifestyle. Everything else just falls into place.

Agreed.  and nicely summarized

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Dude, Meggs, that's why I've left ovo-lacto on there. I am in the process of taking out cheese (doing a pretty good job, too!), I haven't had dairy milk in a long time 'cause it hurt my belly... and I find myself really just not liking eggs. I haven't started seriously label-reading, but I do make an effort to be aware when there is dairy or eggs in my food, because I want to find alternatives the next time I go shopping.

However, I feel like it's such a serious thing sometimes to say "yeah I don't eat dairy or eggs" (which in a few weeks or months may very well be the case) and then someone says "but blankety-blank chemical name for whatnot is from dairy/eggs!" and then I would feel like a jackass because I hadn't gotten so far as to look at chemical names...

It's so confusing and a little overwhelming, so I'll never say I'm vegan, even if I end up one. I'll always just stick with vegetarian, and I don't even fully understand why I'll do that.

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Dude, Meggs, that's why I've left ovo-lacto on there. I am in the process of taking out cheese (doing a pretty good job, too!), I haven't had dairy milk in a long time 'cause it hurt my belly... and I find myself really just not liking eggs. I haven't started seriously label-reading, but I do make an effort to be aware when there is dairy or eggs in my food, because I want to find alternatives the next time I go shopping.

It's quite helpful to just look at allergen info first. Since I'm admittedly a "lazy" veg*n, I look at that, and if it says "egg" or "milk" (and I'm familiar with the milk derivatives), or honey then I pass it up.  If it doesn't say anything, or something may look suspicious, again, I pass it up. I think I'm pretty good with food, and 90% good with clothing/fabrics, but products (hair, toothpaste, deodorant, shaving, etc) are not my forte at this time.

Congrats with the thus-far successful process of eliminating cheese. :)

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he word "veganism" denotes a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practical — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.

Meggs and jeanacorina...makes me a little sad that you would not consider yourselves as vegan based on the above definition.  It seems to me that no one has ever fully achieved being a perfect vegan.  It is sort of like achieving nirvana IMO.  It is something you strive for and do your best to achieve....

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Meggs and jeanacorina...makes me a little sad that you would not consider yourselves as vegan based on the above definition.  It seems to me that no one has ever fully achieved being a perfect vegan.  It is sort of like achieving nirvana IMO.  It is something you strive for and do your best to achieve....

I'm just sayin'... who knows?! Everyone has a different definition! I know I"ll never be a "perfect" anything.
The point is, and this is across all of life, not just veganism-- labeling causes chaos.
;)

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Well, I'm okay with being vegetarian.... I don't think it's a bad thing.

Don't think being vegan would be bad, either... I just think I'd spend way more time worrying about what's vegan and what other vegans will say (maybe trying to be helpful, even) when I'm not quite as vegan as they are....

Just seems like a big ol' mess and I have enough messes to deal with, so vegetarian it is. Besides, I like the word "vegetarian...." kinda rolls of the tongue.

"Vegan" makes me think of "Vulcan" and I so totally don't have pointy ears and eyebrows, okay?

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The point that I'm trying to make (and that which I think KMK is agreeing with) is that realizing the importance of abstaining from all things that contribute to animal exploitation is at the core of the vegan lifestyle. Everything else just falls into place.

Guh!  Why does it have to be such a busy day?!?  Here's another quick comment:

I do think KMK would agree with that, but my understanding of her position is that even if a person practiced abstaining from consuming/using animal products to the maximum extent practicable, that person wouldn't be "vegan" if their motivation didn't stem from protecting animal welfare.  That's where we disagree.

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