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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 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.

Well, for health vegans, it is definitely not the case that a person is abstaining from animal products to the maximum extent possible.  They might eat honey, wear leather, etc.  Not vegan.  Period.  Vegan = no animal products--and we can safely narrow it down to the broad categories of wool, silk, fur, leather, gelatin, dairy, meat, eggs, and honey, right?  All of those are decidedly not vegan in the most basic/universal understanding of the term. 

Environmentalist vegans are a little different and, I think, diverse.  But you could imagine an environmentalist vegan who doesn't eat meat because of factory farms, but who would eat free-range eggs and "happy" meat from family farms and so on if it were possible, because that could have a smaller impact on the land.  In this case, a person COULD in fact be abstaining from animal products to the greatest possible extent, though her position is largely contingent on the circumstances/type of animal exploitation and how it affects the environment, rather than the animals themselves.  I am not sure if that is an attribute to the movement.  But I wouldn't squabble if a person abstaining from animal products to the greatest degree possible for environmental reasons only called herself vegan. 

I think that you should feel comfortable calling yourself vegan if you honestly feel you are doing your best.  For myself (and this is ME, not others), I know that I can do better than just trying to remember to read labels most of the time or eating things without really knowing if they have eggs or milk in them.  I only know this from trying it.  I'd hate to sell myself short.  "Vegan" is a symbol that I care enough about the issue to do these things every single time, publicly or by myself.  It is something I once aspired too, and continue to improve in.  Occasionally I do buy non-vegan things on accident, but never on purpose or due to laziness.  It can just happen--like you are confident you remember something being vegan, you bring it home, and it's not.  Things like that.  Oh well.  But I feel confident that I am always doing my best.  I don't ever want to slack.  Unless my quality of life is direly on the line (life or death situations, severe financial restraints), I am not going to willfully buy things with animal products.  So far I've been successful, and I don't make much money at all.  The badge of "vegan" keeps me from slacking or making excuses when animal rights are not at the front of my mind all the time. 

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Well, for health vegans, it is definitely not the case that a person is abstaining from animal products to the maximum extent possible.  They might eat honey, wear leather, etc.  Not vegan.  Period.  Vegan = no animal products--and we can safely narrow it down to the broad categories of wool, silk, fur, leather, gelatin, dairy, meat, eggs, and honey, right?  All of those are decidedly not vegan in the most basic/universal understanding of the term.

I thought our premise was that we were discussing people who were vegan, i.e. didn't eat animal products, wear animal products, or otherwise exploit animals - people who manifest the vegan philosophy but their primary motivation may be health or environmental reasons rather than animal welfare reasons.  The person you describe here is different than the other one because this person's outward choices don't reflect the vegan philosophy; whereas, the person in the original example's acts would reflect vegan tenents.

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No offense, but the debate isn't really about the original poster once it gets going.  No one is trying to attack you.  I don't discriminate when I debate.  I just disagreed with HH and we're pretty tight and tend to agree on most things.  I've disagreed with AC more than once.  Nothing personal.

Agreed.  Disagreeing isn't personal.  If everyone agreed, those of us who like to kick the tires of concepts wouldn't have anything to discuss.

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Well, for health vegans, it is definitely not the case that a person is abstaining from animal products to the maximum extent possible.  They might eat honey, wear leather, etc.  Not vegan.  Period.  Vegan = no animal products--and we can safely narrow it down to the broad categories of wool, silk, fur, leather, gelatin, dairy, meat, eggs, and honey, right?  All of those are decidedly not vegan in the most basic/universal understanding of the term.

I thought our premise was that we were discussing people who were vegan, i.e. didn't eat animal products, wear animal products, or otherwise exploit animals - people who manifest the vegan philosophy but their primary motivation may be health or environmental reasons rather than animal welfare reasons.  The person you describe here is different than the other one because this person's outward choices don't reflect the vegan philosophy; whereas, the person in the original example's acts would reflect vegan tenents.

Well, a person motivated only by health wouldn't care about leather, etc.  And if she DOES care about wearing animal products, then we can assume that she is opposed to animal exploitation.  So, I think "vegan" applies.  What's the issue here?  I never meant to say that if health motivates you AS WELL that that somehow cheapens your veganism.  Health is a huge motivator for me, personally.  I'm not really sure what I did to imply the argument that you're saying, hh, but that's not what I've been trying to say. 

I came around to the point of view I'm expressing here after I read Jo Stepaniak's Being Vegan a month or so into my veganism.  At this point I had the dietary part set but was still learning about why animal products in clothing and other items were bad.  She gave a really good case for why "vegan" should be used only in reference to "vegan for animal rights issues" and that everything else was strict/dietary vegetarianism.

Anyway, she can probably better convey what I'm trying to say here.  I'll try to find an excerpt.  But everyone should read it anyway because it's an awesome book that helps unravel the so-called "grey areas" of veganism.

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Here is a passage from Being Vegan that is relevant here (pg 8-9):

Some people who aspire to be vegan or vegetarian label themselves as such even thought they do not observe the principal criteria of these practices.  Take, for instance, the chicken-eating, fish-eating, just-no-red-meat-eating "vegetarian."  Regrettably, this has created confusion regarding the definition of vegetarian and has led to some misuse of the word by the media, health care practitioners, and the public.  Such deviation renders the term meaningless.

Vegan is not a rank nor a badge of excellence.  It is merely a word that describes individuals who are distinctly committed to revering all life by conforming to a clearly delineated code of ethical behavior.  Its significance lies in its accuracy.  Describing oneself as vegan while continuing to use products that are conspicuously animal-based could easily contribute to corruption of the term....

It is understandable that someone who is a total vegetarian but not a vegan would use the word "vegan" in a restaurant to get the point across.  It's clear, it's concise, and it works.  "Total vegetarian" might work as well, as could "strict vegetarian," with a simple explanation of what is and isn't acceptable.  (People have to do that when using the term "vegan" anyway.)  But being vegan is more than the sum of what one does and doesn't eat.  It also goes beyond personal health motivations.  Many people who eventually become ethical vegans are initially drawn to an animal-free diet because of health concerns and then adopt additional rationales as they learn about new issues.  In fact, health is probably the prime motivator for most people to move toward a more plant-centered diet. 

As comparison, there are people who believe that kosher food is "cleaner" and more healthful than nonkosher food.  For observant Jews, keeping kosher is a component of their Judaism.  However, non-Jews who keep kosher are not deemed Jewish simply because they follow a kosher diet.  There is a gulf of difference between the lifestyle, the motivation, and the commitment of the observant Jew and the person who wants to eat like one.

Labels can be valuable designations for clarity.  When used as such, they do not condemn or condone individual choices; instead, they elucidate, identify, and describe.

I think that pretty much includes everything I've been trying to say here.  She goes on to talk about how misuse of the term "vegan" will bastardize it just like the term "vegetarian" has been bastardized.  I think the fight against animal exploitation is important, and I don't want that to happen.  The term vegan designates my attitude as such.  And it's great if a health "vegan" wants to have a plant-based diet (yippee!)  but does she embody the principle that we need to respect all life?  No.  It's just description; it's not judgment. 

I still think this health-vegan-who-also-doesn't-wear-animal-products is a mythical creature.  I've never heard of anyone like that.  If you don't wear leather and such, chances are you are opposed to animal exploitation.   ???

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Not to backtrack here, but this line stood out to me as I was catching up on this thread:

A lion exploits it's environment for food, we exploit our environment for food. 

Without human intervention, animals in nature coexist in a balanced circle of life.  An animal hunting its prey cannot be compared to the unfathomable exploitative raping that humans do to the environment for food.  It's a shame that our "almighty brains" have led us to so much greed and destruction.

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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...

This is exactly what I was thinking, and I am glad Foofie said it because it sounds way better coming out of his mouth. I would like to hear a response to this from Delaware.
I post this all the time, and I'm doing it again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05zhL1YUd8Q

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Perhaps we assumed we were working from the same general premise, kmk.  Are you discussing people who call themselves vegan, but don't manifest a vegan lifestyle?

I've been discussing someone who would be recognized as living a vegan lifestyle, like there'd be general consensus that the person was vegan.

I think the reasons you go vegan are just as important as the fact that you are vegan.

We agree about the person you described.  That person is clearly not vegan.  Depending on whether we were talking about different things, we might be in general agreement.

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A lion exploits it's environment for food, we exploit our environment for food. 

Without human intervention, animals in nature coexist in a balanced circle of life.  An animal hunting its prey cannot be compared to the unfathomable exploitative raping that humans do to the environment for food.  It's a shame that our "almighty brains" have led us to so much greed and destruction.

Hmmm, I disagree that nature is always in a balanced circle of life.  Sometimes a species does devastate an entire other species.  Or exploit another species.  It's one way species become extinct.  I believe that nature is always in flux rather than in balance, and I think we are remiss to glorify nature as some perfect circle.  Parts of nature are very, very ugly. 

That being said, for me, the more important thing is that animals do not make ethical judgments.  The decision to eat this or that animal is biologically driven.  An animal (small brain that it has) does not have the capacity to choose not to eat another animal.  He cannot rationalize that decision, nor would his body allow him to choose to eat plants instead.  He would die.  Humans, however, CAN think through that decision and feel empathy for prey.  So like greenT was saying, our "almighty brains" should dictate that we act accordingly.

And I think this relates nicely to what foof/little2ant are saying.  A human can choose to eat plants and survive.  Indeed, everything about our biological makeup suggests that we are meant to eat plants, not meat.  And there is nothing natural about drinking cow's milk or eating a chicken's eggs.  So if we want to be natural about it, we should be vegan.

Nice video, little2ant!  I love it.  ;)b

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I love that video, too!  ^-^

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There is balance in nature until an invasive species is introduced or there is some other disturbance.  Even in the balance, tho', nature is really gross.

Humans can choose to eat plants and survive because we're omnivores.  I don't think that "everything about our biological makeup suggests that we are meant to eat plants, not meat."  The appendix is observed to shrink as animals eat more meat.  The appendix in humans is small.  I think that it appears less natural that people eat/use animal products in a plush place like the US.  There are some places in the world with very little flora where the people depend more on meat where animals are able to exploit what little growth there is.  It's common for people to cook meat, but it's not absolutely necessary.  We choose to cook meat.

I think it comes down to we have a choice to eat/use animal products.  We can make the choice not to use animal products.

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Humans can choose to eat plants and survive because we're omnivores.  I don't think that "everything about our biological makeup suggests that we are meant to eat plants, not meat."  The appendix is observed to shrink as animals eat more meat.  The appendix in humans is small.  I think that it appears less natural that people eat/use animal products in a plush place like the US.  There are some places in the world with very little flora where the people depend more on meat where animals are able to exploit what little growth there is.  It's common for people to cook meat, but it's not absolutely necessary.  We choose to cook meat.

OK, I was being hyperbolic when I said that everything in our makeup suggests we are meant to eat meat.  There are a couple carnivorous traits.  But yes, if we were to make a list of attributes which predispose us to a plant diet and attributes which predispose us to meat diets, it would be overwhelmingly lopsided:

Pro Flesh Eating:
- small appendix (I didn't know this!)
- a few (dull) canine teeth

Pro Plant Eating:
- dull, mostly flat teeth
- short jaw
- long, folded, specialized intestine
- low speed/agility
- blunt finger nails
- meat eating causes disease in humans
- our saliva contains digestive enzymes (carnivores' saliva doesn't)
- weak stomach acid
- small stomach (because herbivores eat more frequently)

We have NO nutritional requirement for meat or animal products.  Carnivores do.  Humans can adapt to live on a meat-only diet if need be, but I can't believe they thrive from it.  If we are talking about "natural," I think the case is clear.

That being said, I don't give as much weight to what we are "meant" to eat as to what we can choose to eat.

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That being said, I don't give as much weight to what we are "meant" to eat as to what we can choose to eat.

Yes!  I want that on a coffee mug.

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I figured out why I like that so much.  It reminds me of one of my favorite Dumbledore quotes: 

"It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

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I figured out why I like that so much.  It reminds me of one of my favorite Dumbledore quotes: 

"It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Yes!  I sounded like Dumbledore!
Victory.

So basically, Dumbledore wants you to go vegan.

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Dumbledore wants you to go vegan.

:-D  :)>>>  I want that on a t-shirt.

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Excellent.  ;D

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So is SILK vegan, considering the plight of the people on the Ivory Coast?  From Robert Cohen's Notmilk Column:

Broken Pledge to Right a Wrong

In 2001, they promised to end the horror by 2005,
and although it appeared to be a start, I was still
outraged that it would take four years. In 2009,
the horror story will continue.

I spoke with Jordan in SILK's department of consumer
affairs on December 24, 2008 at 1:00 PM and asked:

"In 2001, SILK promised to boycott Ivory Coast chocolate
if slavery did not end in that nation by 2005. The
slavery continues. What is SILK's position now?"

Jordan responded:

"At this time we have no comment."

In the Ivory Coast, tens of thousands of
children have been kidnaped or sold into
slavery to harvest and process what becomes
America's chocolate products. Are you part
of the problem by eating their blood, sweat,
and tears?
____________________________________

NOTMILK 2001 Christmas Column
____________________________________

T'was the night before Christmas,
And throughout the world,
The chocolate had melted,
As the truth was unfurled...

While our kids were tucked unaware,
Dreaming visions of sugarplums,
Others dreamed slavery-nightmares,
Under oppressive-like thumbs.

Dear Friends,

A few months ago, I asked you to boycott
all products made by WHITE WAVE, the
manufacturer of SILK.

SILK produces the best tasting soy chocolate
milk on this planet, but their soymilk leaves
a bad taste in my mouth.

Many of you called SILK'S consumer service team
at 800-488-9283.

You joined me in asking SILK to issue this
statement:

"We at SILK will not knowingly purchase our
chocolate beans from nations like Ivory Coast
in which kidnaped children are living in slavery."

SILK deplores slavery. They have said so in their
emails to you. That is their official response.

However, they continue to be part of the problem
by not taking a responsible position.

HERSHEY Chocolate Company's position is that
Ivory Coast is a sovereign nation, and they will
Continue to buy their chocolate because they do
not want to do damage to Ivory Coast's economic
system.

Men and women of conscience must be one on
this issue. An economic system based upon child
slavery is not worth saving.

Here is a statement that was recently made by
WHITE WAVE and SILK. I reject their words
and actions. I reject their corporate philosophy,
which subordinates decency and integrity to
corporate profit.

SILK'S STATEMENT

"White Wave is helping in the fight against child
slavery within the chocolate industry by financially
supporting two key, yet different efforts - The
Chocolate Manufacturers Association and a
coalition of U.S. government and child welfare
groups working to enact new policy; and Save
the Children, an international child welfare
organization with personnel on the ground
in West Africa helping children currently being
abused.

The CMA, the U.S. government and child
welfare groups are taking action to change policy.

By 2005, the coalition will implement credible,
industry-wide standards and certification that
cocoa beans and their derivative products have
been grown without child labor."

By 2005? I am outraged. I am certain that you are too.

At this time of year in which "Peace on Earth and
Good Will to Men" reverberates, take a moment
to consider that little boy or girl who cries in
despair and torment in a world that makes no
sense. Consider that child the next time you
are tempted to purchase SILK'S very delicious
soymilk products.

Three years ago they pledged to end the 21st century
horror story. The world seems to have forgotten,
and SILK's corporate policy is the true problem, not
the false solution. The slick marketing people speak
with SILK tongues...

Robert Cohen
http://www.notmilk.com

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Ugh.  That's no good.  I don't buy Silk since it's owned by a dairy company (but really, what company isn't owned by some huge, disgusting corporation).  It bothers me that Silk tries to put forth this green, ethical image and then they do stuff like this.  >:(

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So many blocks on our road! I buy mainly So Nice, but will stay away from Silk.

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