Mad about Meat

Remember this?

Two weeks ago, when word of this investigation leaked, Central Florida school districts pulled beef from their menus. Smart move on their part.

A disturbing undercover video showing cows too sick to stand being shoved with forklifts or dragged with chains across a cement floor at a Southern California slaughterhouse has sparked the largest beef recall in the nation’s history.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ordered a recall of 143 million pounds of beef Sunday evening from Chino-based Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., which is the subject of an animal-abuse investigation. The recall affects beef products dating back to Feb. 1, 2006 that came from the company. — ABC

So, did they put animals too ill to stand into the national food supply?

The USDA said it had evidence Westland did not routinely contact its veterinarian when cattle became nonambulatory after passing inspection, which violates health regulations.

Federal regulations call for keeping downed cattle out of the food supply because they may pose a higher contamination risk from E. coli, mad cow disease or salmonella.

So far, no illnesses have been linked to the recalled beef and officials said they believe the majority of it already has been consumed. — ABC

I’m guessing, that’s a yes with a side of retch. To put this into some perspective, if you get 900 pounds of meat off a carcas, that’s @160,000 steers whose lives were wasted in order to shave a few bucks off the top.

I raise a small amount of livestock for personal consumption. I get that what I do on my small farm in terms of care of my animals is not what works on large scale farming, but dammit, it IS possible to raise animals for food without abuse. I have toured commercial egg facilities and while I’m sure my birds are much happier, the birds in cages are clean, fed and watered. My pig and steer are regualrly wormed and fed a wholesome diet appropriate to their species. They taste good, and are appreciated at my dinner table. My kids know where meat comes from and are involved in caring for these animals we will eventually consume.

We could learn a few things from Native Americans about how we look at the food we kill in order to survive. We are so disconnected from the circle of life we don’t see or respect it.

The Bush adminstration has routinely gutted the FDA to the point of complete inability to police our food supply. We aren’t much help when we don’t respect the animals enough to demand better.

50 Responses to “Mad about Meat”

  1. Dating Advice - Anything ‘08 : Blog Archive : Two weeks ago, when word of this investigatio n leaked, Central Says:

    […] Killer sentenced to drew life sentences. wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptHal lmark Meat Co., which is the subject of an animal-abuse investigatio n. The recall affects beef products dating back to Feb. 1, 2006 that… […]

  2. Alex Says:

    Jet Netwal, your post raises many important questions, which should be addressed.

    Quote:

    “We could learn a few things from Native Americans about how we look at the food we kill in order to survive.”

    Do we need meat to survive? Do Native Americans currently living today, need meat to survive?

    Quote:

    “…We are so disconnected from the circle of life we don’t see or respect it.

    I have toured commercial egg facilities and while I’m sure my birds are much happier, the birds in cages are clean, fed and watered… My pig and steer are regularly wormed and fed a wholesome diet appropriate to their species. They taste good, and are appreciated at my dinner table. My kids know where meat comes from and are involved in caring for these animals we will eventually consume.”

    When you speak in terms such as “my birds,” “my pig” or “my steer,” are you defining these animals as your property? Further, is it in keeping with the “circle of life” to bring a being into existence for the sole purpose of slaughter? This action seems to belie your connection to and respect for the “circle of life.” Creating the artificial conditions necessary to bring an animal into existence injects unnatural processes into the natural “circle of life,” which is quite contrary to respecting the interconnection of all that is in Nature. Indeed, artificially breeding, raising, and inevitably killing an animal removes the process from the “circle of life,” creating instead a new system of property, i.e., non-human animal property.

    Quote:

    “We aren’t much help when we don’t respect the animals enough to demand better.”

    Why don’t we “respect the animals enough” to recognize how all slaughter, regardless of the process, is cruel? Cruelty is the infliction of pain or distress – causing suffering. However, to be more liberal with the definition, cruelty is the infliction of unnecessary suffering. Thus, as it is undeniable that the human species can survive healthily without consuming animal flesh, isn’t all animal killing for food unnecessarily cruel? The justification for consuming flesh is not one of necessity, it is one of overriding the basic interest of an animal to live for the end of satisfying the human palate – preference of “taste”? Which can only be justified if animals are viewed as property - things, not beings.

    As it were, I think the collective ‘we’ should stop deluding ourselves into believing that animal consumption is necessary, that one can consume animal flesh whilst still respecting the animal (if “respect” is to truly mean anything substantive), that any slaughter of any kind is ever NOT cruel, and that the process is a part of the natural “circle of life.”

    What do you think, Jet?

    Go Vegan!

  3. Dusty Says:

    As a resident of SoCali..this just thrills me to no end.

  4. Jet Netwal Says:

    Hi Alex,

    Native Americans are typo O blood type, which is the original type. Meat eating, hunting lifestyle. My best friend is and Oneida, and yes, they still hunt on the reservation, although I think it is more an individual endeavor than tribal,

    I certainly respect your nutrutional choices, but I don’t think you’re going to sway the nation in the short run. That said, more power to you for trying. In the meantime, a little public outrage over the quality of life animals destined to food endure can’t hurt.

    Dusty, this meat went nationwide, so you’re not alone in the boat.

  5. Alex Says:

    Quote:

    “Native Americans are typo O blood type, which is the original type…Meat eating, hunting lifestyle. My best friend is and Oneida, and yes, they still hunt on the reservation, although I think it is more an individual endeavor than tribal…”

    So, consuming animals is not about “survival” (as your post contends) but about tradition. I would respond by saying that appeals to “tradition” are not ethically substantive. Indeed, many great historical evils have been defended on the grounds of tradition, e.g. slavery, strict patriarchies, genocide.

    Limiting, to the greatest extent possible, my exploitation of animals (i.e., going Vegan) is not a “nutritional choice” – or a diet; it is the logical extension of our often collectively stated views regarding animals, our treatment of them, and our respect for them. Indeed, I raise questions about your post Jet, because what logically follows from your statements about respecting animals or the “circle of life” is a life free from unnaturally raising an animal simply for the end of exploiting it. It appears that your actions belie your stated beliefs. You have deluded yourself into believing that “a little public outrage over the quality of life animals destined to food” is ethically responsible, in keeping with your respect for animals and recognition of the “circle of life.”

    My arguments may not sway the nation, however, if I can identify areas of an argument that are unsound, unreasonable assumptions or explicit contradictions in one’s worldview – especially as the worldview in question is made to justify the killing of another being - I feel my efforts are not wasted (it is ethically right to do so). Further, intellectual honesty and ethics/morality demand a thorough consideration of one’s beliefs, as to avoid simple prejudice. I think that you would do well Jet, to consider my statements; to truly contemplate if you respect animals or the natural “circle of life,” and if your actions conform to the results of your contemplation.

    Go Vegan!

  6. Christopher Radulich Says:

    The natural circle of life for most if not all life is to be eaten by some one else. Even life with no predators gets eaten in the end by the bacteria.

  7. Jet Netwal Says:

    Oh, I don’t think that the animals hunted on the reservation are for sport, but for food. There is a great deal of poverty there.

    Touche’ Christopher.

  8. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Go omnivorous!

  9. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Although the natives deplored the wastefulness of the colonists in slaughtering bison merely for pelts, leaving rotting carcasses strewn across the valley, it was the wastefulness and unsustainable excess that they deplored, not the killing of bison, which they themselves did. The difference was the reverence with which the native regarded the bison — although that reverence did not extend to refusing to kill them in ways that were likely quite painful to the animal — and the utility to which the native put every part of the animal that they killed. They still ate the meat.

    One might notice that man’s mouth is adorned with both incisors, canines and molars…just perfect for a meal of steak and salad.

  10. Alex Says:

    What, if anything at all, is natural about how the animals we consume are produced? Citing the “circle of life” as justification for consuming animals, in the face of how the meat we eat is produced, would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerously dishonest.

    Again, how are appeals to “tradition” ethically substantive? I may articulate an argument against racism through sound reasoning, which a racist may respond too by appealing to a racist ideology traditionally espoused within their community, their family or their culture. Would the racist be on solid ethical grounds?

    Man’s digestive track is harmed by red meat as it is quite difficult to process; man’s teeth are also not designed to tear flesh from bone. Either way, I don’t argue that man has not evolved to consume both flesh and plants, however, man has evolved through violent processes, which have had profound effects on our psychological and physical make-up. Unconsidered beliefs, and appeals to evolution would (and have) engender violence as a means to any given end - more specifically, sexual satisfaction for men. However, to consider our beliefs, and challenge what is “natural to man” is something we humans believe make us unique, yes?

    Further, (I don’t, but for the sake of argument) I will grant you your point on Native Americans, however, how is this relevant to the great majority of those other Americans who consume animals?

    It’s interesting how when it suits us, human beings cite our superiority to other animal species to justify our exploitation of them; when it doesn’t, we claim to be just another animal - like a snake pursuing a rat.

    “Go Vegan” is not an anthem, as is “Go Omnivore’s.” I literally mean, go Vegan (i.e., stop consciously exploiting animals).

  11. Alex Says:

    What do you all think?

    Go Vegan!

  12. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    What, if anything at all, is natural about how the animals we consume are produced?

    Ethics are relative. African Muslims carve up the genitalia of their young girls and sequester them for the entirety of their lives from the time they are the property of the father until they are the property of her husband. To us, this is grotesque. To them, this is simply what is best for the girl, the family, and their culture. It is pointless to argue that such treatment amounts to torture and human rights violations. They look at like you like you’re a lunatic. My point is, ethics are not universal, they are largely cultural.

    The way we produce our food from animals is natural in the sense that nature has provided us with the tools to do so. We’re more efficient at feeding ourselves than most of nature. We’ve learned to provide ourselves with a steady meal. Nature has provided us with the brain-power to do what the lion cannot: guarantee three square meals a day of nutritious food. I don’t see man as somehow outside of nature just because we have physical (extra brain structures, opposable thumbs, mouth structures conducive to the spoken language) and mental advantages (provided by the conjunction of the extra brain structures, opposable thumbs and spoken language) that the rest of nature lacks. Everything we do is natural because we are the product of millions of years of evolution, the most natural force of all.

    Citing the “circle of life” as justificatio n for consuming animals, in the face of how the meat we eat is produced, would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerously dishonest.

    Well, obviously I disagree that there’s anything dishonest about it. It is obviously and self-evidently true. Instead of tearing our food apart raw (which, as you point out, our teeth are no longer suited for, although at some point in our past they must have been so suited) while it is still alive (and how different, better or more natural is that vicious violence than how we produce our food?), we husband, domesticate, feed, slaughter, carve, safely store, purchase and cook our food. I don’t see how that makes our system any less a part of the circle of life than the lion chasing down an old and lame animal and tearing into it.

    By the way, by “Go omnivorous”, I meant nothing more or less than, “Eat meat and vegetables”. I don’t know what you’re talking about by an anthem.

    The lion is superior to the antelope it eats. It exploits the antelope’s weakness to provide itself with sustenance. I don’t get the difference. Again, we’re merely more efficient at exploiting the food chain.

  13. Alex Says:

    As ethics aren’t universal – but cultural – would you be comfortable accepting the sexist’s claims of superiority over women, because as you say, ethics are subjective? Or, would you choose to challenge the sexist’s reasoning? Likewise, the property status of women for African Muslims is something you don’t feel obliged – in the ethical sense – to challenge, as their culture justifies such treatment? And, why is this treatment of women “grotesque” to you? If it is merely a cultural difference, you can hardly justify labeling such behavior grotesque as “grotesque” appeals to the ethical or moral unsoundness of the action – or do you mean simply gross to look at? Or (and even if) ethics are relative, which I do not believe they are, would you choose to challenge the reasoning that the justification for this treatment of women is predicated on? If confronted with a racist American, would you allow racist vitriol to go unchallenged, due to ethical relativity? Or, would you provide a reasoned opposition to racism?

    I don’t believe this…and neither do you, or else you would not be a reader of this or any other blog. Actions demand justification; if the action suffers harm on the type of being susceptible to being harmed, then this becomes an issue of ethical significance.

    Quote:

    “The lion is superior to the antelope it eats. It exploits the antelope’s weakness to provide itself with sustenance. I don’t get the difference. Again, we’re merely more efficient at exploiting the food chain.”

    So, for you, might makes right, ethically or morally speaking? If I was to beat my mother (so severely as to prove my superiority), would that make my action ethically justified – as you argue, might makes right? If a lion were to eat me, would you argue that the lion had ethical justification for doing so? Human beings concern themselves with ethical consideration because we are the type of being that can do such things – we have a responsibility to do so.

    The creation of artificial conditions, and the removal of animals from nature and turning them into our “things,” is natural due to our elevated brain power? What of those among us who do not have such brain power (e.g., infants, the mentally handicapped, the senile)? As a member of the human species, can they still benefit from our exploitation of animals, it’s just not ethically justified? Is it something else? What of those members of other species that have an elevated brain power, e.g. primates, however, as they lack both the numbers and desire to exploit human beings, they choose not too? Would these animals be ethically justified in exploiting the lesser of our own species as they are superior, mentally speaking, then an infant child, or a mentally retarded human being?

    Quote:

    “…I don’t see how that makes our system any less a part of the circle of life than the lion chasing down an old and lame animal and tearing into it.”

    Does the lion artificially breed, domesticate, raise, and exploit the old and lame animal prior to tearing into it? The lion is quite literally acting within nature – and from nature. The human species creates the artificial structures necessary to create a new “natural circle of life.” You must see this difference.

    Finally, by your justification, i.e., human species superiority, men can ethically dominate women because there are ways that nature made men superior to women – generally speaking, as are you when you speak of elevated brain power. What if it was found that one race, say whites, are mentally superior, generally speaking, and then blacks? Would whites be ethically justified in exploiting this inferiority for their races ends? Obviously and as you say, self-evidently, this is not true. Ethical demands often trump nature, thus citing general, natural superiority as a defense leaves you open to accepting various evils as justified as well.

    Go Omnivores? Did you mean go omnivore, or eat both plants and animals? Because if you did, you may want to remove the ‘s’ from omnivore, or else your statement and following defense of it makes very little sense.

    Go Vegan!

  14. Alex Says:

    What do you all think?

  15. Christopher Radulich Says:

    I don’t see the lion as superior except if you are talking about the food chain.

    Does the lion artificially breed, domesticate, raise, and exploit the old and lame animal prior to tearing into it?

    No but only because he is incapable of it. There have been many examples of lions killing more than they can eat when the conditions are right. It’s not normal because it takes too much of an effort. By the way they also don’t wear clothes or carry guns.

  16. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    What, if anything at all, is natural about how the animals we consume are produced?

    Ethics are relative. African Muslims carve up the genitalia of their young girls and sequester them for the entirety of their lives from the time they are the property of the father until they are the property of her husband. To us, this is grotesque. To them, this is simply what is best for the girl, the family, and their culture. It is pointless to argue that such treatment amounts to torture and human rights violations. They look at like you like you’re a lunatic. My point is, ethics are not universal, they are largely cultural.

    The way we produce our food from animals is natural in the sense that nature has provided us with the tools to do so. We’re more efficient at feeding ourselves than most of nature. We’ve learned to provide ourselves with a steady meal. Nature has provided us with the brain-power to do what the lion cannot: guarantee three square meals a day of nutritious food. I don’t see man as somehow outside of nature just because we have physical (extra brain structures, opposable thumbs, mouth structures conducive to the spoken language) and mental advantages (provided by the conjunction of the extra brain structures, opposable thumbs and spoken language) that the rest of nature lacks. Everything we do is natural because we are the product of millions of years of evolution, the most natural force of all.

    Citing the “circle of life” as justificatio n for consuming animals, in the face of how the meat we eat is produced, would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerously dishonest.

    Well, obviously I disagree that there’s anything dishonest about it. It is obviously and self-evidently true. Instead of tearing our food apart raw (which, as you point out, our teeth are no longer suited for, although at some point in our past they must have been so suited) while it is still alive (and how different, better or more natural is that vicious violence than how we produce our food?), we husband, domesticate, feed, slaughter, carve, safely store, purchase and cook our food. I don’t see how that makes our system any less a part of the circle of life than the lion chasing down an old and lame animal and tearing into it.

    By the way, by “Go omnivorous”, I meant nothing more or less than, “Eat meat and vegetables”. I don’t know what you’re talking about by an anthem.

    The lion is superior to the antelope it eats. It exploits the antelope’s weakness to provide itself with sustenance. I don’t get the difference. Again, we’re merely more efficient at exploiting the food chain.

    I don’t believe this…and neither do you

    I’ll make a deal with you. Don’t tell me what I believe and we’ll get along just fine. Otherwise, I may get testy.

    or else you would not be a reader of this or any other blog. Actions demand justificatio n; if the action suffers harm on the type of being susceptible to being harmed, then this becomes an issue of ethical significance .

    I’ve been justifying my point of view. You just don’t accept my arguments. Consider yourself more ethically advanced if you must. Most here consider themselves more ethically advanced than I. I can live with that.

    Christopher,

    I meant superior as in higher on the food chain. As for the rest of your comment, exactly my point.

  17. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    You must see this difference.

    Must I? Yes, I do see it. I just don’t agree that it makes the difference that you do. And the fact that I see humans above cows and pigs, and do not object to eating them does not mean that I must, by the same rationale, agree with eating women and blacks. I feel a commonality and community with women and blacks, and indeed, with all human beings by virtue of their being human beings, that I do not feel with those species off which we feed.

  18. Alex Says:

    So Craig, you justify exploiting animals because you don’t share species with them, i.e., they are not human beings. What follows from this reasoning is that you are unable to defend against the racist who would cite “race” as ethically significant when deciding who will be exploited, and who will not be. Craig, how will you justify racial equality in the face of this contradiction - against a racist who argues that as you cite species as ethically significant, they will cite race (for all the same reasons (e.g. common community, commonalities) you believe human beings should not be eaten)? Is the racist ethically justified in their position?

    Craig, why would you attempt to justify your point of view if everything is relative, as you claimed earlier when I defended my argument by an appeal to ethics? When you argue your point of view are simply wasting your time - arguing without a foundation - because everything is subjective? Or, are you saying that what we eat is not ethically substantive? The latter is an important question; the former makes me question your reasons for even attempting to defend any of your positions. So again, I don’t believe that ethics (or any subject of importance) are relative…and neither do you.

    You also cite our elevated mental powers as justifying our exploitation of animals, i.e., we are now more efficacious at getting our meat. Well, I question the assumption that your argument is predicated upon. Consider our current system of food production, Craig. We use nearly 13 pounds of grain to produce one edible pound of cow; around 30 pounds of corn to produce one edible pound of pig; further, our current system is not built on sustainability, as is expressed in our deterioration of the land on which factory farms are located. For these reasons, and many others, I would say that we are indeed not employing our elevated mental powers to more efficaciously provide ourselves with food. In actuality, there is neither anything pragmatic or natural about how we produce food.

    What do you think, Craig?

    Christopher, so we are simply another animal in the “circle of life;” we are just pursuing our interests as any other animal would? Which explicitly argues against Craig’s claims of superiority as a justification - indeed, for you Christopher, there is nothing unique or special about human beings, we are just living our lives.

    Two competing claims here: one, human beings are superior, which justifies exploiting the inferiorities of other species, an argument that can be applied to justify female subjugation to men for example (this is the line of reasoning that Craig must accept to be consistent); or, we are all animals, simply seeking ends at whatever means, i.e., might makes right (what follows is that all superior beings (in power) are justified in exploiting all inferior beings - something you must accept Christopher to be consistent).

    I am arguing from another ethical standpoint; a position that I believes rejects the two competing claims here, and is in keeping with the common principles we as a nation argue in favor of, i.e., suffering is bad, equality of like interests defends against treating another “person” as mere means, and that there is no ethical justification for excluding animals from our sphere of moral concern.

    What do you two think about this? Am I correct?

    Go Vegan!

  19. Alex Says:

    I think that we should consider what principles we appeal too, when justifying our exploitation of animals. I don’t believe that I am ethically superior to you, Craig. I am trying to show you where your reasoning logically goes, and in so doing, I am trying to both illuminate the deficiencies in your reasoning and an argument in favor of Veganism. I believe this is important when it comes to what we eat because unlike lions, for example, who require meat to survive (i.e., carnivores), we can survive quite healthily without meat. As suffering is a necessary pre-requisite for the exploitation of animals - made unnecessary because we can survive without eating meat - and as we commonly view suffering as “bad,” this is an issue of great importance.

  20. christopher Radulich Says:

    Christopher, so we are simply another animal in the “circle of life;” we are just pursuing our interests as any other animal would? Which explicitly argues against Craig’s claims of superiority as a justificatio n - indeed, for you Christopher, there is nothing unique or special about human beings, we are just living our lives.

    Absolutely

    However , because we can think, we express a code that we believe makes the world( our individual immediate world) a better place to live. For most of our history this has meant death, slavery, or repression for those not of the ruling group.

    To go back to lions. They also have their own code. To the best of my knowledge they do not eat each other. The also have a hierarchy in the pride. The zebras, antelopes, and other prey also have their code of conduct. To the best of my knowledge the lions don’t care.

  21. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    1. Christopher and I are not advancing competing theories. When I say we are superior to other animals in our food chain, I mean that we are above them in the food chain…as I made clear at the end of my comment at 4:52 pm.

    2. It is not that I see nothing unique about human beings. We write novels, plays, poetry, drama, science-fiction, non-fiction tomes in history, psychology, economics, politics. We produce realistic art, conduct scientific experiments, computers, the internet, blogs, discuss ethics, as well as things I’ve mentioned in earlier comments: have brain structures not shared with other species, opposable thumbs and have developed languages capable of infinite variety in the communication of ideas), domesticate animals for food. There are plenty of unique things about humans that distinguish us from other species. I just don’t agree with you that anything that distinguishes us from other species requires us to abstain from eating other species of animals.

    3. Defending racial equality is not within my capability but not because of my position on the relative position of humans to other species in our food chain but because I don’t believe that all races are equal. What I contend for is that all humans, by virtue of being humans, must be treated equally before the law. For this, all I need is to show that humans are humans and that the U. S. Constitution requires that all people be treated equally before the law. Whether one race or gender might have superior average I. Q., might be muscularly stronger, might swifter, taller, shorter, more or less prone to particular diseases or, yes, might have what I consider to be superior or inferior cultures are all irrelevant to anything I’ve argued here and have nothing to do with my ability to argue for equal treatment before the law.

    4. I defend my point of view over another, in spite of believing that ethics are largely cultural and, therefore, relative because just because these things are relative does not bar one being superior to another. I argue against Female Genital Mutilation because it causes needless and terrible pain to children; because it unnecessarily fiddles with natural design; because, usually being performed with unsterile conditions and implements, it endangers childrens’ lives; because by removing the clitoris, it needlessly denies the woman future sexual pleasure; because it is hubristic, pretending that men who have never undergone the operation have the slightest idea what it does to the child and the woman; because humans should have the right to their bodily integrity (to keep all the parts they were born with unless, being diseased, they threaten the child’s life) and on and on. None of these arguments have the slightest rational connection to whether we eat pigs and chickens and so have no deleterious effect upon my ability to defend my point of view.

    You see, saying that ethics are largely cultural and, therefore, relative, does not imply that all ethics are equal. It just means that people of one culture are unlikely to understand the ethics of other cultures or, for example, be able to simply, by rational argument, convince African Muslims that FGM is wrong and should be stopped, that women should be educated the same as men, or that women should be treated as autonomous individuals rather than adjuncts to men.

    6. I wouldn’t say that what we eat is not ethically substantive but that the ethics of what we eat, in my opinion, has little to do with the animals. Sure, I’d prefer that animals be treated humanely as possible but mostly the ethics of what we eat has to do with making sure that diseased animals don’t enter our food chain, that diseases connected with the preparation of food be held to a minimum through safe food handling practices.

    Animals are not human beings and I see no reason to value them equally with human beings or to abstain from eating them.

    7. The word I used was “efficient”, not “efficacious” and I used it in the sense that we humans at least in the Western world, need never go without food. We have developed practices which, if practiced everywhere in the world, could feed every man, woman and child on the planet every day, three nutritious meals a day. In that sense, we are more efficient than, say, lions, that constantly struggle to obtain food and sometimes go for long stretches of time without food.

    As you say, there are trade-offs resulting in inefficiencies but that there are people in the world that starve to death is not a result of the inefficiencies that you point out. It has, rather, to do with many things, including but by no means exhaustively listing: wastefulness among the wealthy nations, overindulgence, thoughtlessness for the needs of the needy by those who have the most, corruption at the top of nations that have the least, wars, civil wars, genocide, hatred, bigotry etc., etc., etc. None of this has anything to do with how much grain is used to feed animals. The problem is largely waste, not scarcity.

    Since you are now repeating claims about what I believe and claims about my inconsistency that simply are not true, I’m going to end my participation in the discussion now. I’ve explained my position. I’ll leave it to readers to decide between our arguments. Life is too short.

    Anyway, that’s what I think.

    Have a nice evening!

  22. Alex Says:

    Good responses, both of you.

    However, please consider what we believe by the notion of “equality.” When we argue that all persons are equal we do not mean to cite a description of literal equality of certain characteristics, as you seem to be arguing, Craig. If this were true, by your logic, those who fail to have any given characteristic, e.g., elevated mental powers, would necessarily be left out of your sphere of concern (e.g. infants, mentally retarded); likewise, members of other species that have any given characteristic will necessarily be allowed into your sphere of moral concern. To deny this Craig, is logically inconsistent with your position. You attempt to rectify this inconsistency by appealing to “species membership,” i.e., human beings count, ethically, because they are human. But by doing this, Craig, you are wholly incapable of defending against the racist who would appeal to “race” - as opposed to species - when deciding who will be given ethical consideration. As you fail to argue against the racist, you say that you don’t need to do so because you can simply appeal to the law; however, as any American can attest too, the law is flawed - it is not infallible. Thus, I am arguing from an ethical viewpoint, and in so doing, I believe that we should alter the flawed law. (As did the abolitionists of our past who challenged and continue to challenge racial or gender discrimination.)

    I avoid your logical inconsistency as I view equality as not a matter-of-fact, or a description, but as a prescription for action. In so doing, I consider ethical arguments of the past, our common belies about equality, and the underlying moral “badness” of suffering. In so doing, I allow non-human animals entrance into my sphere of concern; I, unlike you, need not alleviate my inconsistencies by appealing to “species,” which, when thoughtfully considered, is no different than the bigoted who would appeal to something such as “race” or “religion.”

    Craig, you have explained your position; I have explained why your position fails, if indeed you would like to maintain a consistent ethical position that does not entirely hollow-out the ethical/moral concept of “equality.” Craig, you are committing yourself to accepting the racist as having an ethically sound reason for not attributing blacks, whites, etc. full equality.

    …life is too short, however, as someone quite intelligent has said, an unexamined life is not worth living. Craig, if you believe life is too short, why even participate in any argument of any substance? You don’t believe that life is too short, you, like every other carnivore, would like to avoid truly considering the ethics of what we eat.

    Craig, if it is about “efficiency,” and as you admit the issue is about “waste,” don’t you believe that eventually that “waste” will lead to “scarcity”? I do. Which is why I argue that humans are not employing their elevated mental powers to create an “efficacious” system of food production. Further, people in the Western world DO go without food - around 30 million daily are indeed, “food insecure.” So, again, the assumption that your argument is predicated upon is flawed, which challenges the validity of your argument.

    Craig, how can you say that what we eat is ethically substantive, while saying that “this has little to do with animals,” when a large portion of what we are eating are animals? What you are saying is inconsistent on its face, Craig. Why would what we eat ethically matter if animals, something that we eat, has little to do with it? Do plants matter; does the land? If they do, each of these things are affected by our actions in regards to….ANIMALS! You are confusing your own argument.

    Craig, you cannot end the conversation without addressing the flaws and prejudices that you employ as sound justification. If you end the conversation without addressing the flaws in your reasoning, that is quite telling and the readers will recognize that.

    Christopher,

    So, are you justifying a powerful group oppression of minority groups? We have merely been enlightened to see that this is a “better place to live,” however, “better” is of course an ethical statement. Which implies that ethics are important for you, Christopher. As such, your ethical position is that “might makes right,” which explicitly argues in favor of allowing minority group oppression as an ethical position. Are you committing yourself to this?

    Consider these arguments….what do we all think? There is silence because, like you Craig, people don’t want to consider this issue as the results are unquestionably deteriorating to our concept of “equality.”

    Go Vegan!

  23. Christopher Radulich Says:

    No i do not believe oppressing any people. I even believe in humane treatment of animals. One reason is that the better we treat animals the better the odds of treating fellow humans humanely. However eating animals is not treating them inhumanly. You are not a better person because you chose or do not chose to eat meat.

  24. Alex Says:

    I certainly see what you are saying Christopher, as I do with what Craig is saying. But consider this for moment, Christopher.

    You are no longer arguing that “might makes right,” i.e., the powerful will do what they want, and the weak what they can, as an ethical position in defense of consuming animals. As you said, you don’t believe in oppressing people, which appeals to the ethical concept of “equality.” I agree with you. However, you seem to be arguing, and please correct me if I am wrong, that while duties are owed directly to humans (i.e., people shouldn’t be oppressed), we do not owe direct duties to animals (we may treat them humanely, but this is primarily because we will treat other humans more humanely, e.g.). As Craig was arguing, membership in the human species is the necessary characteristic for one to be considered ethically relevant. This is problematic, as Craig’s inconsistencies proved.

    If you decide to place humans in your sphere of concern, just because they are human, on what grounds can you defend against the oppression of people some other person decides to keep out of their sphere of concern due to some other characteristic (membership in the white race, for example)? Is it not inconsistent to argue that no people should be oppressed, while at the same time being unable to defend against an argument that employs the exact same reasoning your are employing in defense of consuming animals, for the oppression of some people - Christians, for example, as membership in one religion may be considered to be the necessary requirement for one to be considered ethically relevant.

    The question is not about “humane treatment,” Christopher. The question is can we ethically justify (a justification necessary as suffering is central to the subject under consideration) exploiting animals at all. Whether the exploitation is humane or not is of very little importance to me.

    Quote:

    “You are not a better person because you chose or do not chose to eat meat.”

    I agree Christopher, I am arguing however, that my views are consistent with common, intuitive, and reasoned appeals made in Western culture and most ethical/moral theories; my views are the necessary (if one is to be consistent) and logical extension of what I believe to be the primary ethical concept of any good cultures foundation, i.e., equality of like interests.

    Do you see what I am saying? It’s difficult to accept my argument because it is so easily dismissed due to its minority status. The majority view argues differently, we have been conditioned to accept the majority view (without truly thinking about it), and our lifestyles are grounded to a large extent, in accepting the majority view. However, this reason (i.e., accepting the majority view) was used against ending slavery, and racial discrimination; it was used against allowing women the vote, against religious bigotry. We must examine our prejudices and beliefs, and we must be consistent, Christopher.

    Go Vegan!

  25. Alex Says:

    Jet Netwal, what do you think about all this? You began the conversation….

  26. Jet Netwal Says:

    You can just call me Jet, Alex. No need for full names.

    I’m a seventh generation American farmer, Alex. I raise animals for personal consumption. I care for them, and then we eat them, and I’m completely OK with this. I don’t condone poorly run, abusive slaughter houses, and I think they should be forced to meet a humane standard, or cease operation. I think that human are going to continue to eat meat and that providing a humane living condition for animals destined for slaughter is appropriate.

    That’s my position. I’m not going to get all esoteric about it, because I’m fine with it. Seven generations of us are fine with it, and frankly, considering the number of soybeans and corn we’ver produced to feed this country, we’ve done more to ensure that non-meat options are produced than a lot of people.

  27. Christopher Radulich Says:

    First of the western culture you are talking about is 50 to 150 years old with many exceptions along the way( see hitler, communism, lynchings, jim crow). Secondly if your a christian and believe in the bible

    “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”

    There is nothing in this that says - but treat them nicely.

    Once again animals are not human. Assuming no other choice if your car had to hit a human or a dog what would you do? I would hit the dog.

  28. Alex Says:

    Jet,

    Several generations were fine with slavery – the system of human property – until someone articulated a new, reasoned argument against a system of human property. Appealing to tradition is baseless, if one’s actions are justified solely on the grounds of “tradition”; without examining the ethical soundness of tradition Jet, one could justify wholly unethical practices. The animals you exploit know they are being exploited, i.e., they are sentient. Doesn’t this change anything for you? Consider evolution Jet, we are not far removed from the very same animals you exploit to satisfy your palate; given the similarities between humans and those animals you exploit (from an evolutionary standpoint), how can an appeal to “tradition” argue against a reasoned argument in favor of animal rights?

    Christopher,

    Quote:

    “First of the western culture you are talking about is 50 to 150 years old with many exceptions along the way (see Hitler, communism, lynching’s, Jim Crow).”

    I don’t understand your point? I would argue that like our exploitation of animals, the above examples devastated the ethical concept of “equality of like interests,” and were challenged accordingly. Wouldn’t you agree?

    Regarding Christianity, Christopher, what occurred prior to the beginning of a diet of meat consumption, for both humans and animals; when God initially created man and animal, what was consumed for food? The answer to the first question is the fall – “Original Sin”; the answer to the second is fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. See the Bible for support. Prior to Eve eating the forbidden fruit, both man and animal lived on a Vegan diet; post-the fall, man began exploiting animals for flesh, and some animals became carnivores. Further, as Jet appeals to tradition, which unfortunately has been employed to justify the very “exceptions” to ethical behavior you cite (e.g. lynching’s, Jim Crow), Christianity has been similarly used to justify all manner of evils, e.g. gender discrimination, slavery, genocide.

    So, appeals to religion as a justification for action do have their place. However, to ground your reason for doing X on tradition (i.e., my family has always done it) or Christianity (i.e., the Bible says so) is flawed; a method of argument easily challenged by reason, logic, and common sense. This sentence, “There is nothing in this that says - but treat them nicely” (regarding the biblical passage quoted) proves my point, Christopher. Any truly ethical system would argue that if a being is capable of suffering, our treatment of that being is significant. Wouldn’t you agree?

    The challenge you laid out before me is interesting, the true “burning house question.” I would hit the dog; however, Christopher, in that same scenario if your choice was between an elderly human and an infant human which person would you hit? I would hit the elderly adult, however, this does not speak to an ethical choice – it is just an extreme circumstance where a choice must be made: both equally good, and both equally bad. Consider this, I would hit the elderly person, however, that does not justify me exploiting said elderly person for their flesh, for entertainment, or for medical experimentation. The same applies to the “dog scenario” you articulated; it is just a choice that must be made, but it does not justify eating the dog if you like the taste of dog flesh. Am I wrong, Christopher? Don’t you still need a justification for not being Vegan?

    Go Vegan!

  29. christopher Radulich Says:

    I don’t remember going for cannibalism. I would eat the dog with a clear conscience.

  30. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Man, you’ve made me hungry for a dog…a hot dog, I mean. ;-)

  31. Alex Says:

    Christopher, you are avoiding the questions I pose. I raise questions about what follows from your argument; I responded to your scenario, honestly, while again raising other questions. I did this believing that you are honestly evaluating my argument and in so doing delving into your beliefs. Was I wrong?

    Questioning things has inherent value; you want to avoid doing this, i.e., questioning, because it makes you uncomfortable - you have been conditioned to believe as you do about animals, and disregard those reasonable questions about your assumptions.

  32. Alex Says:

    Craig,

    I find your joke as amusing as a racial slur about how I see the value in slavery after doing a hard days work in my mothers yard. Craig, this is about suffering - the suffering of the kind of beings capable of experiencing pain and pleasure; beings who will never know what it is like to live as their nature demands.

  33. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Alex,

    And I find you as tedious as my high school history teacher. I am not here to amuse you.

  34. Christopher Radulich Says:

    You have no arguement and no support as that adam & eve did not eat meat. It only says that they could not eat of the forbidden fruit.

    You believe it is ethical correct and I say if that what you like go for it. I believe it is ethical correct to eat meat and will continue to do so.

  35. Alex Says:

    Craig,

    Why are you here then, if not to participate in the conversation? To simply mock and dismiss a minority view, despite the merit of said view; does my view and my critique of your view have any merit? Your attempt at humor proves my point about the majority’s insistence on avoiding a reasoned discourse about their beliefs - as was the case with abolition, gender rights, ethnic minority rights, for example. Craig, you are typical.

    (And, I find you to be the archetypical immature student who refuses to be educated because it’s simpler to accept what their parents have told them.)

    Christopher,

    Quote:

    “You have no argument and no support as that adam & eve did not eat meat. It only says that they could not eat of the forbidden fruit.”

    My point is sound. i.e., Man perfected, prior to his fall and “Original Sin,” was Vegan according to the same source you appealed to in support of consuming animals. How is my point inaccurate, Christopher? God made Man perfected; a state of perfection that was characterized by the complete absence of suffering in the world; “Original Sin” altered this situation, and suffering resulted. Are you a Christian Christopher? How does a Christian argue that “God is good” while in the same breath admitting that God does not care about the suffering of his creation? This is logically inconsistent – a wholly unethical system.

    My further point, citing a biblical referance (or “tradition”) as a source of ethical justification for the infliction of suffering on another sentient being is also sound. Have you a counter argument, Christopher?

    Your scenario was employed to justify an ethical distinction between non-human animals and human animals, my response proved such an argument lacking. Your fail to respond further supports my argument.

    Christopher, you like Craig, have been confronted with the inconsistencies of your argument in support of consuming animals; I also illuminated what logically follows from your attempted justifications. As both you and Craig failed to respond to the critique, I find your statement, “I believe it is ethically correct to eat meat and will continue to do so,” questionable. Do you believe consuming animals to be ethical, and if you do, why don’t you articulate a sound argument supporting the practice - an argument that defends against inconsistencies with the ethical concept of “equality of like interests,” and the troubling consequences that follow from your reasoning?

    The result of this conversation seems to be this: Craig, Christopher and Jet do not believe in any ethically substantive concept of “equality”; or, they each prefer to ignorantly accept the views they have been conditioned to believe. Both the former and the latter options are not ethical positions.

    Go Vegan! (Until someone articulates an argument otherwise, people should see the worth in such an ethical stance, i.e., Veganism.)

  36. Christopher Radulich Says:

    Neither is your. God could not have created the perfect man. If he was perfect he would not have eaten the forbidden fruit. Born christian until I was thirteen and able to see the shear stupidity of all religions.

    Since we are all animals I see nothing wrong with following natures dictates. Since we can think ( a least some of us) I can see nothing wrong with changing natures rule to suit our species No I do not see the value of you ethical position.

    By the way how far does it go and what determines the stopping point. Do you kill bugs and if so what is the difference. How about wildlife that is endangering the community or hurt when you clear cut land for farming or housing.

  37. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Alex,

    Why are you here then, if not to participate in the conversation?

    What the heck do you think I was doing all yesterday if not participating in the conversation? But to answer your question, I am mostly here to learn what makes people who think differently than I tick. Why they think the things they do and what I might learn from what they think. I’m also here to have some fun. Actually, instead of a hot dog, I had a tuna salad sandwich last night. Sorry if that freaks you out but get over it. Did you think you were going to come on here and convert us all by the force of your argument? Let’s get real, shall we?

    To simply mock and dismiss a minority view, despite the merit of said view; does my view and my critique of your view have any merit?

    Considering that I spent most of yesterday exclusively discussing our respective views, I would hardly think that “simply mock and dismiss” yours as a minority view could be considered an honest thing to say, do you? As a matter of fact, I find lots of merit in your position; I simply am not swayed by it.

    Maybe the only point of my “humor” was to get you to be honest with yourself. I earlier suggested that you think yourself ethically superior to me. You, risibly I thought, denied it. Risibly because the whole argument you construct is an ethical one that places vegans above meat-eaters on the ethical scale. If you can’t be honest with me, Alex, at least be honest with yourself.

    I had stopped contributing substantively to the conversation for the reason that I gave when I stopped commenting substantively to the conversation. That reason still applies.

    Now it’s time for more tuna salad sandwiches.

    Bon appetit!

  38. Alex Says:

    Christopher,

    I agree with you about religions, “the shear stupidity of all religions,” which is why the only mention of one said religion by me was a response to your citation of a biblical passage justifying our exploitation of animals. Why would you bring it up in defense of your position, have it effectively challenged, and then state how religions can’t be employed as a justification in response to my effective challenge?

    Quote:

    “Since we are all animals I see nothing wrong with following natures dictates.”

    Christopher, you don’t agree with this as you argued previously that you don’t believe in minority group oppression. Nature dictates that the strong will do what they want, and the weak what they can - if there is anything more “natural” than this power relationship, you must identify it for me. Thus, you are committed to supporting a position that allows for the strong to oppress the weak; as the strong have greater power, you must not see anything wrong with altering “nature” to better suit the powerful group. Evolutionary theory, absent of ethical constraints, and in keeping with your stated position, could justify the oppression of any given “weak” or “inferior” group within society.

    The value of my ethical position Christopher, is that I defend against this encroachment of basic minority interests, e.g. to be means to another’s ends. You don’t see the value of this position because it would challenge your basic and unquestioned assumptions or beliefs about something that seemingly seems simple, i.e., what we eat. My argument against yours, Craig’s, and Jet’s is to illuminate how these unquestioned assumptions or beliefs damage basic ethical principles that few people would reject publicly (e.g., equality).

    I am forcing you to publicly reject this concept, or defend your position against mine. A simple dismissal does not suffice - it is quite telling of one’s character if they take this approach.

    All beings who are sentient, roughly a being capable of experiencing pleasure and pain, are included in my sphere of concern (i.e., like interests are given like ethical consideration). If a being is sentient, the property status of said being cannot stand; a piece of property can never be considered ethically equal in any substantive way, thus a basic right to not be treated as a means to another’s ends is essential to ensure that like interests are treated as ethically similar in every relevant way. As animals are viewed as “property,” I challenge this if the animal is sentient.

    The nuances of the position are important Christopher, and we can discuss it, however, I have answered your questions without you returning the favor. So, respond to some of my questions and I would be eager to articulate some specifics about my position.

    Craig,

    Welcome back. You may be accurate, why would conscientious, thinking people be swayed by a reasonable argument? Your position make’s the human species seem rather irrational and dense.

    I do not believe Veganism to be ethically superior to eating meat; this is not a hierarchy of ethical goodness. My position is what logically follows from commonly held views, thus I am simply allowing the views to guide me to the end, i.e., Veganism. Should we all be Vegan, yes, however, you are not a bad person for eating meat, just misinformed and comfortable in this state.

    I have not demonized anyone, I don’t make appeals to how terrible we are as humans, and I don’t shove images in your face. Your humor is unnecessary; it’s an appeal to your lower self Craig. If you want to remain on that level, please do. For you to end with, “now it’s time for a tuna salad…,” saddens me. (Such comments destroy the conversation.)

    Go Vegan!

  39. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    You may be accurate, why would conscientiou s, thinking people be swayed by a reasonable argument? Your position make’s the human species seem rather irrational and dense.

    There is no way for life to be ruled by reason alone. Man’s reason is incapable of knowing and therefore of figuring into the rationale for one’s life every factor necessary to achieving the ends he seeks to achieve. Just as the arguments of the abolitionists was unequal to the task of overturning generations of slavery by the force of their arguments — in this country, it took the bloodiest war in which we’ve ever participated, and then the coercion of the victors over the conquered to end it and even then, lack of attention allowed a way of life in the South that was hardly much better than the slavery that it replaced. It took another 90 years for Jim Crow to be tossed and even then it was through the coercion of the courts and, later, of federal Civil Rights statutes to fully overturn that ethical abomination.

    Men do not order their lives by ratiocination alone. Their lives are ordered by 10,000 generations of civilization living largely by practices that no one can reliably give the reason for and they only change their way of life when (a) the previous way of life proves itself no longer practical because replaced by something much more practical (after all, horse and buggy is no longer the mode of transportation of choice for most people anymore) or (b) they are forced to change by, er, the application of force (as the eradication of slavery in the South).

    I have not been persuaded by your arguments, largely because I am not persuaded that the vegan life is superior to the omnivore life and ethics has little to do with it. I am persuaded by the fact that for tens of thousands of years, man has been an omnivore. If veganism were superior to omnivorism, omnivores would have died out and been replaced by vegans. Instead, veganism is still by far the minority way of life. Maybe, in another several tens of thousands of years, the situation shall have changed, we meat-eaters shall have effectively killed ourselves off and you vegans, by stint not of your superior ethical argument but by proof of your healthier gastronomic choices, shall be the majority. At that point, you can make laws that all must be vegans. Until then, I’ll do as 10,000 generations of my ancestors have done.

    And my honesty about my food choices doesn’t seem to have stopped the conversation.

    Eat meat!

  40. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    To put it succinctly, I am a Burkean conservative, not a Painean rationalist.

  41. Alex Says:

    Craig,

    John Stuart Mill argued that every great social movement must go through three essential stages: ridicule, discussion, and adoption. Abolition was one such social movement. Legal intervention is a necessary step to “adoption,” however, your favoritism shown for force over reason should be placed in its proper context. You are unable to reasonably counter my ethical argument, in so doing you further contradict your claims of human-animal superiority: reason is unsuccessful at dissuading Man from acting unethically, rationalization is trumped by unquestioned “traditional order,” and mere pragmatism override situations where moral constraint may be required. “Force,” or the threat there of, war, and coercion primarily move Man to act.

    My argument is not that Man is ruled by reason or rationality alone, however, when an issue appeals to ethical principles on which a good society is founded upon, i.e., equality, conscientious, thinking people could be persuaded by more than force and tradition.

    Tradition (and your ancestors) once excluded minorities, women, and out-group religions or cultures from its sphere of concern, until it didn’t, Craig. Reason and enlightenment were the fuel in that engine; individual steps were taken accordingly, and these individuals should be lauded for their courage - it is weakness, ethical and moral weakness, that engender a refusal to accept rational arguments countering majority views and what “my ancestors have done.” The ethics of what we eat do matter – as do discussions about the many health benefits, and the environmentally friendly nature of a Vegan diet. The question is not one of the practical superiority of Veganism it is about taking ethics and moral constraints seriously.

    Good conversation. I do indeed believe that the readers will be able to evaluate, ethically/morally and substantively, both sides of this discussion.

    I will say this however at least you finally got the phrase “Eat Meat!” right; your prior attempts were somewhat laughable.

    Go Vegan!

  42. Alex Says:

    I am still confused about what “Go Omnivores” means in the context of my statement, “Go Vegan”! :)

  43. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Alex,

    I never wrote: “Go Omnivores”. I wrote: “Go omnivorous”. I’m not sure if that helps but at least you’ll be thinking about what I actually wrote instead of what you’ve mistakenly taken me to have written.

    Nor am I a Millian or a Benthamite. Quoting Mill to me will, therefore, be useless. I am no more persuaded by Mill than I am by you.

  44. Alex Says:

    Jeremy Bentham:

    “The day may come, when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor.* It may come one day to be recognized, that the number of the legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum, are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or, perhaps, the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day, or a week, or even a month, old. But suppose the case were otherwise, what would it avail? the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?”

    Craig, Jet, Christopher, and everyone else, please read and consider the above quoted sentences.

    (Actually Craig, my typing error does not alleviate your mistaken attempt at mocking me.)

  45. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Alex,

    As I said, I am not a Benthamite. Quoting Bentham at me is as useless as quoting Mill.

    …my typing error does not alleviate your mistaken attempt at mocking me.

    Which is why I did not bother to correct your misreadings. It was a throw-away line no more meant to mock you than your persistent “Go Vegan” is, presumably, intended to mock me but grammatically, “Go omnivorous” is as acceptable as “Go Vegan”. Both my “omnivorous” and your “Vegan” are adjectives being used substantively and, therefore, are grammatically identical. That you do not recognize this confirms that it was pointless to correct you earlier.

  46. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    If I tell you that I’m not a Moorean (as in a devote of Michael Moore) will you start quoting Michael Moore at me? Come on, man, I’m giving you clues as to what sorts of arguments I am unlikely to find persuasive.

  47. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Besides, was Jeremy Bentham a vegan or was he arguing for more humane treatment of animals than was the norm in his time?

  48. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    I suppose I should give reason for rejecting the Mill argument that you gave above. It begs the question. That is, at least in your use of the quote, you assume the conclusion in the beginning of your argument. You say:

    John Stuart Mill argued that every great social movement must go through three essential stages: ridicule, discussion, and adoption. Abolition was one such social movement.

    But you must see that you assume veganism to be a great social movement. You assume that it is, in fact, like abolition and, therefore, that it will be adopted. Sorry. That’s called circular reasoning. You only come out to your conclusion, that it will be adopted, by beginning with the assumption that it is a great social movement. I see no reason to grant the initial assumption. So then, even if I granted that Mill was correct in his three stages statement, I do not grant you your conclusion. Maybe it will be adopted, maybe it won’t be. To say which requires what no human being has: the ability to see the future.

    I’m not sure what to say about your statement that legal intervention is a necessary step in adoption. First, it is not a necessary step. If you successfully convince everyone to go vegan, legal intervention will be unnecessary. Legal intervention is an admission that one’s arguments are unpersuasive and, so, force is necessary. It throws in the towel of persuasive argument and opts for raw force.

    Furthermore, I consider all of my counters to your arguments to be reasonable and, to me at least, persuasive. That you do not find them so is simply to prove my point made toward the beginning that ethics are largely culturally relative. I guess I would also say that reason is culturally relative. We fail to persuade one another not because our arguments are not rational. They are all rational. They fail to persuade because we each value different things differently and so our arguments, perfectly rational and persuasive to each of us, seem unpersuasive to the other. The difference between us is, when you fail to persuade me, you accuse me of irrationality whereas I never had any hope of persuading you; merely of explaining why I’m an omnivore rather than a vegan.

    We were neither of us ever going to persuade the other.

    Again, I’m jumping off this merry-go-round. I’m even happier with the state of my argument now than I was the last time I stopped. I’ve advanced arguments that Edmund Burke and F. A. Hayek would have been pleased with. What more could I ask?

  49. Alex Says:

    Okay Craig, I will end this conversation in light of your final tirade. Claiming support from Mr. Burke and Mr. Hayek, interesting. You could not defend against a reasonable critique of your position (indeed, not a single defense offered against the unethical ends of what follows from your argument), and yet you claim the approval of these two men.

    As you say, leave it to the readers :)

  50. Craig R. Harmon Says:

    Alex,

    While I will add nothing to my argument(/tirade?), I will thank you for the conversation. I value it for the opportunity not only to delve into your mind but for the opportunity it offered me to delve into my own. This is a value far above merely learning from another’s knowledge (i. e., transferring the knowledge of another to oneself); you’ve made me think and for that I am grateful to you.

    Sorry we don’t see eye to eye on this.

    G’night!

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