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Squeeself



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wren wrote:
Plants do not work the same way as animals. Cutting of a branch is just not the same as cutting off a finger or a hand. That fruit? It will fall off anyway. We are not killing the plant to eat it in all cases. I recognize there are times where the plant is killed, but this is not true for all. My favorite plant foods are apples, plums, oranges...to the best of my knowledge, picking those doesn't kill the plant.

For the same reason you don't treat a dog as a complete equal, you can't say eating a plant is the same as eating an animal, because they have different effects on the organism.


Which was Squee's exact point. Where is the line and why does it exist? To say that eating plants does not kill the plant is beside the point...You're still--in most cases beyond harvesting fruit that plants intend to be shed anyway--harming the plant, even in a minor way. Trimming a tree or bush is harming the plant, at least in the short term, though often the trimming can be very beneficial to the plant in the long run. Plants can and do respond to positive and negative stimuli, which can be something akin to pain. Just because a plant has no thought processes does not make these affects any different. Heck, we don't even know if animals feel pain to the same degree as humans; there's just no basis for comparison. Same with plants.

The point isn't about the harm we're dealing or whether we're killing the organism. It's that this artificial distinction between what's ok for a plant and what's ok for an animal is based purely on our minds perception of one organism over another as more humanlike or less humanlike. Sure, plants and animals function entirely differently, but that is not why we make moral distinctions between the two, only classification and usage distinctions.

Plants are effectively too alien for our comprehension to try to affect varying grades of morality towards, like we would towards other humans. So, instead, we shunt them completely outside of our morality framework, and don't ask the hard questions about it. After all, they're not like us, they're just plants.

After all, they communicate differently than us.

After all, their skin color is different than ours.

Again, the issue is entirely HUMAN. Entirely about who we are as a species. The line drawn between our treatment of plants and animals suddenly seems far more arbitrary...

Not that by saying all this, I'm not trying to say that eating plants is bad or something, or that it's hypocritical to not eat meat but still eat plants....simply that a MORAL distinction between eating only plants and eating animals as well is worth questioning. There are PLENTY of other very good, valid reasons to enjoy being vegetarian or vegan. But when you say that it's "wrong" to eat animals, but not "wrong" to eat plants, your arguments standing on shakier moral ground...not that morals aren't easily questioned in the first place. The subtle distinction: if you don't like killing animals to eat, by all means, don't; just be careful when you say that it's wrong to kill animals for food.

In the end, Squee guess Squee is simply trying to get people to look at things from a perspective of "What really makes these different? Is it my perceptions, my prejudices, or are things really more similar than at first they appear?" That kind of questioning is VERY healthy, even if you end up at the same conclusions in the end.
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thespaceinvader



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other issue that interests me about this debate: industrial scale farming kills millions of animals per year. Those animals either rot in the fields, run over by the harvesting or planting equipment, or are sucked up into the harvesters. When you eat industrially farmed food, you are killing animals to do so.

Does this matter to you? Do you farm your own food in ways you know are environmentally sensitive?
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Nem



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2009 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tinalles wrote:
Moral arguments are based on setting up ideals to strive for. Ideals by their very nature are contrary to observed fact in many cases. So the "should" is not meant to predict an outcome, but to formally approve a particular outcome as preferable to other possible outcomes. Thus:

Tinalles wrote:
If X [you value happiness in yourself]
then [it would be a really good idea]
Y [to value it wherever it is.]


That's how moral arguments work: by envisioning an ideal outcome and advocating for it. If you restrict a moral argument to the basis of empirical observations of human behavior, it's no longer an argument about morals.


If should just means that the speaker endorses it then the premises aren’t related in any way that allows them to form an actual argument. How can, ‘it would be a good idea,’ make an argument? I can equally turn around and go, ‘well I don’t think it would be a good idea.’ If they don't line up with things from the world for their justification then it all becomes a matter of opinion, and moral argument becomes nothing more than someone declaring in increasingly complex language that they’d really like you to have their opinion rather than your own. The social pressure to conform aside, why would anyone buy into that as a reason to change their thinking?
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Rolaoi



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't put much stock into animal rights. I like animals, but not so much that I feel obliged to put them on a pedistal. They are, much like people and plants, large bags of various elements and compounds needed to sustain chemical reactions that keep our gears turning. I just choose to draw the line between US and THEM so that US is only people.
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Feaelen



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm always curious about these kinds of topics, and admittedly i have not read the entire thing, maybe eventually i'll find the time, but i'd like to pop in my 2-cents worth.

I'm a firm believer that animals should be treated fairly, however i also beilieve in the food web, it's not really a chain. After having studied various aspects of it through my varying degrees it really is a web of infinite craziness. One ecology prof used to laugh about the old saying "it's not rocket science." saying a more accurate statement would be, "it's not multi-species management." Which really on a whole humans are notoriously horrible at. That being said i think of animals as food, in many ways. I'm an omnivore, born and bred. I can't be a vegetarian due to allergies, and well the one summer i did go pretty veg i ended up by the end of that summer completely unable to eat soy in pretty much any form, and craving blood rare steak like you wouldn't believe.

I also think people are made a bit different, i have some friends who get just as sick as i do by eating meat, and another who was a veggie for 10 years before his naturopath told him the reason he feels like death warmed over is because he needs to eat some meat, and low and behold it worked.

Potentially i'm just rambling here, but i don't think it's possible to make one hard and fast rule for everyone on behaviour towards animals. Plants are a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

I personally try to eat local (most of my fruit and veg comes from local farmers market), & oganic when i can afford it. I do love how we sell organic milk in canada, and they market how it's free of drugs etc. When all milk in canada is free of drugs etc because it's illegal to drug our milk cows (not so much for y'all down in the U. S. of A.). But i guess you just have to know your product.

to conclude, i think it's a complex issue and it's pretty cool that there's a pretty civil discussion on the go here regarding it.
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This seems apropos.
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horsin'around



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's fantastic this forum is having a civil discussion on animal rights. My views are a bit different than other peoples', and not just because of my job. Ever since I was a little girl, animals have been my constant companions and friends. I pretty much worshipped them for their emotional solidity and unyielding support. I was an odd little kid, and had NO human friends except for my brothers, and my one friend Maeve, who was a 'sometimes friend.' We lived in a pretty rural Irish village, and virtually everyone was a farmer with at least cows, sheep, goats, chickens, dogs, cats, and the lot. Not everyone had horses, but we had a small two stall shed and ended up getting two ponies.

Back then, I did eat meat regularly (my aunt made me). I didn't particularly like it, but I didn't feel that my morals considering animals were being challenged whatsoever. I knew that the meat animals had happy lives, lived in enormous grassy pastures where they could forage for food the way they were meant to, and they had people who cared about them as much as you can care for an animal destined for slaughter.
The only reason I stopped eating beef back then was because most of the cows were my friends and I didn't like the idea of eating friends. Wink

When I moved to America, I was stunned at the way people treated their animals. I'm not saying there wasn't animal cruelty where I lived; there was. Just in a much less concentration than America. I also got an indubitably valuable trip to an American slaughterhouse, and swore off meat forever. I'd never eaten much anyways, so it wasn't a huge step.

Also, call me mad, but valuing human life over animal life has always been a bit of an issue for me. Now, given the option of saving a couple of horses or a human kid, I wouldn't waste time saving the kid first, but I'd definitely go back for the horses. I hate how humans are so arrogant in putting themselves at the 'top of the food chain.' We like to think of ourselves as an exalted, enlightened race... which is true on many levels. And I know in the Bible it says that God gave us dominion over the other species. But really, even though we like to think of ourselves as so smart and sophisticated... we're not. We're not better than animals. In the wild, animals kill only for food and very rarely for leadership over the pack. Wolves can kill other wolves for leadership of the pack, but usually they just run them off. Without a pack, the wolf will probably die, but that is just Mother Nature. In herds of horses, bachelor stallions challenge herd stallions for control of the mares. This ensures that when a lead stallion is too old to protect the herd from other stallions or predators, a new one will step up. The new bachelor stallion will drive off the old stallion, who will probably die. But he doesn't MURDER the old stallion.

When humans kill other humans, it can be for noble reasons: love, freedom, etc. But love is really just a chemical reaction in the brain that translates into lust. Essentially, murder with humans just comes down to a few base emotions. Lust, greed, hatred. There are exceptions, of course, like fighting for the right cause, and freedom, and peace, but I'm all conflicted about this and try not to think about it.

In homicide cases, you catch a serial murderer who has assaulted and killed several innocent young girls. When you look back on his history, you see it started with torturing puppies and wildlife. That's why I hate the fact the time for "animal-cruelty" is so bloody minimal. A case that really disturbs me and that will always stay with me is that of a thirty year old man beating the family puppy to death. I took the other animals and got a drunken confession from the man, and he ended up doing time for six weeks.

SIX WEEKS FOR BLATANT MURDER AND TORTURE OF ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE. What kind of monster DOES THAT? And six weeks (plus his community service time) is the most I could get! And I was pushing for at LEAST a year!!!!

When he got out of jail, he promptly got drunk and beat his wife to death.

I'm not exactly the most eloquent at getting my point across, but the way humans treat animals speaks volumes about them and that speaks for itself. I can't decide which humans are more afeared of; their relative insignificance in a universe so vast, or or the fact that they could be powerful beyond measure.

Maybe I just feel this way because I like animals more than I like people. Razz
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

horsin'around wrote:
A case that really disturbs me and that will always stay with me is that of a thirty year old man beating the family puppy to death. I took the other animals and got a drunken confession from the man, and he ended up doing time for six weeks.

SIX WEEKS FOR BLATANT MURDER AND TORTURE OF ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE. What kind of monster DOES THAT? And six weeks (plus his community service time) is the most I could get! And I was pushing for at LEAST a year!!!!

When he got out of jail, he promptly got drunk and beat his wife to death.

I'm not exactly the most eloquent at getting my point across, but the way humans treat animals speaks volumes about them and that speaks for itself.

That's allways been a significant concern to me. It actually shows up in my fiction writing: "I canít imagine that the kind of person who can do this to [an animal] would have any problem doing the same to a human."
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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Location: The land of dreams

PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

theBSDude wrote:
horsin'around wrote:
A case that really disturbs me and that will always stay with me is that of a thirty year old man beating the family puppy to death. I took the other animals and got a drunken confession from the man, and he ended up doing time for six weeks.

SIX WEEKS FOR BLATANT MURDER AND TORTURE OF ANOTHER LIVING CREATURE. What kind of monster DOES THAT? And six weeks (plus his community service time) is the most I could get! And I was pushing for at LEAST a year!!!!

When he got out of jail, he promptly got drunk and beat his wife to death.

I'm not exactly the most eloquent at getting my point across, but the way humans treat animals speaks volumes about them and that speaks for itself.

That's allways been a significant concern to me. It actually shows up in my fiction writing: "I canít imagine that the kind of person who can do this to [an animal] would have any problem doing the same to a human."

Ditto.
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Tamir



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ponce, thank you for stopping by this thread. =) From the minute I made it I was wondering what you would say about it.
Question - do you eat eggs and milk? If so, where do you get them from?


Spacey wrote:
The other issue that interests me about this debate: industrial scale farming kills millions of animals per year. Those animals either rot in the fields, run over by the harvesting or planting equipment, or are sucked up into the harvesters. When you eat industrially farmed food, you are killing animals to do so.

Does this matter to you? Do you farm your own food in ways you know are environmentally sensitive?

Yes, this matters to me; No, I don't eat only specially farmed food.
Now, this doesn't automatically make me a hypocrite. Looking at the numbers, in my country tens of thousands of animals die from industrial farming each year, whereas about two hundred million animals are suffering or dying in the meat/fur/leather industries each year. Moving from meat to industrially farmed plants doesn't stop killing animals, but it sure kills less.
The reason I do eat industrially farmed food anyway is because it's not always easy to find alternatives where I live. When I can avoid it, I do. This is a point I care about, though, and in the future I plan to live somewhere with easy access to home-grown crops.


Feaelen wrote:
I can't be a vegetarian due to allergies, and well the one summer i did go pretty veg i ended up by the end of that summer completely unable to eat soy in pretty much any form, and craving blood rare steak like you wouldn't believe.

I also think people are made a bit different, i have some friends who get just as sick as i do by eating meat, and another who was a veggie for 10 years before his naturopath told him the reason he feels like death warmed over is because he needs to eat some meat, and low and behold it worked.

I don't know the specifics of these two cases, but there are always ways of getting proper nutrition from plants. Doctors often recommend meat because it's what they know and it's the status quo, but for anything your body may be lacking, there's a plant that's got it. (With the notable sort-of-exception of B12)
Even if a person has no choice but to eat meat (something which I find unlikely), he can at least choose to eat the minimum he needs and make sure his meat is coming from a farm where the animals are treated well.


Squee wrote:
Plants can and do respond to positive and negative stimuli, which can be something akin to pain. Just because a plant has no thought processes does not make these affects any different.

Squee, there's a difference between pain and information passing through various chemical and electrical means. Pain is something which is generated by the brain, which affects the conscious mind. Plants do not have a brain to create or feel this pain with. Yes, information passes through plants, and they react. But without a central nervous system, this effect isn't "good" or "bad" or anything of the sort.
This goes for you too, Tenshi:
Tenshi wrote:
Ignoring the constant headaches I get for now, let's continue about "pain" as a response to stimuli.

This is really an important line to draw. Take phantom limb pain for example... that's a case which makes it very clear that the pain is being generated in the brain, not in the limb. Also, your body responds to stimuli while you're asleep and don't feel any pain. Pain is not simply a response to stimuli!
Squee wrote:
Heck, we don't even know if animals feel pain to the same degree as humans; there's just no basis for comparison. Same with plants.

Tell me, how do you know that another human feels pain in the same way you do? Because you know that he too has nerves and a central nervous system which work similarly to yours, and because you can watch him and see that he physically responds to pain similarly to you. The same goes for animals. Have you ever watched an animal in pain? Check. Do animals have nerves and a central nervous system very similar to ours, including the parts which we believe are responsible for pain? Check. Seems to me like animals feel pain similarly to the way we do.


Rolaoi - Your position is pretty much the only one I don't argue with.... =]
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tamir wrote:

Tell me, how do you know that another human feels pain in the same way you do? Because you know that he too has nerves and a central nervous system which work similarly to yours, and because you can watch him and see that he physically responds to pain similarly to you. The same goes for animals. Have you ever watched an animal in pain? Check. Do animals have nerves and a central nervous system very similar to ours, including the parts which we believe are responsible for pain? Check. Seems to me like animals feel pain similarly to the way we do.

I'm just going to point out that not all people feel pain the same way about the same things. I have a friend who can break an arm or a finger without serious pain, and can actually take the brace (in the case of fingers) off and use her hand without flinching.
Other than that I'm not arguing with you. ^^;
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was talking about feeling pain in the same way more than feeling the same degree of pain. ^^;;
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Nem



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Although it does raise an interesting point, if something can't feel pain is it beyond your moral consideration? It seems a bit strange if I can knock someone unconscious and then do whatever I like to them on the grounds that they can't feel pain/appreciate it right then.
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. No, Nem, feeling pain isn't my only criteria for assigning creatures rights, it's just one of them.
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Tenshi



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hrm... how are we defining pain? If we're talking about the reaction to stimuli (the instant reaction), that doesn't come from the brain. Reflexes travel from the stimulated nerve to the spinal cord, then directly back to the muscle. Infoplease

To that end, a CNR and brain is not required. The brain translates the signal from the nerves and the muscles much later, realizes there is a problem, and transmits this signal into whatever mess of neurons constitutes our thought process to tell us we've just suffered in some way.

This can also be used for conditioned responses, or "learned reflexes". I would wager that almost all of us here have at least one "learned reflex". For instance, neural input (thinking about what you want to say) is translated seamlessly through your body, down to your fingers and hands. Your hands then type the words you're thinking without your eyes having to see what keys you're typing.

I'm getting side-tracked, though. I don't have a strong response for the sleep pains. I just don't know enough about it, and know nothing about floral "sleep" patterns, if they have any.

I... guess I don't really understand how you're quantifying "pain", Tam. Pain to me has always been very easy to understand. There's always a source, always something that's causing the pain, and removal of the source ends the pain. I know that, physiologically, this process happens to transfer through my brain sometimes. Maybe I'm just strange.

The rest of my train of thought totally derailed... LOL

EDIT BY TAM: Just fixed yer link. =)

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