The morality behind veganism

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by wegs, Oct 8, 2016.

  1. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    fascinating topic, and i really have to read more of it, but i had to answer this first.
    also note, there is a whole lot of silliness involved, but it is also a tad serious.

    this would actually indicate that there is an assumption that eating meat is not moral... and that is nonsensical to me.

    we evolved to eat meat (and plant material). this is evident in our teeth as well as digestive tract and microbiome. we also can see that most vegans and vegetarians aren't healthy looking (likely because they're too f*cking lazy to actually eat correctly and insure they're getting the right nutrients... but some may well be because we need certain proteins that are typically only found in living flesh)

    so i ask myself: why is nature immoral?

    i know that there are problems with the farming industry, but you can't assume that the practices of farmer x are the same as the practices of farmer y unless both farmers are part of a parent organization and are literally just operating at the behest of said management, per their rules, per their instruction, etc... and i know from experience, living rural as well as being next to a local "farmer" that this isn't the case. we can also see around here that the people who mistreat their stock are looked down upon and treated badly... they also don't tend to make good money at the auctions (which sell not only to locals, businesses and farms, but also to larger commercial operations with processing facilities nearby -like Tyson, etc).

    then there is the fact that we've evolved to be omnivorous, which means, by definition, eating plant and animal matter (and anything else that you can, really).

    far, far better questions would be directed to the vegans: [hyperbole intended]
    so where is the morality in denying your evolutionary traits?
    where is the morality in neglecting the millennia of historical predecessors who've survived to get you thus far?

    sure, the above sounds like i'm being facetious, but lets look at this from a different perspective for a moment: sanctity of life or sacredness of life

    where is the defining characteristic of being sacred or living?
    if you consider the question, you will see that everything we call "alive" has certain traits that we can agree on, but there is no real scientific definition of "life"...

    so remembering that, we then turn to the point of: why is it better to kill thousands of living plants and not animals?

    for every cow you eat, they also eat plant material... so leave the cow and eat the plant material but you're still killing a living, breathing, replicating organism, right?
    why is it not OK for a vegan to take out a cow but it's ok to decimate soy, beans, legumes, nuts, tomato's, potato's etc???

    something else to consider, although humorous, it's relevant as well as cogent to the topic of vegans:

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    so i guess the first thing is defining what morality is, and what you will choose to accept WRT said definition. this will not be the same for everyone, and there isn't any immoral act being done by ingesting flesh (unless it's a neighbor or other human... there are laws against that). the act if ingesting flesh is not about morality, but rather survival. it is also about availability and access to food, BTW>.... a typical hunter/gatherer or even farmer is limited by what they can eat, find and grow... whereas today there is a far, far, far larger choice in what you eat because you only need money and a market to purchase it. if you were isolated and stranded, you would not be able to be a vegan or vegetarian... you would die because of the limited resources available to you. however that isn't the case in a typical US town/city.

    then you should consider what is healthy in a diet and what you can live with regarding eating meat or not: i truly suggest talking to dieticians and DR's before deciding to become a vegan... and definitely consider the above meme as well

    mostly people use the emotional arguments WRT this topic, being they empathize with the prey (not a good thing for someone who needs to eat to survive... where does the defining line stop? where is the segregation? why is bambi the fauna more important than your flora when the flora provide more O2 than the fauna?)

    don't mind me, though... i'm a mountain man and i predominantly eat meat. it's a large part of my diet, and i usually eat fresh kills, too... i don't like store-bought meats at all because of the processing, steroids, slurry, additives, and the rest of the crap that is used... of course, most of my vegetation is also fresh for the same reasons...

    wegs likes this.
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  3. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    very good question, Jeeves

    i would like to hear from any vegan and vegetarian about this particular topic... and it is related to the thread (or maybe there can be a split-off if it gets too heavy)

    will it still be OK to eat grown meat products that aren't sentient?
    if we can replicate or grow muscle tissue sans the rest of the animal, is it still morally wrong to eat the flesh according to your beliefs?
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  5. Daecon Kiwi fruit Valued Senior Member

    What about meat specifically cloned from the consumer's own individual body?
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  7. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    That's okay. Not your children's though.
  8. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    Evolutionary traits are not a guide to morality.
    Historical precedent is not a guide to morality.
  9. Doug Forcett Banned Banned

    An appeal to nature, really? So, whatever our historical predecessors did is all right by you?
  10. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    actually, that is illegal as it's considered cannibalism, even if it is your own body

    survival and our complex brain are making it up as we go... kinda like raising kids
    the point was: it's nature - people don't condemn a lion for eating a zebra and people don't condemn bears eating both vegetation and berries as well as salmon, deer or anything else, so why the attached morality to a natural act?

    the morality of poor treatment in farming... that i can see
    but the morality of eating flesh? that argument is the same as i point out below to Doug... it's nonsensical IMHO, and it's entirely subjective (explained below)

    IMHO you're wrong with that perspective
    historical precedent is where we establish our rule of law, as well as our outlook towards life, which means, by extrapolation, that we define what is good and bad socially by precedent as well as current outlook. we gather information about what is right and wrong by living and learning about past mistakes (and past successes).

    case in point: stealing a horse was morally repugnant 200 years ago and was immediately a hanging offense, even if in town. today, it's not so much of a biggie... in fact, it is a felony but it will not get you the death penalty.

    so what is the difference between horse theft 200 years ago and horse theft today?

    history and the situation the rider was in. but is it really different today? if you were in the deep wilderness of, say, the NW of the US, or even AK, and you stole someone's horse from them, you are putting them in the exact same situation of yesteryear, but the theft isn't the same. it's just felony theft of property... unless more incriminating evidence is found that directly links the thief to worse actions, it can't be prosecuted as anything other than felony theft.

    thus you can say history is a precedent for morality. it may not be the primary influence, but it is definitely an influence, IMHO

    Doug Forcett
    you missed the point, IMHO, and i never said what my predecessors did was all right by me.

    I was making a point that people tend to empathize with the cute animals but not so much with the rest... plus, as noted above, no one talks about the morality of a predator taking their prey, so why is there a morality issue with bambi, thumper, bessie, wilbur and the rest of the food we eat?

    as i stated (and your link did as well) the morality of eating flesh is essentially the same point of nature and "irrelevant, having no cogent meaning in practice", thus it is nonsensical until defined by specific practice by said individual and or culture.

    morality is malleable and subjective to the culture, person, religion and more. it is usually defined by written or common consensus and it also tends to run in trends throughout history (as noted above).

    so the argument is flawed from the beginning as it's subjective and a matter of defining your culture and beliefs. that is the only way you can actually assign a definition to what is "good" or not in the argument, thus it's all about perspective and opinion (unless your talking about treatment of animals, humane food sources and etc).
  11. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    I agree eating meat (apart from any other questions of how the animals are raised or killed) isn't immoral. But I disagree with your reasoning. Morality is primarily concerned with the welfare of human beings. If we need to eat meat, I suppose that is the product of evolution, but I wouldn't use evolution as a guide to morality. Many things we consider immoral are also the product of the same process, sex with minors, infanticide, and warfare just to name a couple.

    Good points, but historical precedent also considered slavery and beating your wife moral. I agree history can be a guide about how these past decisions effected human outcomes.
    Truck Captain Stumpy likes this.
  12. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    YOU ARE NO DOUT the first person to ask such a queston.!!!!!!

    An what a delicious queston it is... haha.!!!

    I thank eatin cloned human meat (from any human doner) woud be moral than killin animals for food.!!!
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    What you all seem to forget, is the vegan diet is only possible if we have stores. Most of your edible veggies are seasonal in the wild, and limited cold weather supplies would lead to mass starvation in the winter. In a natural environment, without grocery stores and manufactured products from around the country and world, a vegan diet would not only decrease chances for survival in cold climates, but would also cause the human brain to get smaller, since sufficient sources of veggie protein will not available all year long. This makes the vegan immoral, since it puts human life at risk.

    In an artificial environment, where we can cherry pick and never have to go outside and be part of nature, a vegan diet is not as immoral, unless the cost gets so high to exclude this from being possible for all. This then forces some to starve by social convention.
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  14. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    point taken

    i wasn't making a point that evolution is a guide to morality so much as stating that it's nonsensical for anyone to call a natural act that is required for survival "immoral" just because someone thinks animal [x] is cute. like arranged marriages or religion, it's a subjective argument and thus completely dependent upon the interpretations of the individual and their culture (and religion, lifestyle, etc ad nauseum).

    right. which is the point i thought i was making.... but i guess i can be obtuse and verbose at times.

    morality is malleable and we're influenced not only by our current culture, religion etc, but also by historical precedent.
    (this is why the intentional killing of another human is illegal but socially and culturally ok for things like combatants in a war or state sponsored corporal punishment)

    thanks for reiterating that wellwisher!
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  15. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    That's far from true. Just consider whether early pioneers lived entirely on meat through the winter. They'd all have died or scurvy. Root-crops, nuts, pulses and grains can all be stored over winter. Squash, apples and cabbage are good for a couple of months. Fruit and perishable vegetables are dried or canned. People have managed this long before modern technology and with the new materials, you can have inexpensive greenhouses and hydroponics in any climate

    The greatest boon for northern cities would be local produce that's fresh and has a very small ecological footprint.

    Then the three dozen men who live in the Yukon in a log cabins may continue to hunt. Not trap, mind you, just hunt with a rifle or bow. The rest of us do have manufactured goods and we can make more manufactured goods - at least for while. After civilization collapses, all morality is cancelled anyway. You can go ahead and eat your kids.
  16. spidergoat Venued Serial Membership Valued Senior Member

    It depends. How is the meat grown? Doesn't it require similar nutrients to living animals? And where do those nutrients come from? How efficient is the process? Plant foods usually require fewer resources.
  17. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    You bring up excellent points. I don't think that eating meat or drinking dairy is inherently immoral or unethical - I'm more concerned with the ethical treatment of the animals used in these industries than whether or not merely consuming animal products is inherently immoral. So, for me, it comes from a little bit of a different place. After learning more about the various unethical practices across the entire supply chain in these industries, I personally hesitate to be a consumer of it, any further. That said, there doesn't need to be a line in the sand - where you're either carnivorous or a vegan. There's room for everything in between, and the important thing is to just realize how your food is sourced.

    I also have issues with the exploitation of people in labor forces that cause them great suffering in the processing of other consumer goods and foods. It seems that the trail of unbridled capitalism is long and winding.

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  18. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

    How about this:::

    If the treetment before an durin slaughter was ethical in you'r opinion... do you see it as just as moral to kill a squirrel... as killin a chimpanzee for food.???
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2016
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  19. wegs Matter & Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

    I'm realizing about myself that the more I look into all of this, and examine my own conscience, the more I'm not at ease with the killing of animals, in a broad sense - unless our lives depended upon them for food, I suppose. And that can be the case, depending on where and how people live. We are conditioned to thinking that killing pigs, cows, etc is ''okay,'' but killing a chimpanzee for food would be seen as deplorable. So my conditioned mind can't fathom at all, killing a chimpanzee for food.
  20. Truck Captain Stumpy Registered Senior Member

    that's a different beast altogether... and i can understand that. i can also relate...

    offered IMHO only: one of the biggest problems that i see with the issue of ethical treatment in the industry is getting factual information. not that the issue of unethical treatment isn't factual, mind you, but it isn't as widespread as some sites or people would have you believe. i know there is a problem, and i've seen some of those large farms that are problems, but i've also seen far, far, far more farms that are clean and ethical.

    well, i can understand the killing for food.

    what i can't understand, nor will i ever actually accept, is the killing for sport. or for "trophies" like an elephants tusk, rhino horn or some other stupid thing.

    eat what you kill, and don't kill unless you need to eat, IMHO. (within reason, that is... sometimes self defense needs to be lethal. the last thing you want to eat or let live is a rabid animal, regardless of situation)
  21. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    A couple more aspects: (Basically, I regard with suspicion morality that conflicts with the apparent nature of evolutionary development as well as physical reality)

    The level of technology necessary to maintain a healthy vegan diet in a continental temperate zone region is very high - not only the incredible cross-continental transfer of domesticated plants and animals in the first place, so that wheat and corn and soybeans are here to be grown on the same farm, but the storage and seasonal availability and so forth of all this stuff, and of course the knowledge and sophistication and manufacturing technology necessary for vitamin and mineral and protein supplements in quasi-medicinal form. This is the same technology that produces monocultural industrial agriculture, where (say) cattle and cattle feed are grown many miles apart in dedicated areas, cattle manure and waste shipped to yet another place. This tech is dubious stuff, and a diet that depends on it is likewise suspect morally and ethically.

    If you are living off vegetables, you are killing rodents and birds and insects by the thousands. And you aren't even eating them. If these are industrial agriculture plant foods you have also poisoned the landscape and killed beings gratuitously that were no threat to you or your food. An industrial monoculture of soybeans is a wasteland haunted with the ghosts of tens of thousands of beings, from flying squirrels and bumblebees to half the fish in the local river.

    Like the guy said, all things considered the ploughshare has probably done more harm than the sword, and those who have beaten their swords into plowshares have merely transferred the target of their violence from their equals and conspecifics to the whole of the innocent landscape.

    In my culture - Western, American, central continent - the various arguments favoring vegan or vegetarian diets seem more persuasive to the younger and the female, and less persuasive to the older and the male. That's my observation, anyway. If so, that is the opposite of what reason suggests - older men benefit more and suffer less from the common deficiencies and strictures of vegetarian diets, younger women run serious risks for themselves and their children for much less potential or pragmatic gain. So the very people who most likely shouldn't, do, and should, do not. That leads me to question, ethically, the promoters of these diets. They seem to be talking the wrong people around.

    And so forth.
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  22. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Moral law is based on what is best for the group; minimizes resources usage, allowing the group to save and expand its numbers. The human body has the genetic capacity to eat meat and veggies. From a moral point of view, the group benefits by eating both sources of food, since eating both sources of food spreads the environmental stress, more evenly over the environment, rather than stressing one aspect of the eco-system. The former is better able to allow the ego-system to stay in balance, while the latter adds a stress to one part, which can destabilize the whole. A destabilization is more likely to impact the group in an adverse way, in the long term, making this immoral.

    For example, say a tribe of natural humans have monkeys and fruits trees as possible food sources. If we go all out veggie, we may need to eat all the fruit to satisfy the needs of our tribe. This will destabilizes the eco-system, causing monkeys to die of starvation, which can create disease. On the other hand, if we eat both monkeys and fruit, the monkeys will not over populate leading to disease. We also will not eat all the fruit. The extra fruit remains to feed the monkeys, so we have both fruit and monkeys for a rainy day. This is more sustainable.

    The wild card of the modern vegan diets is mass production, farms and factories. These are not natural, but are closer to being moral since these can be sustainable. However, there is an added cost, since we will need to slant the artificial farm eco-system, so it can withstand the lopsided stress of veggie only. The growing of only veggie food might increase the amount of bugs. The bugs appear to eat the lopsided crops, and help balance the ecosystem. We may need to use pesticides so we can kill the bugs to maintain the lopsided eco-system, needed for the vegan diet. If we can eat bugs and veggies, one could catch the bugs as a secondary food source, so the farm can be smaller. This is more moral due to efficacy of group resources.
  23. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    I kinda' wonder if vegetarians have cats or dogs?

    Even though I haven't eaten catfood, my cat relishes a can over dried food.

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