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August 15th, 2007, 4:13 pm

Factory farmers stuff chickens into tight windowless quarters where the chickens get so depressed and irritated that they start killing each other. Also, the poor living conditions cause an increase in illness and death. The farmers do this because they make more money that way. Even though they make less money per chicken (since more are dying and getting sick), they make more money per square-foot of space. They spend save more money then they lose by not putting money towards factory space and general care.

Also, here's two quotes about animals:

"He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." -Immanuel Kant

"Whatever my own practice may be, I have no doubt that it is a part of the destiny of the human race, in its gradual improvement, to leave off eating animals, as surely as the savage tribes have left off eating each other when they came in contact with the more civilized." -Henry David Thoreau

September 16th, 2007, 1:00 pm

It's part of civilization.

I don't like to think in terms of morality.

We civilized, and we no longer rape. We use toilets and wipe our butts with paper. We fight our nature all the time, and one might even define 'civilization' as such.

Lions may eat each other, but lions aren't my role model.

Giving up the brutal, inefficient, and needless process of eating animals may be one of the next steps in our civilization.

February 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm

Fpoiuyt wrote: But even then there's nothing wrong with an individual eating meat/dairy every now and then: it doesn't contribute to animal suffering. And if everyone reduces their meat/dairy consumption only by 90%, that's a huge improvement. Lots of vegans, I gather, are purists: they would say that a 90% reduction is morally comparable to no reduction at all. But it seems obvious to me that a 90% reduction is a lot closer to a 100% reduction: it's basically a victory.

I'm a vegan, and I do think that a 90% reduction is much more preferable than no reduction. But I do think you are right that some vegans take too purist of a stance.

I think that is an important point though that applies to many issues of human conduct. It seems people too often take an "all or nothing" type of stance. For example, consider all the "zero tolerance policies" that various organizations have. For example, some schools treat bringing a loaded gun to school the same as bringing a plastic knife to school. This purist type of thinking is often fallacious and counter-productive.

For the case at hand, we can save more animals from suffering by convincing 100 people to cut their their meat-eating in half than by convincing 2 people to cut it completely. But a purist approach would cause us to incorrectly value the 2 people's complete change as more than the 100 people's half change, which is clearly incorrect.


February 21st, 2008, 4:36 pm

Invictus_88 wrote:But if meat eating doesn't cause significant suffering, then why not?

I think vegans and vegetarians do not eat animals for the same reasons they do not eat humans even if it "doesn't cause significant suffering." For one, they may not want to needlessly slaughter animals (both humans and non-human animals). Also, they may be disgusted by the idea. Also, they may have health concerns.

October 20th, 2009, 7:09 pm

Belinda wrote:
Invictus_88 wrote:
Belinda wrote:
Invictus_88 wrote:Why should moral consideration prevent us from eating them?

David Drum Bum is right, and the way in which farm animals are intensively bred,reared and fattened is wrong because it causes them sustained pain.

ii. Then don't buy meat produced in that way.

ii.I don't because I am a good veg cook, and can afford to buy organic meat on special occasions. Trouble is that factory farmed meat and dairy are cheap and popular food sources in the absence of mass- produced vegetarian fast food.And in the absence of proper nutrition education.

I think that is the result of the legalization of a type offensive violence mixed with capitalism. Capitalism tends towards resulting in the most cost-efficient way to conduct business even in very large complex economies, but it only counts that which has a financial cost or selling value. Where human slavery is legal, the non-financial costs of slavery (i.e. the pain it causes to the unwilling victims) are not measured and products made by slavery will beat products made by the more expensive method of persuading workers to voluntarily work by offering them payment in return.

In parallel to the treatment of animals, companies that use violent, slavery-ridden sweatshops from the third-world sell cheap clothes more competitively than companies that produce in the first world.

In capitalism, cost-effectiveness becomes the ever so important deciding factor of which companies succeed, how products are produced and which products sell. This of course can be a great way to increase wealth production and efficiency. But it makes what is counted as 'costs' and what is not very important. If certain things such as the pain caused to slaves by enslaving them or the pain caused to animals by enslaving them, then these things will happen even if they would be considered drastically less cost-efficient under a different way of measuring cost.

The debate of what to count as costs has no objective answer because value is relative. As an amoralist, I do not bother to say eating animals is wrong or human slavery is wrong. But we can get enough people to agree that they consider these things to be undesirable, meaning that they would consider them to be costs. (That is, they in their opinion count those things as cons when weighing the pros and cons of doing something that causes those things.) If we get enough people, then we can change the policies that determine how much it financially costs to engage in the behaviors. If they are not financially costly in the capitalist market, they will happen en masse. To use the human slavery analogy once more, at one time it was very financially cost-effective in the US capitalist market for plantation owners to use slave labor, but eventually enough people decided it was costing them to much in terms of happiness and self-respect and these people made it very financially costly for the plantation owners in the US to enslave others. Nowadays, if you enslave others in the US, you will likely go to jail, pay large amounts in legal fees, fines and civil restitution to the victims. Products that are made using human slave labor in the US would thus cost more in dollars at a store than products made without.

But do enough people feel the same about animal victimization and animal slavery as they do about human victimization and human slavery? I don't think so. So for now those of us who want vegetarian, organic or humanely produced foods may have to pay more for them to make up for the otherwise uncounted costs of causing harm to animals. Eventually, we may convince enough people to have policy changes. I doubt the mistreatment of animals and slavery of animals will ever be as illegal and commonly disliked as the mistreatment or humans and human slavery--and understandably in my opinion. Even I as a vegetarian do not sympathize nearly as much with animals as much as I do with humans. But even if animal slavery is not as illegal as human slavery, the costs of it could be counted more than they are now by such methods as say charging a fee to those who hurt animals or kill them for product-production or outlawing especially inhumane treatment of animals when alternative methods available (e.g. "only X number of chickens in a Y-sized cage"). Non-legal methods such as boycotts are also at our disposal.

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