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Wolfman, Zaphodista :X (soon to be Zarquon again, or maybe not) Started conversation Dec 16, 2001
Here's a discussion prompt for people who are vegetarians for moral reasons:
How flexible are vegetarian ideals? Some vegetarians despise the idea of "near-vegetarianism" ("I only eat a little bit of meat"). Is there (morally speaking) a point in reducing your intake of meat? What about veganism?
For instance: Ideally I believe in boycotting all animal products, mostly because of the cruel conditons most are produced in, but my current social setting makes veganism next to impossible, so I simply try to eat as little eggs and dairy as possible, even though I don't completely eliminate them. Am I wasting my effort? (It's OK to say yes. You won't be blacklisted from the society. I promise!)
Obviously, this is a pretty open ended discussion. Feel free to shift the conversation to any aspect of vegetarian moral idealism you'd like to discuss.
DoctorGonzo Posted Feb 9, 2002
I used to be, and am considering going back to being, a pescetarian. That is, I ate fish, but no other types of meat. The reason I did this was mostly because of cruel methods of farming, rather than a belief that eating meat was wrong. I don't think that meat is murder, but I do think that cruelty before slaughter, and cruel slaughter techniques, are immoral and unnecessary.
I think that there is a point in standing up for what you believe in. The trend towards vegetarianism and veganism will hopefully force a change in attitude. And while those that think eating meat is completely wrong would rather the killing of animals for food stopped altogether, I'm sure they would agree that a move towards free range and organic meat would be a positive step.
HVS Posted Feb 11, 2002
I returned to vegetarianism, mainly because of my concerns over the 'farming' of meat (I had originally intended to give up meat which was factory farmed/cruelly produced, but then realised I didn't want to eat meat at all). My final decision, having discussed my thoughts with friends (some veggie, some not) for several months prior, was actually spurred on by health concerns too, after a bout of 'food poisoning', the blame for which I lay with a certain meat product. I have also come to appreciate the healthier vegetarian lifestyle, and the fact that vegetarian cookery is not restricted by the 'meat and two veg' ethos of eating. Eating/cooking veggie is much more fun!
I always buy free range eggs (produced locally), but still buy 'supermarket' milk, and 'vegetarian' cheese and other dairy products. The milk consumption bothers me, and I have frequently toyed with the idea of going vegan, but I know that I personally still need dairy in my diet.
For me, being a vegetarian is just an extension of my wider ideals of a world where cruelty to animals (as well as humans) is neither considered necessary, or indeed acceptable. That includes things like hunting, experimentation for the production of cosmetics (my views are somewhat mixed still on medical experimentation), and the mistreatment of animals in any other way, especially in the name of 'sport' and human amusement. How the latter can still be tolerated in the 21st Century is beyond my comprehension. (I could get into a major rant on fox-hunting and field sports here, but that is not the point of the current topic!)
It would be very nice to hear other HVS members' opinions on this topic, as well as non-veggies too. Thanks for starting the discussion W, and thanks for stopping by Gonzo.
Should you decide you wish to take the next step, and join HVS, just let me know.
There is only one thing worse than being Gosho, and that is not being Gosho Posted Feb 11, 2002
Well, according to the Dalai Lama, vegetarian ideals can be pretty flexible. He has to be one of the world's best known vegetarians, but does himself occasionally eat meat, so I understand. He does so if his health is poor and he needs some particular nutrition. I also understand that in the Buddhist religion it's ok to eat meat as long as you, or another Buddhist, didn't kill the animal. It's a very pragmatic way of dealing with the world - at some time in the future we may all be vegetarian, but right now there are people who eat meat, therefore meat is going to be available. I don't consider it hypocritical to make use of something you wouldn't normally use because it's against your beliefs, as long as you haven't taken up an extremist stance and said "This is an abomination and I will *never* have anything to do with it."
I use the same rationale to justify the leather jacket I own. It was given to me by a friend who found it in the wardrobe of her apartment after she sub-let it to someone. I didn't order the death of the animal the leather came from, I didn't go into a leather shop and buy (therefore I didn't promote the industry), and I didn't even look for it in a second-hand store. It just came to me.
I doubt that I could ever become a vegan. I'm quite happy to eat eggs as long as I know they didn't come from battery farmed chickens. I haven't drunk cows milk for years - soya milk these days is pretty damn tasty and nothing like as ghastly as it once was (I still use cows milk in recipes though - and don't forget that tomorrow is pancake day ). If I can find vegetarian-rennet cheese, I'll buy it before I buy the other stuff. I'm fortunate though in that I can afford to do these things. A lot of people don't have that option.
Niten Posted Mar 5, 2002
I am strictly vegetarian, myself, though not vegan. My wife is a pescetarian. Since our decision to limit our diet is founded in part on our sense of morality, we take take steps to be sure that animal products we do consume (eggs, cheese, honey), are humane, free range, etc.
Though we do disagree about the fish thing, she doesn't ask me to eat it, and I don't give her [much] grief for her choice to eat it. The decision to draw the line between "food" and "not food" is arbitrary wherever the line is placed. I place it between the animal and vegetable kingdoms (with allowances for animal-produced products); she draws it between fish and fowl.
Since meat requires the slaughter of animals, I can't bring myself to eat it, since I don't require it for my survival (or, indeed, to thrive). The question of "meat" created through biotechnological means, though, is an interesting one. (I know I'm treading on very thin ice, mentioning biotech around a bunch of vegetarians, but stay with me...)
Imagine, if you can, a wonderful piece of beef. Instead of coming from a steer, though, it has been grown entirely in a vat, and, as such, no cellular death or physical suffering has been inflicted. Okay to eat? The rational moral vegetarian with a consistent position should say "yes". (Over the years, though, I've developed a bit of an aversion to meat, so I would probably still say "no".)
My one, um, beef with "I-only-eat-a-little-bit-of-meat" vegetarians is that, because they tend to be numerous, there is a misconception that vegetarians will eat a little bit of meat. I'm reminded of the luncheon I attended where chicken salad sandwiches were served "for the vegetarians".
DoctorGonzo Posted Mar 6, 2002
Something that I didn't mention before is that I'm allergic to lentils, peas, peanuts, and the like. This makes going completely vegetarian a little difficult, unless I mix anti-histamines in with the recipe.
I must say, that aubergine lasagne that fords_prefect cooked last night was rather tasty. Going veggie may be pretty easy if I'm living with her
$u$ Posted Mar 9, 2002
Aubergine lasagne? Mmm... sounds good.
I personally don't fancy the idea of 'grown' meat at all. Maybe it's just the meat thing, but I suspect it's more to do with the artificial creation of it. As a veggie, I also try to steer away from heavily processed food, and to be honest, I don't 'need' meat in my diet, so what would be the point? I do however frequently make use of Quorn (as I said recently in other thread), 'fake meat' as some would have it. That's because it's convenient, nutritious, tasty and versatile, and the non-veggies in the house will happily eat it. Also, unlike soya, it's not linked to any health issues (yet!)
My major 'beef' is with the meat industry. For instance, the recent foot and mouth epidemic in the UK would not have spread as it did if animals were not shipped from pillar to post before slaughter. Bring back the old fashioned farm where animals roamed free and produce was sold locally, and we would have less disease-spreading, less hormones pumped in, and healthier and happier animals and people imho.
Indefatigable Posted Mar 24, 2002
Part of the original question was about depising people who only eat 'a little bit of meat'. Considering how much damage meat production does to the environment, why does meat-avoidance have to be an all-or-nothing proposition? If you can't give up meat completely for one reason or another, isn't it more ethically responsible to eat less of it than to eat lots of it?
If one person becomes a vegetarian and cuts out all the meat from their diet, they're doing some good for the environment. If two people each cut out half the meat they eat, they're doing as much good together as that one vegetarian.
Imagine if everyone in a heavy meat-eating country (like the US or Australia or Canada) were to have pancakes and fruit for breakfast instead of sausages and eggs, falafels for lunch instead of a ham sandwich, and then went home for their regularly scheduled roast chicken dinner. Suddenly that country would be eating half the meat it used to, and saving a lot of land and polluting less groundwater...
171750 Baggyfish Posted Mar 27, 2002
Being veggie/vegan is personal choice,therefor to condemn others on their personal preference is counter productive.To give information to "Jo public" is purely educational and up to the indervidual to make informed choices. I used feel threaten when faimly,friends would give me a hard time for being veggie and then vegan well that completly fliped them out. I wouldn't want to make other people feel like that.
Key: Complain about this post
- 1: Wolfman, Zaphodista :X (soon to be Zarquon again, or maybe not) (Dec 16, 2001)
- 2: DoctorGonzo (Feb 9, 2002)
- 3: HVS (Feb 11, 2002)
- 4: There is only one thing worse than being Gosho, and that is not being Gosho (Feb 11, 2002)
- 5: Niten (Mar 5, 2002)
- 6: DoctorGonzo (Mar 6, 2002)
- 7: $u$ (Mar 9, 2002)
- 8: Indefatigable (Mar 24, 2002)
- 9: 171750 Baggyfish (Mar 27, 2002)