The Vegetarianism Apocalypse, Round 2: 2002

Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 11:51:49 -0800 (PST)

Bill Pemberton intrepidly averred:
> Congrats, you get to be the stunt Fuchs.

Oh, and like the real Fuchs wasn't going to jump in (albeit a bit late).

> The not killing/eating another living thing works fine

I don't think anyone's advocating not killing/eating "living things"
(which would be pretty thin going; you could have, like, Tang?). The
issue is killing/eating other creatures who are sentient, who have
interests opposed to being killed/eaten, and who have the capacity to

> Unless you go full vegan though, the meat eaters are at least less
> wasteful -- I'll not only wear the cow, I'll eat it too.

"Less wasteful" in that one, extremely limited, sense. (And not even
that, as no cow carcasses are lying around after having their skin
removed.) But, moreover, as is alluded to later, meat-eating is
incredibly inefficient in that it takes 100 times as much water to
produce a pound of meat as a pound of veg food, it takes tons more
land, and you waste 90% of the protein in grain by cycling it through
livestock. Throw in the pollution of the water table, the
deforestation, and the abuse of antibiotics, and describing meat-eating
as "less wasteful" is a pretty big knee-slapper.

> > And I know I 
> > could never go vegan, dude, give up ice cream, and my leather boots (yeah,
> > they're against using ANY animal product) nuh uh.  

Check out Soy Dream--some of the best ice cream I've had, and at 130
calories/serving (vs. like 330 in some Ben & Jerry's). I also live and
die by my (fake leather) boots--both the big, shit-kicking, ass-stomping
motorcyle boots, and the hikers. I have to replace them about twice as
often, but they cost 1/4 as much.


              Michael Fuchs  "Into the riven village falls the rain;   Days pass; the ashes cool; he builds again"            - Edna St. Vincent Millay

Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 11:57:56 -0800 (PST)

Amy Dove Forestell intrepidly averred:
> Non-psycho vegetarians realize that cows are going to die whether they
> eat it for dinner or not.

Jeesh, that's almost exactly the same as the traditional definition of
chutzpah: killing your parents, then throwing yourself on the mercy of
the court because you're an orphan.

We BREED tens of billions of cows, chickens, and pigs in this country
every year. The cows get dehorned, castrated, drugged up, deprived of
any aspect of a normal life; then stunned (usually, but not always)
before being disembowled, dehaunched, and bled out. The newly bred
chicks get put several thousand to a shed, where they're kept in the
dark (to keep them from freaking out too much), and they eat, shit, and
grow for SIX WEEKS. Then they are strung up by the feet, run by a
spinning blade that cuts their throats (usually, but not always) before
they are dumped in a vat of boiling liquid that removes their feathers.

"They were going to die, anyway?" Please.



Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 12:09:06 -0800 (PST)

Nora Bungard intrepidly averred:
> And I personally think ethics IS a horrible reason to be 
> vegetarian.  You're projecting your predjudice on the 
> animals, because they're "cute and fuzzy."

No, the ethics of animal suffering can be fairly objectively defined. As
the ethicist Peter Singer points out, mammals and birds have nervous
systems that are virtually identical to ours physiologically, and that
all the signs that lead us to infer pain in other humans can be seen in
them. "The behavioral signs include writhing, facial contortions,
moaning, yelping, or other forms of calling, attempts to avoid the
source of pain, and appearance of fear at the prospect of its repetition."
The author of a book on pain notes, "Every partical of factual evidence
supports the contention that the higher mammalian vertebrates experience
pain sensation at least as acute as our own. To say that they feel less
because they are lower animals is an absurdity; it can easily be shown
that many of their senses are far more acute than our own."

You can choose to disregard animal suffering, while caring about human
suffering, but you're "projecting your prejudice on the humans, because
they can play trumpets and do Jaeger shots (or for whatever reason)."



Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 18:26:08 -0500
Subject: Re: today's cav daily

ON second thought, ok.  It is ok to be a vegetarian to not 
wish suffering on another sentient animal.  Buddhism etc 
moo moo.  I post a retraction and take back that thing 
about your grandma.



Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 15:32:17 -0800 (PST)

Amy Dove Forestell intrepidly averred:
> > "They were going to die, anyway?" Please.
> Well, they are.  I'm not saying I agree with how they are killed; the
> point was that even if you personally don't eat it for dinner the animal
> is still dead and it will either get eaten by someone else or get thrown
> away when it rots.

I hate to be too flippant on this but, again for the cheap seats: intrepidly averred:
> We BREED tens of billions of cows, chickens, and pigs

There aren't great thundering heards of wild livestock--senescent, about
to just keel over and fall into big piles of corpses. The animals you
eat are the products of a human-engineered, mass manufacturing process.



Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Sun, 24 Feb 2002 15:51:08 -0800 (PST)

I appreciate Nora's "retraction" and genuinely admire her open mind and,
in particular, willingness to change her position. That said, I still
want to slam on one of her earlier points . . .

Nora Bungard intrepidly averred:
> animals.  Animals reproduce, and animals die.  This is 
> life, and we are alive.

Men rape women. (Always have.)  Humans commit genocide. Humans are
animals--and animals get viruses, and bacterial infections, and
compound fractures, and die in pain.

I could go on. But the point is to briefly illustrate your stumble on
the so-called "naturalistic fallacy"--the notion that because something
is natural, then it's good (or at least okay). The counterexamples above
(and hundreds of others) give the lie to that. The fact is, you can't
get "ought" from "is"--i.e., you can't make a case for what one should
do based simply on the way things have always been. You have to make
your own ethical decisions (like whether to kill and eat animals), and
you're responsible for the results of them. Whether or not it's
"natural" doesn't get you off the hook--any more than it would a
rapist, whose behavior is historically common, selected by evolution,
and thus "natural." 



Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 09:58:43 -0800 (PST)

Bill Pemberton intrepidly averred:
> And you're just having an animal bias because you are one.... There
> has been real scientific stuff that claims that plants do suffer.

I'm going to have to ask for a citation on that one. Please send it
along. Again, from Singer, "There is no reliable evidence that plants
are capable of feeling pleasure or pain . . . there is no observable
behavior that suggests pain; nothing resembling a central nervous
system has been found in plants; and it is difficult to imagine why
species that are incapable of moving away from a source of pain or
using the perception of pain to avoid death in any other way should
have evolved the capacity to feel pain . . ."

> Furthermore, if "suffering" is the problem, we've gotten pretty good at
> killing things without suffering.

Not good enough, evidently. Check out the Washington Post series "Modern
Meat: Brutal Harvest." Part One is called "They Die Piece by Piece":

'The cattle were supposed to be dead before they got to Moreno. But too
often they weren't. "They blink. They make noises," he said softly.
"The head moves, the eyes are wide and looking around." Still Moreno
would cut. On bad days, he says, dozens of animals reached his station
clearly alive and conscious. Some would survive as far as the tail
cutter, the belly ripper, the hide puller.'

> The pesticides, the fertilizer in the groundwater, the soil
> erosion -- all happens for plants farming too.

It's a good point. But it's not nearly to the same extent, if only
because of the inefficiency: farm-raised animal foods use about five
times as much land, water, energy, pesticides, and other petrochemicals
as the equivalent amount of plant food for human consumption. Any soil
erosion, pollution of the groundwater, etc., is massively multiplied by
meat-eaters--you've got to grow the feed crops first (huge quantities)
to feed to the livestock. Then the livestock require much more water,
produce mountains of manure which leaches into the groundwater--and has
to be treated with antibiotics, leading to rampant antibiotic resistant
bacterial strains (in humans).



Subject: Re: today's cav daily
To: pep-band 
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 10:01:34 -0800 (PST)

Bill Pemberton intrepidly averred:
> > not true, my friend is actually a vegetarian because it 
> > uses less land to produce the same amount of food.
> That's true if the animals are raised for nothing EXCEPT food
> production, but animal products are used for a lot more than food.  If
> you're going to slaughter them for other things, you may as well eat
> them while you're at it.

That's extremely misleading, at best. Factory farming in this country
IS done for food production. The "a lot more than food" that they're
used for (um, leather, and what else?) add to the profitibility of the
enterprise, but they don't cause it.



Subject: Re: Meat eating and evil cows
To: pep-band 
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 10:37:27 -0800 (PST)

Ed intrepidly averred:
> Not really true... The water doesn't vanish.

No, it's still there, but it's been fouled.

> To me the 
> people that are vegans are some of the least informed people on the 
> planet.

> I think vegans are people who are searching for an 
> identity or a cause rather than a dietary or a moral choice.

Ah! I didn't realize ad homeinem attacks were allowed. In that case:
You're fat. (Which is highly germane to our respective dietary choices.)

> How do they think their ancestors survived on the Mayflower? 

How do you think your ancestors survived smallpox? Oh, yeah, they
didn't. So, no more vaccinations for you, Ed. As per my earlier
treatment on the naturalistic fallacy, it just doesn't matter.

> Milk(cow, goat, otherwise) has been a 
> necessary staple of Mankind for 8,000 years and suddenly they're too 
> good for it?

Actually, humans couldn't originally synthesise lactose past
breast-feeding age (because there was no need to). With the advent of
dairy farming, a human genetic mutation causing the production of
lactase into adulthood became common. To this day, a minority of North
Americans and a large majority of Africans lack the mutation and can't
consume dairy products ("lactose intolerance"). Still, who cares?

> If fish weren't put on this earth 
> by whoever is up there to show up on my plate for dinner then its a 
> funny joke.

Well, I suppose that's a position you can hold . . .


              Michael Fuchs  "Into the riven village falls the rain;   Days pass; the ashes cool; he builds again"            - Edna St. Vincent Millay