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Are you opposed to eating oysters? - Page 6  

post #151 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

After all the purpose of a fruit is to reproduce not to be eat by some other species.

Didn't fruit plants evolve to produce fruit because animals ate the fruit and in that way distributed the seeds within that fruit, thus leading to a survival advantage for those plants, and those genes?

So I would say that fruit's purpose was to be eaten.
post #152 of 320

grosss ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww never ate them and never will

post #153 of 320

Cato's original question posed as whether a vegan could give himself dispensation to eat this one animal form -- okay, mollusk bivalves in general -- but the literal question was whether responders were actually opposed to it. I can't imagine a group of activists deciding to leaflet the evils of oyster farming, or picket an oyster farm. There's probably an underlying consensus that some vegeterian/vegan practices are more to avoid causing suffering, and some are more on general principle since animals are animals, whatever their degree of sentience. Cato mentioned that after four years as a vegan he still misses the taste of meat. I wonder if he misses the taste of oysters, seeing as even omnivores tend to need tabasco, lemon, cocktail sauce and alcohol to eat oysters without gagging.

post #154 of 320

I saw this post referenced in another thread and I had to come check it out. Anyway, here is my two cents:

 

 

People often give me the same riot act when I refuse scallops, clams, etc etc. I live in a fishing village and I'm essentially a social pariah for eschewing seafood. The thing is, anything with an animal protein just isn't something I'm comfortable with. We can all look at something and go "Yup it's a plant." Maybe people feel fine eating an Oyster, but not me. I've spent my entire life near shelled creatures. Even if they don't have a central nervous system, they're alive in a way a plant isn't. This is especially true of clams, but when I go to pick a carrot, it doesn't burrow under the dirt.

 

In the same way I wouldn't eat an insect... I'd just never eat an oyster. They're lovely little things.

veganese

veganese

post #155 of 320
Quote:

Originally Posted by Cato View Post

If [...] you believe it is wrong to eat oysters then you should explain why that is. I thought maybe someone would come up with a reason to avoid eating oysters even if it was proven beyond any reasonable doubt that they are non-sentient. So far no one has given any such reason.

 

Now you're just lying. We have in fact given reasons not to eat oysters, regardless of whether or not they feel pain. You've conveniently chosen to ignore all the reasons we've offered. I myself said:

 

Even without nerves, there are good reasons not to eat oysters:

- They're one of the foods most likely to give you food poisoning

- They're high in cholesterol

- They're gross and slimy

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

 

The distinction should not be plant vs animal. It should rather be sentient vs non-sentient! Sentient beings should be respected and treated with consideration whereas non-sentient “beings” need not be treated with respect or consideration as it would benefit no one to do so. I find that to be a very attractive principle. Any principle aiming to draw a moral difference between animals and plants would have to award respect and consideration based on biological or chemical characteristics and composition rather than what really matters, ability to suffer and appreciate consideration (as opposed to lacking ability to think or feel or suffer.) The second principle completely misses the mark and is an utterly corrupt and useless form of empathy. I might as well show love and consideration to my fridge or my table or my sci-fi DVD collection (not that I hadn’t considered the latter.)

Would you grant that there is no consensus about what it means to be sentient?

 

Will you grant that the closest we've come, as a society, to understanding whether or not a being feels pain is the presense of nerves?

 

You yourself referenced the oyster's lack of a brain to indicate lack of pain sensation - that was what you wrote in the first post here in this thread. So you already look to the presense of biological or chemical chracateristics when deciding whether or not something is likely to feel pain.

 

And won't you grant that something that has nerves is more likely to feel pain than something that hasn't got nerves?

 

The scientific distinction between plant and animal is not merely based on random physical or chemical characteristics. It is based in part on the animal's ability to feel pain, eg, the animal's motility, nerves, reactions to things that cause other animals pain. Google "what is an animal" and you will find the dictionary definition that google cites says this:

 

 

Quote:

an·i·mal

noun /ˈanəməl/ 
animals, plural

  • A living organism that feeds on organic matter, typically having specialized sense organs and nervous system and able to respond rapidly to stimuli

 

 

 

The clear demarcation between sentient and nonsentient beings simply doesn't yet exist. As a society, we've done countless cruel experiements trying to determine whether or not certain animals feel pain and there's still no clear consensus that immediate reaction to stimuli is the only clear indicator of pain. Many scientists will grant that even animals who don't appear to react may still feel pain because of the presense of nerves. And we're learning more and more everyday, realizing that many of the animals we previously assumed did not feel pain do in fact feel pain.

 

What we do have is a clear demarcation between plant and animal. And that demarcation is not only very clear and easily understood by anyone who has a basic grasp of biology, it's also useful in determining which beings are most likely to feel pain versus which are least likely to feel pain. This existing demarcation is a perfectly rational place to draw the line between what is vegan and what isn't. Moreover, it's more rational than the distinction between sentient and nonsentient because we simply cannot know for certain what another being experiences.

 

Let me give you an implausible hypothetical to ponder: say mad scientists created a species of cow that reacted to pain in a manner that indicated to humans that they enjoyed the pain. Of course, we could never know for sure if they actually felt pain or joy, but they appeared to feel joy while being mutilated without anesthesia, beaten, confined, and killed. Would it be vegan to eat those animals? Or might it make more sense to remember that we humans are not omnicient and cannot know whether or not these animals actually feel joy? Might it make sense to simply refrain from eating those cows because the possibility that they actually feel pain is greater than the possibility that plants feel pain? Wouldn't it be perfectly morally acceptable, for an average person, to simply decide not to eat those cows for any reason whatsoever, be it health, environmental, or pure disgust?


Edited by ElaineV - 6/25/12 at 9:05am
post #156 of 320
Thread Starter 

Good point! But its purpose is to be eaten with the "hope" of spreading its seeds to fertile ground. You never actually carry its seed to fertile grounds you just throw them in the trash. And I don't personally think there is anything wrong with that as plants are not sentient and can be used for our own needs and that of other sentient beings without consideration for the plants themselves.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blobbenstein View Post


Didn't fruit plants evolve to produce fruit because animals ate the fruit and in that way distributed the seeds within that fruit, thus leading to a survival advantage for those plants, and those genes?
So I would say that fruit's purpose was to be eaten.
post #157 of 320
Thread Starter 

Again it's a mater of sentience vs non-sentience not the degree of sentience. I am not arguing in favour of eating animals with low ability to feel (in fact I am against it) I am considering the possibility of eating animals that cannot feel. I have never eaten oysters.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

Cato's original question posed as whether a vegan could give himself dispensation to eat this one animal form -- okay, mollusk bivalves in general -- but the literal question was whether responders were actually opposed to it. I can't imagine a group of activists deciding to leaflet the evils of oyster farming, or picket an oyster farm. There's probably an underlying consensus that some vegeterian/vegan practices are more to avoid causing suffering, and some are more on general principle since animals are animals, whatever their degree of sentience. Cato mentioned that after four years as a vegan he still misses the taste of meat. I wonder if he misses the taste of oysters, seeing as even omnivores tend to need tabasco, lemon, cocktail sauce and alcohol to eat oysters without gagging.


Edited by Cato - 6/25/12 at 12:30pm
post #158 of 320
Thread Starter 

Well yes there are biological and chemical differences between plants and oysters but the question is are they relevant? There are also plants that react to their environment. Perhaps you have no desire to eat them which is fine but if it is proven that oyster are no more likely to be sentient than plants then you should not claim moral superiority to those who eat oysters.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lekker View Post

I saw this post referenced in another thread and I had to come check it out. Anyway, here is my two cents:

 

 

People often give me the same riot act when I refuse scallops, clams, etc etc. I live in a fishing village and I'm essentially a social pariah for eschewing seafood. The thing is, anything with an animal protein just isn't something I'm comfortable with. We can all look at something and go "Yup it's a plant." Maybe people feel fine eating an Oyster, but not me. I've spent my entire life near shelled creatures. Even if they don't have a central nervous system, they're alive in a way a plant isn't. This is especially true of clams, but when I go to pick a carrot, it doesn't burrow under the dirt.

 

In the same way I wouldn't eat an insect... I'd just never eat an oyster. They're lovely little things.

post #159 of 320
Thread Starter 

No I am not lying! I asked for moral reasons not your personal food preferences or ways of slightly lowering my chances of poisoning. Try to be relevant!

 

I am not a scientist working in sentience. If you are not either then you should provide citation for any claim you make. I personally will rely on experts and accept their conclusions once they assert something with a very high degree of confidence.

 

The source I previously mentioned states that it is the presence of a brain that is necessary for pain not nerves. Again unless you are an expert provide citation for scientific claims or I will ignore them. As I said before most scientists seem to think there is very little doubt that oysters are sentient or feel pain. What you seem to suggest goes against this and I will certainly not accept your claims if they are at odds with the experts.

 

I am looking at the biological and chemical facts of oyster anatomy in trying to answer the question are they sentient or not? I am not looking at such evidence in trying to classify them into irrelevant groups which have no moral implications.

 

The very issue at hand is that it is very likely that there are animals which are not sentient and feel no pain. Again, feeling pain and reacting to your environment are not the same thing!

 

The distinction between animal and plant is not the more rational moral distinction. In fact it misses the point! The rational moral distinction is sentient vs non-sentient. If for practical reasons you find it useful to make generalizations regarding sentience based on whether something is a plant or animal then by all means use it. But to make that the primary distinction misses the point completely!

 

Personally I will neither argue for or against the sentience of oysters as I am not an expert. I will rely on them to provide such knowledge. But I have an important question for you. Suppose that the experts proved that oysters are no more likely than plants to be sentient. Would you be against eating them if that was the case? You need to answer this question otherwise we may be arguing without actually disagreeing on the main point.

 

I am against domestication of sentient beings! I am not sure how strict I would be in enforcing that rule but preferably humans should minimize their interaction with other sentient species and give them as much freedom as possible. It is therefore highly unlikely that I would sanction such experimentation with sentient beings and would certainly condemn interacting with them in such ways. I am not longer willing to say we should avoid gaining biological knowledge which requires interaction with animals but it should not be done in cruel ways and the animals who are subjects should have pleasant lives. But with the cows you mention I say leave them alone because they are known to be sentient. If they were not sentient do what you wish.

 

I am not sure if you are arguing against eating oysters because you believe the doubt of their sentience to be sufficient or are arguing in principle that even if animals we non-sentient we should not eat them. It is very important that you make that clarification before this goes any further.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Now you're just lying. We have in fact given reasons not to eat oysters, regardless of whether or not they feel pain. You've conveniently chosen to ignore all the reasons we've offered. I myself said:

 

Even without nerves, there are good reasons not to eat oysters:

- They're one of the foods most likely to give you food poisoning

- They're high in cholesterol

- They're gross and slimy

 

Would you grant that there is no consensus about what it means to be sentient?

 

Will you grant that the closest we've come, as a society, to understanding whether or not a being feels pain is the presense of nerves?

 

You yourself referenced the oyster's lack of a brain to indicate lack of pain sensation - that was what you wrote in the first post here in this thread. So you already look to the presense of biological or chemical chracateristics when deciding whether or not something is likely to feel pain.

 

And won't you grant that something that has nerves is more likely to feel pain than something that hasn't got nerves?

 

The scientific distinction between plant and animal is not merely based on random physical or chemical characteristics. It is based in part on the animal's ability to feel pain, eg, the animal's motility, nerves, reactions to things that cause other animals pain. Google "what is an animal" and you will find the dictionary definition that google cites says this:

 

 

 

 

The clear demarcation between sentient and nonsentient beings simply doesn't yet exist. As a society, we've done countless cruel experiements trying to determine whether or not certain animals feel pain and there's still no clear consensus that immediate reaction to stimuli is the only clear indicator of pain. Many scientists will grant that even animals who don't appear to react may still feel pain because of the presense of nerves. And we're learning more and more everyday, realizing that many of the animals we previously assumed did not feel pain do in fact feel pain.

 

What we do have is a clear demarcation between plant and animal. And that demarcation is not only very clear and easily understood by anyone who has a basic grasp of biology, it's also useful in determining which beings are most likely to feel pain versus which are least likely to feel pain. This existing demarcation is a perfectly rational place to draw the line between what is vegan and what isn't. Moreover, it's more rational than the distinction between sentient and nonsentient because we simply cannot know for certain what another being experiences.

 

Let me give you an implausible hypothetical to ponder: say mad scientists created a species of cow that reacted to pain in a manner that indicated to humans that they enjoyed the pain. Of course, we could never know for sure if they actually felt pain or joy, but they appeared to feel joy while being mutilated without anesthesia, beaten, confined, and killed. Would it be vegan to eat those animals? Or might it make more sense to remember that we humans are not omnicient and cannot know whether or not these animals actually feel joy? Might it make sense to simply refrain from eating those cows because the possibility that they actually feel pain is greater than the possibility that plants feel pain? Wouldn't it be perfectly morally acceptable, for an average person, to simply decide not to eat those cows for any reason whatsoever, be it health, environmental, or pure disgust?

post #160 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

With me it has nothing to do with being alive. Plants are alive too and I eat them as do most vegans. But they do not feel and are not conscious. For all ethical purposes they are automatons and we do not treat our robots with consideration.

 

I don't think eating only fruits means you put plants on the same level of consideration as animals. After all the purpose of a fruit is to reproduce not to be eat by some other species. One can easily ask a fruitarian: you eat the reproductive material of plants so why do you not eat the reproductive material of animals (eggs)? This would reveal that fruitarians do not have the same consideration for plants as for animals. And why not? The answer I think has to be that plants are not sentient (cannot suffer) and most animals are. I see nothing wrong with "killing" non-sentient beings (that can never become sentient). I should note that when I see plants I feel some respect and have on occasion caressed them but that is just misguided and foolish if not weird tongue3.gif

 

 

I agree.

We don't have to kill a plant to eat parts of it though. We generally eat the seed pod, or leaves of plants, which in the case of greens, they can grow back if cut the right way. It is not necessary to kill a plant to eat it in many cases. It is not necessary to kill a tree to eat the fruit. Some are killed because of modern farming techniques, but it isn't necessary to. With oysters they must be killed to be eaten. And, it hasn't been proven that they don't suffer in some way. Not having a standard nervous system doesn't mean they don't suffer. Even if they don't I'm still not eating an animal that has to die in order for me to eat it.   And again, the plant does not have to die in order for most fruits and veggies to be eaten.

post #161 of 320

You say the creed is the issue, but truthfully not all vegetarians have the same creed, or even are vegetarians because of any creed...so you're going to get different answers.

 

As to the ethics of eating things with no CNS, to me if something has the sense to attempt to flee predators, the answer is obvious.

Beanitarian.
Beanitarian.
post #162 of 320

Personally I was pescetarian before finally settling on veganism.  I have to say my reasoning was quite dumb considering it is still an animal. I'd say no simply because there would be not purpose in me doing so.

post #163 of 320
Thread Starter 

Yeah but vegans eat plants that were "killed". As I said before if I think rationally I would give non-sentient beings no more consideration than I would my pen or a corpse that may still have functioning nerves in it. Anyway your point of view would put you on a collision course with vegans (which includes me) who eat plants that have to "die" as well as my view here. I am personally not attracted to your view because it awards moral consideration to beings/things that neither need it nor want it. I just can't see what saving the lives of non-sentient organisms is supposed to achieve! To me it is no different than believing that keeping my TV in working order is a moral duty for the TV's sake. If I allow myself to give in to emotions without rational consideration it does seem attractive to me though.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by smiling View Post

We don't have to kill a plant to eat parts of it though. We generally eat the seed pod, or leaves of plants, which in the case of greens, they can grow back if cut the right way. It is not necessary to kill a plant to eat it in many cases. It is not necessary to kill a tree to eat the fruit. Some are killed because of modern farming techniques, but it isn't necessary to. With oysters they must be killed to be eaten. And, it hasn't been proven that they don't suffer in some way. Not having a standard nervous system doesn't mean they don't suffer. Even if they don't I'm still not eating an animal that has to die in order for me to eat it.   And again, the plant does not have to die in order for most fruits and veggies to be eaten.

 

Absolutely, I do not expect the same answers. But I will consider all creeds and see if there is something I may have missed.

 

For me ability to flee does not have moral implications. It "benefits" no organism to fall prey even though some of them have evolved to try to avoid it more theatrically than others. But that may well be (and probably is) an automated response for some of them. Perhaps that makes you more aware that it is not an evolutionary advantage to fall prey but why would that have any moral implications by itself? We can design robots to do the same thing. But only if we designed sentient robots would we need to bestow moral consideration upon them.

 

Be sure to give my best to Lwaxana :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

You say the creed is the issue, but truthfully not all vegetarians have the same creed, or even are vegetarians because of any creed...so you're going to get different answers.

 

As to the ethics of eating things with no CNS, to me if something has the sense to attempt to flee predators, the answer is obvious.

post #164 of 320
Cato, do you understand that the distinction between sentient and nonsentient is similar to the distinction between beings with a soul versus beings without a soul? Sentience is not a clearly defined and understood concept. There is much debate about who is or who is not sentient. And we can never truly _know_ how or what another being feels. Your proposed ethical system has some metaphysical and/or epistemological issues that need to be dealt with. This is evidenced in your assertion that oysters don't feel pain versus the response of many of us here who think that's jumping to conclusions without enough evidence and it's likely they do feel some pain. This uncertainty about who feels pain and who doesn't is a very major problem for your desired ethical system. Why aren't you willing to accept a more generalized principle that eating animals is wrong because animals are likely to be sentient? Why are you actively searching for a counter example to the general principle that animals experience pain?
post #165 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post

You say the creed is the issue, but truthfully not all vegetarians have the same creed, or even are vegetarians because of any creed...so you're going to get different answers.

 

As to the ethics of eating things with no CNS, to me if something has the sense to attempt to flee predators, the answer is obvious.

 


Well, this seems rather biased against immobile animals.

Jesus saved me, but the file was corrupted.
Jesus saved me, but the file was corrupted.
post #166 of 320
Thread Starter 

If you wish to descend into such scepticism how do you know plants are not sentient? My assertion is based on what the foremost animal rights philosopher said regarding the sentience of oysters. That is, it is highly unlikely they are sentient. I do not care what non-experts say unless they cite experts. I will not generalize because I see no point to it! Generalizations should be avoided whenever possible. They are not something to be desired.

 

If as you and many others suggest there is a slim doubt that they are sentient or there is some (even small) controversy among scientists that they are sentient I will not eat them! If on the other hand they are extremely unlikely to be sentient (with a probability similar to plants) then I will probably eat them unless I find some other reason to avoid them, and so far I have found no such reason. Or maybe I will simply give in to the irrationality of many other vegans and avoid eating them anyway as vegans are some of the last people I consider "my people". But I don’t like it one bit! That would be like the pope silencing Galileo!

 

Reminds me of an anecdote:

A boy goes home to his father and tells him: the people of the village ate some poisoned food and are all going insane. The father replies: NO! The whole village? Quick get some for us too!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Cato, do you understand that the distinction between sentient and nonsentient is similar to the distinction between beings with a soul versus beings without a soul? Sentience is not a clearly defined and understood concept. There is much debate about who is or who is not sentient. And we can never truly _know_ how or what another being feels. Your proposed ethical system has some metaphysical and/or epistemological issues that need to be dealt with. This is evidenced in your assertion that oysters don't feel pain versus the response of many of us here who think that's jumping to conclusions without enough evidence and it's likely they do feel some pain. This uncertainty about who feels pain and who doesn't is a very major problem for your desired ethical system. Why aren't you willing to accept a more generalized principle that eating animals is wrong because animals are likely to be sentient? Why are you actively searching for a counter example to the general principle that animals experience pain?

Edited by Cato - 6/26/12 at 10:45pm
post #167 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

If you wish to descend into such scepticism how do you know plants are not sentient? My assertion is based on what the foremost animal rights philosopher said regarding the sentience of oysters. That is, it is highly unlikely they are sentient. I do not care what non-experts say unless they cite experts. I will not generalize because I see no point to it! Generalizations should be avoided whenever possible. They are not something to be desired.

 

If as you and many others suggest there is a slim doubt that they are sentient or there is some (even small) controversy among scientists that they are sentient I will not eat them! If on the other hand they are extremely unlikely to be sentient (with a probability similar to plants) then I will probably eat them unless I find some other reason to avoid them, and so far I have found no such reason. Or maybe I will simply give in to the irrationality of many other vegans and avoid eating them anyway as vegans are some of the last people I consider "my people". But I don’t like it one bit! That would be like the pope silencing Galileo!

 

Reminds me of an anecdote:

A boy goes home to his father and tells him: the people of the village ate some poisoned food and are all going insane. The father replies: NO! The whole village? Quick get some for us too!

 


Cato, you haven't really addressed why you're interested in eating oysters. Is snot sadly lacking in your diet? Oysters didn't tempt you back when you were eating other animals, so why now? You mentioned that the taste of meat still tugs at you, but oysters have nothing of the taste or texture of meat. If you're that curious you probably will try them at least once, which is easier than arguing about it with a bunch of vegans and vegetarians, FFS. But it seems exceedingly odd for a vegan to get that interested in a "food" that most meat-eaters find revolting. For most people they're right up there with the slugs and grubs people used to eat on Fear Factor. I don't know your age or whether triglicerides and cholesterol are issues for you, but the physicians and food scientists behind the latest dietary vegan surge claim that all animal fat and all animal protein are heart-harmful to an extent. And in fact an increasing number of diabetics and cardiac patients who adopt a purely plant-based diet are able to stop or greatly reduce their medication. But do what you're gonna do, just don't expect buy-in from the folks who don't eat animals. You'll find all the support you could want from the other 95 percent of the population.

post #168 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

If you wish to descend into such scepticism how do you know plants are not sentient?

 

I don't.

 

Eating lower on the food chain...

- reduces the possibility of causing unecessary suffering to all sentient or potentially sentient beings, as well as

- does less harm to the environment and thus preserves resources for future, not yet sentient beings, as well as

- is generally better for my health, as well as

- is generally better for the health of humankind in that it's less likely to be a cause of pollution or the spread of disease, as well as

- is a simple and easy way to live my values.

 

How low on the food chain I go is up to me. But when I went below the line between animal and plant, that's called VEGAN. It's a simple word that has a specific definition.

 

If you'd like to promote something else, something based on other definitions, then go for it. Instead of calling yourself vegan and promoting a vegan lifestyle, call yourself a compassionate eater and promote a Diet Of Things Probably Aren't Sentient (DOT-PAS). You can start a forum and call it DOTPASboards.

post #169 of 320
Thread Starter 

I already mentioned variety as a reason. No those are not issues for me yet (I am 23). And even if I did eat them I would do so in healthy amounts. I am not asking for support. I am asking: do you think there is anything wrong with it (ethically)? I do not eat much vegan junk food but I would not condemn those who do. Just because you avoid something does not mean you condemn its use.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post


Cato, you haven't really addressed why you're interested in eating oysters. Is snot sadly lacking in your diet? Oysters didn't tempt you back when you were eating other animals, so why now? You mentioned that the taste of meat still tugs at you, but oysters have nothing of the taste or texture of meat. If you're that curious you probably will try them at least once, which is easier than arguing about it with a bunch of vegans and vegetarians, FFS. But it seems exceedingly odd for a vegan to get that interested in a "food" that most meat-eaters find revolting. For most people they're right up there with the slugs and grubs people used to eat on Fear Factor. I don't know your age or whether triglicerides and cholesterol are issues for you, but the physicians and food scientists behind the latest dietary vegan surge claim that all animal fat and all animal protein are heart-harmful to an extent. And in fact an increasing number of diabetics and cardiac patients who adopt a purely plant-based diet are able to stop or greatly reduce their medication. But do what you're gonna do, just don't expect buy-in from the folks who don't eat animals. You'll find all the support you could want from the other 95 percent of the population.

 

If you will not accept scientific propositions which are widely agreed upon I don't see what is to come of this. Saying you don't know if what you are eating is sentient or not puts you on a collision course with mainstream vegan ideology (not practice) probably more so than what I am arguing for here. As for the points you have provided, either I find them unlikely or unattractive. It is probably the case that some plants are better for the environment than others yet I do not see vegans concerning themselves with that sort of thing.

 

Given that veganism is mostly about ethics it is important to deal with such questions. And those who cannot give any sort of ethical concern would be wise to not give an overgenerous amount of condemnations. If you wish to condemn something you should provide good reasons for doing so rather than provide pretenses at best (as many people do). If some vegans think their ideology should never be questioned (on charges of heresy) then we should make sure to give it the status that many religions worldwide enjoy (what's one more?) But for myself and many other rational vegans that is not the case.

 

Such debate should not have upset any rational vegans!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

I don't.

 

Eating lower on the food chain...

- reduces the possibility of causing unecessary suffering to all sentient or potentially sentient beings, as well as

- does less harm to the environment and thus preserves resources for future, not yet sentient beings, as well as

- is generally better for my health, as well as

- is generally better for the health of humankind in that it's less likely to be a cause of pollution or the spread of disease, as well as

- is a simple and easy way to live my values.

 

How low on the food chain I go is up to me. But when I went below the line between animal and plant, that's called VEGAN. It's a simple word that has a specific definition.

 

If you'd like to promote something else, something based on other definitions, then go for it. Instead of calling yourself vegan and promoting a vegan lifestyle, call yourself a compassionate eater and promote a Diet Of Things Probably Aren't Sentient (DOT-PAS). You can start a forum and call it DOTPASboards.


Edited by Cato - 6/27/12 at 1:41pm
post #170 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

If you'd like to promote something else, something based on other definitions, then go for it. Instead of calling yourself vegan and promoting a vegan lifestyle, call yourself a compassionate eater and promote a Diet Of Things Probably Aren't Sentient (DOT-PAS). You can start a forum and call it DOTPASboards.

laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif

Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

post #171 of 320

Whether I'd consider oyster-eating ethical, I've already dealt with in a previous post. It's not an activity that activists oppose, not in the sense that they oppose fur farms and CAFOs, and filleting fish that are still alive. Okay, maybe just a bit like filleting fish that are still alive. Raw oysters are still alive while being consumed. Still, it's not a specific area where vegans try to engage the public to promote change in policy or behavior, the way they try to get puppy mills shut down.

But the primitive nature of oysters doesn't give me a good feeling about eating them. It comes down to that hypothetical ET race that's so advanced, whose existence is so multi-dimensional compared to ours, that we are as cytoplankton to them. If they wanted to eat us they could, and maybe we taste so great that every bite tickles the pleasure centers of their extraordinary brains. But if they were really so far advanced, maybe they'd give us the benefit of the doubt instead. Maybe they'd act out of faith that even if they don't understand our perceptions or our reactions, which all seem like mere reflexes to them, that maybe we do experience life in a way that we'd rather they didn't take it from us just because they can, and just because they enjoy variety.


Edited by Joan Kennedy - 6/27/12 at 2:52pm
post #172 of 320
Thread Starter 

The advanced ET argument works against those who eat sentient beings with the excuse that we are much more advanced. Then you can say "but what if we encountered beings that were much more advanced than we. Should they eat us?" I do not believe it has any power against what I am saying here. As I have said I am against eating even the least sentient being! If these ET embrace the same principle as I they will easily determine that I am sentient and will not eat me. They will even determine that a little spider is sentient and will not eat her. The fact that they are more advanced would not make it ok for them to eat me just as I would not eat a sentient insect I can barely see despite the fact that I am much more advanced than him (that is, assuming they accept the same principle as I.) 

If on the other hand they accept a different principle then anything is possible. They might only eat animals (including humans) born on the 24th of July or only people whose maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother had red hair, blue eyes, and thick eyebrows.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post

Whether I'd consider oyster-eating ethical, I've already dealt with in a previous post. It's not an activity that activists oppose, not in the sense that they oppose fur farms and CAFOs, and filleting fish that are still alive. Okay, maybe just a bit like filleting fish that are still alive. Raw oysters are still alive while being consumed. Still, it's not a specific area where vegans try to engage the public to promote change in policy or behavior, the way they try to get puppy mills shut down.

But the primitive nature of oysters doesn't give me a good feeling about eating them. It comes down to that hypothetical ET race that's so advanced, whose existence is so multi-dimensional compared to ours, that we are as cytoplankton to them. If they wanted to eat us they could, and maybe we taste so great that every bite tickles the pleasure centers of their extraordinary brains. But if they were really so far advanced, maybe they'd give us the benefit of the doubt instead. Maybe they'd act out of faith that even if they don't understand our perceptions or our reactions, which all seem like mere reflexes to them, that maybe we do experience life in a way that we'd rather they didn't take it from us just because they can, and just because they enjoy variety.


Edited by Cato - 6/27/12 at 9:30pm
post #173 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cato View Post

The advanced ET argument works against those who eat sentient beings with the excuse that we are much more advanced. Then you can say "but what if we encountered beings that were much more advanced than we. Should they eat us?" I do not believe it has any power against what I am saying here. As I have said I am against eating even the least sentient being! If these ET embrace the same principle as I they will easily determine that I am sentient and will not eat me. They will even determine that a little spider is sentient and will not eat her. The fact that they are more advanced would not make it ok for them to eat me just as I would not eat a sentient insect I can barely see despite the fact that I am much more advanced than him (that is, assuming they accept the same principle as I.) 

If on the other hand they accept a different principle then anything is possible. They might only eat animals (including humans) born on the 24th of July or only people whose maternal grandmother's maternal grandmother had red hair, blue eyes, and thick eyebrows.

 

 

 


It's not an argument, it's an analogy. You can't conceive of a being so advanced that, to such a being, we'd be like cytoplankton. Just as none but the very brightest of cytoplankton could conceive of beings such as humans.

 

Enjoy your meal, and don't worry about Vibrio vulnificus, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria. Just take the usual precautions; I'm sure you'll be fine.


Edited by Joan Kennedy - 6/27/12 at 10:48pm
post #174 of 320
Thread Starter 

 

Well ok, but what is your point exactly? There are these wonderfully advanced beings and then what?
 

Apparently there are 35 deaths per year in the US caused by Vibrio vulnificus contracted mostly by eating oysters which are uncooked or undercooked. Furthermore, those with certain nasty diseases are 80 times more likely to be infected by it than people without those diseases. I neither have such diseases to my knowledge nor do I undercook food. If anything I overcook it. I would certainly exceed the recommended 10min cooking time at 450 F if I decided to eat them. I would say it is extremely unlikely I would be infected by these bacteria even if I decided to eat oysters.

Let’s take another example, say Listeriosis? With 1600 cases annually in the US with a mortality rate of 20-30% it seems more fearsome. It can be contracted from eating fruit and vegetables as can many other nasty bacteria.

Risk exists everywhere and I believe I am at very low risk of contracting Vibrio vulnificus even if I decided to eat oysters. If I was to avoid them based solely on fear of contracting Vibrio vulnificus I would have to avoid many other activities in life. I would also not leave home as I am much safer inside. We should take the recommended precautions to lower our chances of being infected by such bacteria rather than avoid eating. Statistically speaking you would be way more justified in telling men to not have sex with men than to warn people not to eat oysters for fear of Vibrio vulnificus. I am curious if you do that.

 

County of San Diego Department of Environmental Health, Gulf Coast Oysters: A Raw Deal (The Villainy of Vibrio vulnificus)

 

http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/vibriov/

 

Wikipedia, search for: Vibrio vulnificus and Listeriosis

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joan Kennedy View Post


It's not an argument, it's an analogy. You can't conceive of a being so advanced that, to such a being, we'd be like cytoplankton. Just as none but the very brightest of cytoplankton could conceive of beings such as humans.

 

Enjoy your meal, and don't worry about Vibrio vulnificus, more commonly known as flesh-eating bacteria. Just take the usual precautions; I'm sure you'll be fine.


Edited by Cato - 6/28/12 at 12:59am
post #175 of 320

Like I said, follow the usual precautions and I'm sure you'll be just fine.

post #176 of 320

You may not worry much about Vibrio vulnificus since the risk is rather small. But the consequence is devastating! So why risk it if you can avoid it? Most people aren't interested in doing things that are fatally dangerous even if the risk is rather low. Like skydiving - it's really rather safe overall, but when it's not safe it's generally fatal. So why risk it unless you really enjoy it? Do you enjoy oysters enough to risk your life eating them??? Sure, you can cook the oysters properly and kill the bacteria (which is what you should do for any animal flesh or eggs - it's all contaminated) or you can just not eat them. It's certainly easier for most people to simply avoid eating them.

 

Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne illness in the US and causes many deaths. Oysters are one of the most common foods associated with Norovirus. Often people get sick with Norovirus because the person making their food in the kitchen didn't wash their hands but in the case of lettuce and oysters, they get contaminated through polluted water.

 

Oysters become infected from sewage discharge (and/or become infected with Vibrio vulnificus in clean water) often enough that the CDC and FDA warn the public to NEVER consume raw oysters. Pregnant women are often advised to avoid all shellfish entirely during pregnancy, raw or cooked. Same goes for anyone with a compromised immune system (the very young, the very old, the sick). That's because even cooked oysters might be undercooked and thus the bacteria is still alive.

 

So there's Norovirus and Vibrio vulnificus... there's also Salmonella and e. Coli. We usually think of chicken and eggs when we think of Salmonella but it's been found in oysters too. We think of beef when we think of e. coli but it's been found in oysters too. Same goes for Staph and Hep A - both have beenfound in oysters. The simple fact is that most harmful bacteria & viruses survive longest and are more likely to infect you when it's on animal flesh than when it's on plant matter. When these pathogens get on plants, they can usually just be washed away. When these pathogens get on animal flesh, the flesh has to be cooked high enough and long enough to kill the pathogen. The cumulative effect of the potential for ALL food poisoning as well as other contaminents like mercury should rank oysters as more dangerous than lentils. I'm sure you can understand that logic.

 

Let me quote from a study by Applied and Environmental Microbiology:

 

Quote:
Shellfish are known carriers of viral and bacterial pathogens (1, 4). In particular, the consumption of raw oysters has been linked to outbreaks of hepatitis A and viral gastroenteritis (1). The accumulation of pathogenic bacteria and viruses within the oysters make them a hazard for human consumption.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC546685/


Edited by ElaineV - 6/28/12 at 2:31pm
post #177 of 320

Cato

For the record, Peter Singer is a philosopher, not a scientist. And he is hardly representative of the majority of vegans or ARAs. His particular brand of ethics, Utilitarianism, is exceedingly unpopular.

 

Here is a list of links of other vegan scientists, ethicists, and writers who do not believe it is acceptable to eat oysters and call one's self vegan:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/vegans-shouldnt-eat-oyste_b_605786.html - article by Marc Becoff, Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado

http://prime.peta.org/2011/03/shellfish - article on PETA blog

http://supervegan.com/blog/entry.php?id=1472 - vegan writer, Jason Das

 

By the way, if you were omni and saying "I'd go vegan but I love oysters too much!" Then I'd say, "OK, dont' go 100% vegan; eat plants plus oysters. That's so much better than eating cows and chickens and fishes all the time. Go ahead, eat oysters."

But you're not an omni. You say you're vegan and you're considering adding oysters to your diet. Well, there's just no real good reason to do so. And there are plenty of reasons not to. So... it really just seems like you want to eat oysters to spite us because you think we're dogmatic. That's the worst reason in the book to eat something - to spite people with whom you disagree.

post #178 of 320

Thanks Cato for bringing this topic up. I actually was thinking about bivalves and sentience and pain etc etc just recently. After reading all the discussion and doing a bit more research and reflection on my own, I have decided to fall back on this idea: We just don't know if they feel pain, so let's err on the side of compassion :-) 

 

Cheers,

Mary

http://www.marystestkitchen.com

http://www.marystestkitchen.com <--That's the blog I write. It's mostly about food. Some healthy. Some junky. All vegan.

http://www.marystestkitchen.com <--That's the blog I write. It's mostly about food. Some healthy. Some junky. All vegan.

post #179 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by vMaryv View Post

We just don't know if they feel pain, so let's err on the side of compassion :-) 

We've already tried that, Mary. Cato believes it is unreasonable to think oysters might feel pain. He won't even grant that the possibility that oysters feel pain is greater than the possibility that plants feel pain.

post #180 of 320
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElaineV View Post

Cato
For the record, Peter Singer is a philosopher, not a scientist. And he is hardly representative of the majority of vegans or ARAs. His particular brand of ethics, Utilitarianism, is exceedingly unpopular.

Here is a list of links of other vegan scientists, ethicists, and writers who do not believe it is acceptable to eat oysters and call one's self vegan:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-bekoff/vegans-shouldnt-eat-oyste_b_605786.html - article by Marc Becoff, Professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado
http://prime.peta.org/2011/03/shellfish - article on PETA blog
http://supervegan.com/blog/entry.php?id=1472 - vegan writer, Jason Das

By the way, if you were omni and saying "I'd go vegan but I love oysters too much!" Then I'd say, "OK, dont' go 100% vegan; eat plants plus oysters. That's so much better than eating cows and chickens and fishes all the time. Go ahead, eat oysters."
But you're not an omni. You say you're vegan and you're considering adding oysters to your diet. Well, there's just no real good reason to do so. And there are plenty of reasons not to. So... it really just seems like you want to eat oysters to spite us because you think we're dogmatic. That's the worst reason in the book to eat something - to spite people with whom you disagree.

Well said. yes.gif

Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

Vegans are basically saying, "Hey, animals shouldn't be needlessly harmed." It's amazing how many people that sentiment freaks out. - Vegan.com

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