Why I’m Not a Vegan (by Mark Bittman) - Page 2 - VeggieBoards
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#31 Old 05-28-2013, 04:53 AM
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1.) There is no research that shows that consuming small amounts, or that all animal products, are unhealthy. Instead the research shows that diets rich in animal products are unhealthy.
2.) Euthanizing your non-vegan pet (or simply not owning one) is both possible and practical, yet few support the idea. It would seem that for most, killing animals is okay if they get a cute furry thing in their lives as a result.
3.) This has nothing to do with my point, my point was simply that agricultural involves animal exploitation. If our most basic form of subsistence relies on animal exploitation, how exactly could we develop a morality that forbids it?

You are totally missing the point of veganism. We are fully aware that total elimination of animal use is impossible. that is not even what vegan ethics are about.
Read the research by Dr. Neal Barnard.
No, euthanizing our pets is not practical. I wish I didn't have to live with dogs, but I refuse to ignore the extreme dog over population problem and as a human being feel responsible to take care of the animals humans created as companions. Spay and neuter is possible and practical, killing everyone's pets and animals in shelters is extreme and incredibly impractical.
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#32 Old 05-28-2013, 05:06 AM
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Vegans focus on the use of animal products....

oh, where are these vegans that you know everything about?

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#33 Old 05-28-2013, 05:19 AM
 
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WE domesticated THEM therefore WE owe it to THEM to care for THEM and no longer breed with them.

Why should they lose their lives because we initially domesticated them but are now letting them down. At no point was any of it the animals fault so why punish them further by killing them when the ones that are here can be showered with love and looked after well.
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#34 Old 05-28-2013, 05:44 AM
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If the point here were only that present society is in fact cruel and exploitative, that in reality most people accept this, then I'd have to agree. But it's just circular logic to argue that things must be this way because that's how things are. And it's a Catch-22 to discount value in any individual vegan lifestyle due to hypothetical probabilities of eventual implementation issues for absolute planetary veganism.; If Mark Bittman believes that he can do better with a mainstream audience by advocating just for meat reduction, that's okay. But I don't think it's necessary to undermine vegan advocacy in general.

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#35 Old 05-28-2013, 05:46 AM
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I have a 4rth scenarios for you:

The meat imitation market, which was started thanks to vegetarians, eventually become much cheaper and indistinguishable to the taste to real meat which lead even meat eaters to buy it in order to save a bit of money. Real meat consumptions becomes a rare luxury and eventually, since most people never eat it, the issue of animal abuse stops being obfuscated by their cognitive dissonance and it becomes common sense that eating animals is wrong.

 

This scenario actually sounds pretty plausible to me.

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#36 Old 05-28-2013, 06:11 AM
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started thanks to vegetarians

This nicely illustrates what I meant by "a Catch-22."  If the rule is that you can't start a movement unless you already know how it will end up, then of course you're defeated before you begin. 

Any number of innovations might appear in the future.  The question of "What would a kind world even look like?" should be secondary to the question "Is kindness of value?" 

Even if no one has yet determined precisely HOW to do it, that doesn't justify calling it sour grapes.


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#37 Old 05-28-2013, 07:12 PM
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Vegans focus on the use of animal products, but ignore the fact that family pets, clearing land for crops, riding horses and numerous other things are also animal exploitation.

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Aren't vegans trying to reduce animal suffering? If that is the goal, then clearly euthanizing pets is the "vegan thing" to do as this would reduce animal suffering.


I'd suggest spending more time reading about veganism (or perhaps simply asking vegans) rather than continuing to push your stereotypical version of veganism.

Veganism (not vegans) is defined in terms of avoiding animal products, there is nothing stating that vegans ignore other facets of animal exploitation. Second, while some refer to veganism as reducing animal suffering, the only concern of veganism is not necessarily reducing animal suffering at all costs. That is simply absurd.
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#38 Old 05-28-2013, 08:26 PM
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You seem almost determined to not comprehend the most basic concept of veganism which is to not hurt animals, so while I would love to have a discussion about the moral minefields pertaining to the vegan lifestyle, I don't think a discussion with you is actually possible at this time. You seem to have this idea in your head, that veganism is all or nothing in every aspect of the lifestyle, when it doesn't need to be.
You don't have to have any discussion you don't want to have, with that said, you're not responding to anything I've said.....instead you're starting to attack me.

Reading Peter Singer,etc doesn't resolve the issues I have brought up. Ironically, I made use of one of his arguments in my posts.....
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#39 Old 05-28-2013, 08:39 PM
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We are fully aware that total elimination of animal use is impossible. that is not even what vegan ethics are about.
Read the research by Dr. Neal Barnard.
I have never suggested that vegan ethics is about the "total elimination of animal use".

Its funny how popular name dropping is with vegans. What are you trying to address by telling me to read Neal Barnard?
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No, euthanizing our pets is not practical. I wish I didn't have to live with dogs, but I refuse to ignore the extreme dog over population problem and as a human being feel responsible to take care of the animals humans created as companions. Spay and neuter is possible and practical, killing everyone's pets and animals in shelters is extreme and incredibly impractical
What isn't practical about it? Its cheap, fast and the animal doesn't suffer. It may be an "extreme" position in the eye's of society, but that doesn't mean anything. Why keep one animal alive if it means the death and suffering of many more?

If you were given two buttons, one that kills one animal and another that kills 20....which would you press if you had to press one?
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#40 Old 05-28-2013, 08:48 PM
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Why should they lose their lives because we initially domesticated them but are now letting them down.
Because keeping them alive results in animal suffering. Putting a dog to sleep is a far better fate than the chickens, cows, etc raised in factory farms...that will be used to feed them.
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Veganism (not vegans) is defined in terms of avoiding animal products, there is nothing stating that vegans ignore other facets of animal exploitation. Second, while some refer to veganism as reducing animal suffering, the only concern of veganism is not necessarily reducing animal suffering at all costs.
Defining vegan as "avoiding animal products" is too simple and that is why people provide more philosophically rich definitions. My posts have nothing to do with "reducing animal suffering" at all costs, instead that if you have two actions A and B and A results in less animal suffering than B...then action A would be "the vegan thing to do".
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#41 Old 05-28-2013, 09:18 PM
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Mark Bittman is first and foremost a food writer -- it's clear that he's had a change in philosophy recently and is delving into the ethical, environmental and nutritional aspects of food, but he is not an ethicist, scientist, or medical professional, nor has he studied the issues sufficiently.

He is definitely on board with the idea of "happy meat" incorporated into a flexitarian diet, despite the ethical flaws that are obvious to most of us here. His most recent New York Times article included a recipe for veal, which he justified by including a statement that if you consume dairy, you are supporting veal production (which isn't always true anyway, due to the use of IVF).

I am glad that his recipes and writings include some great vegan meal ideas that are accessible to many people, but I think he should stick to what he knows (just the food).
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#42 Old 05-28-2013, 09:31 PM
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Defining vegan as "avoiding animal products" is too simple and that is why people provide more philosophically rich definitions.

I hope you noticed the difference between "Veganism (not vegans) is defined in terms of avoiding animal products" as opposed to defining vegan as "avoiding animal products."

The two are not equivalent.

It's amusing to me that you acknowledge that people have richer definitions than "avoiding animal products" yet you claim that vegans ignore other facets of animal exploitation as well as trying to define veganism as simple "reducing animal suffering."

So I'll reiterate my earlier point: I'd suggest spending more time reading about veganism (or perhaps simply asking vegans) rather than continuing to push your stereotypical version of veganism.
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My posts have nothing to do with "reducing animal suffering" at all costs, instead that if you have two actions A and B and A results in less animal suffering than B...then action A would be "the vegan thing to do".

Attempting to claim that the goal of veganism is to "reduce animal suffering" is to claim that that is the primary (perhaps even only) concern. Hence my paraphrase: reducing animal suffering at all costs (i.e. your primary objective).

While animal suffering is a concern (I wouldn't elevate it to a goal), many vegans also feel that an animal has a right to their own life (not to mention many more "philosophically rich" notions). So no, it's quite as simple as the strawman you seem to be arguing with regards to "the vegan thing to do."

Again, I'll reiterate my earlier point: I'd suggest spending more time reading about veganism (or perhaps simply asking vegans) rather than continuing to push your stereotypical version of veganism.

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#43 Old 05-28-2013, 10:03 PM
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I hope you noticed the difference between "Veganism (not vegans) is defined in terms of avoiding animal products" as opposed to defining vegan as "avoiding animal products."
Typo, replace "vegan" with "veganism".
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It's amusing to me that you acknowledge that people have richer definitions than "avoiding animal products" yet you claim that vegans ignore other facets of animal exploitation as well as trying to define veganism as simple "reducing animal suffering."
I wasn't attempting to define veganism, instead I was using a common definition that is given by vegans that at least holds some water.

I don't know why telling people to "read X" is so popular with vegans here, but it obviously doesn't address anything. Your issue seems to be the definition I'm using, again not one that I created, so by all means provide a definition that you think better characterizes veganism. Of course veganism is a bit like Christianity, nobody can agree on what defines it....but let's see if we can derive similar results from your preferred definition.
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#44 Old 05-28-2013, 10:32 PM
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Typo, replace "vegan" with "veganism".

I'll make it simpler: Defining X in terms of Y is not equivalent to defining X as Y.
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I wasn't attempting to define veganism, instead I was using a common definition that is given by vegans that at least holds some water.

I don't think many do define it as such (although I'd acknowledge that many (most?) find reducing suffering to be important). I'd also argue that more define it in terms of avoiding animal products (and some also in terms of reducing animal exploitation).

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I don't know why telling people to "read X" is so popular with vegans here, but it obviously doesn't address anything.

If you find that to be common in your discussions, perhaps it's not necessarily a characteristic of where you're at, but something that you do which entices such a response.

Although in terms of what I think my post addresses is that you're making simplistic/stereotypical/false arguments, and all it would take, is to read up on the subject or simply ask.

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Your issue seems to be the definition I'm using, again not one that I created, so by all means provide a definition that you think better characterizes veganism. Of course veganism is a bit like Christianity, nobody can agree on what defines it....but let's see if we can derive similar results from your preferred definition.

Well, if that's your view, then obviously you can't claim what is "the vegan thing to do."

However, it's not up to me to provide a definition unless you're just trying to be argumentative instead of admitting your error. Anyways here are a few:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/vegan
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vegan
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/vegan
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegan

The more important point I was making though, was that I don't think your definition really is a definition than many (anyone other than you?) use. Although I'd be willing to admit that I'm wrong if you have some evidence as support.

As to the "veganism is a bit like Christianity" part, that's true of many (most?) ideologies. So? Again, a common position is that veganism is defined in terms of avoiding animal products (both diet and in use), but for some it gets more complicated (like dealing with many other factors).

However, a definition isn't really required, since vegans themselves have different ideologies and issues which are important to them, like an animals right to life (which kind of completely eliminates your euthanizing is "the vegan thing to do" argument), or other forms of exploitation and so on. Which is why, as you already acknowledged that "people provide more philosophically rich definitions."

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#45 Old 05-29-2013, 04:37 AM
 
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But I feed my dog a vegan diet and the vet says she is healthy and from looking at her she seems to enjoy it as much as the non-vegan food she used to eat.

Euthanising dogs that need homes is going to do absolutely nothing for the liberation of the animals we eat. It is quite simple, we stop breeding dogs now and then foster and neuter ALL dogs that are currently out there. Within 15years pretty much all domesticated dogs would be gone (backyard breeders would still exist but it would be rare).

That is the only viable option for the domesticated dog problem. I LOVE my companion dog but if after she was gone there was no more dogs needing homes I would be happy to not have that companionship if it meant no dogs were being neglected and/or abused.
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#46 Old 05-29-2013, 06:15 AM
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All my companion pets are rescues down to my fish ....
My beta was abandoned at the townhouse we are renting now, he was left in a dirty bowl in one of the bathrooms .... Our place was being renovated so I felt bad to leave him .... when I asked the managers office they told me he was left there for 2 weeks by the previous renters .... He survived smiley.gif My kitties were orphans after their mother was hit by a car .... They were 2 months and in need of some food, shelter and love smiley.gif My yorkie Lola was saved by my boyfriend she was the runt of the litter and very weak .... We are not perfect but as a family we try our best in this world to live life cruelty free smiley.gif
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#47 Old 05-29-2013, 07:57 AM
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I have never suggested that vegan ethics is about the "total elimination of animal use".

Its funny how popular name dropping is with vegans. What are you trying to address by telling me to read Neal Barnard?
What isn't practical about it? Its cheap, fast and the animal doesn't suffer. It may be an "extreme" position in the eye's of society, but that doesn't mean anything. Why keep one animal alive if it means the death and suffering of many more?

If you were given two buttons, one that kills one animal and another that kills 20....which would you press if you had to press one?

-You suggested total elimination when you said this: "our most basic form of subsistence relies on animal exploitation, how exactly could we develop a morality that forbids it?"

-I brought up Barnard's research as an example of research that supports zero meat and dairy products for optimal health. His Alzheimer's studies and diabetes studies both suggest even small amounts of meat and dairy are not healthy. You claim there are no such studies...

-euthanasia is actually not cheap, that's one reason animals are disposed of in horrific ways around the world and gas chambers are used more and more. Frequent shortages of pentobarbital also pose a problem to your "solution".

-I wouldn't press any button. As a vegan I try my best not to contribute to the death of any animals.
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#48 Old 05-29-2013, 01:27 PM
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It is quite simple, we stop breeding dogs now and then foster and neuter ALL dogs that are currently out there. Within 15years pretty much all domesticated dogs would be gone (backyard breeders would still exist but it would be rare).

 

You're kidding, right? What part of this are you saying is "quite simple," besides the act of typing it into a comment box? How on earth would you propose to stop the breeding of dogs? You can say "launch an effective public service campaign," or maybe "get restrictive breeding laws passed," but again, typing is considerably simpler than doing.  I'm interested to read your simple proposal to dislodge dog breeding from our culture.

 

Think of the economic sway held by the pet food/pet products/pet pharmaceutical industries, the economic cushion provided to farmers by puppy mills, the free voting citizens who want to breed puppies out of their own pets, the show breeders who champion specific breeds of dogs, the free voting citizens whose dogs take the place of children in their lives, the service dogs bred and raised to attend the needs of people with disabilities, the free voting senior citizens whose lives are enhanced and extended by their little lapdogs. You mess with any one of those interests, much less all of them, and the instant blowback becomes "They're trying to take away our liberty!"

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#49 Old 05-29-2013, 01:45 PM
 
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My word. A simple THEORY! Use some common sense.
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#50 Old 05-29-2013, 01:55 PM
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My word. A simple THEORY! Use some common sense.


"Theory"? I do not think it means what you think it means. smiley.gif

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#51 Old 05-29-2013, 02:00 PM
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What does any of this have to do with Mark Bittman?
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#52 Old 05-29-2013, 02:02 PM
 
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Are you a troll? I can't tell if you are serious? What I do know is you often try and belittle people on here and it's pathetic
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#53 Old 05-29-2013, 02:18 PM
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I'm talking about how society conceives of pets.

It doesn't work that way.  You can't expect discussion in an open forum to follow your train of logic on numerous complex topics just by establishing parameters defined by what seems important about them from your point of view.  Narrowly redirecting what we're all talking about is not the best way to share your opinions.  To bring up "how society conceives of pets" would contribute to understanding Bittman's article only if there really were a single simple conception of the subject clearly known to every person in society.


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#54 Old 05-29-2013, 06:12 PM
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Even if we found an actual way to sterilize all cats and dogs into eradication, it would probably be counterproductive to our cause.

 

Although cats and dogs are mostly fed by meat, the meat they eat is mostly the waste product of the meat produced for human consumption, so I doubt that not having to feed them would have a significant impact on the size of the meat industry. On another hand, it's would be much harder to convince people that animals are sentient if they didn't have pets in their lives. Get rid of pets and you have pretty much killed any sympathy that people could have had for non-human animals.

 

No if you want to make sure that your cat doesn't eat meat, the best way to go is to feed it vegan cat food. Because they are "obligate carnivore", cats have very specific dietary needs, but nothing that can't be solve if we carefully formulate their food to met their needs. It means you shouldn't feed your cat fresh kitchen veggies and expect it to be fine, but vegan cat food rich in protein and fat, low in carbohydrates and fortified with vitamin A(other than beta-carotene), B12, Taurine, etc. There is nobody in the cat's stomach inspecting the food it eats ready to press on the "autodestruct" button if it ever eats something other than meat. We perfectly have the technology to copy the nutritional values of meat without using any of it.

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#55 Old 05-29-2013, 09:25 PM
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I don't think many do define it as such (although I'd acknowledge that many (most?) find reducing suffering to be important). I'd also argue that more define it in terms of avoiding animal products (and some also in terms of reducing animal exploitation).
As I mentioned, I was utilizing a more philosophically rich definition rather than something problematic like "avoiding animal products". Furthermore, even if you characterized it as "avoiding animal products"......isn't dog and cat food an animal product and as such be avoided? So then, as with the other definition, the "vegan thing to do" is to not buy non-vegan pet food. So the next question is, what does one do with the pets? Perhaps people can feed them vegan foods and if their health fails euthanize them. Or some other solution, but its unclear how buying non-vegan pet food is consist with veganism. Though the situation, with regard to pet ownership, is still exploitative in nature.
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#56 Old 05-29-2013, 09:31 PM
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Although cats and dogs are mostly fed by meat, the meat they eat is mostly the waste product of the meat produced for human consumption, so I doubt that not having to feed them would have a significant impact on the size of the meat industry. On another hand, it's would be much harder to convince people that animals are sentient if they didn't have pets in their lives.
So called "meat byproducts" are used in pet foods, but they are more or less a filler used in lower quality pet foods. But even low quality pet food contains actual meat so its not just waste products from human consumption.

As for cats eating vegan food, it is not known whether that is a healthy alternative for cats. Whole foods are more than just a few nutrients.
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#57 Old 05-29-2013, 09:46 PM
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-You suggested total elimination when you said this: "our most basic form of subsistence relies on animal exploitation, how exactly could we develop a morality that forbids it?"
No, instead I was implying that a morality that forbids animal exploitation isn't consistent with human subsistence.
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-I brought up Barnard's research as an example of research that supports zero meat and dairy products for optimal health. His Alzheimer's studies and diabetes studies both suggest even small amounts of meat and dairy are not healthy. You claim there are no such studies...
His Alzheimer's and diabetes studies didn't study the relationship between vegan and semi-vegan diets...so how do they suggest even small amounts of meat and dairy are not healthy? For example, his diabetes study compares a low-fat whole foods based vegan diet and a diet based on the American Diabetes Associations guidelines and the latter is by no means semi-vegan.

So yes, I claim that Neal Barnard has not conducted a study that shows that a vegan diet is healthier than a semi-vegan diet based around the same foods. Now if you have a citation to such a study....I'd love to see it.

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-euthanasia is actually not cheap, that's one reason animals are disposed of in horrific ways around the world and gas chambers are used more and more.
Euthanizing a cat or dog costs about the same amount as mutilating their reproductive organs to render them infertile.

"I wouldn't press the button" isn't an answer to the question, its just avoiding the question.
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#58 Old 05-29-2013, 10:31 PM
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isn't dog and cat food an animal product and as such be avoided? So then, as with the other definition, the "vegan thing to do" is to not buy non-vegan pet food.

I agree that it's problematic. smiley.gif

I've been too many debates about pets/companions on VB and other forums to really feel like I want to get back into that topic. I don't have pets nor do I live with any non-human animals (disregarding various insects in the house).

I also find the current dog and cat (among other domestic animal) population issue to be problematic.

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So the next question is, what does one do with the pets? Perhaps people can feed them vegan foods and if their health fails euthanize them. Or some other solution, but its unclear how buying non-vegan pet food is consist with veganism. Though the situation, with regard to pet ownership, is still exploitative in nature.

Again, I agree and find it problematic. undecided.gif

While you made some valid points, my contention was in some of the specifics with regards to categorizing vegans.

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#59 Old 05-30-2013, 06:02 AM
 
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I am relatively new and unfamiliar with "Logic " but his circuitous logic is seriously flawed. All three of my pet companions were rescued. And I do feed them vegan food......how is loving something exploitation? Cruelty? There is also years of research on the harmful effect of meat and especially dairy. I guess I feel the argument is illogical. And frustrating because it feel inclusive despite the fact that he uses "some" I am feeling judged by a person who doesn't seem to comprehend that vegan is not a religion but a state do existence and I am sure each of us has unique experience....I am a vegan for cause....seahorses....silly to some.....point is that is me as a vegan, with my three dogs who wouldn't leave if I open the door.......sorry this stung something in me.......
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#60 Old 05-30-2013, 06:07 AM
 
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Oh and what is semi-vegan? Is that like being semi omni?
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