Do you see abstaining from meat as a moral obligation ? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-31-2015, 05:32 AM
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Do you see abstaining from meat as a moral obligation ?

Or more of a "choice", like a "to each his own" kind of thing.
I define moral obligation as something one must do in order to be moral, objectively.

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#2 Old 08-31-2015, 06:50 AM
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Morals are not objective, they are one of the most subjective things in human culture and varry widely. Your rigid definition of morality would cause many in hunter garherer societies to become nutrient deficient, or many in developing nations increased famine.

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#3 Old 08-31-2015, 06:56 AM
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of course abstaining from meat is a mandatory obligation for all civilized people

if you eat meat, you are not an ethical person, PERIOD.
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#4 Old 08-31-2015, 08:11 AM
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of course abstaining from meat is a mandatory obligation for all civilized people

if you eat meat, you are not an ethical person, PERIOD.
There is a bit more to it then that. While I agree that yes, if one consumes animal products they can hardly be called moral. However, we were all once ignorant to the suffering we caused and I think that plays into it. If someone knowingly eats meat after watching something like Earthlings and Cowspiracy, then yea, they're a psychopath in my book. But if they haven't been taught or rather, shown the pain and suffering a meal can cause, then they are not at fault. Ignorance isn't a crime unless one remains ignorant by choice, imo.
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#5 Old 08-31-2015, 08:18 AM
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I don't believe that a person's overall morality is defined by only one choice.
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#6 Old 08-31-2015, 09:09 AM
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many kids spontaneously go vegetarian without being taught or shown docs.
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#7 Old 08-31-2015, 10:00 AM
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Morals are not objective, they are one of the most subjective things in human culture and varry widely. Your rigid definition of morality would cause many in hunter garherer societies to become nutrient deficient, or many in developing nations increased famine.
Never stated that was my opinion, asked a question of others' opinions.
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#8 Old 08-31-2015, 10:02 AM
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The case for veganism is so strong, there should be no need for moral obligations:

1) Informed people with a true understanding of all aspects of the vegan life will happily stop eating and exploiting animals.
Most vegans are thankful for having learned about veganism.

2) Over time, new habits and traditions will make it a no-brainer for children of vegan parents.

Being vegan should be the easy and fun thing to do.
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#9 Old 08-31-2015, 10:23 AM
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Never stated that was my opinion, asked a question of others' opinions.
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I define moral obligation as something one must do in order to be moral, objectively.
Yes you did.

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#10 Old 08-31-2015, 10:49 AM
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I don't believe that a person's overall morality is defined by only one choice.
Agree. I think it adds to one being a moral person, but this aspect alone doesn't define them as moral.

For example, if someone proclaims they're a vegan, that doesn't make them a moral person, because, you don't know anything else about them. They could be a raging lunatic.
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#11 Old 08-31-2015, 10:55 AM
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Agree. I think it adds to one being a moral person, but this aspect alone doesn't define them as moral.

For example, if someone proclaims they're a vegan, that doesn't make them a moral person, because, you don't know anything else about them. They could be a raging lunatic.
Right. A person could be vegan and a child abuser, for instance, or a generally unkind individual. The choice to be vegan is itself a moral choice, but if the majority of someone's life decisions are immoral, I don't think that veganism could possibly offset that.
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#12 Old 08-31-2015, 11:35 AM
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If you’re a moral absolutist, you believe some acts are objectively good or evil regardless of the reason for the action. If eating meat is truly one of your absolute evils, it would have to remain so even in the face of imminent starvation, the way most omnivores say they would rather starve than kill and eat a fellow human being.

Maybe you also believe in an absolute moral imperative to care for an ailing loved one, even one who eats meat. Since her appetite is shot, nothing but her familiar comfort food will go down and stay down. What to do? If people agree on any absolutes at all, one point of widespread agreement is that it's evil to kill a fellow human. What about self-defense? What if your life (or another innocent person's) might not be in danger from this person but you think it probably is, or that it might be, and you must act quickly or take your chances? Do you believe it's evil to speak deceptively? What about lying to prevent a killing? These questions all have pretty obvious answers; my point is that when you try to live your life by moral absolutes they start competing with one another in your priorities. At some point circumstances force you to rank your absolute beliefs in order of importance, at which time they nearly all stop being absolute imperatives and start being choices. Some of them more compelling than other choices. Maybe the only moral law that can remain standing is that we must do our best as we see it, and as we grow in wisdom and personal power, to make our best better.

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#13 Old 08-31-2015, 12:01 PM
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Never stated that was my opinion, asked a question of others' opinions.
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I define moral obligation as something one must do in order to be moral, objectively.
Yes you did.
Never stated that I believed abstaining from meat was a moral obligation
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#14 Old 08-31-2015, 12:11 PM
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K, new question. Does eating meat make you a bad person assuming you're fully aware of the horrors/bad stuff and are completely capable of abstaining?
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#15 Old 08-31-2015, 12:16 PM
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K, new question. Does eating meat make you a bad person assuming you're fully aware of the horrors/bad stuff and are completely capable of abstaining?
No one choice can make you "a bad person." I'm not even sure how to determine whether or not someone is good or bad overall, but I suppose someone who generally acts in a way that is kind and compassionate could be said to be "a good person." Veganism is certainly a kind and compassionate choice, but it is still only one choice among many.
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#16 Old 08-31-2015, 12:31 PM
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K, new question. Does eating meat make you a bad person assuming you're fully aware of the horrors/bad stuff and are completely capable of abstaining?
No one choice can make you "a bad person." I'm not even sure how to determine whether or not someone is good or bad overall, but I suppose someone who generally acts in a way that is kind and compassionate could be said to be "a good person." Veganism is certainly a kind and compassionate choice, but it is still only one choice among many.
Agreed
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#17 Old 08-31-2015, 12:34 PM
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Or more of a "choice", like a "to each his own" kind of thing.
I define moral obligation as something one must do in order to be moral, objectively.
I really dislike the term "obligation", as if it is something I don't want to do but have to. Yet I have a hard time with "choice", since the choice to eat meat involves the suffering of another being that didn't get to have that choice, as well as environmental destruction and a whole cascade of other events. Maybe I fall somewhere in between. Abstaining from meat is a responsibility I feel happy to live up to, not only for myself, but for causes such as world hunger, environment, animals, anti violence. I feel that it is imperative that as many people as possible take this responsibility as our population continues to expand and our resources become ever more limited. Someday it will not be a choice.

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#18 Old 08-31-2015, 12:54 PM
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Or more of a "choice", like a "to each his own" kind of thing.
I define moral obligation as something one must do in order to be moral, objectively.
I really dislike the term "obligation", as if it is something I don't want to do but have to. Yet I have a hard time with "choice", since the choice to eat meat involves the suffering of another being that didn't get to have that choice, as well as environmental destruction and a whole cascade of other events. Maybe I fall somewhere in between. Abstaining from meat is a responsibility I feel happy to live up to, not only for myself, but for causes such as world hunger, environment, animals, anti violence. I feel that it is imperative that as many people as possible take this responsibility as our population continues to expand and our resources become ever more limited. Someday it will not be a choice.
Love this! Extremely well worded.
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#19 Old 08-31-2015, 02:39 PM
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I really dislike the term "obligation", as if it is something I don't want to do but have to. Yet I have a hard time with "choice", since the choice to eat meat involves the suffering of another being that didn't get to have that choice, as well as environmental destruction and a whole cascade of other events. Maybe I fall somewhere in between. Abstaining from meat is a responsibility I feel happy to live up to, not only for myself, but for causes such as world hunger, environment, animals, anti violence. I feel that it is imperative that as many people as possible take this responsibility as our population continues to expand and our resources become ever more limited. Someday it will not be a choice.
Beautifully put.
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#20 Old 08-31-2015, 05:19 PM
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You can't really begin to answer the question without looking at context of actions and choice as a consequence of privilege. Unfortunately we are really bad at including those factors (by 'we' I mean humans generally). This pops up across a variety of discussions - lying, self defense, etc ...)

It isn't really any more difficult for meat eating than anything else, but it is beneficial to some powerful interests to pretend like it is. It's always a difficult question.

The way "choice" is portrayed in the original question makes me think we're also probing relativism here. I don't think relativism is necessary to question whether veganism is a moral baseline. It's not. We only become relativists when we discount context.

Ecofeminist theory provides a much more satisfying resolution than the "big two" ethical theories (Utilitarianism and deontology). It promotes "contextual vegetarianism". For most ecofeminist theorists and their audiences this works out to veganism.

Perhaps we have a hard time answering the question because we're using frameworks that aren't up to the task.
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#21 Old 08-31-2015, 06:24 PM
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You can't really begin to answer the question without looking at context of actions and choice as a consequence of privilege. Unfortunately we are really bad at including those factors (by 'we' I mean humans generally). This pops up across a variety of discussions - lying, self defense, etc ...)

It isn't really any more difficult for meat eating than anything else, but it is beneficial to some powerful interests to pretend like it is. It's always a difficult question.

The way "choice" is portrayed in the original question makes me think we're also probing relativism here. I don't think relativism is necessary to question whether veganism is a moral baseline. It's not. We only become relativists when we discount context.

Ecofeminist theory provides a much more satisfying resolution than the "big two" ethical theories (Utilitarianism and deontology). It promotes "contextual vegetarianism". For most ecofeminist theorists and their audiences this works out to veganism.

Perhaps we have a hard time answering the question because we're using frameworks that aren't up to the task.
I have no idea what you mean by context, and I'm not familiar with ecofeminist theory. But yeah, my question WAS probing relativism.
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#22 Old 09-01-2015, 09:20 AM
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I don't believe that a person's overall morality is defined by only one choice.

that's all well and good. But do you really practice it?

What if a person is the nicest ever, donates to homeless children, volunteers at a elders home and generally very pleasant, but clubs baby seals for fur as his day trade?
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#23 Old 09-01-2015, 09:29 AM
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that's all well and good. But do you really practice it?

What if a person is the nicest ever, donates to homeless children, volunteers at a elders home and generally very pleasant, but clubs baby seals for fur as his day trade?
I don't understand what you mean by "do you practice it?" and I don't think I'm qualified to judge whether someone is a good or a bad person. What I can say is that donating money to help the homeless, volunteering at a nursing home, and treating people kindly are all acts of compassion whereas clubbing baby seals is not. Do you think you're qualified to make a judgment of a person's overall character? How would you even go about doing that? If you believe that one immoral choice (in this instance, clubbing baby seals) makes a person "bad," then shouldn't one moral choice (donating to the homeless) make a person "good"? I have certainly made the wrong choice from time to time, as have you, I'm sure. Does that make us bad people?
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#24 Old 09-01-2015, 10:15 AM
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To me, personally, yes not eating meat is a moral obligation. I come from a society and culture where animal products are wholly unnecessary and information regarding the cruelty my society inflicts upon animals is widely available and how to eat a healthy plant based diet is easy to find. I do find it pretty morally reprehensible for people in our society and culture to continue eating animal products because we have alternatives and such easy access to information. However, I also still understand that meat/animal exploitation is a pervasive part of society and will take a while to rid society of the mindset animals are here for us to use and abuse, no matter how much information "we" have available. I give it a good 50 years if not longer for the masses to catch up.

Do I necessarily have a problem with an uncontacted tribe in the amazon who live a primitive lifestyle and hunts animals for food eating meat? Not really. How about people who live in a remote village somewhere with no access to the modern food supply chain who are in the middle of a famine and slaughter some goats or go out hunting to survive? Do I feel they are being immoral? No. Do I feel a humans in some situations not as "modern" as my own has a moral obligation to be vegetarian or vegan? No. Not everyone is as fortunate as me or you to live in a first world nation with internet access and a grocery store on every corner carrying year round fresh produce and all the vegan products we can eat.
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#25 Old 09-01-2015, 08:19 PM
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here is my simple rule

if you know what i know and you consume meat you are not a moral human being, you are cowardly.
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#26 Old 09-02-2015, 03:02 PM
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I have no idea what you mean by context,
Here's a real life example: The other day a guy stabbed my 5-year old friend Cori repeatedly with a needle. It hurt, she cried, and was a little traumatized by the experience. She's OK now, but it was unpleasant for her. You need more information to determine if a crime occurred ...

As you've probably guessed, there was no crime. Cori was getting booster shots, to get her vaccinations current before she starts school. That extra information provides the context that allows you to reach that decision.

The problem with absolutism is that it ignores relevant distinctions. If there is a rash of people stabbing people with needles we could decide that stabbing people with needles is no longer permitted.. If we are absolutists, though , we ignore context. "Don't stab people with needles" is THE LAW! You can't be a moral person if you stab people with needles! Throw all the physicians in jail!

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#27 Old 09-04-2015, 10:13 AM
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Do you see abstaining from meat as a moral obligation ?

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Originally Posted by no whey jose View Post
I don't understand what you mean by "do you practice it?" and I don't think I'm qualified to judge whether someone is a good or a bad person. What I can say is that donating money to help the homeless, volunteering at a nursing home, and treating people kindly are all acts of compassion whereas clubbing baby seals is not. Do you think you're qualified to make a judgment of a person's overall character? How would you even go about doing that? If you believe that one immoral choice (in this instance, clubbing baby seals) makes a person "bad," then shouldn't one moral choice (donating to the homeless) make a person "good"? I have certainly made the wrong choice from time to time, as have you, I'm sure. Does that make us bad people?
don't tell me you don't judge anyone to be bad overall. Even if it is one deed, In sure you would judge a rapist to be a bad person overall whatever other good he did.

I'll tell my way of judging whether someone is bad or not. When someone does a wrong deed over and over again for their personal gain without thinking of the effect on others he's bad overall.

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#28 Old 09-04-2015, 10:47 AM
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don't tell me you don't judge anyone to be bad overall. Even if it is one deed, In sure you would judge a rapist to be a bad person overall whatever other good he did.

I'll tell my way of judging whether someone is bad or not. When someone does a wrong deed over and over again for their personal gain without thinking of the effect on others he's bad overall.
I genuinely don't think in those terms about people I don't know personally. If I read about a rapist in the news, I certainly wouldn't approve of what he'd done and I wouldn't want him around me, but the question of whether or not he's a good or a bad person overall wouldn't cross my mind. I don't even know if I believe that people CAN be all good or all bad. People, all of us, are a mixture. I can only judge who I trust and who I don't, whether I like someone or don't.
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#29 Old 09-05-2015, 02:33 AM
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All this talk is beside the OPs question though. I think it's a moral obligation to atleast try to abstain from meat as much as possible.
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